Hi, everyone! No, we are not going away, but we are re-evaluating how we conduct business. Nothing in stone, but taking time to take a look around.
One of the fun things we have seen at most of the events we attend is how many people come down the isle and say, “There’s my soap guy” and “I am sooo glad you are here” (actual quote). There have been many events that not only do we sell soaps, but we have repeat customers that had visited us from the event before (sometimes from a year or two ago).
Repeat customers are our favorites as not only do you come back for more soaps to restock your homes, but to purchase soaps to give away to your family and friends. We see it frequently near the holidays from everywhere, not just one city we have visited for a short time for an event, but for months afterwards.
We also love the stories we hear of creative uses you find for our soaps that are not shower or bathroom related. Our favorites is using our soaps to fragrance your linen closets, placing a bar of soap under the front seat of your car. The list goes on. We LOVE it!
Looking towards the future, some events costing upwards of $150-350 per event, plus electric, plus travel, plus hotel, etc, etc. With some of the smaller events doing well (or not so well), we are tending to see that some of the larger events are also not doing so well. Some of the marketing students will see a “diminishing Return on Investment (ROI)”. While we love to travel and see people, this would not be a long-term sustainable business model.
Which is why we are looking into the future. Not to stop doing shows and events, but to consider ways of making money… by not spending it. A wonderful concept may others could stand to use as their model.
For those unfamiliar with Return on Investment (ROI), please click here for the official definition, and I will let you know how I see it.
- For simplicity, I will say that an event cost me $200 to get into.
- If I make $200 ($200 new put into the cash drawer), the event paid for itself.
- The next $200 (gain of $400 in the cash drawer) pays for hotel and food during the event.
- The next $200 (gain of $600 in the cash drawer) pays for restocking.
- The next $200 and beyond (gain of $800+ in the cash drawer) is where I consider adding a new line to my existing lines of products.
- I can consider this a profit to go into my pocket, but then this would have additional taxes applied to my personal income.
- I don’t even buy groceries with this income, 100% of this goes back into ECC into restocking or saving for the slow season.
- Events with a low return on investment, are my “break even” events: I pay $200, and I struggle to reach that because of light traffic.
- I don’t tend to do too many of those, or I tend to look for greener pastures if the food vendors appear to make more than I do. I don’t blame the event unless it regularly does that. Weather, venue and other things are factors.
- Events with a high return on investment, are the ones where I invest a low amount of money, and do really REALLY well.
- I had one event where I paid $40 to get in, and walked out of there with more than $800. I try to do more of those!
Now the fun part! The biggest expense for an event are the event fees (like the $200 for the example event mentioned above). Food, I can fudge a little by buying snacks. Hotel; I can stay with friends or stay cheaply. The one thing I am not able to forecast is how much in sales I will make. This makes it really tough.
I have a saying for my events: Sometimes you get the bear. And sometimes the bear gets you.
Here’s where restructuring comes in. By taking away the expense of a show, and concentrating on sales, I can eliminate some of the unpredictability.
My Online Shop is also another venue. I am also considering Facebook Marketplace and maybe Craig’s List. Not sure, we’ll see.