Saturday, September 19, 2009

Making Bulk Samples

Here's a fast, easy, inexpensive way to make bulk samples when you need a bunch to hand out at an event like a fair or a show. (I was making these for a school carnival.)

I used a breakaway candy mold (purchased at Hobby Lobby for $2.99. It has 64 squares.) Then I melted two squares of a brick in a syrup pour-er (used the crockpot), and poured the contents into the mold.

The wax begins to set up in only a few minutes.

Once it set up a little, I put it in the freezer for about 5 minutes. Then I just flipped it over. The wax pops right out and easily breaks into little pieces about the size of a Chicklet. I put each sample in a little plastic bag (purchased from Hobby Lobby, 100 for $2.50) along with a business card.

You can make literally hundreds of these in very little time, for just pennies apiece.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Updating Basket Testers for Transition

I have 3 sets of basket testers. With the Fall/Winter transition, I needed to update them. But I didn't want to go to the expense of buying new containers (I get my containers and labels from They have been great to work with.) So I decided to see if I could update using my existing containers. I found that I could, and I found an easy way to do it.

First, I sorted out the outdated basket testers. I discovered the wax would pop right out with a knife. I popped it out and put it in little bags, using the labels from the basket testers, to use for samples and gifts.

Most of the containers came pretty clean after a good swish in hot, sudsy water. (A few stained a little, mainly scents that were red or orange. I decided to use these for like-colored new scents.)

Then I put the new Fall/Winter party testers into my crockpot to soften them (did this in groups of about seven). (Later, I also tried putting them in the oven at about 150, and this worked too.)

I used the small side of a mellon baller to scoop out a ball of wax and put it in the little containers.

Then I closed them up, and put them back in the crockpot.

They melted really quickly, and then I took them out and put the labels on them. (In retrospect: it would have made better sense to put the labels on first, before putting the wax in.) They also set up really quickly once they were out of the crockpot.

This was a really fast, easy, cheap way to update my 3 sets of party containers. It worked great!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Learning from a Bomb

I debated whether to do this post, but decided that I want to be honest about "failures" as well as successes. Plus this might happen to someone else. So here goes.

My teenage daughter and I decided to have a party for her school friends. We scheduled it for Sat Sep 5 from 11-1. She handed out 25 invitations at school.

Well, guess what? No one came. Not one. I didn't know how many to expect, but I surely didn't expect that not a single person would come.

At first I was really disappointed. Then I started thinking. It was a holiday weekend. She handed the invitations out on the Wednesday before. We didn't make any reminder calls. Plus these were teenage girls. I told my daughter she ought to talk to her friends at school on Monday and see if anyone wanted to buy, but she felt funny about "bugging" her friends. And she is a teenager after all, so I didn't pressure her.

Bottom line? Here's what I think:

1. Watch for big potential conflicts when you schedule parties.

2. Make reminder calls the night before.

3. After a show, call those who didn't come. Sometimes they just forget. Sometimes they wanted to come, but couldn't, and still might order. It doesn't hurt to follow up. Sometimes I have gotten more orders on followup calls after a show, than at the actual show itself.

4. If you're going to do direct selling, you're going to have some disappointments. You have to learn how to recover from them and move on if you want to succeed.

That's what we're going to do.