Was I the only one that raised money for school activities with car washes and bake sales? I spent weekend after weekend, washing cars for donation or begging people to pre-order my homemade chocolate chip shortbread cookies. My poor folks were somehow cajoled along to every car wash and my mom didn’t even mind when I stole all the ingredients for the cakes, pies and cookies from my her kitchen (thanks for that donation, Mom!). As all parents of school-age children know, those fundraisers still go on (with even more bells and whistles; sell cards! sell candy! sell magazines! sell gummy bears! sell cookie dough! And, more. So. Much. More.) So, why shouldn’t there be a DIY Soapy Fundraiser?
We’ve put together all the supplies you and your kiddos need to create some awesome, easy bars of soap that you can sell at craft shows, farmer’s markets, and yes, through good old fashioned order sheets (we’ve all seen them when we’re filling out another magazine, jewelry or, candle order form for the adorable 9 year old in front of us) going door to door or desk to desk if your parent works in an office.
The kit includes:
|Soap||Fragrance Oils (4 oz)||Embeddable Toys|
You will be able to make around 400 bars of soap, 100 of them with happy animals in them. Using this kit you can make soap that costs about 94¢ in materials and can be sold for $3 to $5 dollars each, leaving you with a healthy fundraising margin and a lot of creative fun. Individually, these items would cost more than $460, so you are saving about $100 when you buy the kit.
You may not know this but I started selling soap at craft shows and farmer’s markets when I was 18 years old. Yeah, that’s me, circa 15-17 years ago. If you’re thinking of selling your soapy wares at a Farmer’s Market or Craft Show to raise money, I’ve got some tips and tricks that I’ve accumulated after a decade of soapmaking.
(1) Let the signage do the talking for you. Clearly mark everything. Do not assume that people will understand that your awesome, gorgeous artistic soap is actually soap.
(2) Stand. Be interested. Smile. Stay off the phone. No texting, surfing the net or talking. Pay attention to the person in front of you.
(3) Everyone loves a deal; bundle your wares. Example: Buy 1 bar for $5 or 5 for $20.
(4) Have items clearly priced. Make it clear if your prices include tax. I really like the big pricing for this craft show set up. It is obvious what the price is for each ‘set’ of products.
(5) Create a compelling, inviting set up. This Pinterest board has some great ideas for set ups. If you’re outside, remember that the sun can melt your soap if it’s too hot or bleach o some of your colors, so think about creative shade solutions or ask the organizer to put you in a position that doesn’t put you in direct sunlight. Drape a tablecloth over your set up to hide your boxes. Need inspiration? This Flickr group, “Show Me Your Booths” has lots of good ideas too.
(6) Let your buyers be a part of your journey. Offer an email sign up with updates about the fundraiser/your trip. They’ve invested in you by buying your soap. Many of them will want to hear how your trip/your game/your project turned out.
(7) Have lots of change. When you are selling soap for $4 or $5, you will need more $1 dollar bills than you could possibly imagine.
(8) Prepare snacks for you. Assume you will not get a break. Granola bars, fruit roll ups, bottled water etc… will be your friend.
(9) Research the venue ahead of time for your sake, and the customers. Find the ATM machine so you can direct customers to it. Find the bathroom so you can dash off to it once in a while. Figure out where the best place to load and unload your goods.
(10) Your soap in the bathroom, with a sign. Once you know your location, put your soap (on a draining soap dish!) in the bathroom with a sign, “Like this soap? Come find us in Booth XYZ”
(11) Optional: Buy the downloadable e-book, “How to Be a Craft Show Genius.”
(12) Prepare to succeed by alerting the cavalry. Email your friends, your parent’s friends, your 2nd grade trombone teacher and your dog’s pet sitter. Tell them where you will be, where the craft show is, what the hours are and **why** it’s important that they come and support you.
(13) Take everything you will need and more for a siege on your booth. This blog post has an amazing list of supplies you will want in your booth. This includes things like a receipt book, cash box, tape and more.
(14) Prepare responses to some common questions. Example: “You made this?! Wow!” Your answer should engage the customer. Do not give just a one word “Yup!” Something like, “Yes, I got together with 3 friends who are traveling to Guatemala on a mission trip with our school and we made these over three weekends. This one is my favorite. Which one do you like the best?”
(15) Spruce yourself up. Look nice and professional. Ladies, wear flats. If you’re outdoors, wear sunscreen. Whatever you wear, you want it to be so easy on the eyes that people are looking at your wares … not what you’re wearing.
(16) Use downtime wisely. Spruce up your booth. Rearrange soap. Make sure pricing is clear. Fill in any holes.
(17) Smile, smile, smile. You love this! When you’re selling your goods, remember the ‘why’. You are doing this to raise money for cancer, to raise money to go help others in another country, to go with your friends to band camp – remember what it is and keep it in your head and your heart to get you through the slow moments, or when someone doesn’t buy your product and you’re crushed. You can do this because your cause, your ‘why’, is bigger than that.
Every single blog post I’ve ever written about selling (to date) is below for you to read through if you want more tips and tricks!
Business Insurance for the Handcrafted Industry
Dealing with Unhappy Customers
Selling Your Soap, More Wholesale Advice
So You Want to Sell Your Soap: Part 1, Part 2 & Part 3
Thinking About Opening A Store
Gettin’ On My Soapbox, Sell, Sell Sell
Where do you buy your supplies?
Can You Teach Me How To Make This?
Why Does Your Soap Cost So Much?
Want even more business advice? Browse the “Business Musings” section on Soap Queen to read interviews will fellow soapy business owners, learn about social media best practices and more.