Wholesaling handcrafted soap can be quite profitable if done right. I’m always surprised to hear the arguments against wholesale, but I think they come out of fear, lack of planning and knowing your true costs.
If you need help with determining your true costs, pricing for wholesale, logistics, paperwork and selling materials, building relationships with retailers and more…check out Benjamin’s book, How to Wholesale Handcrafted Soap. This incredible book walks you through the wholesale process step-by-step.
Wholesaling is typically selling your soap at 50% of the retail cost to stores. Fifty percent?!?! It can be a bit scary giving up that much profit. The wholesale game is all about quantity.
Re-orders are the icing on the cake!
If a retail store likes your product and their customers are buying it, they will re-order. It is a no-brainer. They are in it to make money and if your product is making them money, they will re-order. Re-orders don’t require a lot of work. If you have your wholesale materials in place, you can give your wholesaler a re-order sheet to send in when they need more product. You don’t usually have to make the sale again. They know the product, they just need more of it. You get the re-order sheet and send out their order. Easy, peasy and the least amount of effort spent. This is when wholesaling really pays off.
You can save time on production, and time is money.
When you wholesale soap you usually make bigger batches. In the time it took you to make ten two-pound loafs of soap for retail sales, you can make one 40 pound block of soap for wholesale. And even though you’re selling the wholesale soap at lower prices, you can still make more because of the quantities sold, making your time spent on producing the wholesale soap more valuable and time well spent. For larger molds and equipment, check out www.soapequipment.com.
Wholesaling can simplify things.
I know so many soapmakers who make over twenty, sometimes even over thirty, types of soaps! There is so much to keep track of! You have to keep track of designs, fragrances and essential oils, colorants, additives…for all of your different soaps. The best thing you can do for your sanity when you wholesale is to cut down your product line to 4-12 different soaps. This streamlines your supply of raw ingredients simplifying ordering, storage, inventory and production.
Wholesaling is a way to force yourself to develop and solidify your brand.
Retail stores will not carry you unless your branding is effective and professional. Sometimes when you first jump into the wholesale game and present your products to stores you will get a slap in the face. A store might tell you that your logo stinks or your packaging is horrible. They might express concern in that your brand doesn’t carry a message. This can be a blessing in disguise and really help you to build your brand and carve out your section of the market. Benjamin was told by his local Whole Foods that his labels were not good enough for their store. He took the managers advice and developed his brand based on the feedback. After his re-branding, he got into Whole Foods and into many other retail chains. This also helped his retail sales on his website and at local events.
The snowball effect.
Something amazing happens when you start getting wholesale accounts. You magically start getting more and more and sometimes with less effort. Retail stores see your product in other stores and want your product for their stores. You are legit. It is important to have a page on your website that lists your retail partners. Wholesale has a way of just snowballing your business growth and development. Which, of course, means more profit.
If you don’t wholesale yet, why not? What are your fears? If you do wholesale, what are some tips for new soapmakers who are getting into the wholesale market? Please post in the comments!
If you are new to wholesaling your handcrafted soap, check out Benjamin’s ebook.
Happy Wholesaling Soap!