It's so expensive!!! April 2, 2024 10:30

I get this a lot... I can get X product for so much less money at Y big box store.

Yeah.  You can.  I'd love to tell you that I can afford that, but the simple fact is that I can't.  

In my past life, I was a teacher, and I find myself falling back into those habits from time to time when I'm talking to customers.  This is one of those times, only I'm talking to you - you out there on the other side of a screen.  I'm going to blog from the heart here - about why the Craft Basket prices are set the way they are - about how I set them, and about why you get so much more value for money when you buy handmade.

So - first things first.  The big box retailers can afford to set prices as they do because they wholesale their product from other manufacturers. Those manufactories (teacher alert... there's the origin of factory!) are set up to make quantities I can't, using less expensive, derivative ingredients. For example, I use Coconut Oil in my soap.  A big-box, brand-name soap uses Lauric Acid - which is one of the fatty acids found in coconut oil.  From a business standpoint, it's often used to depress melting points in other oils - making some soaps dissolve faster. 

A common complaint among my customers is that my soap "lasts too long".  Of course it does.  (See Lauric Acid above).  That's a complaint I love getting, honestly.  "Lasting too long" means value for money.  It means that you're not letting your money run down the drain with the soap suds. 

I manufacture in small batches, keeping my ingredients simple, and without "stretch" . I don't use stearic acid because it occurs naturally in shea butter, for example. Because of this, my cost per unit is going to be higher.   I'm not in this for the money; the recommended mark up for direct to consumer sales is at least three times the cost of production.  Mine is closer to 2.5, and I don't "pay" myself for the time I spend at farmers markets or writing blog posts.

Is that a great "business" decision?  Probably not.  But does it mean I can look at myself in the mirror and know that I've made it possible for people to purchase quality products that would retail for far more elsewhere?

Yes.  Yes it does.