Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Well, we had torrential rain, sleet, snow, cows, and...

No, wait, we had 4 minutes of rain. That's about it.

I survived. The business survived. Things are really picking up. We launched a brand new product, had our PR firm send out a great press release, and the response has been amazing. We sent out samples to Rachel Ray, E! Online, Vanity Fair, Essence Magazine, Elle, and 70 other magazines, newspapers and television shows.

Very exciting.

The new product is called Soapier ScoopsTM, and they're really fantastic. Made with all natural shea butter soap, they come in four different fragrance combinations. You're going to love these!

Thanks for your interest!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A new Soapier review, and PR update

Well, things have been quite hectic over at Soapier. We've got a new person working the store. We've got two PR firms helping us get the Soapier brand out there.

And we just got reviewed, again.

Weird Stuff In My Desk gave us GLOWING review. We couldn't possibly be happier. Wow.

So far, we've gotten requests for products from such magazines as Lucky, Sly, Mint, Damsel, and More.

Strange names there, huh? Sounds like a law firm.

"Good afternoon, Lucky, Sly, Mint, Damsel and More. How may I direct your call?"

Tons of other places, too. We're expecting a review to pop up at any day now.

We're hoping it's a positive one!

Hope all is well. Again, sorry for the scant updates.


Monday, June 30, 2008

Soapier Product Reviews!

Here are three sites (with more to come) that reviewed our products!

Laura Williams Musings has a wonderful blog and gave us a great review!

Scribbit is a fascinating blog about motherhood in Alaska. We sponsored Michelle's June contest with a $50 gift certificate. We had given her samples before hand and LOVED our Luscious Body Lotions.

Mummy Product Reviews gave us a GLOWING review of our products, and we couldn't be happier!

John @ FILS/Soapier

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Our re-designed store

So! It's been a while since I've been here, and the site deserves an update. So, here goes:

First off, we've gotten a very nice response from the PR firm press releases we sent out. 15 different magazines, news stations and newspapers across the country are interested in seeing samples.

Now, let me put this into a bit of perspective, because I think it's important.

The release we sent out, we were told to expect about .5 to 1% response. We got less than that.

BUT. Prior to our sending out the release, we had ZERO exposure to these venues. So, we're all very excited.

Getting the Soapier brand out is what's important. We have another release going out in two weeks... we feel things are moving in a great direction.

I also wanted to post some images of our store, so people can check out what we're trying to accomplish here in Tarpon Springs.

You can kind of get an idea of what the store looked like a few months ago, here. It was good for our soft opening, but it wasn't enough. Here are some more shots.

We had the back wall orange, the side walls a kind of light orange. Couple months later, my mom wasn't too pleased with the colors, she said they weren't inviting enough.

The right side of the shop, the shelves, while inventive, weren't economic enough when showing product. The left side, the stained wood shelves, we all liked those. We liked the height of them for customers, and how clean they looked.

So, we changed the paint, changed the center display, added some great signs, changed the back wall display and the right side displays to this:

If you look at this picture, the top right, you'll see that empty shelf on the top. I put some more product out, so that they were straight, and shot this.

Looks better, right? Isn't that crazy?

Here's the outside of our shop:

We're kind of tucked away in the corner, but we get some very decent traffic during the season.

This is just a little display sign outside we use to get people to come in. It's two sided. The other side says "SOAPIER - SALE"

Redesigning the store window is next. Right now it's kind of functional, but plain.

We recently hired someone to work Monday - Thursday at the store, to free up my time so I can help at the shop, which needs cleaning and organizing. Then I'll start to work on more PR, the website, our fledgling myspace page and more.

Thanks for visiting, let me know what you think of the new shop!


Thursday, June 12, 2008

PR firms

Well, we hired two. One to get the word out nation wide, and one to concentrate on the local region.

We're very excited here. We think we're finally moving in the right direction, and there's a lot of enthusia... snoreeeeeeee.

Huh? What? Don't hit me, mom!

Sorry... dozed off a second.

