Hello everyone. This is my first guest blog on Lovin’ Soap! I’m grateful for the opportunity and hope that we can connect and share as much as possible. I’ve run a successful soap and bodycare business for almost a decade, wholesaling to national chain stores nationwide and operating a full retail storefront for several years now. I don’t know everything, but what experiece I do have I would like to relay as much as possible to anyone out there trying to make a buck in the handcrafted soap and bodycare industry. Enjoy, and do great things today. Now, let’s talk about (re)branding! You can find out as much information as I can comprise at www.howtosellsoap.com.
Wait a minute…why are we discussing branding in a blog about making soap?
To answer frankly, you enter a world of fierce competition when you begin to sell (especially wholesale). Your business challengers have everything in place, from their marketing scheme to the perfect fonts on their packaging and website. If you already have a soap business and just simply haven’t approached the larger market, then now is a really good time to think about who and what your business is, and whom it is serving.
The truth is most handcrafters don’t take the time, money and resources to create a company brand that warrants the retail market audience.
The best soap companies in our industry educate their end consumers about the benefits and qualities of your soap and bodycare products. Thus, one of your main jobs as business owner is educating your customers about the quality of your products. Genuine education is a part of the selling process.
Your company’s branding however, should speak for it’s self. Most end consumers don’t know what they want until you show them. Your soap, when held in the hands of a potential buyer, should immediately showcase your genuine, polished branding.
You could have an exceptionally good soap that smells great and lathers like a washing machine accidentally filled with dish soap, but completely lack the design, theme and polished appeal necessary to financially thrive in retail markets.
If you need an upgrade in your business’s branding, make haste. Some of the most successful businesses in the world have rebranded – several times. This can be as simple as changing your logo, to completely revamping every aspect of your business, from your packaging to your website to even your mission statement.
Many times, soapmakers don’t have the upfront capital required to design the perfect logo, packaging, etc. for their business. Moreover however, many soapmakers haven’t put in the time to create the perfect business brand – everything from their message, voice, tagline and values. Many startup soapmakers have the intention to make great soap; therefore they put all of their focus on the production and creativity of soapmaking instead of focusing on creating a foundational corner in the market by having a unique and genuine brand appeal. The branding of your finished soap products has to compete directly with the polished branding of the finished soap products already on the shelves of stores and shops, all the while uniquely standing out. If you are not 110% satisfied with the design and overall theme of your finished product, then you need to rebrand, and that’s okay.
Your Company Logo Expresses Your Potential
The logo is the single most important design element in your business because it is the basis for every single material your business will put out. If you are not 110% satisfied with your logo, change it. If it isn’t you, then change it into you. Business empires like Apple, Starbucks and even professional sports teams have updated their logos – multiple times – to stay trendy and fresh.
As you develop (or redevelop) your company logo, keep it simple, consistent and memorable to onlookers. The process of creating or changing your company logo should take some serious pondering, and perhaps some time to develop. Hire a professional. Don’t let your cousin’s brother-in-law’s 9-year-old niece create your logo. Come original and from the heart. You might be in a cottage industry, but that doesn’t mean you have to think small. Be a business owner. Think big, bold and true to you.
So, does your logo need updating? Does it currently speak to who and what your business is? Are you willing to get over the possible hurt feelings that your cousin’s brother-in-law’s 9-year-old niece might have if you rebrand from her old logo? Be a strong and smart business owner and recreate your brand if you feel you need to. Again, if you have even the slightest inkling to do this, then stop everything and do it.
Your mission statement is simply a sentence that describes your company’s functions, markets and competitive advantages. It is a short written statement of your business goals and philosophies. I’ve run into a lot of soapmakers who still don’t have a solid mission statement for their business. If you have yet to land on a solid mission statement for your business, first derive your story and write it down. Imagine someone making the actual decision to buy what you sell. Use your imagination to see why they want it, how they found you, and what buying from you does for them. Write this perfect scenario down. The more vivid the story, the better. As you imagine their great pleasure in buying and using your soap and bodycare products, write down all the reasons why they feel this way.
This exercise can showcase many of the reasons you started making soap in the first place, and why you want the masses to experience your products. From this information, you can comprise a healthy and genuine missions statement. Start your mission statement with the good you do. Use your market-defining story to explain what it is that makes your business special for your target customer.
A trademark is a symbol, word, or words legally registered or established by use as representing a company or product. Registering a trademark is a wise thing to do. If you begin selling your soap and bodycare products before you have done the comprehensive search that accompanies trademark registration—to ensure you aren’t infringing on another company’s mark—you could be exposed to significant legal risk. And of course, the opposite can occur as well, as another company could be accidentally infringing on your mark. If you decide to rebrand, this would also be a good time to trademark your logo and company name.
You can file a trademark application for a filing fee as low as $325 directly with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, or use an online service such as LegalZoom (www.legalzoom.com) or Trademarkia (www.trademarkia.com) that charges a small amount, in addition to the federal filing fees. However, I would recommend hiring an attorney to handle your trademarks and other intellectual property. All you could ever want to know about trademarks can be found at http://www.uspto.gov/.
Also, make sure to check out the very well-rounded approach to soap business and life with the 8-Week Course Download! It’s on sale for $29.95
Classes will include:
- How to Wholesale
- Essential Oil & Ayurveda
- Basic Soapmakling
- Cupcake Soaping!