Friday, August 15, 2008
Name: Lisa Salamida
Company Name: Savor
E-mail Address: email@example.com
In what year was your company founded? 2007
Describe your products or services in detail?
Savor offers some of the most unique scent blends and soap styles that you can find -- from luscious soaps with real chocolate to skin-pampering natural soaps loaded with oatmeal, calendula, and cocoa butter, there is a soap for everyone! My mission is to offer clients a truly sensual experience in every bar. I look for combinations that perk up your senses and create a sense of indulgence. When I craft a soap, I carefully consider each detail: the oils, the fragrance, the texture and the packaging.
I currently offer three main lines: bar soap, shaving soap and whipped soap. The bar soap is offered in a couple different styles -- some rich with olive oil, some with cocoa butter, and in the future I'll have a line of honey-based soap.
The shaving soap is loaded with skin conditioners and extra glycerin, perfect for just the right amount of razor glide.
The whipped soaps are a true best-seller -- I call them "Creme Fraiche" or "Fresh Cream" -- they are so decadent, with an amazing lather and the most lovely and delicious scents. I load up the whipped soap with sweet almond oil so that they are moisturizing, and some "flavors" contain exfoliating ingredients like jojoba beads.
What made you start your business? What made you decide to use a particular material?
My husband really inspired me to get the business started. He sells prints on Etsy, and once I discovered how easy it was to set up a store front, I jumped right in. I had been making soap for years, so it was a natural thing for me to offer for sale. My business is run very professionally -- everything from collecting sales tax to having business and liability insurance.
What inspires you?
I'm driven by an intense love of food from all cultures. This is how I can go from Italian bergamot and tarragon (the Italy bar) and cornmeal (the Polenta bar) to soaps like Coconut Mochi, Cardamom Vanilla, to Sweet Carrot -- which is based off of an Indian dessert. I like to "travel the world" with my ideas, brining in unusual scents and delights. Lavender soap is fine, but isn't it fun to try Payapa and Black Pepper?
Do you have anything unique or interesting that you would want readers to know about?
I think Savor may be unusual in that it's a completely debt-free business. I advocate being debt free whenever possible -- and especially with something "risky" like starting your own business.
At any point, if Savor fell apart, I can simply walk away with nothing lost except my own hard work.
To work debt free, you need a lot of planning. You can't get everything you want all at once -- I had to work up slowly to my current setup. Some times this means you have to make-do with
inefficient equipment, doing things the "hard way" -- and you have to make choices about what's best and what's next!
It really helps you decide what is important. If I save up for two months to upgrade a piece of equipment, then I know whether or not I really, really need that item. If I spend without thinking, I might buy things that I wind up never using. It also helps keep supplies in check -- crafters LOVE new supplies!
But if you've got to pay cash only, you tend to use up what you already have before going out and buying more. It keeps the business running very smoothly and helps me keep an eye on the in- and outflow of cash.
Out of all your products which is your favorite and why?
Current favorite, hands-down, is the Ginger Icing Creme Fraiche. I cannot get over the scent -- it's so lovely, I want to wrap it around me like a sweater!
For bar soap, my current favorite is a tie between Geisha and Little Black Dress. The Geisha is girly, very pampering kind of scent, and the Little Black Dress is delicious black licorice!
Who is your target market?
My main market during the year is the 20-50 year old bracket of women, most of them unmarried and most of them without kids. I do get a lot of moms shopping for their children -- especially for soaps like the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough! But most of my sales go to women that
have some extra cash around that they want to use specifically to pamper themselves. The awesome thing is that I've gotten a lot of boyfriends and husbands hooked -- they start stealing the soap in the shower!
Over the holidays last year, men made up 50% of my customers, since they were buying gifts. Many of those gift recipients turned into regular customers.
I keep in touch with my regular customers through Etsy "conversations" and also through my newsletter -- I set it up on my site so that people can opt-in if they'd like to receive news from Savor. This helps me in case Etsy ever goes down -- I can still reach my customers easily and let them know what's up.
Is crafting a full-time job for you?
Crafting is definitely a full time job -- which means I carry two full time jobs right now. Since my "real" job offers some incomparable benefits (401k matching, profit sharing, fitness allotments) it's so hard to replace that with just an Etsy shop. While Etsy sales have been outstanding for me, going Etsy-only won't ever happen. When I make the break to Savor-only, it'll be after I have an established website of my own, in addition to Etsy. Regular wholesale accounts have been a huge help -- and I pick up new accounts every month. I'm very fortunate that my husband and I do work for the same company -- he works right down the hall, in fact! so I know what kind of benefits will cover me if I left this job -- the health benefits would stay exactly the same, in fact.
I know that I won't be able to produce enough in my current environment, too -- my husband and I plan to move within the next year, which will make it much easier to run Savor.
What one bit of advice would you give to new Etsy shops?
If I have to choose one thing, it's gonna be something boring and dull and a drag, but it's ABSOLUTELY necessary.
Treat your store like a business.
Make a business plan and a budget. Follow through on accounting, thank all of your customers courteously (that part is fun actually), and keep all your paperwork and receipts organized.
When you make it big, you will regret it if you don't do this! And I believe that it's very hard to succeed if you don't have your mind set on your pennies. Keeping track of cash flow will keep your business afloat and growing steadily. You want to have enough revenue to pay
yourself a wage, to put back into the business for innovation, and to upgrade equipment and education when you need to