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Number of scent choices in product line (soap vs. candle)


Paintguru
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So I may go back down the rabbit hole of adding soaps to my product line once I start selling (only 2-3 years in the making at this point!!).  I had originally started in soap before moving to candles, but my wife seems to think all the baseball parents would eat up handmade soaps, especially if we have them available at our baseball games when the boys are their most smelliest! :)  

 

Part of the reason I didn't LOVE soap making was because it seemed like I needed a larger number of scent choices compared to candles.  Do folks have opinions on the number of fragrance choices needed  for soaps vs. candles?  Just curious how people balance out fragrance choices in their candle line vs. their soap line.  Do you use the same scents in both?  More in one vs. the other?    

Edited by Paintguru
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I should start with I don't sell or make candles.  I do soap, scrubs, lip balm,  bath bombs, perfume etc..... I carry 30-40 different fragrances.   I don't do seasonal fragrances anymore as they were never big sellers.  In scrubs I carry 8-10 scents, lip balm 12.   I'm trying to keep it at 30 for this year as my two shelves I use for shows holds 4 bars of 15 fragrances each.   I just have so many fragrances, I want to try them all. It's a very dark hole I fall into every year.  

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  • 3 weeks later...

My experience has been on the other end.  I do melts and scented home decor and since that "line" had fallen off in sales,  everyone and his brother was asking me to do more soaps,lotions, butters, balms, scrubs, perfumes, lip balms etc ( thank you WM candle pricing <rolls eyes> ) I was carrying 50 scents for wax and 20 full time scents for B&B with a list of 50 scents for personal individual orders. My B&B is now the main focus so I upped the full time to 30 and special order list to 60. I'm honestly doing as more B&B than I did wax because I can make top of the line products comparable to the big boys, at a fraction of their retail cost, and still come out on top. I was profitable on the BB within 6 months and I barely got totally profitable with wax in 4 years. 

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

I do about 2 dozen scents in soap routinely, with an occasional limited edition / seasonal scent.  C'mas scents don't really sell well in soap, but fall ones work for me and my customers. 

 

In candles, I do offer a lot more than 2 dozen, but in part, that's because I have both a soy line and a paraffin line.  I'm weird that way.

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I sell mostly at craft shows and farmer's markets so I make what my tables hold in my soap boxes. I do 2 tables for soap and B&B year round. Each table will hold 4 soap boxes with 3-4 different scents giving me a total of 16 soap scents. Then I have 2 double basket risers that also hold about 3-4 scents each giving me a total of anywhere between 8-16. I make about 34 different soaps.

 

For B&B like lotions, balms, sprays, etc., I try to keep no more than 2-5 scents.

 

Candles I make only during the fall and holiday season. I try to do just 12 scents but end up making as many as my table risers will hold. I do one full table of candles during the fall and holidays and typically carry about 16-20 scents.

 

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It's not hard to have 20+ fragrances.  I've been doing this for many years.  I have over 150-200 fragrances in my arsenal to choose from.   I found the opposite.  I started with 12 fragrances and people were constantly asking if I had this or that.  I have found that carrying a large selection pretty much covers anyone who wanders in and wants to buy.   I do large venues over a weekend so see a lot of traffic.  I only do 3-4 shows a year.

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1 hour ago, Shari said:

I have over 150-200 fragrances in my arsenal to choose from.  

 

Wow! I don't think I could afford to stock that many. I buy FO in 10# containers and each of those are around $120. Not to mention the space to store it. I've converted my garage to a studio but I'm spilling out at the seams. But maybe that's the best take home message; if it works for you then keep it up! 👍

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I think much of your answer lies in where will you sell and what kind of turn out?  I would go to all the shows and markets around (even if that isn't where you'll sell) and ask them what their best sellers are.  This is how I learned that it differs tremendously on area.  As I moved, things changed drastically.  I went from  Orange County in So Cal to a much more rural beach town in the central coast of Cal and suddenly everyone wanted scents I did not have and I changed and carried way less scents.  Now I'm in OR and I noticed in shops here that the scents sold are different again.  I probably had at least 100 scents, not that I used them all but I had them and I created mixers with some so that I had my own special scents they couldn't buy at big box stores.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Honestly, what has driven my scent choices is how well they've thrown/performed in my candles.  I've gone through a ton of 1 oz samples, but I probably only keep 1 out of 2 or so.  I'd like to use the same collection of scents for soap and candles, just for economy of scale.  I should go down and count how many "approved" scents I have right now.  

 

Edit:  I just counted...106.  Wowza.  

Edited by Paintguru
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