Selling our handmade soap at summer fair!

Handmade soap logs

The soap logs that I made this weekend.

Since returning from the HSMG Conference in Denver, I’ve been cranking up the soap production. We’ve decided to try our hand at selling Sirona Springs handmade soap at our local 4th of July Fair this year. This will be the first fair for us, so I’m feeling a bit of fear along with the excitement.

First, I had to sincerely decide if this would be a venue that would work for us. I won’t know exactly until it’s over, but I’m willing to give it a go. Being a small fair, I don’t expect to be overwhelmed. And being local means that I will hopefully make some connections with other local merchants as well as customers.

Then, the practicalities: having never done this before, I felt literally ill-equipped to set up our little booth. But when I sent out a call on Facebook and Twitter for some help, friends came through! Fellow soapmaker Sherry Matranga is lending us a 10’x10′ canopy to guarantee some shade. Lori Nova of The Nova Studio is letting us borrow a table. And my family has promised to help out with the setting up and selling and clean up that day. What can I say? It takes a village to sell handmade soap! 🙂

A batch of Lavender/Rosemary soap swirled in my slab mold. This is a new technique that I am hoping to sell at the Fair. (Yes, I've also been known to try new recipes for dinner parties. I'm reckless that way.)

So for now, my focus is on making as much soap as I can before the end of the month. That way everything will be cured and dry and I won’t have to run around like a mad woman packaging everything at the last minute (that’s the plan anyway). In the meantime, I’ll be adding to my To-Do list (shopping bags, receipt book, small change, a banner, signage…) and getting organized.

Any suggestions and shared experiences are welcome! If you have sold at fairs, what advice do you have for a newbie?

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4 thoughts on “Selling our handmade soap at summer fair!

  1. Hi Ruth! Good for you; I am submitting for some fairs myself, so I am on the same learning curve you are! I got lots of good advice at HSMG on the craft fair thing.
    One idea I am going to try: Get an old beat-up picture frame (shabby chic!) that is 8 1/2 x 11. For each fair, print out a pricing sheet from Word (in case it changes for each fair), payment info, etc. Display the frame in the booth. So much more elegant than a handwritten sign!
    Jennifer W

  2. Ruth –

    YEAH!! How exciting!! To get the look of your booth right, do a search on flickr for booths to get an idea of the style/options you have. Then do a little mock up of your booth ahead of time (take pictures!) and change things around if needed. I have found some great “stands” by heading to goodwill and getting old wooden boxes, mini crates, pie plates etc. Also, putting bed risers under your booth brings it up a few inches so its more like counter height – it adds interest :). Bring lots of ones!! I have an extra cash box at home if you need one. If possible, make sure you can accept credit cards – I use propay which is super simple to set up and is pretty cost effective.

    You can always email/call me if you have any questions – I dont have tons of experience but I have learned a few lessons…:)

    • Thanks, Alana! All great suggestions. I’m sure I’ll be emailing you soon! 🙂 Right now I’m concentrating on getting more soap made! Then I’ll think about the actual booth.

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