The ever chaning booth set up…

September 13, 2014

I’m always searching for the PERFECT display set up.  I think I’ve finally come to the conclusion that I might not find the PERFECT set up, but I can make a pretty darn attractive set up for just about any space size I’m given.

The hard part was the every changing booth size!  In the summer when I’m outside and in my tent I’m always in a 10×10 space, but I have to deal with the sun. Depending on each market depends on which way the sun would come into my tent.  I used to do my set up in an “L,” but was never really happy with that.  I just felt it cut people off and didn’t necessarily encourage them to come into my booth.

L-setup

After a lot of playing around with different table sizes and displays I found a 9′ long table combination that works pretty well. (Still a few things to fix up in this display, table skirts mostly, but it’s to the point where I’m happy with it.)  Before I ventured into the big changes I actually had to sketch out many different alternatives…playing around in my head what would/wouldn’t work. (I know this could be considered a little obsessive :D.)

sketch

straigh setup

You’ll notice this picture is still missing one last layer I added.  I moved the soaps forward and added a shelf to display the soaps.  I Like it so much more!

final levels

Another problem I found was too flat of a display.  This problem I’ve worked on for YEARS!  This season I think I finally stumbled onto a solution that really helps my display move up!  And seem like it’s full and be inviting.

levels

levels2

Lastly, I added the layers and then my sign in the back kind of disappeared.  I wanted it to be obvious I was selling soap.  I wanted to grab peoples attention.  Which lead me to my little “SOAP” in wood letters, painted design.  Works great.  Stands out!  Is bold!  And people know: Oh it’s soap!

signage

There’s still stuff I’m not 100% happy with.  I know it’ll see changes.  And this whole set up goes through a whole new morph once I move inside (where my space rarely is 10×10).  However I’m not going to think about that until October gets here.  I actually have a really nice wood shelf my dad build that is awesome (heavy and a little hard sometimes to get in and out of places, but I’ve got a dolly that really helps).  That post is for a different time though.


Updating the Webpage

August 7, 2014

It’s been on my list for a while now to update my webpage.  I needed to update the version of the shopping cart I was using.  I wanted to do away with the initial homepage I had and make the shopping cart homepage my homepage (which meant I had to really work on updating that page)…there was so much that I needed to refine and fix (behind the scenes stuff).  I also wanted to set up and use the rewards point system my cart offers.  For about 4 intensive days my aunt and I sat down and just worked on getting it updated.

I am so happy with the results.  It’s just an overall more pleasing page now. The first thing I had to do was tackle the homepage redesign.  This screenshot gives you a little glimpse.  I think it’s clean, simple, and appealing.  http://www.jennifersoap.com

homepage

I spent a lot of time updating photos.  I created banners, collages, you name it…It was worth it though.  I think it grabs peoples attention.  Keeping with photos, I created new banners for the Soap and Bath and Beauty pages.  I think it helps.  One of my biggest complaints was there just seemed to be too much text on pages.

Soaps

Bath

I was also able to institute a rewards point system.  Every order now earns reward points.  And (almost) every item allows you to buy that item with “x” number of reward points.  It’s my way of saying thank you to all my repeat customer. I really do appreciate your business!

reward points

If you’ve bought and loved a product of mine I’d love for you to review it!  I’m trying to build the reviews on the site so buyers can see what others think about the different products.  I know sometimes my descriptions aren’t enough to sway a person!  So, if you loved a product and want to write a review all you have to do is sign into your account and go to the review button and then just fill it out. Thank you!

reviews


7 Days – 7 Valentine’s Day Deals

February 4, 2014

As you saw yesterday I have some great products I’m offering especially for Valentine’s Day!  I thought to go with the new products I’d offer a series of deals with week. Starting tomorrow there will be a different deal each day!  Here’s what’s coming!

February 5th: Buy 2 of more lip balms and save $0.50.  They’ll be just $2.50!

