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Old 11/05/06, 01:46 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
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Selling goat milk soap at craft shows

I have been selling goat milk soap at craft shows for about 3 years now. The problem is, that I have right on my labels, a picture of a goat, and the words, "goat milk soap". People read this, and run, like its gonna hurt them. they act like they are afraid of it. should i redo my labels so that the goat milk is not the big emphasis on them? I have not had much luck selling the soap, I think it is the whole "goat milk" thing. What should I do?

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Old 11/05/06, 01:57 PM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: N.C mountains
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It sounds like you need to educate your clientele. Do a little research on the benefits of goat milk for dry skin, all natural, etc. and make up a little flyer hitting the highlights and teach them why they should buy goat milk soap. There is a lot of ignorance out there about anything that sounds like it came from an animal. These are the same folks who will eat a chicken packaged at the grocery store, but would not want to eat one who had been running around an hour later. They keep the blinders on as to where their food, milk, and soaps come from. So make believers out of them. Also, you may want to give away small samples of your soap with the flyer to get them interested. Good luck.


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Old 11/05/06, 02:38 PM
donsgal's Avatar
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Originally Posted by reneeearle
I have been selling goat milk soap at craft shows for about 3 years now. The problem is, that I have right on my labels, a picture of a goat, and the words, "goat milk soap". People read this, and run, like its gonna hurt them. they act like they are afraid of it. should i redo my labels so that the goat milk is not the big emphasis on them? I have not had much luck selling the soap, I think it is the whole "goat milk" thing. What should I do?
For some (me for instance) goat's milk is a hugely positive thing. My suggestion would be to lose the picture of the goat on the label. Not-knowing people think of goats as stinky, nasty creatures, they will subconsciously associate the soap with the picture and it will not be appealing to them. If it is too labor-cost intensive to redesign your labels to correlate with each individual fragrance, (or if your soap is unscented), I would design a nice label showing flowers, sunshine, etc., that will subconsciously say "oh this smells nice". I also agree that a flyer (or sign) explaining the benefits of goat milk soap, will also help "educate" those not-knowing folks as to the wonderful benefits of the product. (Always use the term "cold process" soap NEVER "LYE") for much the same reasons mentioned.

Do you have a website?


Life is what happens while you are making other plans. (John Lennon)

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Old 11/05/06, 03:07 PM
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I have flyers and pamphlets that I do on the computer. I explain the benefits of the soap. After reading and talking most folks will buy some. I do very good at the craft fairs I go to with my soaps.

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Old 11/05/06, 04:11 PM
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Join Date: May 2002
Location: Western NY
Posts: 3,082

After answering an endless stream of the same question "Why goat milk?" I printed & laminated a simple explanation of the positive aspects of goat milk in soap. It's just a 8.5" x 11" page on a pretty yellow paper with BOLD, large text that is clearly seen. Laminated and in the center of my table display. Make sure that what you're printing is true, and all is spelled correctly. Don't make the page too busy, it should be clear and concise; your buying public is already confused.


Charleen in Western NY

A bite of butter greases your track. ~ Gramma Sarah

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Old 11/05/06, 05:55 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Michigan's thumb
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I wonder if people see the goat and think you've used goat fat or goat meat instead of milk. What is the main ingredient in your soap? The main ingredient in mine is olive oil, so I have in largest letters, "Olive Oil Soap". Under that, in slightly smaller letters, I have "coconut & caster oils". In even smaller letters, I list the essential oils. People into natural and/or upscale things know that olive oil is high end, and that there is a reason it costs more. Fewer people are aware of the benefits of goat's milk, but those who are will probably read your label and like what they see.

If there is goat's milk in the soap, I think you should list it just to be honest. But, you should also have a little photo album showing you milking the goats, and another with them following you around like Mary's little lamb (if you have that kind of operation), and another suggesting that your operation is real clean. Not only will you help dispell fears of goat's milk, but it will be obvious that you really make this soap yourself.

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Old 11/05/06, 07:31 PM
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Location: Ohio
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Where are you selling your soap? I know there are lots of people in my area that buy milk soap. It could just be the ignorance of the populace in the place where you are trying to sell. Put the benefit info on your display table along with the goat photo album.

