One of the best parts of my soapmaking business is developing relationships with my customers. After a few emails back and forth, we start to learn more about who they are apart from their love of our soap. We discuss children, husbands, bad days at work....we really get to know each other. I would love to meet each and every one of my friend-customers, but I am proud to say they're all over the world...
This past Wednesday, I was lucky enough to me two customers of mine who were in town on vacation. Shirl and Al are from ASliceOfSoap, and own 2 stores in Sydney, Australia. Shirl approached me a few months ago to ask if I would consider selling my soap wholesale. I thought about it, and my first reaction was to say no - I love having my small, intimate customer-seller relationship. But, the idea of my soap selling outside of America just really appealed to me. I had already sold soap to customers in Israel and Spain, so it was a nice idea to add Australia to my list!
I snuck out of work for a long lunch on Wednesday (it ended up being almost a 3 hour lunch - don't tell my boss!) and met Shirl and Al in New York City, and brought along just enough soap that they could manage taking home on the plane (to save the astronomical shipping charges was worth lugging 2 boxes!) What a pleasure to meet such interesting people, and to learn about how people think in Australia as opposted to people here. I was fascinated by which items are considered "best sellers" here, yet in Australia they don't sell - not because they aren't good, but because it's an unknown there. For instance, I sent Shirl 2 Angelfood cake soaps with one of her orders - those are SO big here. They've made it into Etsy Treasuries and blogs all over - people adore this soap! Unfortunately, angelfood cake is not popular worldwide, so Australians do not know what it is when they see it!
Al also told me how they had a little competition going....They also buy their products to resell from a local soapmaker - she also makes bakery and treat-styled soaps. They wanted to see who's products would sell out faster - mine, or the other company. Hands down, they said my items sold quickest - that was huge for me!
By the time I write this, Al and Shirl are hopefully enjoying a safe flight home. I wish I was able to spend more time with them while they were here but I'm sure our paths will cross again