soap dilemmas

As many of you know, I'm selling my soaps online and also from my home. It's all going swimmingly so far. I will soon be trying to sell my soap at local craft stores. In fact, I may have a huge order coming in over the winter to be filled by the spring time (when a local craft store opens in April). Not certain of it yet, but it would be great if that would work out. Since this is all new to me, I'm in dire need of your opinions, on two matters I'm dealing with right now…

First of all, I'm thinking of changing the name of my soap. The name of my Etsy shop will remain the same - "La Paperie & Cozy" - which is apropos since, in time, I will be offering handmade journals and artwork in additon to my handmade soap. However, I think my soap should have it's own name, as customers will no doubt be scratching their heads as to what "la paperie" has to do with soap. Do you think I should change the name? Or leave it the same? And IF I should change it, do you have any suggestions? I was thinking of either Cozy County Soap or Cozy & Co. Soap …so it would put the "cozy" in La Paperie & Cozy. What do you think?

Predicament number two has to do with PACKAGING! I'm trying to settle on the right kind of packaging for my soaps. Picking packaging is important. It's what people see first, and as we all know, first impressions are important. Currently I hand-wrap individuals bars in pretty printed paper.

I really do love the look of them -- like little gifts. And who doesn't like receiving a gift? The only thing is…the first reaction I notice that people have is to lift the bar of papered soap to ones nose and sniff. Unfortunately, you can neither see nor smell the soap that lay within the wrapping. A pity, especially when the soap smells so mouth-wateringly good and looks like something that you could eat! Another drawback? It's rather time-consuming wrapping each individual bar. I feel any potential customer would like a bit of a preview of what they're buying — personally, I would definitely be more apt to buy a bar of soap if I knew what it smelled like, or looked like. (Of course, online, one must go totally by photos and scent description.) My concern regarding the packaging is mainly for my "in-person" clients, who will be buying my soap from me either directly, or at local craft stores.

The trick is deciding on packaging my soaps in a way that will allow my customers to both smell and see the soap, yet retain that "organic" homemade look, and also save time and money. My packaging options? There are more selections than this, but these are the ones I'm most interested in:

Pros: The least expensive route. Customers can clearly see and smell the soap, without touching the actual soap and damaging it. The label would be my business card inserted in the front of the soap, and sealed in the plastic. They are an instant indication to whether a container has been opened or not. Easy, fast multiple packing.
Cons: I really don’t like the look. Handmade soap that is packaged in plastic loses a lot of its 'homemade' organic appeal.

cigarband.jpg2. CIGAR BAND
Pros: Inexpensive. Looks very nice. Customers can clearly see and smell the soap, without damaging it (if band is wide enough). I can make my own bands out of card stock - I’m thinking “kraft” paper, which is looks more organic - and design it however I choose. No need for additional stickers or labeling.
Cons: Soap that is ‘naked’ can lose its scent faster, and is more prone to damage (dropping, over-handling, etc.) Cigar bands can also fall off easily, as soap shrinks with age.

Pros: These look lovely. Customers can open the end of the pillow box to see and smell soap. Labels would be my business card tied to the box with raffia.
Cons: More expensive. Customers must handle the soap to see it (take out of box). More time consuming as they must be packed AND tied with raffia.

Pros: These look nice. Customers can smell and see a small bit of the soap without having to take the soap out of the box.
Cons: More expensive. Adhesive labels would be needed.

5. HANDWRAPPED BARS (what I have currently)
Pros: These look like little gifts, and are very pretty. Label is my business card tied to the box with raffia, and type of soap is handwritten on the back of the bar with a sticky label (which also keeps the wrapper closed).
Cons: More expensive (I use good quality scrapbook paper). Customers can’t see or smell the soap. Very time consuming to wrap every bar.

I’m still trying to decide. Any thoughts?

(X-posted at The Soap Chronicles)


  1. What about having some "sample" bars in cigar bands, and the "sale" bars wrapped a different way, like a pillow box? You could have a number assigned to each scent, so a customer can easily find that yummie sample bar amongst the others, without having to handle the soap inside.