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Old 11/05/06, 07:36 PM
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Join Date: May 2002
Location: SE Indiana
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I have run into the same problem. I did a show today & sold about 5 bars all day. I made a whole $27 today. Very disappointing. I do think a lot of it is ignorance. I do have a paper explaining the benefits & also talk to people. Some still turn up their nose. Can't please them all.

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Old 11/05/06, 08:08 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Ohio
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Hey Wendy, do you happen to sell at the Pork Festival in Eaton, Ohio??? Dd did her first big jewelry show there and did pretty well. You might find a good market there. Costs $125 for a space though.

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Old 11/05/06, 08:26 PM
Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs
Join Date: Jul 2004
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Good suggestions, but before implimenting them you might want to look at your market. For example, are you selling into an appropriate, upscale, market where your higher priced soaps are appreciated? Or are you selling to people who buy what is on sale at the grocery store with little regard for the quality of the soap?

If you really believe the issue is "goat milk" then remove "goat" and leave "milk." "The Swiss Secret to Beautiful Skin..." "Bathe Yourself in Luxury.."

But if you're looking at your labels, look at the same time at all your packaging. Could you upscale it for the gift market? Bundle products together for a gift item? Make things larger or smaller to reach a specific price point?


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Old 11/05/06, 08:32 PM
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Master Of My Domain
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Location: Pennsylvania
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that sounds really strange. goat's milk on a soap label seems to be the single biggest marketing boon apart from olive oil/ castille. it must be the market. maybe it is the goat image too. i second the advice to change the image. maybe you could mention it like this...

Carefully handcrafted soap containing Olive Oil, yada yada, and Enhanced with Natural Goat's Milk.


this message has probably been edited to correct typos, spelling errors and to improve grammar...

"All that is gold does not glitter..."

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Old 11/05/06, 08:37 PM
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It might be that people see the goat milk and they know they are allergic to goats, so figure that the soap might cause a allergic reaction.

Myself, I love it. I bought some a week ago at a craft fair.

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Old 11/05/06, 09:42 PM
Join Date: Jun 2002
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Could it be the type of craft shows you are doing? I've not had a problem selling...I can't make it fast enough.
I don't understand why customers would turn away from GM soaps especially at a craft show, how are you displaying your products?
Maybe design several different label types and get opinions from folks who enjoy your products and go from there. Another good idea is to take photos of your displays and then look back to them..sometimes pics say a lot and may give you better ideas...Works well for me.

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Old 11/05/06, 10:00 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Nebraska
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I sell soy candles at craft shows. I find that people respond to phrases like "100% Natural" or "Handmade in small batches." Maybe you could play up this aspect of your product?

I think that maybe people look at the goat and then subconsciously think that they're going to smell like a goat if they use it :P They just aren't educated. I would get rid of the picture. I think that the words "Goat milk soap" are fine - just the visual of the goat might be turning people off.

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Old 11/05/06, 10:56 PM
Join Date: Jun 2005
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Tater's pa

great photos. Your display is very attractive. I'd buy from you! (but I make my own )

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Old 11/06/06, 12:02 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Tx
Posts: 2,133

I've never sold goat milk soap (don't own goats yet), but hope to someday...For those of you who have, lemme bounce these ideas this thread made me wonder about while I read it today at work.

1. Sampler soap- Would it be possible to cut your soaps to have their width and maybe section the two halves into four pieces? If so, you could sell the smaller pieces as samplers for $0.50 ea. which according to my lousy math would be about $4 per bar (understanding that some of you make bigger bars). I'm referring to those in size that look similar in size to store bought soap I've seen. The samplers would allow someone to try out your scents and products without committing a larger wad of money, but if you're selling the bars for less than $4 then hopefully you still realize a profit.

2. Flyers with information on your products...At the bottom (in smaller print) offer a free sampler or 10% off a normal size bar when they return the flyer...Possibly helps sells and gets you your flyers back (lowering overhead)...Hopefully if they're noticing the fine print, they've read you flyer enough to gain some knowledge.

Ok, that's all I have...Tell me why they would or wouldn't work...Sorry for the intrusion btw, just trying to learn.

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Old 11/06/06, 02:56 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: West Central Indiana
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Organic all natural soaps for sale, made from the finest in traditional ingredients. Our product both cleans and moisturises, without the damaging side effects of commercially produced soaps

Get rid of the goat on the label, your selling soap, not goats.

