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Posted by Megan on 19th February 2014

Pinterest Experiment: Week 5

32 boards (-)
1008 pins  (+196)
238 followers (+35)
3 hits to website overall (-)
0 sales (–)

Things I’ve learned

I’ll really pushed this week to make it over the 1,000 pins hurdle. I’m getting a LEETLE deterred that I’m not getting a lot of traction from doing consistent pinning towards the website but I’m only a little under halfway through the experiment so hopefully it’ll start to show some success soon.

Posted by Megan on 14th February 2014

reflections on 5 years of business

Screen Shot 2014-02-09 at 3.57.55 PM Behold! The first picture of my soaps ever taken at the first craft show I had done as “Metropolis Bath and Body.”

I still remember my first soap sale. It was the black soap, known then as “Brooklyn” sold to another vendor who is now widely successful. She’s now know as Jetsam. (Thanks for buying the soap, Laura!)

Now, in February 2014, I’m celebrating 5 years of evolution. Each year the brand has changed, either a little, or a lot, trying to find it’s niche. I won’t deny that I’ve had a lot of setbacks, starting over time and time again, and maybe would have been more successful if I had stuck with something, but I knew that to succeed I would need to move on, with the branding or with the products.

Despite all of my complaining about not being fabulously wealthy by now, I’ve achieved a sort of Zen place on my growth. I’m glad I had the guts to say “shut it down” and start from scratch. I’m glad that I’ve made the friends that I have due to this business, and glad to have had a reason to share all of these things with you and those who listen to me speak at seminars.

Metropolis Bath and Body -> Metropolis Soap Company -> msc skin care + home has been a wild ride. This current aesthetic and branding exercise is the most spendy, and it’s really making me consider taking the company to new places I hadn’t ever planned on doing before. I’ve never focused on “scent” alone…for me it always had to be “what’s it going to do and how is it going to smell?” The buyers I’m interested in reaching aren’t as concerned about that as they are about “what does it smell like and what does the packaging look like?” So be it.

I’m a little sad that I missed NY Now this past month, especially since I need to get my ass in gear to get some new accounts, but I know that in order to keep my costs down (2014 goal!) I’ve got to be more pragmatic with my spending, and saving for the August show might be a better bet than trying to scramble it all together when money is so tight now.

So this may have been a bit of a ramble. But I’ll summarize with: I know I’ve made mistakes, I’m glad I’ve learned from them, and I’m driven to make this the best year than all of the others combined.

Posted by Megan on 12th February 2014

Pinterest Experiment: Week 4

32 boards (-)
812 pins  (+68)
203 followers (+28)
3 hits to website overall (+2)
0 sales (–)

Things I’ve learned

I’ll be honest, I totally slacked on this last week. My most popular board seems to be my “We Love You, New York” board, whereas my current/topical “Valentines” board isn’t the big draw I thought it would be.

Posted by Megan on 7th February 2014

Why “Me, Too!” doesn’t work

Copying_testHere’s a little story about learning to do your own thing:

In my decade (god, is it REALLY a decade?) of soap making there has only been one brand I had ever tried to completely emulate: Biggs and Featherbelle.

I consider myself incredibly lucky to have the owners, Kelly and Kasey, as friends. We would see each other at shitty craft shows, and would talk about business and customers. They had been around as long as I had, although they had stuck to one brand and aesthetic throughout the entire run (save for a few design tweaks).

They are, in my opinion, the only truly successful soap brand to make it out of the craft show scene unchanged. Their warehouse is ginormous, their client base is full of national corporations, and they’ve got a brand loyalty that borders on “lovingly stalkeresque.”

I got to watch all of this growth from them; I saw when they moved from their parents guest house to a factory space. I saw when they hired a publicist and got their products in the hands of Heidi Klum. I also saw them speeding right by me and outselling me at shows and in wholesale. That’s when I knew two things: 1. What I was doing was wrong 2. If I wanted to be successful like them, then I’d have to be like them. I didn’t intend to run them out of town, nor did I want to take over their world. I just saw that it was working for them, so figured it would work for me, too, and that there was enough stores and space for all of us to be together (and only typing that out now do I realize how naive and cheesy that sounds.)

So I shut down my brand. I changed my packaging to be more like theirs (as best I could, I can’t draw to save my life so I went with light-colored stock, kraft wrapping, and color-coordinated bands). I positioned my brand to work with corporations in natural grocery. I focused my “about us” story to sound more light-hearted and eco-ish. I tried to be the best version of Biggs and Featherbelle that I could. And it didn’t work.

Here’s why: Continue Reading

Posted by Megan on 6th February 2014

Pinterest experiment: Week 3

32 boards (+2)
812 pins  (+271)
175 followers (+7)
1 hit to website (+1)
0 sales (–)

Things I’ve learned

I seem to get more interest in my pins when I pin either late at night or early in the morning (~9am). Also, I’ve noticed that a lot of people are following specific boards of mine, rather than the entire profile.

Also, while I haven’t had any big spurts of traffic, my msc pins are beginning to get repinned onto other boards. Baby steps!