TONS of enthusiasm. I joke, but it's true. We have new photos being shot of all of our products on Tuesday. We have press releases going out, introducing us as one of THE premier soap designers in the country. Promotions, magazine articles. We're hoping that things are going to start steamrolling.

Now. Have you ever seen a steamroller?

Ah ha!

These things are slow as hell!

And that's exactly what we want. We can pretty much take care of any order that comes down the pipe, unless it's 100,000 bars of soap that look like Mohammed Ali. And pink.

Yes, that's happened.

We want things nice and paced. We want to grow uniformly and slowly. Growing too fast accrues too much outlay in capital, hiring new people, a new, larger space. Of course, growing too fast is something everyone should have to deal with, heh. And we could, of course, handle it.

But 3 people running a wholesale operation with over 750 customers, and a retail store... we're stretched pretty thin.

So. Steamroller. Good analogy, though I feel I'm mixing metaphors, but it's my blog, so nah nah.

I'll post some of the photo highlights for you once they're done. Should be great.

Keep your fingers crossed for us! It's funny, but I remember so many different lessons from business people. One that sticks clear into my head is 'things are slow? expand. things will pick up again, and you should get ahead of the game while you can.'

This lesson, mind you, only works for Walmart. But, we can compete with those guys.

Our First Contest... IS OVER!

Wow, what a ride.

On May 11th I decided to have this really fun contest. Take a photo of yourself, your friends, your pets, whatever, with soap. 3 prizes, $30 gift certificates.

And we have got our winners!



Can I talk to you for a moment

Uh, sure... excuse me folks.

(walk over to a table, sit down)

Listen, I'm not sure how to tell you this.


We didn't get any entrants for the photo contest.


Yeah. No entries. No photos. No interest. Nothing.

But... I did all that promoting.

I know.

I put that contest on like 16 websites.

I know.

Well then, what happened?


Sigh. Well, thanks.

Don't mention it.

(back to crowd)

Well... I, ummm, am not sure how to say this... but there are no winners because there were no entries.

Well. Thanks for stopping by, I guess.

We'll have more contests soon!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Fundraiser time

Ok folks. I'm not sure if you know that there are hundreds upon thousands of people out there, every day, being selfless and giving of their time, money and energy.

I've done some fundraising in the past, and I have to tell you, it's hard to get people to donate money. Especially in this economy.

I'm not asking you to donate money.

It's easy to be cynical in this world. Some people want to grab their little piece of life and community and family and be done with it, and other people, like Jamie Holmes, who started Jamie's Dream Team, they want to make the world an easier place to live. A better place.

They were just featured on CNN. I watched the video just about an hour ago, and I figured that this is a woman who could use our help.

And your help. So. Any purchase made between now and August 1st on, Soapier will pledge 30% to Jamie's Dream Team.

Now, unfortunately, I can't give them 30% and you, our loyal customer, 15% off, which we advertise on this blog. So, I'll give you 10% off.

Grumble, grumble.

FINE! I'll give you 15% off. You twisted my arm. Clean off. And I'm bleeding. But that's ok! You guys are worth it, especially when it comes to helping out a great organization.

These are extraordinary people helping those in need. It's a worthwhile cause, I'm sure you'll agree.

Please use the following coupon code: JAMIE - when placing your order. You'll see your 15% come off, and we'll be updating this blog and give you the total, come August 1st.

Tell your friends! We sell fantastic soaps and spa products. Seriously. Sooner or later, everyone's going to be loving them.


VP Marketing & Sales

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

coding your own online shop

It's not easy! I remember when I first learned HTML. This guy at this job I had a long time ago gave me a book on it and said "start learning, or you'll go the way of the dodo."

Those were not his exact words.

So I started learning. Then I learned a bit of flash. Then some java.

And then I stopped doing all of it. I kind of got a bit burned out on graphic design and web design and wanted to do other things in my life.

Then my mom said "Hey! Build me a website."

And who can say no to moms?

So she found a template she liked and I shot the photos for First In Line Soap and we hired someone for the Soapier shots, and someone helped with the copy and we got the site done.

