Hello, I'm Louise Vargas and I'm a skincare artisan. I love creating goodies for skin and it is even more fun for me if I can put an artsy, creative twist to it. Our household uses everything I make, from spa products, to household cleaning. Our Etsy Shop is http://TheSoapGallery.etsy.com. My joy is in telling people that all our products are made from scratch, that I know exactly what is in everything. I have moderate chemical sensitivities from a past job and can no longer tolerate harsh detergents or cleaners which leave fumes. This led me, 12 years ago, into researching a gentler way to keep my skin hydrated and smooth.
What is your most significant goal for the coming year? We have a couple of goals for 2011. 2010 was dedicated to testing the market. People like us! We're going to expand our line to include handmade cosmetics and candles. Our other goal is to organize things better. Time management, funding, etc. We're still "just starting" :)
What are your thoughts on the crafting community in Winnipeg? As a recent returnee to Winnipeg and first year doing craft shows, I've found the crafting community very warm and inviting for the most part, with few exceptions. The talent here is amazing!!
What has been the most difficult thing about running an online business? I'm not sure about everyone else, but the most difficult thing I've found about running an online business is that my stock is changing so constantly that it's hard to update my Etsy shop quick enough. I've found recently that using a small database to insert items (by cut and paste) seems to help. Another issue is traffic. My items are sold olfactorially - people are attracted by our fresh scent choices initially, and then we invite them in to smell our sample sizes. Of course this cannot be done online easily. Our online sales come from our existing customer base.
What are your keys to success at craft shows? We are consistently doing between 5-7x our booth fees at the shows this year and I believe what sets our items apart from others is our presentation. We dress up our tables to make our clients feel they are in a French Provincial bath and body boutique. Our items are packaged using eco-friendly materials - and we make sure customers have plenty of choice - we always carry extra stock to replenish items as they sell. Engaging people without seeming pushy makes for a very relaxed shopping experience as well. __________ You can find out more about The Soap Gallery by clicking the links below: Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TheSoapGallery Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/TheSoapGallery Artfire: http://TheSoapGallery.artfire.com/ Etsy: http://TheSoapGallery.etsy.com/ Last but not least ^^: Website: http://www.soap-gallery.com/ Blog: http://www.soap-gallery.com/blog