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.