Then my buddy Al Rotches said "Hey, do that thing they do at istock, where you roll over the images instead of having pop-ups."

Al is currently missing. Grumble, grumble.

So, I started looking up how to do the code and I found this Dynamic Drive site and they had the code! But they also had 36 pages of comments and no real follow ups... plus all those words were driving me bonkers, and moving along the screen by themselves, so I said "let's find another site."

Found this guy, and so I'm hoping he'll be able to answer some questions.

I only did one quick try on it here. You can see that Froggie's Pond is the one I worked on, because the text has shifted down, instead of where it should be, on the right side of the pick. But the in screen pop-up works!


So... I'll keep you posted. But it's fun to learn new things, and even funner when someone can help you fix those problems that need fixing.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

the benefits of taking baths

Daily stress can take many forms. You can be a stay at home mom with three kids that get into, well, kid trouble.

You could work a full time job and then have to come home to a family.

You could be a single mother and work two jobs. Three jobs.

You could be stressed out about bills. About your kids and school. About their friends. About... gosh, so many things, right?

Suffice it to say, guys can have the same problems. Or different problems.

The good thing is that baths are for everyone.

What people have to understand first about baths is that, it's not just about buying some product that is going to make everything melt away. This isn't Calgon talking.

That's some pretty clever marketing, especially for the 1980's. And I'm sure it sold a ton. But silky smooth water is not the point of baths.

It might help, but it's not necessary.

Bath time is a break time. You do it when your mind is harried and your decision making process is just not right. This break will help you center yourself, and let you clear your mind... and after, will help you come at problems correctly.

The first and most important thing about baths is the mood. Quiet, light music, candles, what-have-you.

You're taking a bath to de-stress. And quiet and mood lighting are so important. It's the first step to relaxing.

The water has got to be warm to hot. Luke warm, tepid water isn't going to relieve tension in your muscles. Warm water dilates blood vessels and helps with circulation.

If you can remember any time that aches and pains were relieved when you took a swim, or floated in the ocean... well, the same happens while you're in a bath. Joints, bones, muscles... all of them are relieved in water. The weight of your body isn't adding pressure to them, they get a chance to relax... not unlike the relief (boy, there's that word again) they receive while you're sleeping.


Quiet, or light music. Check.

Candles lit. Check.

Oh, don't... don't like hook up a radio or a tv or something, near the bath. That... that's not safe.

So! You're in the warm-to-hot water... mood's set... what's next?

So many things to choose from, it's hard to decide.

Do you use soap? Bath oil? Body scrub? Bath salts?

Fragrance during a bath is a huge plus. Certain fragrances allow you to relax, some trigger emotional responses, some bring you back to a happy time and place in your memory... these are all subjective. Find something that will help continue your calm mood. Remember, this is YOUR time... so make the best of it.

We recommend using a product that will not only get you clean, but will also moisturize.

Baths aren't always about replacing your clean time in a shower. Sometimes you want to just concentrate on relaxing. Sometimes you want to concentrate on your legs and feet.

For that... we have to recommend sugar scrubs. These are not too oily, they won't leave a residue around your tub, and their exfoliating ability (along with their texture) will feel divine while taking a bath.

We feel that baths should take anywhere between 15-20 minutes. After that, the house will be in a sort of chaos because, let's face it... and chances are, you'll be hearing fire trucks or police coming after 20 minutes if you're not around.

Thanks for reading. We're sure that most people know the benefits of baths, but it's always nice to have a reminder every once in a while.

We're all fans of baths here at Soapier. We're sure that if you take the time to take care of yourself each day, even if it's a foot soak for a few minutes, you'll feel better about your day, feel healthier, and be able to tackle everything that comes your way!

Linda @ Soapier

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Soapier's first blog review!

Check it out folks... at Laura Williams Musings.

We're very happy to have gotten such a great review of our products!

Go over and enter their giveaway for free Soapier stuff!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Our First Contest!

Hi all, thanks for stopping by at Soapier's Blog!

