As a mom and a small business owner, I understand as well as anyone how hard it is to choose between buying things that are good and buying things that are good for my wallet. While we all want to be able to support small, independent businesses, let’s face it…it is a lot cheaper to drop into a WalMart, grab a generic gift and walk out.
And it’s because of this understanding that I have struggled with pricing when it comes to Luxury Lane Soap since pretty much the very first bars of soap I sold. I want to be able to distribute my products with as small as profit margin as possible, but I do have bills to pay and my materials certainly don’t ever get less expensive. Now, I could go a different route, and reduce prices by lowering quality or selling huge wholesale bulk lots (a fat wholesale account would be nice!)…but that’s just not my way or who I am. And seriously, that would just rob me of the fun and satisfaction I get from doing this.
These past few weeks I have been approached multiple times by retailers looking to distribute Luxury Lane Soap. They all want the same thing…to buy my products at a 50% to 65% discount for resale. The awesome part of wholesale is that you get a chunk of money at once and more people get a chance to try one of my products. The un-awesome part? I still make everything, by hand, one at a time and the strain from large wholesale delays all of my customer’s orders…plus working at a 50% discount means I am working for free. Seriously. Free. (True story…when I produce custom work for large corporations, it’s not just free as in only covering the cost of my materials — since the cost of my labor isn’t included, I am essentially paying them for the work. Bogus.) This is all compounded by the fact that I have kept my prices low. If I was willing to charge more for individual orders, than that discount for wholesale orders wouldn’t eat away any profit. But you know what…no. I haven’t done it before and I won’t start now.
From day one, and I have written about this numerous times, I decided to not become a production plant. While there is good money in selling high volume, low quality products, I feel there is better long-term money and satisfaction in quality and customer service.
So, this is what I have decided to do…
Instead of working to get my products on retail shelves this holiday season, the discount is going directly to my customers. Rather than invest in commercial distribution, I am investing in my own company.
Oh, Kylee. You get so cliche’…
No, really, hear me out.
All current products hovering around the $5 range have been reduced to $3.99 and new items are being crafted and created weekly. With this particular price point in mind, I set out to continue my line of superior quality products, and sell them at a lower price due to the ease of production, supply surplus and multitasking compatibility. Most items in the $3.99 Gift Collection include a custom gift tag made of recycled library catalog cards. (Coolest gift tag ever!)
It all came down to me asking myself why should I give my time to a retailer when I can give my time to YOU?! ♥
So, Luxury Lane Soap is challenging every indie business to design at least one low-priced, high-quality product to sell this year to make gift giving easier for everyone. Not only will it get you business, but at least for me, I’ve found I love the challenge of designing products with some constraints and still making them awesome!
Send me a link to your item and we will showcase it from Black Friday to Cyber Monday, the highest selling days of the year for almost every single company out there.
This isn’t about price points or profit margins though. For me, this is about showing how “handmade” or “hand-crafted” makes for stronger businesses, happier customers, and a little bit more awesome in the world. As I’ve always said (and it’s on the Luxury Lane Soap Company Philosophy page):
“Being a small, local community company affords me the ability to turn all of my profits back into Luxury Lane Soap for safe ingredients and practices. I have no stock holders to appease. My company is for my customers.“
So whether you’re looking for a reasonable gift for someone you love this holiday season, or an indie business looking to stay true to your roots, I hope you’ll join me in celebrating the gift that is handmade!