A lot of times when fresh-faced soapmakers jump into biz, they hear about wholesale and the first question they ask is WHY. Why would I ever want to wholesale my handmade soap? In fact, this is a question I get a lot.
It's not a surprising question, really! When you consider that wholesale is typically keystone (50% off retail prices), it sounds like selling yourself short. But in reality, there are many reasons why selling your handmade soap wholesale makes sense (and dollars!) for handmade soap biz owners.
Let's start first with how wholesale can mean having more time for your biz and more money in your pocket to spend (or burn a hole, your choice.)
Wholesale = More Money + More Time In Your Pocket
Let's say you make your lovely handmade soap in one-hundred bar batches. How long it takes you to weigh the oils, make the soap, slice it up, cure it, and package it is going to be the same amount of time no matter how it's sold. However, the amount of time it takes to sell, ship, and/or deliver each bar individually or all at once varies significantly!
If your average retail order of soap is two bars and it takes you fifteen minutes to package for shipping, you need to snag fifty orders and spend over twelve hours to package them for shipping. On the other hand, you could spend significantly less time snagging a single order for one hundred bars. And it would only take you about twenty minutes to pack up. Ohhhh, yas!
When you tally up all that effort, wholesale takes the cake.
So, how does that mean more money in your hot little hands?
When you sell handmade soap wholesale, you also snag more cash flow in your soap business. Instead of getting a fourteen-dollar order here and an eleven-dollar order there, wholesale means landing orders of hundreds of dollars at once.
Most soapmakers focus on the fact that your margins selling wholesale handmade soap are slimmer. For instance, if you make $1.50 per bar sold wholesale, but $5.50 per bar on retail, that's a huge difference. However, your labor and marketing costs are much higher when you sell retail. Plus, wholesale orders mean more cash coming in at one time. A single retail order of a bar of soap hands you $5.50, but a wholesale order of one-hundred bars of soap gives you $150. There's a huge difference in what your business can do with that $5.50 versus $150!
Since you are selling more product at one time, receiving larger orders and snagging more cash flow, you can also order in bulk faster and further machete the cost per bar down to ground zero.
Which does what? Increases the profit per bar! (*celebratory dance*)
Plus, when you sell so much handmade soap all the time, you get super focused on getting your production practices efficient. Doing so means that you'll drive your labor costs down. When you make more soap in less time, it means more time for the actual business stuff! (And even more profit!)
Another benefit to offering your handmade soap wholesale?
You get to take advantage of someone else's marketing dollars.
Selling handmade soap wholesale is all about building relationships - long term and close-knit relationships. Getting tight with your retailers who love your products as much as you do means more people championing your products.
Of course, you need to continue marketing your handmade soap on your own. However, when other businesses sell your products, they are also marketing them and their own storefront.
What? More exposure, more support, same marketing budget? Yes, please!
Want to hear why other soap makers choose to wholesale, straight from their own mouths?
I asked a group of soapmakers on Facebook why they wholesale their handmade soap, because I wanted to share the real deal about why people wholesale handmade soap. Here are some of the reasons soapmakers are wholesaling their handmade soap & skincare products:
Allows me to get more exposure than I could get for myself. - Navine Acevedo of Brosily Bath and Body
One can look at it as though you are paying someone else to sell your product. It is great for people who do not want to deal with the general public all day long to sell retail. You may sell to thousands through only a few clients. - Jodi O'Berry of Jodi's Soapbox
Revenue builder; wider marketing exposure. - Cynthia Hill of Third Day Luxury Soaps & Herbal Gardens
I wholesale mostly for broader exposure and brand visibility. - Zikhona Tefu of Olive Real. Pure. Natural.
Less selling labor, faster product turnover, larger orders vs single bar sales. - Gretchen Moritz of Green Meadows Cosmetics
It's a substantial foundation to grow my retail endeavors. - Charlene Simon of Bathhouse Soapery & Caldarium
I am looking for long term markets instead of onesie twosies. - Theresa Mendez of Texas Beer Soap Co.
It allows me to get my product into more people's hands, capitalize on other people's marketing and exposure. - Chris Erskine of Soapy Bathman
I wholesale with a couple of places simply to have a retail location where I can send local customers to. I do Farmer's Markets and craft show during the warm months but in the dead of winter in MN it's nice to have a "place" to send my local customers. The ones that I don't know well but live in the same rural area as me. Those folks buck at spending dough on shipping. So I send them to my retailers. My products are getting sold one way or another....whether it's through me directly or through my retailers. - Stacey Neuhaus of Feeding the Habit
How do I know if wholesale is right for my handmade soap & skincare?
Selling your handmade soap wholesale is not a one-size fits all solution for all soapmakers. It works amazing for most, but you might be different and that's okay.
Find Out If You Are Ready to Wholesale
If you aren't sure if you are ready to jump on the wholesale train, join us in Next Level and snag our Wholesale Checklist resource to find out!
If you want to learn the basics of selling your handmade soap wholesale, common terms you need to acquainted with, and if it's right for you, we created a quickstart guide for wholesaling handmade soap, too!
If you already wholesale your soap + skincare products, help another soapmaker out and answer this question in the comments below: Why do you wholesale?
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