You pride yourself in making your products by hand. We get that! But what if bringing in a few items to resell alongside your soaps would make your customers even happier and increase your profits? And what if you could do that without undermining your passion for handmade?
Are you thinking that is a win-win situation? Because I sure am.
Why Should I Sell Accessories with My Handmade Soap?
Selling bath and body accessories alongside the products you already offer can increase your sales, make life easier for your customers, and add something new to your line up. Plus, bringing in products for reselling will also keep your research and development from getting congested and keep your production streamlined.
Gift boxes from the early days of Kenna's first soap company, Amathia, included third-party soap accessories.
Boost the Bottom Line
Do-it-yourself is great. But do-everything-yourself is a recipe for disaster. Are you knitting dishcloths, pulling out the woodworking tools to make soap dishes, and stitching up soap savers? Stop!
Outsource! Concentrate on the tasks you excel at and get a bit of help with the rest. Focusing on what you are great at lets you take advantage of the economies of scale. And buying from manufacturers who are also focused on a niche means you spend less in the long run than you would to DIY.
Besides, supporting other small businesses can create a network of entrepreneurs who will support each other and promote one another if you find the right ones!
Kenna commissioned custom, fused-glass soap dishes for Amathia Soapworks line of soap accessories in addition to offering wooden soap dishes.
Customers Love Convenience
I don't know about you, but when I'm shopping, I love to hit one store and be done. Imagine you are a customer of your biz. Perhaps you are excited to find shaving soap but disappointed that no brushes are available. Or maybe you fall in love with a bar of soap, but hesitate to buy it because you don't own a soap dish and none are available. Bummer, right?
Don't put your customers in that position! When you have a few extras on hand, they will be excited that you anticipated and fulfilled their needs. And, they won't even mind paying a bit more for that convenience.
Keep Offerings Fresh
Do your customers stop in at your weekly market or hit up your social media feed to ask, "What's new?" I know mine do. And the last thing I want to do is disappoint them.
But, I have also learned from past mistakes! Seven bath and body product lines were too much for me to handle solo. And proper product R&D takes a minimum of 6 months.
So, I slimmed down and recently brought in a few new items for reselling. (I'll dish on accessory ideas and suppliers below.) I'm so excited to share these with my customers!
Tips for Successful Reselling
- Partner with other makers. One concern we hear is that soap business owners don't want to offer mass-produced accessories with their handmade creations. Good news! You don't have to. There are so many artisans out there making ceramic shaving bowls, fused-glass soap dishes, and so much more. Reach out to them about opening a wholesale account.
- Use accessories as incentives. Trying to take a page from the big box store's playbook and offering huge discounts isn't smart for indie makers. But, occasionally, you do want to offer a little extra incentive. Inexpensive accessories can be a great gift-with-purchase offer. (Think, "Buy 6 bars and get a free soap dish!")
- Upsell! Smart selection of accessories means when customers add one item to their basket, you have an item on hand to perfectly complement it. Whether you are selling in person or need to utilize a plugin for your online store, make sure they know what you have available. And if you offer gift bundles (baskets/bags/boxes/etc.), accessories are a great way to round them out.
- Make sure the price is right. When you buy a product wholesale to resell, you should be selling it for at least double what you paid. But don't be afraid to make some money - start at three or four times your cost and see what happens.
- Work your SEO (search engine optimization) when offering soap dishes, razors, and body poofs in your online store. Kenna mentioned that she used to have soapmakers buying her accessories in bulk at full retail because her listings came out on top - imagine that.
Amathia Soapworks soap accessories marketing appealed to a vegan, eco-conscious market.
What mistakes do I need to avoid?
While adding bath and body accessories to your line up helps boost that bottom line and makes customers happy, there are a few ways you can go wrong. Make sure you know your customer, don't let the extras overwhelm your products, and follow any resale rules at your venue.
Pay attention to your target market
Keeping your perfect customer in mind doesn't go out the window when you are shopping for accessories!
If your target market is eco-conscious, for example, you might be stocking your shelves with jute, sisal, and hemp bath scrubbies rather than neon nylon poofs. And if your market is teenage girls, they probably don't have the cash (or desire) to drop $50 on a one-of-a-kind soap dish.
Did the mention of a $50 soap dish shock you? Keep in mind that the pricing of your accessories should make sense when compared to your other product prices. Pricey accessories may or may not suit your brand, but if you price too low people will assume it is poor quality. And the value perception of your other products can dip by association.
Stay true to your brand and only stock accessories your customers will want to buy.
Don't overdo it
Don't fall into the trap of trying to offer everything.
Think about convenience stores. They don't stock every brand or every size of each item. They stock what you need to get by and maybe a few extras to catch your attention.
Your own products deserve the spotlight. (And need the shelf space.) Accessories are ALWAYS the supporting cast.
Follow the Rules
Some marketplaces, both physical and online, have rules that govern whether you can sell items that are not made with your own two hands. Make sure you know and respect those rules, or you could lose your seat at their table.
(Which is a major reason why we suggest you have your very own website as a home base. You get to make the rules.)
Examples of Extras to Sell With Your Soap
- Soap dishes
- Sponges, poofs, and loofas
- Shaving bowls, shaving mugs, shaving brushes, and razors
- Soap savers
- Soap lifts
- Back, nail, and body brushes
- Face cloths, brushes, and scrubbies
- Nail brushes, pumice stones, files
Where to Shop for Bath & Body Accessories
- Howells Natural Wood Products - Wooden soap dishes
- Soapania - Wooden soap dishes and scoops, natural fiber and pumice accessories
- BPR Designs - Fused-glass soap dishes, vanity trays
- PGS Enterprises - Wooden soap dishes
- Simply Body Soap Net - Mesh soap saver bags
- Saint Johns Sponge - Natural sea sponges, files, and brushes
- Bath Essential - Mesh and natural fiber accessories, soap dishes, nail implements, etc.
- Paris Presents - Collective of beauty and personal accessory brands
- Daylee Naturals - Bath accessories, sponges, brushes
- PermaBrands - Grooming and shaving accessories
- CacheBeauty.com - Shaving bowls, brushes, mugs, etc.
- Woodworks Ltd. - Wooden scoops
- Soap Bar Lounge - Ceramic soap dishes
- Qosmedix - skincare, spa, and makeup accessories
Have you been successful in offering accessories alongside your soaps and cosmetics? Have you tried and struggled? Or did this article give you some fresh ideas? Tell us about it in the comments!
Want to build your own soapy success story, but aren't sure where to start?
One of the most common mistakes that soapmakers make when starting a soap business is diving in before taking stock of the details.
Owning a soap business isn’t easy, and there’s no cakewalk to be seen!
This free workbook will give you a strong foundation to build your soap biz on so it can withstand tornado-strength challenges rather than crumbling under a light breeze.
By signing up for this free workbook, you'll also snag weekly advice on building a successful soap biz directly in your inbox.