Thursday, February 25, 2010

Why should you buy handmade soap?

A lot of times when I am sitting at my booth doing shows, people ask me, "Why should I pay $6 a bar for your soap when I can get 4 soaps for $6 at Costco?"

They have a point.

Of course, the person asking is often holding a $5 latte or hamburger in their hand, which will last them all of what - 15 minutes? But I digress.

Initially I was rather intimidated by the question. For one thing, it's kind of rude, but that's people for you. (What can you expect from people who let their kids sneeze on your stuff and then walk away?).

Usually people shopping at craft fairs already have some appreciation for the fact that things that are made with love by hand are generally superior to things made by 9-year-old children in China. And like most other handmade artisan items, handmade soap is made with far better ingredients than the stuff you'll find on supermarket shelves.

It took me a few years of working the shows before the question became something I looked forward to rather than dreaded. However, now when I explain the difference between that stuff on the shelves and artisanal soapers sell, almost all of them buy one.

In this economy, it is tough to convince someone they should buy your more expensive item because it's better.

* * *

The truth is, the "soaps" you see on supermarket shelves are not usually soap. Almost all of them are detergent bars. (Notice how they call themselves "beauty bars" or whatnot?) And like the stuff you put in your washing machine, they can strip the natural oils from your skin. That's fine with the people in the next isle who want to sell you a lot of lotion and Vaseline, but it really isn't so good for your skin.

True handmade soaps retain the glycerine that is a natural byproduct of the soapmaking process. Glycerine is a humectant - it draws moisture to your skin. And soapmakers usually formulate their soaps so that a wee bit of the skin-loving oils they use will remain on your skin.

Really, you're better off not even using soap in the shower than that stuff. Save your money, and have a nice latte or something.


Sue Runyon said...

So true. Whenever I'm somewhere without my handcrafted soap I really miss it. I get all itchy and need a lot more lotion. I'll skip the designer latte and stick with my handmade soap.

vince+shannon+mattie+ireland +afton+chamberlain said...

I'm a believer! But I need my lattes, too. :) Great first post...Welcome to blogging!

mattscraftywife said...

Great post. So true, too!

Kathleen said...

Great post - so true!

Alana said...

Well said!! I am still getting used to explaining why my "expensive" soap is worth it.