Get rid of anyhting that says goats milk on it, replace it with a small print ingrediants list, including: milk products, essential oils, and all natural color and fragrance enhancers. more info at www. mypage. whatever

Not that I dont like the goat Idea, but perhaps when your dealing with a more urban audience, just use the catchphrases they understand to be associated with quality hand made soaps. If they like the product so much that they actually go to your website, then they will probably still like it after they find out it's made from goats milk.

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Old 11/06/06, 06:57 AM
In Remembrance
Join Date: May 2002
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What about the cutest little lamb instead of a goat?

Off subject: Saw a bumper sticker: Eat lamb, 50,000 coyotes can't be wrong.

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Old 11/06/06, 07:20 AM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: texas
Posts: 64

I don't think urbane has anything to do with it.I market my goat milk soap to a city based market,dfw area and wow the milk is a big selling point.That buying group as a whole loves to see pictures of my happy girls and their funny stories. How strange,mabye look into an online shop.There is a market out there for your soaps.People want handmade soap.Good luck I am rooting for you.

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Old 11/06/06, 07:38 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,224

I suspect its a case of not being at the right shows, like Tater's PA said. If its the kind of show where people come to buy crocheted toilet paper covers and plastic canvas fridge magnets, these are not the same people who buy goat's milk soap.

I sell goats milk soap at a farmers market & occasional craft shows & have found that goat's milk is a big selling point. On onother group, we were recently discussing how goats milk seems to sell faster that soap made with cows milk.

You should also consider how your display looks. A bunch of soaps laid out flat on a low table don't look 'special' and may not induce people to buy. Here's a pic from a recent show where I did quite well.

Another thought - how you present yourself will affect sales. If you are sitting behind your table reading a book, you won't sell soap. If you're standing up, smiling, saying hi to everyone who passes by, inviting them to smell your soap, etc. If you need to sit occasionally, get a tall stool so you are still at customer eye level.


Last edited by beaglady; 11/06/06 at 07:43 AM.
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Old 11/06/06, 08:35 AM
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Location: Indiana
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beaglady, that is a beautiful stand! I too sell 6 months at farmers markets and am doing craft shows right now. I NEVER sit down even if it's an all day show. #1 because I have fibromyalgia, and If I sat down, I would have to literaly Haul, myself back up and Limp over, where if I stay up I stay limber. Who's Not going to RUN at the site of that : ) I've got just a few seconds to grab peoples attention, with "Try goat milk soap, the best thing in the world for winter dry skin." I have free samples as always with Business card and where they can find me if they love the product. I can't keep up with the demand for my product as of yet. Doesn't hurt any that my all natural Herbal soaps, are from my Naturally Certified Grown Herb Farm!
My set up is still very basic, table cloth on a 6' table with everything in natural colored wicker baskets. I also sell fresh picked herbs I pick into the same basket I sell out of. Now at the craft shows no herbs, but I do add gift Baskets, with a variety of bars and a scrubby with a ribbon. Grab and Give. I made $152 sat. At Least 5 people, said "There's Our goat soap Lady" "Or Herb Lady, or Soap lady"

However I also do quite well at the Bed and breakfast. and there it's Not your stuff on a table it's the whole B&B decorated for x-mas people come in and are handed a basket. A few vendors are always present to watch the rooms and rearrange things. You place what you want in the basket and pay up front on the way out.


BryrPatch Quality Handmade Goat milk Soap, Lotions; ADGA Dairy Goats, DHIR, LA, Shows, Current whole herd CAE neg tests. We R Kidding now!

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Old 11/06/06, 12:55 PM
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Location: Indiana - North Central
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Don't back off the goats milk soap.

I've been making soap since '78 and goats milk is wonderful. You have to educate some folks though. Making a flyer with the benefits is a wonderful thing... Samples are good too... Good luck.

I agree the venue may be your problem. Or your presentation. Do you have any pics?

Please visit HERE for more advice/pics/idea/etc.

great site...

Soapdish Forum...


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Old 11/06/06, 01:01 PM
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Have few small cubes of soap out and a basin with water and a few towels...let folks wash their hands with it and feel/smell the difference.
And lose the picture
Good luck and let us know how it turns out.

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Old 11/06/06, 03:39 PM
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Location: Washington State
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What about the cutest little lamb instead of a goat?
Perhaps because it's made with goat milk, not sheep milk?

Interestingly enough, I've had a few clients who've stated the same thing; they've had a tough time marketing their goat milk soap. Seems odd to me, because in this area people flock to milk soaps, and even the big commercial boys have begun using milk in their soaps and lotions.