We have this fun, great new contest we're going to start today, and I think you'll all enjoy it.

It's a photo contest, and who doesn't like photo contest!


Quite, you!

The photo you're going to take is of you, your cat, your dog, girlfriend, your mailman, someone... with soap! (seriously, we had to throw soap in there somewhere, give me a break already). Doesn't have to be our soap, any soap.

And, it has to be a humorous photo.

Not a serious soap photo.

Not a pulitzer price winning soap photo. Fun. Like this, except with more prominent soap...

Anyway, here are the rules.

1. Photo must be shot by the person submitting the photo (or, have you in it).

2. Publish a link to our contest page on your blog, with your photo posted there, then leave us a comment and give us the link!

3. Hmmm...

Ok, I could only think of two rules.

We'll have 3 winners and there will be a poll for visitors to choose their favorite!

Each winner will receive a $30 gift certificate to Soapier, which you can use online at

That's it. Contest starts today, ends June 11th (I'll give you all a month to really buckle down and take your best shot).

Thanks again for stopping by, this should be a lot of fun!

John @

Friday, May 9, 2008

Displaying products

This is going to be one of those posts that will be in the "I know that" column for some, and the "Neat ideas" column for others.

What I want to talk about is how to display retail products properly. Now, this isn't an article on how to display items in a chain store where the home office gives strict guidelines on how to display and market product.

This is for small boutique shops that sell product they don't manufacture. Gift shops, salons, soap and spa product stores, etc. I'll be using our products to demonstrate... since we sell our products exclusively ;)

Promoting products in store

One of the things we wanted to help solve for our customers was promoting our line in their stores.

First In Line Soap, as a wholesale loaf soap seller, is trying to make the in-store marketing of our products as easy as possible. What we do is provide each loaf soap we sell with decorative signs, wrapping paper for individual slices, and decorative labels for each fragrance/design.

What this does is provide customers with an easy to read sign on the name and fragrance of the product. Wrapping a slice of soap and putting our decorative label on it does a few things. One, it reminds people of the product name they purchased and, two, sends them home with a little gift to open.

One of the things we've noticed at First In Line Soap is that our customers buy small quantities. Space might be the issue. We completely understand. Having our own retail shop forces us to not only make compromises with purchasing product, but also allows us to be creative in our displaying ideas.

Let's use our loaf soaps, which are our best sellers, as an example of customers making smaller purchases due to limited space issues.

Space issues

Customer A has ordered two loafs of soap.

2 loafs of soap (and a slicer) would cost $83, plus shipping. We have a $75 minimum for first time buyers.

We recognize that space is always going to be a factor when it comes to displaying product. Most small business owners will tell you that they never have enough space.

Regardless of size, the fact is that a full store always looks better than an empty one.

What if you want to introduce a new product, but you only have a small space?

The first thing you're going to have to do is get some specifications. It would be a shame to buy a new product line and find out that not only is the space too small... but now you're stuck with all this new product, and you can't properly display it!

First In Line Soap loafs are 1-foot long, 4-inches wide and yield 12 1-inch slices.

On a 5-foot wide table that is 2-foot deep... that's a pretty impressive presence of soap you've got there! You could have a display similar to what we have at our Soapier retail store.

Now, maybe you have that 3-foot table. We're a new product for you and you want to see how things sell. So you buy two loafs.

What you're going to get is a pretty empty table with two great smelling soaps on it... but nothing that is going to catch your customers eye.

I recognize that this might be a bit of an exaggeration, but from our experience, we get so many customers that purchase only two to three loafs of soap, and not even multiple loafs of each! While there is no break in price for purchasing multiple loafs, we're all consumers. We all know that going into a store and seeing a rack of similar items triggers something in our brain that entices us to buy. Repetition, in all of its many forms, works to get people's attention.

Having a large selection of product (from one brand or multiple) can never really hurt you. But, having a range of products from a single brand you trust (and have experience with) will give the product a more impressive presence in your store, and will certainly catch your customers eye.

In our store we have a large set-up in the middle of the shop where most of our loaf soaps are. We also have our soap slice cutter there, so customers can watch us cut fresh slices for them.

