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About NaughtyNancy

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    Solid Perfume, Candles, Body Butters
  1. That does happen with many types of items, such as jewelry, which is a severely polluted market when it comes to resellers. With the body product type stuff, though, I meant more along the lines of say, someone making roll-on perfumes, for example. They buy cheap roller bottles in bulk, add an affordable carrier oil and a smidgen of cheap fragrance oil. Overall it costs them very little money to produce the item, and they can produce many such items very quickly and easily. Let's say hypothetically it costs them $1.25 to make one item (purely hypothetical here), yet they charge $3.00 for it. That's not much profit (aside from raw percentage) per item, but those items sell like hotcakes, and it adds up. However, the successful sellers who go for this approach, tend to have really nice marketing and fantasy appeal, and they also target customers who love to order lots of little an inexpensive items to sample. It's a viable strategy for someone looking to make a little supplemental income, and then also the "exclusive, special" feel for the other common type of customer.
  2. True, but that's also not the goal of most sellers on Etsy, either. Supplemental income goals are much more common. Someone making X thousands per year of a shop was very successful in my eyes, anyway.
  3. I don't think such a goal will ever be realistic for me, personally. But a goal I do have for some point in my life, is to be able to use it as a solid supplemental income. For personal reasons, I don't ever see myself surpassing the minimum wage workforce, and usually my stress plate is full from even a part time service industry job, like 3-4 shifts per week. I can juggle 2 part time jobs, but my health and overall well-being deteriorates very quickly, and then I'm still living paycheck to paycheck much of the time. An ideal goal for me is to be able to earn enough supplemental income selling handmade products, that between that and a part time job of 3-4 shifts per week, I make enough to care for myself and my dog. I have a handful of repeat customers so far, and am hoping to try some crafters markets type things this Summer or Autumn, to just start small with any fundraiser type opportunities and so on. See to me that's amazing. Couple that with a casual part time job ($12,000/year) , and you're at mortgage payment status if your home and lifestyle goals are modest. A preschool teacher often makes that much combined per year.
  4. Yeah, I also found that branding was a big factor, even for a casual hobby thing. My biggest mistake when I launched my shop, is that I didn't put much effort into the branding psychology aspect. I was just approaching it as a casual crafter looking to sell some things. There is a massive disconnect between the culture that Etsy wants to project, and the reality of the perspective of most of the customers on there. I remember reading guides about the importance of emphasizing yourself as a real person behind the items. This turned out to be mostly false. My traffic increased when I completely removed myself from the whole thing, and only emphasized the products, and did so in a way like a branded chain would do. This isn't inherently bad with some types of items, but it's just important to know how things really are (rather than how Etsy wants to project itself). I also noticed that when I did get one of my ads bumped up to the first page as part of some SEO experiment that Etsy was doing, it actually made my humble little crafts look bad, next to all of this professional looking branded stuff. Something else I noticed, was that most of the really successful competition went in one of two directions. Either they mass produced simple items at very low prices (making money by small profit per item yet high volume sales), or their retail price was many times that of production costs, selling less but much higher profit per item sold. This correlated strongly with what seemed to be the 2 most common types of customer shopping approaches - either wanting to be able to get lots of little things for fun's sake (listings of the "pick 5 samples" nature were the most popular), or wanting to get something that they perceived as very high quality, exclusive and special. I'd say my second biggest mistake going into it was assuming that many people shop the way that I do, analyzing quality vs price in a more logical way. Turns out that was a big nope. Most of my favorite shops on there are only moderately successful in terms of number of sales and estimated profits, but I took chances on them because I could see signs that their products were nice quality, and the prices were reasonable for the quality level. I approached my own shop this way, in a "decent stuff for decent prices" manner, and actual views (they clicked on the listing) were scarce.
  5. Etsy didn't work for me, but I think Etsy could work well for some people given a few important factors. Some things I noticed: 1. The competition on Etsy is intense, and simply getting seen by customers is hard, especially if you don't have the startup funding to pay for bumped ads. Then even when you do get seen by shoppers, there are already so many heavily established shops with lots of orders and reviews, that enticing customers to give yours a try is a very tricky tightrope walk. For example, if your prices are average, then most customers choose competition that is more established. If your prices are too low, though, then most customers assume the quality of your products must be poor. If your prices are too high, then only the rare customer who is both adventurous and with lots of money to burn, and who equates higher prices with higher quality, will consider giving you a try. Getting off the ground is difficult. 2. All of this means that your marketing really needs to be on point, especially for something like a fragrance-oriented item, since people can't smell it through their monitors. It's important to know your target customer demographic and offer them a fantasy as much as a product. This includes everything from the aesthetic quality and theme of your photos (rustic, goth, high fantasy, classy, etc), to the way you describe the scents (story driven, fantasy driven, bold and direct, etc), to whether or not you play up the ingredients used in the products. It was easy for me to eyeball the quality of many items, just because I know how they are made, and even to recognize when a seller was fibbing a bit about something (or was new to their craft and had been tricked by a supplier), such as those claiming a product had "real vanilla essential oil." Or, something like an item with real "sandalwood essential oil" yet a $6.00 price. Similarly, there were "tells" when something was made with merely cheap fragrance oils, yet the seller was using weasel wording to make it sound like something so much more. The ones who were still successful, though, were the ones who understood the importance of fantasy and marketing. Their customers were thrilled all the same, and so long as the less-than-forthright descriptions weren't putting anyone in potential danger from product use, frankly these sellers had accomplished a job well done. These were sellers whose creative talent when far beyond the actual products they were selling. From the marketing to the packaging to the descriptions and any extra touches. For example a customer buying something such as a fantasy fairy potion, not a high quality perfume. Was it literally some fragrance oil and carrier oil, put into a bottle likely ordered from Amazon or AliExpress? Yes. Was the customer loving their fantasy item? Yes. So hey, gotta give credit where its due. These sellers knew how to make their target customers happy. 3. Customer psychology plays a huge role in everything. If your shipping would normally need to be $7 for a $10 item, most shoppers won't touch it. On the other hand, change the item price to $20 with FREE SHIPPING, and suddenly you'll get some customers lining up. It doesn't have to make logical sense, just has to appeal to the age of Amazon shopper psychology.
  6. Bulk Apothecary

