Author Topic: Business  (Read 3858 times)

Offline summer98

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Business
« on: July 21, 2009, 10:58:08 AM »
I didn't know where to put this, so moderators feel free to move if need be.

Like many in the under-30 crowd, I am underemployed right now. My age bracket has the highest rate of un- and under-employment in the country. That's even for those who, like me, went to college and got a decent degree. I have a part-time job working 28 hours a week for just $8.50 an hour. I love my job, but it doesn't pay well and there's no prospects for full-time employment with this company. The only reason I still have this job is because they got some stimulus money (thanks Obama, for something, at least); when it runs out next year I'll probably be out the door. There's no prospects for me to get a full-time job around here right now. Unemployment is about 10% and the job market is dead. I was unemployed for some time before getting this job, save for doing odd jobs. My fiance has a decent paying, secure job, so we're managing to keep up and even put a little bit back and store up food. But I'd like to find a way to add more money to the family coffers and help us save for our land faster.

I'm a soapmaker, as it says in my profile. A fairly good one, and it is something I enjoy. Years of chemistry training translate easily to this type of thing. I make glycerin, olive oil, and goat's milk soap. I started making it because I'm really sensitive to the stuff you buy at the store. My soap is all natural and I've sold a bit at local crafts markets. Long story short, I'm thinking of trying to turn this into an actual home-based business. I know it won't make me rich, but it might supplement our income.

The thing is, this is a BAD time to be starting a business, with the economy in the shape it's in. There's still plenty of money chasing around out there, and my stuff is not exactly high-end, so I think I have a decent shot at selling. There's little overhead, and it would only take about $200 to buy the supplies I would need to build up a sufficient amount of inventory. K will design packaging, cards, and so forth for me. I can operate under my co-ops business license for a while. I also make really good lotion and lip balm.
I also think I might need to start a website if I do this, and I have NO idea how to go about that.

I guess the reason I'm posting is that I'm curious if anyone thinks this is just a waste of time.

Offline archer

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Re: Business
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2009, 12:45:19 PM »
Sounds like a good opportunity to try. Farmers markets and holiday faires will be a good place to sell handmade products like this. Making a basic web page is not too hard, there are lots of providers that have web page managers that have shopping carts built in.

Offline Pathfinder

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Re: Business
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2009, 01:34:23 PM »
Also look into health food stores and organic food stores as outlets for your wares. Check some of the beuty shops to see if you can give them some to use and they'll let you leave some on the counter to sell along with the big name stuff.

One thing to note - there is always opportunity in change - even in the worst economies, those that get off their butts find a way to survive and even succeed.

And for more motivation, go watch Fight Club!!!   ;D

Good luck and keep us posted on how it goes.

Offline “Mark”

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Re: Business
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2009, 01:55:47 PM »
I'm a soapmaker, as it says in my profile. A fairly good one, and it is something I enjoy. Years of chemistry training translate easily to this type of thing. I make glycerin, olive oil, and goat's milk soap. I started making it because I'm really sensitive to the stuff you buy at the store. My soap is all natural and I've sold a bit at local crafts markets. Long story short, I'm thinking of trying to turn this into an actual home-based business. I know it won't make me rich, but it might supplement our income.

The thing is, this is a BAD time to be starting a business, with the economy in the shape it's in. There's still plenty of money chasing around out there, and my stuff is not exactly high-end, so I think I have a decent shot at selling. There's little overhead, and it would only take about $200 to buy the supplies I would need to build up a sufficient amount of inventory. K will design packaging, cards, and so forth for me. I can operate under my co-ops business license for a while. I also make really good lotion and lip balm.
I also think I might need to start a website if I do this, and I have NO idea how to go about that.

I guess the reason I'm posting is that I'm curious if anyone thinks this is just a waste of time.

