Friday, 18 May 2012
Shop Focus: Bath Bomb Creations
This week's interview is with Bath Bomb Creations. Read on to find out more from Lesley!
Hi Lesley! Tell us about what you sell and where you and your shop can be found
Bath Bomb Creations loves handcrafting bath bombs, bath creamers, bath melts, solid bath foam (bubble bars) blended with a variety of colours, toppings and beautiful scents. We'll be applying for our soap licence this year. This will be the good old-fashioned traditional soap! Eventually we'll expand into lip balms, bath salts, etc. The Bathtime Team are on Twitter, Facebook page and have a blog. The website is being developed which we aim to complete soon with some wonderful products including mix 'n' match. And the good news is: we offer wholesale prices and none of our supplies are animal tested!
How much of your time goes into your business? Is it full time/part time? Juggling act?
Anita works full-time four days a week plus a self-employed bookkeeper. She averages 15 hours a week making luxuries for online sales or double if we have craft fayre, wedding show or pamper party.
I work full time with an hour and half drive daily. I aim to arrive at work an hour earlier to catch up with online things for the business, plus a few hours at weekend on marketing, website, blog, etc, making bath foam and bath melts, sourcing items for our stalls. And joining Wendy's Handmade Monday!!!
So yes, can sometimes be a juggling act - a diary is essential too!
What have you learned since opening your online shop?
We've learnt that good customer service goes a long way! And to provide a more personal touch to sales and being honest with people. Working towards making Bath Bomb Creations successful is hard work but rewarding, especially when you receive positive feedback from customers. People still love to pamper themselves but cannot always afford the expensive items from Lush or stores. For us offer this treat with lower prices if fulfilling. Everything is a learning curve. For example, the postage prices and how different types of packaging can affect carriage.
Approximately what percentage of your sales are online?
80% of our sales are online whether via ebay or the blog. The rest is from parties etc.
What do you think your biggest challenges are?
The biggest challenge has been promoting the business, creating new designs, and finding new fragrances. We also look forward to expanding into new areas mentioned before. It takes time to find what you are comfortable with and know will work. Plus we are doing a 2-day event at Wood Green Godmanchester (Oakleigh Fairs) which sees between 2000 - 8000 people through the door, so this will be a good tester for the Royal Berkshire Show, Newbury. For example, stock quantities, layout, efficient service having everything we need to hand, so organization is a must!
What are your main ways of promoting your shop? Which methods do you think have the most success?
The correct tags in eBay are a must, plus clear photos and keeping the prices competitive. Adding links to email signature. I even mention it on my phone so a message is there when a text arrives to the recipient. Getting business cards on notice boards. When a craft fayre forgot to promote the event, Anita and I took it in turns to go out on to the street to hand out business cards to shoppers and get them through the door. We monitor sales hourly at a fayre or show. As we sell we mention the shop, blog, weddings, give away a business card. We've had returning customers who have given our info to organizers for events. So lots of word of mouth.
What other outlets do you use for selling (if any)?
Wedding fairs, craft shows, pamper parties, blog, wedding planners, Free Index, Linked In, Stall Finder. Even with a stall at a wedding show, Anita has approached wedding planners and found business this way. Lesley works in the print industry and when the right business comes along, subtly approaches them with Bath Bomb Creations!! An order example is a recent hair and nail salon and its April launch. We chat to other stall holders - a cupcake business has hen cupcake making parties and gives each guest a Hen Party bag. We visited them last week as they are interested in adding our bath luxuries to the bags. We have secured a number of decent orders through conversation about what we do. People are also interested because we sell wholesale and when they mark up they still get a profit themselves. We have a couple of boutiques who purchase, plus a lady who sells our products for her craft stall. Recently two wedding boutiques (Cambs and Leicester) have approached us. Those who buy to sell on we encourage to rebrand under their name which is received well. This has also resulted in another website asking to advertise our products to sell in their wedding section – free to us and which I have been working on compiling.
What tips do you have for others hoping to follow in your footsteps?
Be sure to allocate time as orders arrive any time of the day. Allow time out with family and friends otherwise a business will overtake you life. It's very hard work and we advise looking ahead, research competition and keep a track of them. Product research is essential too. Be fully insured and have correction certification if required. Be fair with your selling prices but do not be greedy. Always be respectful to your customers and offer excellent customer services.
What are your plans for the future?
We often get encouraging comments - one that pops up is liking us more than Lush because our prices are affordable and our scent less over-powering! We'd like to see more luxuries in stores and that is gradually happening.
We hope to perfect the rustic gift box, men's range, approach gay wedding planners, luxuries for hotels. Really to be known. And yes, we'd love our own boutique with a traditional feel. We do wish to encourage anyone planning to start a home-based business to think about bath luxuries. We create, you buy and rebrand. Again, we offer wholesale because understand that people require affordability and give the opportunity to mark us and earn from them.
Which other shops (handmade or supplies) do you admire?
The businesses we admire are those British handmade products which are more personalized than mass produced. A store or stall that sells one-off items will encourage me to browse and think this will be perfect as a home, gift etc. Our supplier is brilliant and reliable too.
Anything else you’d like to add?
We hoped our blog linky parties might be successful but sadly wasn't. As well as meeting other crafters, our other aim was to find suppliers – we have found someone we’ll be working with and will be travelling half of the UK to meet! Launch date comes soon.
Bath Bomb Creations is happy to support any businesses and welcomes photos of what buyers did with our products plus we’ll highlight your events. We'll add to a FB album and publish a post. The Bathtime Team wishes all crafters the best of luck!
As Anita is a book keeper, she can answer any business orientated questions. We shall also be supporting Feline Care in Norfolk when the website is launched.
Thanks so much for taking the time out for this interview Lesley. I totally agree about a home business potentially taking over your life - orders come in at all times of the day and it can be hard to switch off unless you make an effort. I also agree that good customer service is vitally important - oh, and that diary, too, of course!
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