    So far for me, BA's FO's outperform all of the other suppliers I have tried when it comes to the solid perfumes that I make for myself. Though not too long ago I started trying wholesale supplies plus, and they are a close second. BA definitely seems to be a hit or miss kind of company, though. I haven't had any issues with them so far, but looking over their reviews (off site), it's a mixed bags of extremes. It seems like when they do well, they do very well, and when they mess up, their customer service is quite dismal. So it's like a fingers crossed sort of thing hoping you're not one of the unlucky few who gets a screwed up order. Every company makes mistakes at least now and then, but not handling mistakes professionally is something else entirely. So again it seems like a gamble. I buy FO's from them simply because with my skin type and such, solid perfumes and roll on perfumes fade so fast on me, but their FO's last for several hours on me using the same recipes. That alone to me makes it worth a little gamble and the higher FO price. For soaps and candles, though, I've seen some say that BA's FO performance isn't quite special enough to justify the significantly higher pricing. I have the same sort of love/hate thing with bramble berry. Their processing time and shipping charges tend to be ridiculous, and their customer rewards system blows compared to nearly all of their competition, but they have a few items that I still strongly prefer to get from them. So I just order as strategically as possible and seldom try new things from them.
  7. apple smores ?

    My vote is to experiment and see what you like! Can discover some awesome combos that way, and also save a lot of FO ounces over time. When I'm testing a blend idea, I just get a little bit of each FO/EO on the end of a q-tip. One q-tip for each oil. Then all the q-tips go in a sealed container like a jar, and I come back after a few hours or even the next day, open the jar and take a whiff above the jar. Sometimes it's like oh lawd glad I didn't use this in a full blown batch. Other times it's like hellzyeah new fave.
  8. Funny Customer Stories - Light Side of Biz

    I don't have very many customers yet still, more like a handful of people who like my stuff and keep coming back for more, they just text me when they want something made, and then come over to pick it up, very casual cash type transaction. One of the ladies who has me make her things, though, is really fun to well, make things for. She never texts me saying general things she likes or wants. It's always a process, and always about a story or some historical thing she fantasizes about, and then we text back and forth until she decides what sorts of notes she wants in it based on the story/fantasy. She's the really creative/imaginative/eccentric personality type. For example, the last one was based entirely on Cleopatra, so she is doing searches online for smells that she feels represent Cleopatra in some way or another, based on what Cleopatra wore, common cuisine of that area and time period, common plants in the area, etc. In the end her list of notes that she wanted was a combination that I never would have put together on my own, but she is reliable in regards to, no matter how it turns out, if she asks me to make it, she buys it, so I'm always like okay whatever let's do it. I just adjust ratios of FO's and EO's while blending to try to make it as pleasant as possible based on her personal tastes. What is funny (in a cool way) to me, is that some of her combos, despite seeming a bit bizarre at first glance when she texts them to me, and despite in some cases having uh, interesting story ideas behind them, have turned out pretty nice! I think my favorite one so far that created for her, was based on some creative writing story idea she came up with about an elderly woman's ghost haunting a house, and this story had all manner of wildness in it from sex to murder and so on. So she wanted a scent to go with it while she is writing it. So she is texting me all these notes together, like patchouli, pumpkin, vanilla, gardenia, cinnamon, etc and then she adds, "Can you add the smell of blood?" And I'm just like, "Uhhhhhhh.. turmeric?" So then turmeric goes into it. Plus various other things. Cracked me up, but her murder-romance-old-lady-ghost blend actually smelled pretty good.
  9. Best vanilla and other strong scents