It's a GREAT time to start a business. It's only a bad time if you're selling bad stuff, because people don't have money to waste. If you are making something good (and it sounds like you are), and can sell it at an affordable price, people will buy it, especially if it's a necessity like soap. Watch your costs like a hawk, offer compelling value, and you should do well. If you know a technogeek, get them to install http://www.oscommerce.com/ for you. It's a completely online store software package. But I'd start ramping up your local business first, as your investment is lower. Remember you need to remain cashflow positive as much as possible.

It's also a great time to start your own business to get your own financial independence. If you'll know you'll be out of a job soon, make your move now.

If the US has a chance at a quick recovery, it'll be small business and cottage industry that brings it back. See it big before it is. :)

Offline MTguy

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Re: Business
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2009, 05:17:38 PM »
Now is a great time to start a business.  Some of the biggest businesses ever created began during recessions/tough business climates.  As far as a web presence; if you don't plan on selling online rightaway I would recommend using a free blog website such as Google's blogger and then spending a few bucks on registering a domain name.  You don't have to have any technical skills and you can use the blog to talk about the benefits of your products and how they were made.  If you are looking at a business loan, now is a great time to talk to SBA as there are no fees as part of the economic recovery package.

Offline swoods

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Re: Business
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2009, 07:18:09 PM »
I think you are wise to consider a home based business. Our community has several health food/organic goods stores and they sell homemade soaps. Most stores that are the boutique type might consider consignment sales as well. Good luck to you!

swoods

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Re: Business
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2009, 07:50:38 PM »
If you find a way to cater to the chemically sensitive people you will have a great chance for a following.  More and more people have trouble using the everyday products that are out there.  Boutiques are looking for great products like this.

Offline Synaptoman

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Re: Business
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2009, 11:30:09 AM »
+1

Go online.  It's a great, easy and quick way of getting as many "baited hooks" in the water as possible.  Try http://www.wordpress.com.  It's easy and it works while you're sleeping.  Don't give up on your idea.  You have a great product, and recessions are probably the best time to get started.  I sell aquaponic manuals from my site at http://synaptoman.wordpress.com and there is nothing more fulfilling than waking up in the morning, going to my computer and receiving orders by email while I sip my coffee.  It sure beats battling away with the uncertainty and stress of a dead-end job.  Good luck, it's actually people like you who drive the economy.

Offline LdMorgan

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Re: Business
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2009, 02:23:33 AM »
Yes--the absolute BEST time to start a business is when all the competition is doing a death roll.

You just have to start the RIGHT business, and make people feel like they are genuinely getting their money's worth. Something special, plus good service besides.

If you make good soap, give it a shot. It it succeeds, fine. If it flops, move right on to something else without even looking back and don't waste a tear doing it.

Suggestion: Package your soap in glitzy Xmas wrapping paper, with some kind of tissue liner (or sheer cloth) under the paper. Make every bar open not just like a gift, but a SPECIAL gift.

Make up an adhesive label to close the wrapper that has your name on it in a very unique font.

Maybe add a strand of distinctive ribbon--but not necessarily in a bow.

Be distinctive from the get-go. Stand out and be unforgettable. Make a brand name/line like Suite Boutique, logoed in a flowing script that oozes the connotation of romantic nights on the Riviera.

Even soap can sizzle, if you cook it right.

Look at the Mary Kay logo--now isn't that just plain dull? It doesn't inspire me to buy anything.

Shoot for something elegant but with a lot more jazz to it.

Hey--wrap a bar of soap in a swatch of material cut from a negligee--and see what the effect is. Red, black, white, net, sheer, silky, whatever. Try it all. I don't think it's ever been done before. It might be the outer wrapper, or the inner one. Try it both ways.

With maybe a drop of perfume on the cloth...

If you can get men to start buying your soap for women, and vice versa, you will be in tall cotton! Make your soap an invitation to seduction.

Both his and hers.

Any soap can make a woman feel clean--YOUR soap should make a woman feel sensual as well.

