Sorry I have missed a month but sooooo much has happened and this is the first time I have had to reflect and look back at what has changed to the business since end of Feb 11. Lots……
Firstly, I have tried two different markets to sell my products. Great success the day before Mothering Sunday.. Must have sold the right things and we had a free wrapping service which quite a few of the young male customers took advantage of. I hope their Mums were happy. Well, I know one was as she visited our stall herself the next Saturday. She said how pleased she was with the gift her son bought her…..That market was in Merrywalks Shopping Centre in Stroud, Gloucestershire. Unfortunately, we kept getting moved to different parts of the Mall each week and I felt that we weren’t getting the best placing for potential customers to see our adverts to work out what we were selling. Over the next 4 occasions, we didn’t sell as much as on that first day. My eldest daughter has helped me and we had a good time together, she was really good and kept a record of the sales in our note-book and even got confident enough to talk about the products to customers! However, the positive points were that more people got to find out what wendygoesgreen is about. I also started doing demonstrations on how to make your own eco cleaning fluid from bicarb and vinegar and made some sales of the home brand, back2bascis that I am developing. A neighbour and school mum friend are regular users now and I have had success selling some amounts of my other home cleaning product which is a glass & mirror cleaner. Even selling one to my business specialist poc at my business bank HSBC. I have popped in there a few times and asked their opinions of the products I’m working on. It’s great for market research as they can’t go anywhere from behind the desk….. but to succeed in making a sale as well makes me feel great. His feedback is that he would definitely recommend the product!
So, apart from doing market stall selling, I have worked on getting my products into other shops and at the start of Apr started selling my back2basics home cleaning products in the Valleys Project eco shop in the centre of Stroud, and had made at least 5 sales within the first week. Then two weeks later, I visited a local craft shop which had newly opened in Stonehouse and mentioned that I made my own beauty products and later that day most of my range were on sale in the ‘Craft Emporium’ 10 Queen’s Street.
I have spent a morning recently looking around a local tourist town, Tewkesbury, and have approached the Abbey shop to see of they can sell my products… I’m so excited that I have tried out new products in the bath bomb range and now bath melts. I particularly wish to use frankincense essential oil for the Abbey products!
For bath bombs I have adapted the basic product to include a caterpillar bath bomb, mini hearts, sticks & stones, rocks and camouflage for the boys and I’ve got a few more ideas up my sleeve but can’t make too many products and have too much stock just yet until I have the shops to sell them in. Oh, I also have a gym within a local football club – Forest Green Rovers Football club selling them soon. I am working with a local beautician who will be setting up beauty treatments within the gym. So the business is expanding in this area as well as the ecological cleaning service that I offer.
Over Easter, my daughters helped me deliver leaflets about my cleaning services within a housing area we know and within a few days I got a call asking about the products I use for the ecological cleaning. She is now a regular client and I hope to get some more within the area over the next few months. At a network meeting a few weeks back, I had a local cleaning company interested in the cleaning products I make and hope to get together with them soon. I am taking part in another business2business networking event on 9th Jun in Tewkesbury at Basepoint and hope this will lead to a few more prospects, leads and sales or contracts. Sometimes I get up so early in the mornings to work on the business and after fitting in all the family events and needs can still be working late in the evening but I love it.
I need some extra money to inject into the business so that I can have an online shop and website and have someone taking over some of the development and production of products in the Summer. I also need to get the double garage built that I have planning permission for so that I can move some of the business stock and materials out of the main house. All the time I am keeping a steady eye on my cashflow and keep very good records on what’s going in and out… it’s easy to keep buying materials etc to make new products but I am trying to be strict and get some of the basic range being sold first and them adding to the range to keep customer’s interest. I am selling on a sale or return basis with a commission going to the shops.
I have also been investigating what I need to do to get my cleaning fluids tested for anti bacterial properties etc. I have conducted a home test growing bacteria with the help of my daughter with quite good results. I feel that I am developing the business in the right ways but it all takes time. As long as each month my returns are increasing I will be happy but it is a balance selling directly at markets or through shops and trialling and testing my products. I still haven’t had any business cards produced but I feel like I’m at the right point now that I know what my business is about and so plan to get some card made up this week. Oh… and I have also attended 3 x one hour long early evening seminars held at a local solicitors about business issues. These have been useful again for networking and market research about my products. Wednesdays are about my own free evening, but once I put my interests before my sons so he missed his football practice. Got to be done sometimes! On a Tuesday, I have started training to throw the javelin and discus, so I do things outside the business! I belong to Stroud & District Athletics club and they have coaches willing to teach you so I’ve had 2 sessions so far and might even have a go at the hammer! I’m not a massive build but have a bit of muscle! Running is my thing.. which I did a charity event for on 20th May running more than 20 miles over the day along the Thames Path as part of the Wycliffe Whippets running team. We also had cyclists and walkers so we covered the whole path. I certainly needed my health products that night and had a great soak in Epsom salts and Himalayan bath salts followed by rubbing rosemary essential oil into my legs. Was strong enough to do a long walk and even a bike ride the next day and not stiff 48hrs later.
Anyway, enough for now. I just want to finish by listing the products I make and sell:
Luxury Epsom Salt Bath soaks in a range of scents 425g in a jute gift bottle bag for £7.99
Epsom Salt 300g tub & wooden scoop unscented for general purpose use £3.50
Epsom Salt single bath soak 100g £1.70
Epsom Salt 6x sachet Hand & foot soak £1.70 -great for tired feet and for getting out splinters or tired and dirty gardening hands!
Bath bomb single use 100g £1.90 different scents
Camouflage Bath bombs x 5 £1.70
Sticks & Stones Bath bomb £1.70
Caterpillar Bath bomb £1.90
Bath bomb rocks x 5 £1.70
Mini Hearts x 10 £1.70
Bath bomb shells x 6 different scents £1.70
Citric Acid 300g tub with scoop £3.50 – great as a natural descaler,
Citric Acid x 4 sachet descaler £1.70
Bicarb of soda 200g and 400g packets £2 and £3.50.
White vinegar 500ml £1.70
Back2Basics General purpose cleaner – peppermint & lemon, lavender, lemongrass, rose all with tea tree essential oil for added disinfectant properties. £1.70
Finally, the B2B glass and mirror cleaner £1.70. It makes cleaning glass effortless with no smears.
Please look out for these products and more when my website is up and running this summer! Thank you for your time and hope to hear your comments on what I’m doing or how I can improve!