June 15, 2011

Going Out On a Limb-A Tale of Getting Ready for Market

Today, I am so happy to give you a very special guest post from my friend Tara of On a Branch. Tara sells hand knitted items from her Etsy shop On a Branch and recently made the bold decision to work her first craft fair/markets where she sells her handmade soap. A few months back, I read a post on her blog about gathering the courage to work her first craft show/market and I have been following along ever since. In today's post she shares with us one of the first steps she took in getting her product ready for market. I think you will find her writing style like sitting down to a cup of coffee with your bff.

When Michele asked me to write a guest post for her blog from the viewpoint of a newbie to the craft show/fair circuit, I was delighted and more than a little surprised.  And when I say newbie, trust me.  I am a newbie.  My first craft show was in April.  I have done two since then and I am gearing up for my fourth show on June 18th.  I feel a little more comfortable, a little more confident with each show I do.  Although I do have to admit to having some severe nerves about my upcoming show.  Oh well, this too will pass.  I guess.  I hope.
It has taken me awhile to write this post because there is just so much I could write.  So many steps and obstacles.  So many decisions.  The more I thought about it, the more I realized that the first step of this whole new journey in selling my handmade soaps, aside from the actual soapmaking, was deciding how I was going to present my soap to potential customers.   I admired other soapmakers' packaging but I didn't want to do what someone had already done.  I had definite criteria that the packaging had to meet.  First and foremost was that the package had to represent me and who I am.  Secondly, it had to be simple yet attractive.  And finally, it had to be inexpensive and something I could do myself.  You see, I am frugal.  Okay, I admit it.  I am cheap.  So taking all those things into consideration, it took me at least a month to decide upon how I would package my soaps.
And here it is.

I am a book lover and have been since I was a little girl.  I have surrounded myself with books and am currently passing that love on to my sons.  It seemed almost natural to incorporate books into my packaging somehow.  I found this old book around that I was not going to read but I loved the look of the old pages -- thick, yellowed with age and soft.  A band of paper wrapped around the soap met all the criteria.  It most definitely was me.  It was simple but pleasing to the eye.  It was inexpensive, actually free this time but I will be able to find other old books for very little money at used bookstores in the future.  I cut out the tags by hand with the name of the soap on the facing side and a list of ingredients printed on the back side.  I am also a knitter so the yarn was something I always have on hand too.  The only real expense of my packaging is the stamp I use.  I have an artist friend who makes hand carved stamps and I asked her if she could make a stamp for me.  She did and I love it.  The bird provides that little splash of colour .     

With packaging that I felt truly represented me, I was ready to set up shop, so to speak.  And the journey begins.


Tierra Verde Handmade Soap said...

Tara,I love your packaging. So refreshing and resourceful-I love the pop of the red bird against the black and white text.

Tara said...

Thank you, Michele, and thanks again for this opportunity.

Amy said...

Tara~The packaging is perfect. Wish I could have shipped you some books I just passed on to giveaway. . .
Hello, Tierra Verde:) I traveled here from Tara's. Fun to see more of the soap world!

Anne-Marie said...

What a great idea to use an old book for your packaging! It gives off a great comfy aged feel. Oh, and super cute stamp!