Like many new business ventures, Soap de Villa was fashioned to fill a gap in the market and provide a product offering that was close to the owner’s personal needs. Since 2013, Soap de Villa’s owner Rebecca has hand-made and sold a variety of soaps to thousands of customers, all of them made with all natural ingredients and designed for people with sensitive skin.
“I had bad, sensitive skin. I found it hard to find a product to use because of my allergies,” Rebecca confesses. “I was working as a sub-contractor and wasn’t sure how long the contract would las. So I was looking for a second income and this was something that I was interested in, that I enjoyed creating.”
Rebecca, with the support of her husband, withdrew $5000 dollars from their home loan to kick start the business. With a limited start-up budget, Rebecca knew she had to maximise the use of those funds. “My husband told me that “we would see how it went” and limited our budget so that if it didn’t work out, we wouldn’t have lost very much. At the end of the first year we had done quite well, so I continued on and the business has grown ever since.”
To promote the product and generate sales on a low budget, Rebecca attended craft markets. She also worked with other stall holders, who would share information and refer customers to each other’s businesses. This is fantastic word of mouth advertising that was invaluable to her initial success.
As part of Soap de Villa’s business plan, very early on Rebecca applied for an “Australian Made” logo. She felt this helped to market the product more effectively, as it gave Rebecca access to a large database of potential customers specifically seeking out Australian Made products.
“When I first started out, our main market [customer] was ladies over forty with sensitive skin or skin problems. But, when we started our Facebook page, we noticed that the majority of followers were in their mid-twenties and early thirties.” As an opportunist, Rebecca developed a product that specifically targeted this new group of followers, her ‘Bonbonniere’ soaps with packaging specifically designed for weddings.
“This younger age group is in the demographic that are getting married. So I saw an opportunity to create the bonbonnieres, as well as providing bridal party gifts and gifts for mothers of the bride and groom.”
Soap de Villa use a number of different Avery labels for their product packaging, including the 40mm round gloss white and 50mm square labels.
Rebecca suggests that the DIY print option has made it easier to design and label the packaging for her soaps. Most of the ‘favour box’ soap packages use Avery labels because of the versatility offered. The labels are also used for samples to give to customers.
“In order to grow a hand-made business, you have to stand out. You need to be different compared to other businesses so customers remember you, that’s where the packaging comes in.”
Over the past three years, the business has continued to grow a healthy customer database through word of mouth. Their products are now stocked in 15 stores around NSW and the goal is to continue to expand year on year.
Visit Soap de Villa to see their range of products http://www.soapdevilla.com.au/