What I Learned at Central Soapers Workshop

Yesterday, I shared a summary and the slides from my “Authentic Leadership for Makers and Handmade Entrepreneurs” presentation at Central Soapers. Today, I'm excited to share some of the things I learned from other speakers. But first, here is a quick video showcasing the fun. (Press the arrow to play the video. Press anywhere in the video while it's playing to stop it. And yes, I went to the spa while I was there, and I highly recommend Briafcliff if you ever find yourself in in Kansas City.)

The event was divided into two tracks: business and soapmaking. I was on the business track, of course, and since I missed all of the soapmaking presentations, I am not covering them here. I heard they were fabulous though, and I hope someone else blogs them so I can see what I missed! Here is some of the juicy business tidbits I learned from some other fantastic speakers.

I Learned So Much at Central Soapers!

  1. A love affair with Instagram. “Stud Preston” from Sudz by Studz shared super tips on how to use Instagram successfully to cultivate a following, land media features, and nurture wholesale relationships. One of the great resources he told us about is Iconosquare, a service that provides tracking metrics for your Instagram account. Preston also reminded us that, while Instagram runs on hash tags, sometimes, the best place to put them is in a comment and not in the body of your post.

    Follow Sudz by Studz on Instagram.

  2. Creating alternative revenue streams of income. So many Makers and Handmade Entrepreneurs keep all their eggs in one basket for too long. Author Kayla Fioravanti reminded us that we can add new income streams to our business by speaking, teaching, coaching, consulting, mentoring, and writing books. (Kayla has authored 8 books!) The possibilities are endless. This was a super reminder that diversification is key in business. Kayla also spoke on the topic of crafting compelling copy for your blog posts, books, and marketing collateral.

    Follow Kayla Fioravanti on Instagram.

  3. S-A-C-R-E-D social media. Anne-Marie Faiola of Bramble Berry shared her S-A-C-R-E-D social media tips. S-trategy (you must have one!); A-uthenticity (you must be authentic and real); C-ontent (one of your most important jobs is to create and organize it); R-outine (systems are your friend); E-tiquette (every social media outlet has different rules etiquette); and D-ialogue (don't just start conversations, engage in them). What a great acronym to help us remember top action steps to be successful with social media!

    Follow Brambleberry on Instagram.

  4. Good manufacturing practices. Lela Barker of Lucky Break Consulting shared an overview of good manufacturing practices for cosmetics manufacturers. This was a fantastic presentation which included all sorts of tips and tricks, including what type of flooring works best, how to buy and use equipment like hair nets and lab coats, and even the best types of cleaning solutions to wash your pots and pans with.

    Lela also shared the 7 deadly since of wholesale, and walked us through all kinds of “do this, not that” scenarios. One deadly sin is showing up at your prospect's store unannounced with a box full of products to show them. Not good. Always make an appointment in advance, keep it short and to the point, leave behind samples for them to try, and follow up.

    Follow Lela Barker on Instagram.

  5. Business communications skills. Central Soapers Workshop host Kenna Cote spoke on the topic of Business Communications. She offered super tips and reminders to help us all understand how important it is to be on our game when it comes to professional communications. Whether it's the spoken word, written text, or even graphics and videos on social media, it's important to have a focus and to be “on brand” every time.

    Follow Kenna Cote on Instagram.

  6. It's not sales if you really mean it. I loved LOVED the title of this presentation because it addresses the “fear of sales” issues that so many Makers and Handmade Entrepreneurs face every day. Danielle's talk pointed out that, if you are genuine and authentic in your communications with prospects, and if your intention is to nurture relationships and help your customer succeed, then it's not sales — because you really mean it. It's a mindset shift, and once you make it, you are on your way.

    I also loved this presentation because Danielle shared some of her sales calls disasters. It's nice that she can turn a devastating experience into a teachable moment for the rest of us.

    Follow Outlaw Soaps on Instagram.

If you were not at this final Central Soapers event, I'm sorry you missed it because it was awesome, and because this was the very last one. But the fun does not have to end because you can follow everyone on social media and stay in touch.

Best and Success!


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About Donna Maria Coles Johnson

Donna Maria is an author, podcaster, attorney, and the founder and CEO of the Indie Business Network, providing affordable product liability insurance and mentoring. Donna Maria teaches Makers and Creative Entrepreneurs how to use technology and community to build a profitable, sustainable business.