February 6th: 20% of Solid Sugar Scrubs (check out the reviews! These are loved by all who try them).

February 7th: Buy 2 Bath Salts, Get a 3rd Free.

February 8th: 20% off All Bar Soaps

February 9th: 20% off Foot Balms and Hand Balms

February 10th: Free Soap w/ $15 Purchase (or more)

February 11th: Free Lip Balm with All Orders over $10


Goals for 2014

January 8, 2014

Now that we’re officially underway and into 2014 I’ve made a list of things I’d like to accomplish in 2014.  Some of the items on it where on my 2013 list.  I know my list might have a bit more on it than I can really accomplish, but that’s okay.  It means I’ll always have something to work on…something to push me and keep me growing as a person and a business.

1. Cream Soap

Last year I really wanted to experiment and introduce a cream soap to my line.  I just never seemed to have time to experiment.  I did however do a lot of research and reading on how to make cream soap and I’m ready to go at it this year!  I’ve got everything I need to make it, so I just need to sit down and MAKE IT!  It’s a new item and a new process and so I’m slightly intimidated by it.  :D

2. Laundry Soap

Again, a goal from last year that never quite got done.  I’ve done the research on it.  I have a couple different recipes I want to try.  I just need to jump in and make it.  It’s actually on the list of things to do in January.  So hopefully it gets done sooner rather than later!

3. Hand Balms

I stumbled on this last year.  I was using my foot balm as a hand balm (since I started trapezing).  Others have been using it too, and it dawned on my that I should work on and market a balm specifically for hands.  So it’s in the works!

4. Increase the number of products I offer to wholesale clients.

I have a couple ideas of products I want to add to my wholesale line.  I plan to get to working on them over the next couple months.  I currently offer mostly soaps (cupcakes, popsiclees) and I really want to add some bath products to the line.  Excited to get to work on those.

5. Grow the business.

Yes, it grew in 2013.  I want to grow it even more.  I hope to get to the point I initially set for myself when I started this business.  I had a three year plan.  If by the end of 2014 I’m where I set my goals when I started this business in 2012 I will be happy.

6. Continue to be creative.

I want to come up with some new designs this year.  I want to challenge myself and push myself to try new things, go outside of my comfort zone, and to be able to help inspire new and experienced soap makers.  I get so much for the soap community.  I want to be able to give something back to it.

And there you have it.  My goals for 2014.  I’m looking forward to achieving these goals.  And seeing what new things pop up during the year for me to explore and learn from.  Do you have any goals for the year? I’d love to hear them!


Happy 2014!!

January 1, 2014

I cannot believe it is January 1st!  I don’t know where 2013 went.  It was a crazy busy year that is for sure.  So, let’s take a look back at what Jennifer’s Handmade Soap accomplished in 2013:

  • Made and sold almost 5000 bars of soap
  • Made and sold almost 500 cupcakes
  • Made and sold over 2000 popsicles soaps

So let’s take a moment here to pause and take in those numbers.  At first I didn’t feel like they were a lot until I started doing some math.  5000 bars of soap mean I had to make a 10lb batch of soap on 161 days of the past year.  Of course I wasn’t always so economical when it came to making soaps and sometimes I was making 5lb batches or less…so I actually make soap on 250 out of 365 days of this past year (and that’s just bar soaps).  I plan to be a bit wiser with my batches this year in hopes of saving some time.  I also have big plans to start MASTER BATCHING!!!  Yup, you heard it!  Super excited about that.

To continue…

  • I participated in 85 craft fairs/farmers markets (that’s approximately 7 events a month, which of course didn’t work out that way as most of my events are May-December so it was more like 10+ events a month).
  • I grew my wholesale accounts from 2 to 25!
  • I doubled my online orders from the previous year.

WOW!  Sometimes I get down because I feel like I work my tail off and I don’t see any progress being made, but sitting here now and looking at where I was last year this time I can really see that all my hard work has been paying off.

