Have you ever visited Etsy.com? Recently seen on the Martha Stewart Show, Etsy is an online marketplace for buying & selling all things handmade. One of the fabulous crafters I am amazed at is Dennis Anderson, owner of Anderson Soap Co. I recently asked him a few questions about his business.
How and when did you begin making skin care products?
I’ve played around with soaps for a few years, but only as a hobby and for personal use. A year ago, I decided to make bath and beauty products for others. My girlfriend was a big motivation for me. I would watch her create her jewelry and sew; you could see a spark in her eyes. There's a real sense of accomplishment knowing you are creating a product that others will enjoy.
What makes your company unique?
I make hot processed soaps, and a very small amount of cold processed soaps. The general difference between the two is that with cold processed soaps, the sodium hydroxide(what you need to make soap), comes out over time naturally; hot processed soaps have the sodium hydroxide cooked out immediately. The texture of cold processed soap is very smooth; hot processed soap is bumpy. It reminds me of soap making in the old times. As for being unique, it's very important to take the time to do something special for yourself, even if it’s relaxing in the tub with a special bar of soap. I've created a brand for my products, and my customers know I will go the extra mile to make sure they receive just what they are looking for.
What is the benefit of shopping with a small company vs. a big store in the mall?
With a big shop like The Body Shop or Lush, customers can't easily ask questions to the person who is actually making the product. You would have to deal with a customer service representative, then their supervisor, and go up the chain. So far with my small little company, it’s just myself and my girlfriend. I am just a phone call or email away from my customers.
What is your most popular item for gift giving?
The most popular item I carry is my beer soap. I think the reason it has become so popular is the novelty aspect of it. I receive a lot of comments from customers when they buy this stating things like, "I know this will get my smelly husband to take a bath!", “This was the perfect gift for my beer loving sister" or "I finally found a gift for the person who has it all!" Another great thing about beer soap is that beer is made with ingredients that are skin and hair loving, so my customers get a product that is fun and full of soapy goodness.
Where can you find your products, besides Etsy?
I sell wholesale orders from my etsy site to a few customers who own brick and mortar stores. I have my products on a few other selling websites, but none thus far compares to the success I have at etsy.com.