    As for the name, I would be tempted to change it too. I did a quick search on the CIPO (Trade-marks office) database, and could not find a registration for Cozy County. Check out any other names you may want to consider at

  2. Bev, I'm so happy that things are going so swell. Hope it continuous this way.
    Gosh, that's a difficult choise. They all have there advanges. The kraft soap box with cutout would be my choice, if I don't have to take the pros and cons into account.
    Otherwise, maybe you could combine the cheap with the chique.There's more then one kind of plastic. I don't know the name in English, but you have plastic that 's transparent, but not completly. If you know what I mean. It looks less common. When you rap the soap in it and close it with raffia where your business card is attached to it may look more 'handmade'. You could add something of the material (you made the soap) of in the package to make it look more handmade. Must admit, this is more work.

    Another idea are organza bags. Don't know if there're cheap though, but they look nice and are handy.

    Hope this might help you.

  3. Forgot this. I would go for the name "Cozy & Co". Don't ask why? Just like it.

  4. Yep. I'd go for "Cozy & Co." too - Has more 'fluidity' when saying it than the other one. Simple's best, I think. :)

  5. I'm glad you're thinking of changing the packaging. It is very nice as it is right now. But, to be honest, I don't think it will be practical for you to continue using it long term. The product doesn't have a high enough profit margin for it.

    When I was doing my international retail business I had to keep the packaging as simple as possible. I was sometimes wrapping a dozen parcels or more a day - it just took way too much of my time, added too much unnecessary expense and therefore reduced my profits too much to be worth it. I found that simple is best. Packing doesn't have to be extravagant. Your customers will be loyal repeats by the quality of your product more than the packaging. As long as it's moderate and preserves the scent as much as possible, that'll be enough.

  6. A question re: the shrink wrap - You said, "The label would be my business card inserted in the front of the soap, and sealed in the plastic." Would the fat/oil in the soap soak into the cards at all? I'm thinking, if someone buys a bar as a gift and it doesn't get opened right away - will the card start to become blotchy with 'grease spots'? (Maybe the cards should have something slipped between them and the soap?)

  7. Re the craft pillow boxes: Y'know that product they use on some packaging sometimes - it's like a cross between a glue and a sticky adhesive - the kind where you can pull something off it without any damage happening? I don't know how expensive it'd be compared to the raffia. Maybe too much. But if comparable in price, it'd certainly save on time. What if you just used 2 dots of that on the backs of your cards instead of the raffia? You could just 'sticky' your cards to the boxes, so they're removable without damage. Granted, it wouldn't be quite as pretty as the raffia.. Prob too expensive, I guess... just a wandering thought...

  8. (meant to add: maybe the card could be enough 'decoration' on the box w/out the raffia, if you did the sticky thing?)

  9. I've tried leaving a comment twice now, and both times it didn't "take" :(

  10. Could you have some "sample" bars wrapped with the cigar band, so customers can smell the lovely scents, and have the "for sale" bars in the kraft pillow boxes - perhaps with a "scent number" written on it so customers can find their preferred bar(s) ?

    As for the name, either one sounds great. I did a quick check on the CIPO database, and found only one abandoned listing for Cozy with soap as one of the wares (Tea Cozy Corners), so it sounds like that wouldn't give you a problem. Remember to check any potential name on their database (

  11. I wonder Bev, would it be possible to have sample squares for the customers, something that can be looked at, smelled, etc. without compromising the packaging or quality of the bought product? They could be replaced as needed.

    As for the name, I like "Cozy & Co. Savon", something to tie the French back in as well. :)

    Also... what about using printable labels instead of a business card, simply print adhesive "cards" for the packaging? Separate cards can always be stapled to the bag or kept out on the display. I also think your bars are so lovely raw, that the papers almost detract from them. I think the shrink wrap is a good idea because customers can see the beauty of the natural bar. In that case you could even still use the raffia and regular business card for the label.

    So many choices!! ;-)

  12. I like Sharon's suggestion for the name!

    What I suggested yesterday (2x), was to check any name you like on the CIPO database (trade marks). I did a search for "cozy" with soap listed as a ware. I only found one abandoned mark. However, once you decide on a name you should do a more detailed search for sound-alikes too.

    As for wrapping, I suggested using cigar bands for some sample bars in the store, and having the "for sale" bars in the craft boxes with some identifyer as to what scent is inside. That way the bought products remain unsullied by other hands, and the customer can still do the sniff test on the sample bars.

  13. Great thoughts you guys! Will post more later. :)

  14. Oops! Posted my ideas on your Soapmaking blog. :)