To Scent or Not to Scent, That is the Question

The question of scent is uppermost in the mind of anyone who makes soap, candles or bath and body products. Which scents should I use? Should I make products with seasonal scents? Should I use only natural scents or should I use lab made scents? How much do I use? Should I use scent at all? Yes, these scent questions concern each one of us.


We should use the scents that those we create products for desire, whether they are ourselves, our friends and family or our customers, right? It is easier said than done, however as the human nose is just so picky. Hmm. . . that may have been a poor choice of words, but I digress.


Some insist on no scent at all, while most others have distinct preferences–the patchouli haters, the floral haters, you know what I mean. Certainly, no universally loved scent exists; but get a head start by noting the ten best selling scents in the Raves For Faves article found in our next issue coming out on November 1.


Beyond that, try limited editions and small batches to judge how they appeal to your customers or friends and family before diving into anything, because making ten pounds of soap in a scent nobody likes is not a good idea.


If you question whether you should scent your products at all or not, it may be a good niche. A business that creates non-scented products for the niche market who is sensitive to or dislikes scent fills an important segment of the market. And think of how much room they have on their shelves without all of those oils! But again, I digress.


Natural scent vs. lab made scent is another choice that we each make, and the answer is determined by your market, whether it is you and your friends or your customers. Remain true to your mission and consider those who will be using your product.


What to do about seasonal scents? This is a tough one because we often like these special scents, yet we need to know if they will pay off. Ask your customers if you can, or dip your toe in the waters to test them. In any case, do not be persuaded by the gorgeous photos you find on social media to create batches and batches of seasonal products until you’ve proven they will indeed be to your customers like truffles to pigs.


We’ll talk proper usage rates in our next blog post.


Until next time, may your days be filled with bubbles and wax.


Beth Byrne for the Saponifier


PS – The Raves for Faves issue is released on November 1st. If you have not yet subscribed or need to renew, simply follow this link:

Scents of Summer

Scents of summer. . . what are your most popular scents from June – August?

I have a two-pronged purpose here.  The first is to get an idea of what’s hot;  the second is to put scent selection into perspective.

Some soapmakers and chandlers like to offer special scents for seasonal sales.  Do you make product with special summer scents, for instance?  This tactic can be a great way of creating anticipation and consequently, demand.  It may offer you a chance to test out scents for a permanent place on  your scent list.  On the other hand, however, it could distract you from your core business and become an expensive proposition if you’re always chasing after new scents to offer.

I have seen fellow crafters of scented products own so many scents that they can barely count them all, and they strive to have product for each one in stock!  Their goal is usually to make sure they have whatever scent the customer might desire.  Of course, we all want more business and we want to make our customers happy, hating to turn away a sale.  While that’s understandable, it isn’t likely to be part of a smart business plan.  Even large companies limit their offerings.

That’s not to say that offering a  seasonal scents is a poor idea , just that taking a good look at your business plan and checkbook should be number one on your list!

So, tell us, what do you do?