Frankly Speaking Friday-Business Practices Rant

Two things really upset me on a professional level this week. First off, I belong to several professional forums and social media sites. On one of them, one specifically geared toward the makers of skin care products, someone actually asked if anyone had a good recipe for a shea butter sugar scrub that they would give them. Seriously, why would you ask anyone for their recipe? And why would anyone give another company their recipe? Obviously the asker must not create their own recipes, and I have seen this many times. A novice begins making something they saw in a book, then begins selling the same. To me, this is akin to theft. Isn't the whole idea to make your own formulations? Grrr. I have never sold a product made from a recipe that I did not create and people wonder why I guard my recipes so fiercely!

The second incident that got me on top the soap box is that one of my most favorite supply shops, Bramble Berry, really disappointed me. The Soap Queen blog did an interview with a "wildly successful" soaper, the founder of You Smell soaps. Since she was actually on the tv show, the Shark Tank, I was very excited to read about this, and quite anxious to view the tv episode on Hulu.

I was excited that is, until I actually watched the episode and read the blog post, and visited her web site. Then I became very upset that my beloved Soap Queen would promote this fledgling soap maker without even bring to light the fact that she has virtually no experience in making soap! Especially when Ann Marie, in the past, has always advocated education.

Am I the only one that got the fact that this woman designed her company for a class project, then immediately moved straight into selling her soap so that, according to her response to a Shark, she could "see how much people would pay for it."  There apparently was no testing and no learning about SOAP. Yes, she test marketed her pricing, her packaging, her logo, but when did she study and learn about making soap? How many batches of soap did she make before she decided to sell it?  All of the sudden she is considered an expert and a good business risk because she came up with a good name and a great label. Yes I would have given her an A+ in class for her marketing design, but I do not feel it is okay to make a few batches of soap and then start selling them! And by BB publicizing this woman, I feel that they are encouraging some rather poor business standards, and this is what disappoints me so greatly.

As an aside, if you watch the Shark Tanks show, you may notice that she eludes to the fact that the paper soap is something new that nobody in the USA is currently doing. Just do a google search and you will find several "how to" articles dating back several years, which show that this is simply not the truth.

I would never buy soap, or anything else for that matter, that I put on my body  from a relative newbie. Then again, she never actually says what kind of soap she makes. Maybe it is just a melt and pour. But if that's the case, she is very misleading on the website. A true marketing strategy for sure, but not very ethical in my mind.  Maybe I don't need to worry about it though, because nobody can actually get any soap from her web site right now. Hmm, the note says that it is all because of the Shark Tank show, so have patience and wait for the goodness....about 6 weeks or so, if I recall correctly. I would think that you would have a good supply of soap already set up to cure before you put up a sales web site, but maybe I just didn't take the correct marketing class.

Okay, that may have been a bit snide, but I am really tired of people who decide to make something and then sell it, using the public as their guinea pig. This is, in my opinion, the major reason that the House bill to regulate crafters came so close to passing, and why they are still trying to rewrite and strongly regulate Indie businesses.

What do you think? Does the experience level of the maker of your lotions and soaps make a difference to you?  Would you buy skin care products from someone you knew made a few batches and then began selling straight away? If you knew that the product maker took the recipe from someone else, would you care?  Be honest and share your thoughts.

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