Learning to Sell
Before you get to large-scale production, you need to get back to the planning stage and learn about selling. You need to make soap that is going to appeal to an enormous number of people. This will involve moving beyond your personal favorites and staying current with the desires of your market.
If you do craft fairs and farmers' markets in different locations, you can tailor your stock to the venue. You may find that for no apparent reason, the market you go to in a suburban area on Sundays never buys your Peach Sunset soap, but you can't make enough of it for the demand at the Thursday afternoon downtown market.
Identifying a trend is more important than finding out why. For example, you can look at your inventories week after week and never divine why they like peach on Thursday and not on Sunday. Just take what sells! There are some universal hot sellers, such as oatmeal and lavender, but other than those two (which are time-tested but not fail-safe), there is a huge variety in what a “bestseller” can be.
Keep an open mind. If you have oily skin and tailored your base recipe for yourself, don't forget there are lots of people with dry skin who won't like that soap, but would love one with more excess oil. If you've never liked fragrance, be sure to expand to allow for the tastes of your potential customers.
Every local government has a set of rules and regulations, guidelines, and help for small start-up companies. Look into the laws that govern small businesses in your area. For example, some areas require that you live in a certain kind of residential zone in order to have a home-based business.
Some of the primary ideas behind selling personal care products are very simple. You need to know everything about the product: what it does, how it's made, what's in it, and why it's special. You also need to be able to explain why it's good, what it will do for the user, and how their life will be better if they buy it.
Since you already know all about your soaps and why they are special, this should be a breeze — at least in theory! Knowing and being able to communicate what you know are different skills. Practice your pitch on yourself in the shower or car, then try it out on sympathetic ears. Then move on to someone who you know will tell you the truth.
When you are practicing how to sell your soaps, think about how you like people to talk to you when they're trying to sell you something. Very few people respond well to a hard sell. You need to be able to discern the difference between someone who is looking and will ask for information when they need it, and a person who is expecting you to go first.
One of the great things about soapers who decide to sell their soaps is that they are deeply excited about their products. Gear the information you give out to the depth of knowledge desired by the prospective buyer. Don't launch into a speech about saponification values and temperature if the person just wants to know what a soap smells like.