    The only vanilla themed FO I have is the vanilla musk one from nature's garden. I really like it, decently strong (have not tested in candles, though) but it's not a straight vanilla. Can definitely identify the vanilla scent when smelling it, but the musk effect is prominent, too. If you have tried typical "man smells" types of FO's, then it's basically like vanilla, with a hint of "man smell" but not in a bad way. Like a touch of more sensual cologne, not abrasive or sharp. I mix it with a tiny bit of their fireplace FO in potpourri and it makes this very sensual, rustic vanilla scent. I use a tiny bit of birch tar for a little rustic smokiness when wanting the mixed scent to wear.
  10. Grainy Body Butter

    I've had a good time with cera bellina so far. I make balms that function as solid perfumes. I only had to add 10% cera bellina to get a noticeable difference. My own results with my balms so far, the cera bellina does not make them creamier, exactly, but more like smoother and glossier without being rock hard from the beeswax. Almost like a mild lip gloss effect? I found this visual guide of just oil and wax ratios, probably a lot more informative than what I could provide using my crappy phone camera and solid perfumes. I checked the forum terms and I think this allowed, sorry if I am wrong, I think it's only hotlinking images that is not allowed? Credit goes to the blogger humblebeeandme. http://www.humblebeeandme.com/quick-guide-cera-bellina-liquid-oil-ratios/ Anyway I like it in my solid perfumes so far, because my goal with them is for the wax to sort of sit on top of the skin with the FO/EO, and for the oils to not just absorb and vanish into the skin. But at the same time, even though I want a firmer balm that is less oily, I also want a glossy/smooth look to them, and for there to be a little bit of "squish" (as opposed to very hard wax that is sweating out oils after a week or so). I also have to admit that I abandoned unrefined shea altogether. I only use refined, and never get grainy issues with it. Have not yet tried doing a body butter with the cera bellina yet, but now I'm curious, might have to give it a go.
  11. Thanks again for all of the helpful advice. Occurred to me this morning that I forgot to add a couple things. 1. I did nix the raw honey altogether, so it is no longer part of my recipe at all. 2. Raised total wax to 80% - 70% of a balm is the premium white beeswax, while 10% of the balm is the cera bellina wax. 3. Remaining 20% is a combination of refined shea butter, cold pressed virgin coconut oil and golden jojoba oil. Then I add the EO/FO to this base, % based on safety limits if I am making it for someone else, but admittedly I go higher when it's for my own use. This ratio setup so far is the best that I have tried. It seems that not only was the raw honey (as much I love using the stuff) jacking up my balms for long-term presentation, but also that too much shea butter was causing problems, too. I had originally not liked the first balms I made that had a high wax % as to me they were too hard, not creamy enough, and also had a tendency to "sweat" out the FO/EO in less than a couple weeks. The cera bellina so far seems to be counter-acting that even with reduced shea butter. I do still find that shea butter seems to have a sort of metaphorical "emulsification" effect on different notes when I am trying to get a blended aroma to be more 'blurred' and musk like, but it doesn't take much of an uptick in % to notice this, and instead of lowering wax %, I just lower the VCO/jojoba %.
  12. Update time! The cera bellina so far seems to be a success. Been using it at 10% of my overall formula for my solid perfume batches, and so far the weird texturing hasn't happened in these ones.
  13. Horrible scent request help

    Bramble berry sea moss fo with a touch of tea tree oil mixed in
  14. Your Favorite Laundry Scent

    Tobacco Flower from Bulk Apothecary. I don't really like laundry/ozonic scents, but I like that one. The name is very misleading with it, too, smells nothing like a typical tobacco themed FO. It's very warm yet clean, smells like warm linens to me. Not powdery or like nasty Febreeze.
  15. Ed Hardy Type in the Mold

    I love the black and yellow design with a bit of warm color around it, reminds me of swallowtails at sunset here in the Midwest.