I guess you've got to sit down and determine if you're in the right market, if the packaging is up to snuff and your display is attractive, and work on educating your public.
Mustang Diaries

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Old 11/07/06, 06:09 PM
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Thank you to everyone that responded. What great ideas and pix. for my display, I take a 6' table, with a table cloth, place an old cd rack, hoisted up with tiny milk crates, and have all my soaps in baskets. I have had a few of my crafter friends compliment me on my display. I think that I am going to keep the goat on the label, just because it is what I do. I depicts our farm.
I did make up some flyers, and I do have a few signs to put on the table for people to read. I may try the basin idea. I had thought about giving samples and letting people try it in the bathroom, but I think that the basin would work better. All of my shows are here in Central Michigan. Most people that shop these shows look quite upscaley. My next show is this Saturday, which is pretty big. I may have to try the farmer's market idea this summer, as most have closed for the winter... Thank you all again.

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Old 11/07/06, 07:39 PM
Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs
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Mess up your display a little... take a few soaps out as if they've been purchased. The empty spaces catch the eye more than the full boxes.


Icelandic Sheep and German Angora Rabbits

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Old 11/09/06, 12:52 PM
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Western KY
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I agree about the picture of the goat being perceived by some as undesirable. I have sold goats milk soap, all unwrapped bars arranged side-by-side, at several different shows. Some of the bars were plain rectangles, others were made in horse molds, and others were from (what I think is) a really cool Nubian mold. The horses and the plain bars always outsell the Nubian mold! Go figure... People apparently like the *idea* of goats milk but they don't want too graphic of a reminder of where it comes from!

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Old 11/09/06, 02:05 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Virginia
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I agree with the number of folks here who have said the goat image is what may be detracting from your sales. Marketing IS everything, whether it should be or not. As my sister is fond of saying, "it is what it is".

For several years before I had Lupus and RA, I sold handpainted glassware at festivals. I made good money at it too, including expanding to the wholesale market, web sales and commissioned work.

Some tips for marketing your product...

-lose the goat, seriously. It may be what you do, but it may not be what people buy. Include pics of your goats, as clean and cute as possible, in a photo brochure, but be prepared to ditch it if it is losing you sales.

-As previously suggested, put pics of sunshine, soft things, clean things...on your label. Include "goat's milk" in the text description and ingredient part of your label only.

-vary the levels of your display. Items displayed at different heights are more appealing than those all on one plane.

String white or colored christmas lights around your tent (if you have a power source). It is eyecatching even in daylight.

-See if you can find a cheap old fashioned washstand with a bowl and pitcher tax deductible if you file a business return). Let customers wash with sliver samples of your product. Supply paper towels for drying after washing.

-Decorate your tables with items associated with your product. For me with the glasses, I used bottles of wine, corkscrews, cheese and crackers, baskets of fake bread, lemons etc. For soap, I would have some pretty hand towels, soap dishes, a plush bather in a tub (I have seen thesein stores) , things like that. Durable items like these are also tax deductible if you file a business return.

Anyway, I got a little long winded there, but the main thing to remember is to MARKET MARKET MARKET to your target clientele.

Take care and great success with your soaps!!


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Old 11/09/06, 07:00 PM
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Hi Renee!

How are our girls Nannette, Lucia and Elvira doing?

Best regards,



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Old 11/10/06, 12:06 PM
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I have to agree with the many others who suggested removing the goat. Even if it's what you do, your trying to sell soap not goats. As an experiment, make up labels without the goat and place them on your table to the other side, opposite the soaps with the goat on the label and see if that generates any sales (you'll have your answer to the label question).

Marketing is the answer for any business, seeing a goat on the label may have people thinking it's soap for goats (dumb I know, but hey, not ALL consumers are smart). Try a label with a small child in an old wash tub (soap bubbles all over), with text reading something like "For baby soft skin" or on that order.

Also, your own attitude has a lot to do with selling your products, trust me, a smile and a hello goes a long way. In addition, it opens the converstion to explain your products and thier benefits. If I'm shopping a craft show/fair and the seller has her nose buried in the latest Fabio romance novel and can't even acknowledge my presence, I have no desire to buy anything even if I see something that interests me. Not to say your not greeting the customers, just a hint for those reading this and plan to do shows.



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