What are the logistics needed based on the route you take in your soap and skin care business?

The following is an excerpt from Module 05, Lesson 03 of Soap. Brand. Launch.the leading business eCourse for the Soap and Skin Care Crafter. The course is included in our Business Membership! To get more lessons like this, sign up!)

Not totally understanding the consequences of underpricing, I quickly began selling my soap and skin care products to retail outlets. I didn’t necessarily care who they were, or who their end-consumer was (avoiding this mishap is addressed in the full eCourse), but I was determined to sell to other businesses, as I had no other transactional outlet on the horizon at the time. This business-to-business (b2b) model is referred to as wholesale.

Making phone call after phone call, strumming up as much energy and excitement as I could about my growing business, I eventually gained traction in the wholesale arena. As success always leaves clues, I was able to hone my wholesale skills with every new sale, implementing a sales strategy that made it not only easier for me, but also for my clients. At this stage of my business, my revenue model was wholesale, and my one and only revenue stream was collecting checks approximately 30 days after an order was delivered (net 30).

The following years proved fruitful, and during that time I [slowly] built a website and established a social media presence. Though you could say I created another revenue model via online retail, I can honestly say that website traffic was not as important to me as wholesale at the time, and thus I did not actively engage in online marketing for a while. Sure, we had a few online sales, but the lion’s share of our marketing efforts was conducted with other companies via wholesale.

In the summer of 2012, a story was run on our budding company in a local magazine. We felt great about the article but didn’t think much of it after it was published. But, just a month after the article came out, I was contacted by a commercial real estate firm who owned a shopping center in town. They had a store vacancy and needed to fill it quickly, so they asked if we would like to move in as a temporary, “pop-up” store for the holidays. This actually sounded like a bad idea to me, as the workload and time needed seemed too much to take on. So, I said, “no thanks.”

When I told my Mom about the phone call, she encouraged me to call them back and to tell them that we would do it. She told me to lean into the fear and the workload and that we would figure it out. So, I did. And, we figured it out. We signed a 3-month lease and began moving in, building out the retail space, planning our manufacturing and staging areas, etc. We even installed a sink and dishwasher to speed up production and cleanup. We leaned into it and opened just a few weeks later. After seeing what we had done with our space, the real estate agency asked if we would like to stay longer. We said yes, and the rest is history.

Eventually, we had a business model that encompassed four different revenue streams.

First and foremost was our wholesale revenue stream. Second was our website, which, thanks to hired help, eventually turned into a profitable undertaking. Third was our 1,800 square foot retail storefront in a vibrant shopping center and fourth, which was a spatial byproduct of our retail space, soapmaking classes every Saturday morning and Wednesday evening. Indeed, our soapmaking classes were highly lucrative and abundantly routine (104 classes per year), thus making for a substantial source of income for my company, especially during the slow shopping seasons.

Our revenue came first from only one stream (wholesale), and organically grew into four distinctive streams, all of which ebbed and flowed through the year in sales. This growth came naturally and took time. We didn’t establish our business with this plan in mind, rather we allowed for new opportunities to steer us into a new direction that was then planned for accordingly.

The business model you start with might not be the model you end up with, or it might morph into something different. Or, like us, you might grow into a few different streams that prove lucrative. Whichever model you start with will likely require new skills, which will be challenging and even uncomfortable to learn.

But, learn you must!

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