It's no secret that Kenna loves Soapmaker 3. She's been using it for years. But, we hear from a lot of soapmakers that they struggle with the interface and learning curve. Or the software won't run on their operating systems. Good news! There's a web-based application taking the maker crowd by storm. It's called Craftybase.
I've used Craftybase at Southern Girl Soapery for several years. So, I volunteered to dish on how the program works for my business. As a soapmaker running good manufacturing practices (GMP) compliant company, I'm a big fan. And here's why...
Getting Familiar with Craftybase
Straight from the Craftybase webpage, the software, “manages your materials and product inventory, watches your incomings and outgoings, and keeps track of your pricing: all in one tidy, cost-effective package.”
Sounds good, right?!
Craftybase is geared toward micro and small craft businesses. It is a cloud-based alternative to Soapmaker Pro 3. So, it's a viable option for die-hard Mac lovers. And, it's great those who need to access inventory info from their mobile devices while on the go.
The overview screen will feel familiar to those who have experience managing a web page, blog, or online store. The dashboard gives a snapshot of orders, expenses, stock levels, and profitability. Also, a series of tabs allows you to navigate to specific sections to input new activity or access info.
Account Dashboard in Craftybase
What I Love About Craftybase
The intuitive and easy-to-use design gets a big thumbs up from me. The graphic interface is great for those of us who best process information visually. In addition, fun icons, color-coded stock levels, and user-added product photos convey information at a glance. If your eyes glaze over when presented with unrelenting rows and columns of text, Craftybase's graphic interface was built with you in mind.
Product Page & Pricing Guidance in Craftybase
But, make no mistake, some seriously powerful number crunching is going on behind the scenes. And you will be thankful for the granular sale tracking. Knowing your best seller for the last quarter is just a few clicks away. Or, do you have the materials on hand to complete your next batch? And, just how much cash you will net for a particular wholesale order?
Order Tracking and Schedule C Tax Form (USA) Guidance in Craftybase
And you won't be going it alone. Craftybase offers a searchable knowledge base and bite-sized introductory training. Also, they have rockstar customer support. The Craftybase team must have gotten sick of my daily (sometimes hourly) questions after I signed on! But, they never even hinted at that in their responses. A+ for customer service!
Is Craftybase the Best Inventory Software for Your Business
But nothing works for everyone. And Craftybase has a few drawbacks.
Initial setup is time-consuming, as one would expect from an inventory tracking system. Users who have been tracking inventory via spreadsheet catch a break. You can upload .CSV files, which shaves hours off the onboarding process. But, learning and fully implementing the software is going to take some work on your part.
As more soap and cosmetic makers have signed on with Craftybase, industry-specific functionality has come a long way. Higher pricing tiers now offer lot number tracking for raw materials, for example. That said, there are no in-program formulating features, so you will have to look elsewhere for your lye calculator.
The lowest priced plan offers materials and product tracking only. Higher tiers offer order and invoice management. And, as you add sales channels or need access for more members of your team, you'll need to level up. Pricing ranges from $9 to $34.99 (at the time this article is being written) monthly. Yes, that's a recurring fee, folks. In contrast, Soapmaker Pro is a one-time purchase.
- robust inventory tracking for raw materials, masterbatches, and finished product
- COGS tracking (including labor)
- pricing guidance and calculators.
- saved recipes
- traceability for GMP compliance (including raw material lot numbers and product batch numbers)
- order management
- expense tracking
- easy-to-pull reports and exports
- interfaces with popular e-commerce solutions (including Etsy, Shopify, Square, WooCommerce, and Paypal)
- tracks products out on consignment by location
- ability to be used on the go with multiple devices by multiple users
- has an intuitive, modern, and attractive user interface
- supported by responsive and helpful customer service
- tailored to micro/small businesses
- affiliate program
*Features vary according to tier.
- lacks robust accounting features (You'll likely need bookkeeping software as a companion to Craftybase.)
- subscription software means a monthly payment (instead of a one-time software fee)
- requires internet connection to access your data
- lacks formulating features specific to soap and cosmetics makers (no built-in lye calculator, for example)
- limited e-commerce platform integration (If you use Big Commerce, Volusion, Wix, Weebly, etc., plan to manually input orders.)
- no banking integrations, so expenses require manual input
- if you sell a lot of bundled products, like gift sets, tracking them is cumbersome
Is Craftybase right for you?
Whether or not Craftybase is a good value depends on your goals. If you are looking for a single program to take you from formulation to end-of-the-year tax-ready accounting, Craftybase isn’t that program. (I'm not convinced that program exists, y'all!)
However, soapmakers who want to track their inventory, get a firm grip of their cost of goods, access pricing guidance, get granular sales reports and broad stroke accounting reports, and track GMP will certainly benefit from using Craftybase. It's certainly made a huge difference in my biz!
If you want to try Craftybase out, they currently two-week, free trial. If you'd like to sign up, please use our affiliate link.
When you use our affiliate link to purchase Craftybase, Modern Soapmaking earns a small commission. But, it doesn't cost you any extra. And, we never recommend anything to you we wouldn't use for ourselves.
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