Friday, 27 June 2014

Soap Pricing

I have been meaning to write about pricing for a while now.  Ever since I saw a post on a soapers blog calling another soaper’s soap “pricey”.  This was during that trend a few years ago when people sent their soaps in for soap reviews?  I was never really into the soap review thing… neither having my soap judged/reviewed nor publicly judging or reviewing other people’s.  I have tried others soapers' soaps and have found something I like about each and every one.  I love my own the best though as I hope all of you do as well!!  
 I didn’t like seeing someone calling another soaper’s soap as “pricey”.    I know most of us are undercharging and when I see someone who is charging more, I am rooting for them!    Let’s look at my soaps – 6€ per bar.  Not very often, a new client will make a comment about the price… and I try not to react but my blood boils.  I usually smile politely and say I am sure they can find cheaper soaps out there, not sure they will be the same quality and although I would love to offer a soap for less, I am not prepared to lower the quality of our ingredients.   But what I really want to say is:

Do you realize that within those 6€, 21% of that goes to the government as sales tax?  So I only really see 5€.  Many soapers here don’t actually declare their income from soaps but we do, and we pay our taxes.

Do you realize that another € of that goes to packaging?  Locally handmade packaging that offers 4 different work sources locally? ( 1) we purchase the material locally, 2) a local lady hand makes them for us, 3) we get them stamped locally by a small t-shirt printing company, and 4) our bag tags are printed by a small local printer) .  We could get them printed in China for pennies, if I wanted to bring the price down, but that is not what we are about.

- Do you realize that I use only ingredients that are fabulous for you?  Ingredients that I feel amazing about using, only natural, mostly local?  I am not using recycled olive oil as many other soapers do here.  We use only fresh organic, extra-virgin olive oil from our local olive oil mill.  We could use palm oil, which would harden up the bars and bring price down, but I don’t feel great about its environmental implications, so we don’t.  We use organic un-refined Shea Butter in all of our soaps except for Castille.  And only pure essential oils.

Do you realize that instead of making these in our kitchen, we actually have a dedicated studio as required by Health and Safety here and pay monthly rent, insurance, electricity, water, social security which is expensive here in Spain, and that we pay for an analysis from an external laboratory for each batch?   

Do you know that in pricing our soaps, I can’t actually include my time or there would appear no profit?

-    Do you know that we have not increased the price of our soaps in 3 years although the cost of living has gone up?
That is secretly what I wish to say.  But I don’t.  Most of our clients are pretty amazing and get what we are all about.  Most don’t have a problem at all paying 6€ per bar.  I will eventually have to increase that price.  Especially if we are going for the official “organic” label here.
So to all those soapers out there who are able to charge what your soaps are actually worth -well done!!!!!  

I am including some random photos over the past few months.  We have been getting out to more and more trade shows and loving it.

The journey continues to be amazing and I am so thankful to be doing what I love each and every day!!!
Happy Soaping everyone!   Xoxoxo Jen

27 comments:

Alegria Mediterranea said...

The reality is hard when you do handmade products and want to sell them at a fair price(this applies to anyone, even more for those who have to pay so much,as your case).Personally, I think you're not feel very comfortable in this business,
considering that Spain has the hardest rules in the field and a tax regime from the Middle Ages,is it?I understand you perfectly and I think your price is right
and those who do not understand this, do not realize the true value of your products either.
Dear Jennifer,I wish you more power and strength to go further ,and still I´am a big fan of yours!!
I still believe you can have success with values(
despite the fact that we live in a world with values ​​so poorest)so please continue to believe in you and in everything you do!Good luck!

Caron.Michelle. S. said...

Oh I can so relate to your dilemma. We just put our prices up this year by a small amount and we wanted to charge more but will probably wait until next year to raise it a bit more. We too pay taxes when we sell our soaps and use Organic ingredients as much as we can and support local as well with our ingredients where possible. The hard part is several other soapers in our area charge less so customers see that and wonder why ours are higher. Our price is lower then other soapers in our area.

SoapJam said...

Great article, Jen. :) It is annoying when people complain about how expensive quality handmade soap is, but it's simply ignorance. I've noticed that it's also about comfort level with a certain price point. If a person is used to paying $20 for a pair shoes, $200 would be too much of a shock. There has to be that transition period when they feel that there is a difference and if it is worth it to them. It is the same for soap. For some, a soap is a soap, so why buy a $8 soap when you can just use the hotel freebies or the cheap commercial soaps. It's usually people with skin sensitivities who are willing to experiment and pay more, and those who have a thing for nice scents. :) but hopefully we get to educate more people so they have a better appreciation of what really goes into a bar of handmade soap.
Glad to hear your business is doing well. Wishing you more success. :)

Jennifer Young said...

Alegria Mediterranea, Thank you for your nice words!! We do okay, because it balances out with other products, but I do wonder how people who only sell soap make a living? If it weren't for our other products, it would be much tougher. Despite the difficulties in this market here in Spain, I love what I do and this business and the craft and this wonderful, crazy, passionate, spontaneous, sunny, awesome country. xoxo Jen

Jennifer Young said...

Michelle, Nice to hear from you and what you are up to!! It is funny about soap, but because some have priced it so low.... there seems to be a cap on what peopl will pay? Exactly what you are saying. Would people pay 50€ for a moisturizing cream? Sure. Would people pay 50€ for a soap? Don't think so. Although if they used a good natural olive oil soap regularly... they wouldn't need so much moisturizing cream!! Ah well, we have to work with the business the way things are or be frustrated every day!! and little by little let's continue to educate!!! Hug, Jen

Jennifer Young said...

