Soap makers have found many ways to sell and promote their handcrafted creations. Many are selling via online methods such as Etsy, Ebay, Amazon, Artfire and having a personalized website. Others stick to locally based events such as craft shows and farmers markets to display and sell their products. The entire dynamic of online vs. offline marketing/selling is quite different. Presentation, branding, and attitude are very important in both methods of marketing your handmade soaps. However, the biggest difference between the two is immediate interaction.
Just as a website has to keep the attention of it’s web user, so does a trade show booth have to keep the attention of the people passing by before they, well..pass by! Your goal is to entice them over with a message that doesn’t tell them how great your product is, but how much it will help them. People are generally quite selfish, and when they’re looking at most anything in their day to day life, they are constantly asking themselves “How will this help me” or, “How will this make my life better or easier?” So while your product may contain all natural ingredients, and it may be fair trade compliant, your best bet is to stress how it helps them. All of the other attributes are really secondary. This one fact will literally decipher whether someone will stop at your booth and look around, or simply walk on by in search of the next thing that will help them or “change their lives”.
I called upon our Twitter friends to see what their advice was to first-time craft and trade show sellers, and I got some amazing and invaluable tips! Remember, these tips are from people who have been out there on the front lines of selling soap and crafts at markets, and they’ve seen it all! Thanks to all of the following people for their advice! This truly is priceless information if you’re looking to sell your soap or craft at a show!
Keep in mind Line of Site when setting up your display. You want people to be able to see what you have to sell.
Clearly post the prices on the products.
Colors- I cannot stress enough the importance of thematic colors and I know it may seem silly, but your clothing should also match or compliment the colors you choose. If you have a dark product, display it on a light color surface and if your product is light colored, display it on a dark surface.
Try not to overpower the viewer with either to many colors or to much of one color. Use a color wheel to find compliments for your main color.
Give Away’s- I like giveaway’s freebies and incentives. It’s also a good way to let someone try before they buy. I have converted several lookers into buyers solely because I gave them a free trial to take with them. I have also found that creating special incentives for purchasing multiple items has been effective. Or, a free gift with a purchase of some dollar amount.
Give away your business card as if it were candy! Even if someone just passes through and doesn’t buy a thing, don’t let them leave without a card that has a way of reaching you on it.”
Alana Rivera (Twitter ID AlanaRivera) creator of www.ettaandbillie.etsy.com offers another great bit of advice that many often overlook: “Make your display interesting with varying heights and keep with your brand; take lots of ones ;)”
Jessica Morelli (Twitter ID diPalermoBody) owner of diPalermoBody.com advises new trade show users to “Have sample items for $5 and under. My sample soaps for a $1, and sample scrubs for $4.50 sell like crazy at shows.”
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