Random thoughts about my small business. That's all.
If I could go back in time and do / think things differently with my small business, it would be these three things:
1. Price higher from the get go!
I know this is NOT what my customers want to hear, but I was literally GIVING AWAY my soap. From a business perspective, this is not sustainable, and the business is ultimately doomed. From a personal perspective, I just wanted others to try out and enjoy handmade soap!
Pricing through the years:
2018: $6/bar or 4 for $20
2019: $8 or 3 for $20
2020: $9 or 3 for $25
2021: I got rid of the "3 for whatever" deal and increased the price to $10
2022: Current price is $10, and now thinking about increasing the price YET AGAIN to $11-12/bar. Will I bring the "3 for" deal back? Possibly.
I'll give a very simple explanation for the price increase: Inflation is a bitch. EVERYTHING costs more. If I could keep my price the same but also keep costs down, I would... but this largely involves buying in more bulk than I have space.
If you have advice for me, please share your wisdom in the comments below!
2. Keep up with the forever changing trends of social media.
TikTok, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn... nope, I'm not on these social media channels. Should I be? Am I doing my business a disservice because I'm not reaching a broader audience? Probably. Can this 38-year-old learn new tricks? Yes, but slowly. I just now kinda got the hang of Reels on Instagram for crying out loud. *waves my cane in the air*
Hiring a social media manager would be a big step for me, especially since it wouldn't necessarily be my personal voice. Currently not ready to make that step. Plus, this costs money, and I'd rather spend it on other things.
3. Have a different product to specialize in.
Yep, I said it. Soap making doesn't make money if you're a very small business. Think about it... let's say one bar of soap is $8-10, and the cost to make one bar is $1-3 (I'm speaking broadly here). How often to people buy soap for themselves? Well, it personally takes me a few months to finish one 4oz bar of soap. So that means I am spending $10 every 2-3 months.
Now imagine if my business was say... I dunno, making/selling tacos in Austin. Now for me, I eat tacos as least once a week, I eat two tacos every time I order them, and each taco sells for $3-5. So I'm spending $6-10 PER WEEK vs $10 every 2-3 months.
Which leads me to my final point (I know I said 3 up top, but I've got another):
4. Soap will not make you rich.
If you're looking to get rich and retire early from making bath and body products, think again. Unless you franchise, or you have a brilliant soap idea that will change the world, just enjoy the process that soap making has to offer.
Fact: I never did want to "go big" and make millions of dollars from my Solid Soaps business. I started because I wanted to see if I could start and sustain a small business, enjoy the science behind soap making, and share this craft with others. However, I DO think that I can make what I made as an advanced practice nursing salary (almost there! Will this be my year?) and have more fun doing it! :)
I 100% have a thing of two to learn about making this small business viable long-term, but I'm okay with whatever happens. I'll just be over here making soap, learning how to scale my business better, failing along the way, reassessing my mistakes, and delivering you lux products.
Off to make some soap!