We know most stores can't afford to give up that much space. But if you are opening up a new store (or looking to re-design your shop), you might want to consider displaying your strongest items (whether it be soap or stuffed animals or chocolate) like we have.

Let's take a look at two of our smaller soap products, our Soapier Accent Soaps and our Loofah Boats when it comes to displaying.

Soapier Accent Soaps are about 3.5-inches wide by 1.5-inches high and come in six fragrances.

Here's what you get when display 4 of our Kitchen Soaps. We get these kinds of orders all the time.

As a consumer, I would look at that and not be interested. The sign is nice enough, but there's nothing to hold my attention except for a bunch of white space. Put this in a store corner, and it will either get hidden or dismissed pretty quickly.

Here's what we did at our retail store. And while we know that space defines product quantities, you can be inventive on how you'd display 8-12 of these bars.

We used clear glass plates and stacked soaps all over, like they were spilling off the plate. The colors are such that that Kitchen Soap is striking, a contrast between the Chamomile, Clay and Seaweed, Jasmine and Orange Soaps. It almost serves as an anchor. And when customers get a whiff of chocolate and coffee soap... well, they always comment on it.

Don't have this much space? No problem! Get a large platter and stack the soaps that way. They are all very distinctive, people won't have a problem distinguishing between them.

Our Loofah Boats are a great combination of glycerin soap and loofah. They come in four great fragrances and are a hit with men and women looking for a soap and exfoliant in one. There are some people who are partial exclusively to loofahs, and they love this produce.

Here's an example of displaying them when purchasing a small handful.

When Soapier first opened, we didn't have signs up for our products. The store is so small, we figured that if people wanted to ask a question about a product, they would just ask. This is hardly ever the case.

Most customers don't want to be bothered with asking questions. They can see what the product is. They want to know the price and move on.

So we started making signs up for our products, and using a simple clear plastic bowl you can buy at K-Mart for $15, we displayed them like this:

Huge impact, nice sign, colorful, fragrant... makes a statement, right? Not a lonely box shoved in a corner, but a display that will attract customers. The ones you WANT to target.

The last example I'm going to give you is with our sugar scrubs. Sugar scrubs are not a cheap spa product. Super high end brands can sell for $40, minimum. It's not something retailers want to take a chance with because six of each fragrance from some of these companies will end up costing you an enormous outlay.

First In Line Soap respects its wholesale customers. And, frankly, in this economy, purchasing a new product can be quite scary. We deal with it every day as we try and stock our retail store with more and more bath accessories. What will work, what won't, what we won't be able to give away... we know the drill.

But just like everything else, if you're ready to take that step in purchasing a new product like our Sweet Sugar Scrubs, presence is key.

Our Sweet Sugar Scrubs come in a number of fragrances. 8 to be exact. You are going to want to offer your customers a choice of them, naturally. Perhaps not all 8, but 4 at the minimum.

Sugar scrubs look GREAT when stacked together. We suggest 6 of each fragrance. Take a look at how nice and vibrant our Sweet Sugar Scrub selection looks:

At our store, customers go right to it. All those colors, all those possible fragrances... they love it.

One of the things we suggest (though sometimes it's not possible) is to offer sugar scrub demonstrations for your customers. We have ours set up like this.

Basically, if someone is interested, you ask them what fragrance they'd like. Once they've chosen, you use the pitcher of water to wet their hands. Use a small spatula or spoon and spoon some of the sugar scrub into their hands. They rub their hands with it (make sure you tell them to get the backs!) and then use the pitcher to clean off the sugar scrub, all the while toting the sugar scrubs wonderful properties and selling points.

Give them a clean washcloth to dry their hands and viola.

The Sugar Scrub Hand Spa Treatment has been enormously successful in our retail shop.

Soap as a new product

This question is the rub, right? To try a new product or not to try.

I don't think anyone can really answer this question for you. And if they try and answer the question for you, chances are they're the salesman.

