Thursday, February 21, 2019

Pacifica Grace Studio | Behind The Scenes #2

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Welcome to another “behind the scenes” look at my Etsy business Pacifica Grace Studio

After several months of researching and preparing, I started offering handcrafted bath & body products with the January release.  I've always loved trying out bath & body products at stores like B&BW, The Body Shop, and Lush, so it was a natural transition for me to start making them. 

Lavender coconut lime scented heart-shaped body butter bar, made with shea butter, coconut oil, beeswax, vitamin E oil, and dried lavender buds.

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Another business change that I adopted coming into the new year is to have a set date for monthly product releases.  When I started my candle & wax melt business in Q4 last year, the business model was “made to order”.  Meaning I didn’t make the candles / wax melts until someone ordered it through my Etsy store.  The reason I set it up that way was because I didn’t know what the initial sales were going to be like, and I didn’t want to make a bunch of candles and not be able to sell them.  Holding inventory is one of the costliest line item in a business.  However, as I worked through November and December on making the orders when people ordered them, I realized that it was inefficient and time-consuming.  I couldn’t work in bigger batches and it was very time-consuming and inefficient to make one or two candles by order.  I had to get all my equipment out, set up, make the products, and clean up afterwards.  Then do it again if I got orders the next day, or the day after.  After experiencing that for two months, I decided that this was a very inefficient way to run my business, and brainstormed about changes during the holidays in December. 

Lemon Poppy Seed Soap

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I decided on the monthly product release business model, releasing products around the 15th of each month.  That way my work schedule isn’t at the whim of customer orders.  I planned out my month so that there are designated days for the different types of activities involved for my business:

  • Product planning & research
  • Inventory / supply tracking
  • Ordering supplies
  • Making the products (this occurs over several days)
  • Packaging and labeling the products (which takes a surprising amount of time)
  • Product photography
  • Listing products into my Etsy store
  • Writing & sending out monthly release newsletter
  • Processing orders
  • Packing and shipping orders (which again takes a surprising amount of time)
  • Financials (bookkeeping, cost analysis, sales analysis, etc.)

Batching up the activites has definitely helped to plan out my month better and even out my work schedule.  However, the conumdrum is now I have to try to predict how much each item would sell, and try to make about that many in my batches.  It is really difficult to predict still.  Sometimes I’ll make something with awesome ingredients and looks fantastic and I love it, but it doesn’t sell as well.  Other times something will sell out several hours after I send out my newsletter, thus I miss out on potential additional revenue.  I’m hoping that with more sales records that I’ll be able to better predict later this year.

Unicorns & Rainbows Fizzy Bath Parfait (fruit loops scented)

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About the newsletter.  After toiling on the social media front for a few months, I realized that when I post to FB or IG, I’m at the whim of the social media algorithms.  Most people don’t even see my posts.  I even paid for Facebook ads and nothing happened.  No sales from it whatsoever.  So it is a very inefficient and frustrating way to try to get traction.  So after I decided on doing the monthly release model, I decided on the newsletter format to announce the releases.  That way people who are actually interested can opt-in and the information would be pushed to them.  They are more likely to see it than on FB or IG, and they also can take purchasing action immediately through the links if they wished.  I also offer exclusive newsletter subscriber discounts as a way to thank customers for subscribing.  I think this has worked out pretty well both for me and for my customers.  If you want to subscribe, you can do so here!

Cocoa Butter Cashmere Whipped Body Mousse

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Unicorns & Rainbows soy ombre candle (scented in fruit loops)

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Many of the January and February release products have sold out, but there are still some products left.  You can take a look at what’s available currently in my Etsy shop

Pulling orders and prepping them for shipment.

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Shipments ready to go out

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Hope you enjoyed this “behind the scenes” look at my little handcrafted business!  It is a lot of fun, a lot of hard work, and a tiny fraction of what I used to earn at my corporate finance job, LOL.  But it is a labor of love and I’m enjoying it.


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