Friday, January 20, 2012


With jobs few and far between, and necessities of fuel, utilities, and food prices going up daily Gary and I realize we'll just have to keep working. Gary has been going to the local flea markets to sell things, but most items take up a lot of space and are heavy to repeatedly load and unload. We decided to try some diversification of products to sell. Eventually we'd like to narrow down our focus of items. We wanted to add items which will bring repeat business but wouldn't be too heavy to carry. We thought about selling food, like packaged nuts, but that involves licenses we didn't want to get into. Plus food is perishable and that's another drawback.

Since I work with clay I thought about selling items I could combine with clay. Gary already sells some of my pendants, but those don't bring the repeat business we're looking for. Soaps, lotions, potpourri, incense, essential oils, and candles came to mind. Since we used to have a lavender farm, we're well acquainted with the benefits of good quality personal care items. We love using handmade soap so we thought perhaps Gary could sell soaps along with some handmade ceramic soap dishes I'd make.

We have tentative plans to partner with an organic soap maker. We'll do a market test selling soaps at the flea market over the next few weeks. Candles are another item which could increase repeat business. Maybe some soy candles are in our future. In the meantime we're testing soaps and I'm designing and making soap dishes. Stay tuned for more about diversification. This post is part of Artists in Blogland weekly share about what's happening in the studio. Thanks for reading and for all your comments.


  1. Great idea!!! That's a great gift idea.

  2. The soap seller's at the festivals tend to sell more than double what I sell. Sometimes I think about going into soap making too.

  3. Soaps with soap holders and candles with candle holders sounds like a great idea. What wonderful gifts they'd make, too, for customers who were looking for something a little different and handmade.

  4. You sound like a hard-working gal!
    Good luck with your new ideas.

  5. great idea! we wholesale coasters to a small gift shop, the owner pairs them with handmade candles as holders instead of coasters.

  6. The more I do this, the more I think about moving, packing, and unpacking pottery.Everything has an assigned box with right sized foam or bubble wrap that never leaves the box. The bowls all stack with a sheet of foam in between and a strip of wrap around the stack, mugs are consistent sizes so there is no decision making when I grab a strip of wrap from the box whip it around the mug then grab another. It's still heavy but smart packing makes fewer boxes and trips to the van.I like the soap idea. I have considered pouring candles but have not done it yet. Good luck.

  7. Great idea! Go for it......and make enough. It's funny how potential customers will by pass two items, but zoom in on a dozen. I like the packaging idea. Back when I did a lot of bird feeders I always put a bagged pound of seed in them. There's nothing like getting a present and being able to use it immediately.

  8. Go for it Linda! When I go to different festivals, and the weekly Farmer's Market, the soap vendors always have people standing 3 deep, and I see a lot of purchases being made. I love handmade soap. Sometimes I will buy a bar to use and another of the same scent, I slice into smaller pieces and tuck them in shelves around the house just for the smell. Good luck.

  9. Wonderful cremaic soap dishes. It's a great idea to partner with a soap vendor. I buy my soap from my favorite vendor at our farmers market, and have for years. Good luck!

  10. They are always so useful! Make lots!!

  11. Sounds like a great idea Linda, organic soap is a biggie up here in NE. I look for interesting ones all the time and your beautiful soap dishes packaged with a soap would be great. Think farmer's markets too! That would be a wonderful thing to sell there. xox Corrine

  12. Hi Turquoisemoon, thanks, we love handmade soaps so much nicer on the skin.

    Hi Lori, thanks, hope we have that same luck.

    Hi Teresa, thanks, looking forward to the results.

    Hi Ms. Sparrow, thanks, no rest for the poor. Ha.

    Hi Michele, thanks, another good idea, coaster shapes for candles.

    Hi Dennis, thanks, I've been using some foam too, I got some of that mattress foam and cut it up into various sizes and it helps and cushions well. Stacks of same sized items help. I'm hoping to have more of those as most of my work is odd sized and very cumbersome.

    Hi Suzi, thanks, you are right I am making lots of multiples now.

    Hi Barbara, thanks, yes the fragrance of the soaps with the essential oils makes any room smell so good.

    Hi Helen, thanks, we plan to venture to a few farmer's markets as well.

    Hi Black Pumpkin, thanks, I plan to make many.

    Hi Corrine, thanks, yes the organic and natural oils are so much better than the commercial soaps full of who knows what.

  13. I would buy lavender soap on a pretty little dish!
    Right now the big sellers in my area offer gluten free skin products, and/or products for sensitive skin.
    At the last fair I just bought goat's milk soap... divine!!!

  14. I think the scrappy, creative, & (of course) hardworking can thrive at times like this...I hope that is the case for you. ~Mary

  15. Linda Starr, first of all I love your name and I think the soap idea and the soy candles are excellent choices and that are looking at other ways of marketing -- organic companies -- shows how resourceful the two of you are. May your efforts (seeds) multiply like the mustard seed and bring you a 1000-fold harvest. Blessings Terri

  16. Hi Phoenix, thanks, I didn't even know skin care products had gluten in them, I'll be checking into that as I have to be gluten free as of a little more than a year ago.

    Hi Mary, thanks, I hope so too, I do try hard, Ha.

    Hi Terri, thanks, I love seeing fields of mustard in bloom and I do hope my seeds multiply, thanks for your well wishes.


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