Put out a men's line, too--with the bar 40% larger, and a name like Et Tu., or Golden on it.

That soap should make every man feel like a Greek (as opposed to Geek) god...and give heem con-fi-dance--how you say?--with zee ladieez!

Whatever the going price is for an ordinary bar of handmade soap, double or triple yours. And when someone asks why it is so expensive, just smile and say "Those that have tried it know."

Hmmmm. Three lines for the ladies, each with a different fragrance: Suite Chic, Suite Surrender, and Suite Botique. Maybe a mint, musk, and floral bouquet?

Dress up, and hit the most exclusive shops in town--Arghh! I can see the presentation in my head!

OK--That's it. No more coffee tonight! 




Offline archer

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Re: Business
« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2009, 08:04:29 AM »
+1 for you LDMorgan for the good ideas and your funny 'presentation'.

Offline LdMorgan

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Re: Business
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2009, 10:02:41 PM »
+1 for you LDMorgan for the good ideas and your funny 'presentation'.

(Smiles!)

Offline Remington

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Re: Business
« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2009, 08:23:32 PM »
Sounds like it's something you enjoy doing, and there's no better base to start a business.

I would definitely start looking for local distributors before focusing too heavily on selling online. Ecommerce and Internet marketing can quickly absorb all of your time, yet can take a long time to start showing results in a saturated market. So if you at least have a couple of local outlets bringing in some orders then you can start investing the time to expand into the Internet market.

That said, it doesn't take a lot of time to set up accounts on sell-for-you sites like Etsy and Bonanzle. So I would definitely think about that as soon as you have product. Then, when you are more established, get a web presence that you own with your product information and ordering capability.

Offline summer98

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Re: Business
« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2009, 05:49:04 AM »
I had my first craft show two weeks ago and it went fairly well. I didn't make enough to make a profit because of the too high entrance fee, but I did well and got some good experience. I have a lot of good products now and have several more shows coming up, all with much cheaper (read: free) entrance fees. I'm looking forward to it.

Offline Pathfinder

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Re: Business
« Reply #13 on: November 27, 2009, 06:54:49 AM »
I had my first craft show two weeks ago and it went fairly well. I didn't make enough to make a profit because of the too high entrance fee, but I did well and got some good experience. I have a lot of good products now and have several more shows coming up, all with much cheaper (read: free) entrance fees. I'm looking forward to it.

That's the old story - don't pan for gold, pan the miners! Entrance fees can be killers.

I was involved for a while with a state-run program designed to promote locally made products and crafts called Pride of Dakota (http://www.prideofdakota.nd.gov). Very useful, especially for making contacts as well as selling product. Check to see if your state - or county or city - has such a program.

Lots of opportunity for your products I would think, given the number of allergies I know people have. Good Luck!

Offline Imperial Goat

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Re: Business
« Reply #14 on: December 30, 2009, 04:02:09 PM »
When you are selling at craft fairs and if you get into any shops, be sure the soap's label has your phone # or email on it so the people can order more when they run out because they will love it and not want to wait until next year's show.  Plus by next year, they won't rember if it was your soap or the gal on the other aisle.  Get a web presence!  you probably don't want to spend every weekend at a craft fair.

This can be a very nice supplement to your regular income, but be prepared for it to take off.  Many home-based businesses fail becuase they are not prepared for success.

Above all, don't go into debt.  Cash flow everything.

Good luck, and put your info in your signature line on here, I might like to buy some fine soap for Mrs. Goat.

Offline summer98

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Re: Business
« Reply #15 on: January 08, 2010, 07:11:37 AM »
Thanks for the suggestions. Goat -I want to do something online, but I've no idea how to get started. I am NOT tech savvy. Neither is my SO, unfortunately. I'll put some info in my signature as soon as I figure out what is best. My biggest problem thus far has been coming up with the cash flow to get supplies in a timely manner. I'm working on that. Thanks again everyone!