In regards to our products, the only thing you can do is the research and feel your customers out. Are you getting requests for soaps? Do you have space to market, display and sell a new product correctly?

There are very few products that sell themselves.

First In Line Soap prides itself on selling quality products, colorful, fragrant and unique, at good price points for our wholesale customers. We want you to make money, and we want your customers to like our products.

In the end you have to trust your own instincts. Because at the end of the day you have to look at your store and be proud of it. You have to look at your daily report and be happy, or figure out how to improve your business. You have to be happy with your decisions and stay positive.

It's hard, but we're not giving up. And neither should you!


John Painz
VP Marketing
First In Line

Our Products


This is what we do the best. All of our designs are original ones. We use glycerin soap and... well, I can't give away all of our secrets, sheesh! But it's a melt and pour process. Glycerin soap is good for your skin. Most soap you purchase in grocery stores and department stores are detergent. It's one of the main reasons the lather is so great. The problem is, detergent dries your skin. Company's take all of the glycerin that was in the soap originally and put it in lotions and bath gels... just another product you have to buy (from them) to keep your skin healthy.

Our glycerin soap adds moisture to your skin, keeping it healthy and shiny. Let's see... what have we got... (we have over 20 different designs to choose from, this is just a sample!)

My Little Sweet Pea - probably one of our toughest soaps to design, truth be told. But it smells awesome, fruity and floral and fun!

Vanilla Soap - What can I say about this one? If you're a big fan of vanilla, this bar will be great to help your bathroom smelling nice and clean and... edible!

Crisp Cotton - This is a nice delicate fragrance, like clean clothes on the line, drying in the sunlight. Seriously, I write this stuff... it's one of our most popular bars. Not too fragrant, just perfect.

Raspberry Soap (Raspberry Lovers) - All of our soaps are double fragranced. This one... wow. It's one of the dominant fragrances in our retail store, and it's the one most people say "God, I wish I could eat this!" If you love raspberry, you won't regret cleaning with this great bar.

Lily of the Valley - Classic scent, nice design, this is one of those fragrances that will make you get your hands dirty so you can clean them and smell this wonderful flower all day!

Cucumber Melon Soap - Neat design, fun fragrance, this is another favorite. It smells almost fruity, but the cucumber smell cuts it just enough to have it also smell really fresh and clean.

Body Wash

Lush Body Wash - This is one of our best non-soap sellers. Comes in four really great fragrances. Coconut Mango & Papaya (you would not believe how awesome this smells), Bergamot & Coriander (with some orange, too!), Jasmine & Vanilla (yummy), and Chamomile & Lavender (the classic scents). We added pumice and bamboo to the mix, for an exfoliant. Really great.

Goats Milk Body Lotion

Luscious Body Lotion - Goats milk and honey lotion provides much needed vitamins and nutrients to your skin to keep it healthy and vibrant. Comes in matching fragrances of our Lush Body Wash. Great for daily use on your hands, legs, arms, anywhere there is dry skin.

Sugar Scrubs

Sweet Sugar Scrubs - Our best seller. A unique recipe of Hawaiian Sugar, macadamia and almond oil and castile soap. The great thing about this sugar scrub is that it's not oily, so it won't leave a residue around your tub, and you won't have to worry as much about slipping (we don't want that!) It's good for your entire body and face (although not more than once a week on faces, it's still a scrub). Comes in a ton of fragrances:

Beach Breezes, Berry Berry, Coconut, Cucumber Melon, Pink Grapefruit, Kiwi, Oatmeal Milk & Honey, or Raspberry.

We have more, but I think you get the picture, right folks? Awesome stuff. And anyone on this blog who wants to order, I'll give you 15% off your purchase. Use BLOG1 as the coupon code at checkout for your discount!

OK, my brain is completely frozen over now after all that writing. But thanks for checking in. I'll be back later with more goofy news on the shop.

John @

Welcome to Soapier!

We're excited to start this new blog.

We hope to do a whole bunch of fun things here, including contests, sales, samples and much more.

Thanks for visiting our site, and stop back again soon!

Linda @