Today's interview features Carrie Freeman the owner of Natural Bathing Co, which can be found on Etsy and Ebay. Now to Carrie, to tell us more about her luxury handmade bath and beauty product business.
Tell us a bit about your products.
At Natural Bathing Co I sell my own handmade bath and body products, which I make in our kitchen at home! I like to make my products as natural as possible as I know how hard it is to find products suitable for sensitive skin, and I'm hoping that in 2012 we can expand our shop to include up to 50 different items.
What makes your products stand out from the crowd?
What makes your products stand out from the crowd?
The things that make my products stand out from the crowd are the ingredients. All the ingredients are researched and are only put into the products if they will benefit the user in some way. I do my best to give great customer service and repeat customers have the opportunity to obtain discounts!
|Sandalwood and Vanilla Soap|
How did you start out?
I originally sold wholesale made bars of soap until I found out that these included artificial foaming agents which in fact dry out the skin. I looked into making my own soaps and haven't looked back since. Now I am running my business to set up a fund for my first home and to give me a little bit of extra income while doing the thing I love.
What has been the hardest part of running your business? How have you overcome it?
Personally I think the hardest part of running my business has been time management. As I am also a student at university I have a lot of reading and studying that I have to do at home, as well as making my products. I've tried to organise myself by setting aside designated time slots for doing studying and then using a lot of my spare time for my business.
What motivates you?
As previously mentioned, I have set up my business to provide a fund which will help me make a start in life. My dream is to expand my business to the point of it becoming my full time job, where I can work from home and be there for my children when I decide to start a family.
What is the best resource you would recommend to others?
The best resource for anyone looking to start out in soapmaking would be The Handmade Soap Book by Melinda Coss. It is a great book with lots of helpful information for troubleshooting and ideas. For anyone looking to start their own bath and body business I would recommend checking out the legislation in their country as often there are certificates that you have to have in order to sell your product. Other than that, research! Research and practice making your products is essential! You might also want to look at the current market and see if there is a niche, which you would be able to fill nicely.
How do you connect with your customers?
I like to connect with my customers through social media websites such as Twitter and Facebook, but with Etsy, the community discussion boards are also a great way to keep in touch. I am a member of the CraftBritannia team on Etsy and often like to take part in team events, chatting with other people and helping to promote other people's items as well as my own. Etsy is so community focused that not only do I make friends with other users, I also get some sales through doing so. I'm ordering some new business cards as well which I will pack into each order with a coupon code for each return customer.
How do you make your customers feel valued?
I know that sometimes it can be hard to make each customer feel valued so I try my best to make sure I send them informative but friendly emails about their order status. You have to remember not to be overly friendly though as then you are at risk of losing your professionalism. As mentioned before, I also like to include a coupon code for customers so that if they come back to my shop and buy again, they can get a small discount.
|Dragons Blood Soap|
Tell us about your latest product range?
Coming in February 2012 will be several new products. I am adding a fruity strawberry smoothie scented soap which reminds me of strawberry milkshake, a lime, mandarin, and basil soap which is very citrusy and fresh, and a baby butter bee soap, which is similar to the fragrance of baby powder. I am making these soaps as my shop has been open for a couple of months now and I feel it is time to expand my range. I am also planning on making some more bath bombs in the same scents as my soaps, and I'll be looking into recipes for making wonderful flavoured lip balms for Spring 2012.
What ingredients do you use in your products?
The main ingredient for all my soaps is an organic base, to which I add shea or cocoa butter, followed by a fragrance or essential oil. I pour it into my silicone moulds and wait! I love the silicone moulds because not only do they provide me with a good chunky bar of soap, but it is really easy to unmould my soaps and they are super easy to clean.
My favourite ingredient is organic unrefined cocoa butter which I use in my chocolate truffle soap. It is a hard butter but is rich in the chocolatey smell which many people love as well as having all of its natural properties.