SoapJam, Thanks for the awesome comment and I mixed up the comments and some of what I wrote to Michelle, TwoBlooms, was actually in response to your comment. You are soooo right. Lovin' your blog and still often learn something new from you. Wonderful to have the time to experiment so much with soap. And share it. I love sharing what we discover with other bloggers as well!!! THank you! xoxoxo Jen

Mabel said...

I get this all the time, being in Malaysia where people are "spoiled" with cheaper (and often lousier) options. People do ask me I charge RM20/USD5 (or thereabouts) per 100g of soap when they can get a 90g bar for RM5/USD1 at the hypermarket/store.

Then I have fellow soapers who price their soaps at RM12-15, effectively spoiling the market for the rest of us. Ohdear...

Coco said...

Recycled olive oil? To sell soap? Eww.

I´m so glad you´ve found customers who appreciate your beautiful products.

Chin up and best of luck.

Jennifer Young said...

Coco, Thanks for your comment!! Thank you for your best wishes for luck... I am not a great believer in luck, I believe in hard work. I have been looking at some of the progress on your Galicia house and it looks wonderful!!!! WOW! you must be thrilled! xo Jen

Jennifer Young said...

Mabel, Yes... very frustrating when people undercharge and spoil the market... but I guess it is something we just have to deal with. I do believe there are clients for everyone!! Thank goodness we sell other products than soap or it might be difficult to make a living! Hope you are well. xo Jen

FuturePrimitive said...

Way to go Jen. I had similar thoughts about that blog post I think you are referring to. I also wrote a post a while back with regards to what exactly goes into my products, my branding, everything. Folks think we are trying to rip them off at times, but I have found that most people who buy Indie totally get it. The ones that don't ain't worth it anyway. It certainly pays to educate people about all of the things that go into a beautiful handmade soap and bathing products. I admire you very much. xx

Jennifer Young said...

Thanks so much Tiggy. Yes, we are probably thinkign of that same blog post... so long ago but I can't forget it. That post marked me somehow and basically turned me off blogging for a while. I can't forget the negativity... I think you are right about people who buy Indie, they just get us somehow. And sometimes not worth the energy explaining to the people looking for a bargain... I also admire you and your beautiful soaps. xoxo Jen

Phyllis Anne said...

I DO relate. My products are ALL organic oils, EO's and no artificial anything. THESE ARE COSTLY! But even my 24.00 4 oz jar of face cream is STILL a good bargain when it can and does overcompare to a $108.00 jar of L'Occi.......
People do not realize that the best oils are healthy, and they can cost up to $2.50 an OUNCE!! EO's, same thing!
Oooh, I grit my teeth when I hear comments on my price. My time spent, I don't get paid much for that either. People don't get it YET. BUT, we crafters Must stick together, and price fairly so we CAN make a living wage, after cruddy taxation and packaging, fees, oh my!
Seriously! WE CAN do this! YOU CAN DO THIS! Great article and it was also my own sentiments exactly. I feel your thoughts too.
PhyAnnie

Jennifer Young said...

Phyllis Anne, Thank you for responding. I enjoyed your comment and understand you perfectly. It is frustrating... but I too believe that we CAN DO THIS!! Do you have a web page so I can see your productos? xo Jen

Caron.Michelle. S. said...

Hugs back Jen, we've been very busy this season doing markets, wholesale, online and trying to keep up with inventory.

Iulia Weingold said...

I totally understand what you're saying Jenny! More often than I would like I hear soapers complaining about the prices of other soapers or badmouthing their products. And often enough it's just a problem of personal taste, just because they like doing things a certain way, it's not necessarily the only way to do it. I want to believe there's room for everybody in this activity and meanness or envy are just unjustified. So carry on with what you do, the way you do it. You're such an inspiration to me :)

Jennifer Young said...

Iulia, Thank you so much for the lovely comment! I LOVE inspiring people. I also agree that there is room for all kinds of different soaps and soapers out there. I am glad everyone's are different (wouldn't want them all to be similar to mine!!) and don't judge other people's choices or values... I love the differences out there! So lets stay positive!! xo Jen

dojasoap said...

Jennifer i just want to say that you are a great and i love your product and your philosophy in soap making. I wish you all the best and You're such an inspiration to me..

Emily said...

Your soaps and packaging are gorgeous. I think that most people would really value that you spent the time and energy to not only create your products in responsible and sustainable way, but also source all of your packaging locally. People who feel that hand crafted soaps are too expensive are just in a different market, or are maybe just used to that mass produced stuff that you can buy in a grocery store and don't know what they're missing!

Jennifer Young said...

Emily, Thank you so much for your lovely comment!!! xoxo Jen

Jennifer Young said...

Dojasoap, Thank you so much for your comment. Your blog looks awesome. love those dolphins!! xo Jen
xo

pirouette aromatherapy soaps said...

Hi... Where to get these soaps? Is there any online order available?

Lori Watts said...

I'm mostly a potter, though I make soap as a hobby. The price comments always irk me, too! No one questions why a lawyer deserves $200 an hour (not saying they don't!) but an artisan is supposed to justify charging enough to make a living.

Jennifer Young said...

Pirouette aromatherapy soaps, yes! We have a website - www.naturalmentemediterraneo.com.

Happy new year!! xo Jen

Jennifer Young said...

Lori Watts, Agreed!!! Thank you for your comment!! xoxo Jen

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