And the biggest accomplishment:

  • I made a profit this year!!

Not only did I make a profit (my second year as a full time business), but I was able to pay myself this year!  Overall, 2013 was a pretty good year.  I worked hard, and it paid off.  Now it’s time to start looking ahead and planning for 2014.  Stay tuned for another post about 2014’s goals!

I just want to say thank you to everyone who’s supported me!  I wouldn’t be where I am without you guys.  You’re all awesome.  Thanks for coming to my craft fairs. Thanks for sharing my business.  Thanks for recommending it to others!  And thank you so much for your support and encouragement!  It’s meant the world to me.

Happy New Years!


Owning a small (one-woman) business is about…

September 23, 2013

One day when everything seemed to be going wrong and I was exhausted and frustrated I stopped and asked “Why am I doing this?”  Writing is a way for me to process my thoughts.  So, that’s what I did, write out my answer.  The following is resulted from that melt down and I thought it was worth sharing as I’m sure many of you can relate.

Owning a small (one-woman) business is about…

Knowing it’s time to call it a day, but still working anyway.

It’s about taking on a custom order that has a one week turn around even when you’re so swamped you really should have passed on it…oh and still doing a quality job on the order.

It’s about having a support system.

It’s about asking family and friends for help (and trying not to feel guilty about needing to ask for help and paying them back in product).

It’s about having a best friend who’ll listen to you (day in and day out) without complaining when you give them your list of things you plan to accomplish that week (Then not telling you that you’re insane because one person couldn’t possibly get all that done on their own, but instead cheering you on.)

It’s about coming home after a 10 hour day at a market and then spending another 4 hours making product because you’re stressing out that you don’t have enough in stock.

It’s about planning down to the minute detail and then rolling with it when it all goes completely different from planned.

It’s about learning from your mistakes.

It’s about remembering to celebrate the good days.

It’s about occasionally stressing out (okay, maybe more than occasionally).

It’s about worrying will you be able to pay the bills that month.

It’s about worrying have you made enough product and then worrying that you’ve made too much.

It’s about admitting you’re not super woman (no matter how much you wish you were).

It’s about the joy of creating something new.

It’s about moving outside your comfort zone, meeting new people, and trying new things.

It’s about worrying about the weather.

It’s about being thankful for supportive communities, sharing ideas, and learning from others in your field, as well as sharing your knowledge.

It’s about being thankful for awesome friends and family that buy your product!

It’s about the customers that come tell you how much they love your product and then go tell everyone they know that they HAVE to buy some.

It’s about taking risks.

It’s about occasionally creating something brilliant and then the next day creating a complete disaster.

It’s about doing what makes you happy.

In the end it’s about doing what I love, because despite the hard, long, and sometimes frustrating days I don’t want to do anything else.  The heartache and rewards, the stress and the calm, the bad days and the good: I love it all.


Soap…soap…oh and more soap!

August 2, 2013

It’s a good thing I like making soap because that is all I’ve done in the past two months. I’ve had maybe 4 or 5 days in the past two months where I HAVE NOT made soap and those days were typically because I was either at a ll day market (though even then I’d usually come home and make a batch) or had family or teaching responsibilities that kept me away from home the entire day.

I have a dry rack at my parents (for over flow) and it’s currently full!  Here are my two dry racks!

rack

(The one row on the bottom that is empty is actually full :D I just have to cut the soap first then it’ll go in that spot.)

In the past two months I’ve made 1,641 bar soaps/cupcake soaps.  This doesn’t include any of the other product I’ve made (bath and body products, popsicles, dryer balls…and I’ve made a ton of those too!)  Yes, I’ve been busy.  It’s crazy how much things have grown.  I’m super excited about it, but it’s also got me thinking about production and how to meet the demand I currently have in the most efficient way possible.

And now I’m off to start on the winter soaps ha!  Oh it never ends.  :D


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