I know my products are very good. I know people will like them if they try them. I don’t want to have to go around telling people to try them. But how else will they know how wonderful my products are in a culture glutted with advertising for other people’s products? One of the most difficult aspects of running a business of my own is my insecurity combined with introversion. I don’t want to actually talk to people in person to sell my products. It’s draining for me. But I don’t have the money to hire a salesperson and I know from past retail experience that I am good at it when I do put the energy into it.
Over the weekend, I was invited to participate in an open house hosted by another crafter. I did pretty well with sales considering I don’t yet have regular customers of my own. That did a lot to settle my insecurities. I know in my head that I need to get on the craft fair circuit to get my name out there. I just dread the way those events drain me of all my energy, leaving me a cranky mess for my family to have to deal with later. Even as I write this, my brain is spitting out more reasons not to do craft fairs. But how will people find my website if they don’t meet me first? Try searching for “handmade soap” online. I got 562,000 results. If I want to stay at home as my ultimate goal, I’ll have to spend time out in the world. (Yes, this blog is about giving myself a pep-talk to do what I have to do.)
As part of marketing, I’m struggling with packaging round soap. People respond to being able to see and feel and smell it without any wrapping in the way. But it needs some kind of label. Squares and rectangles are easy to wrap a band around without it falling off yet leaving the ends open. Round soaps slip out way too easily. Yet in terms of actually using the soap, the round discs are so much nicer. They fit in your hand nicely. They don’t break into pieces when you get to the end of the bar the way rectangles do. So, my options seem to be, compromise on shape, compromise on packaging, or find a brilliant new package. Truth be told, I detest the packaging process. Once I get it settled, I’m sure I won’t mind so much, but right now it’s a major pain.
One of the things that’s different about my soap is the scents are very light. To me, this is a wonderful thing. And other people like that idea in theory, but when they smell mine next to another maker’s who uses heavy scents like patchouli, they go with the heavier scent. So, do I keep trying to find a market for the light scents or do I keep the soaps for myself to give away as gifts and abandon the idea of selling it altogether? I don’t mind working hard and trying to find the right way to do this, but I only have so much time, energy, and money so I need to discern between ideas that will work and ideas that need to be laid to rest. For now, I’ll keep at the soap.
Realistically, I’m seeing that this crafting business is a more a labor of love than a labor for profit. However, I am still determined to make money at this. Feeling my way through this is incredibly challenging. I’m up for the challenge.
Watch my marketing evolve here: Meg In Stitches
Or here: Facebook
Give me a like or a favorite on those sites to let me know you like what you see. Maybe even order something. And if you’d like to speak to me in person before buying, I’ll arrange for that.