Monday, 12 November 2012

How it all began....

I have my grand-daughter Kara to thank for this new challenge. After a year of making soaps, wrapping them lovingly and placing them on shelves, she began to think my study resembled a shop. "Why can't we sell these soaps Granny" she asked. I have to admit that I gave little attention to this request but looking back I now realise that here is a girl who can spot an opportunity.

When I decided to take the plunge and admittedly with her interests at heart as much as mine she was ecstatic. At this stage she was just seven and could hardly wait to get behind a stall and sell soap!

So in May this year we took a stall at The Arc in Caterham and put together a rather amateurish display which, at the time, we thought was wonderful!

The Arc, Caterham.

And so, our dream was born.....

After the initial euphoria of our venture wore off I decided that this was not so much a bit of fun as a real prospect of doing something that I really liked and making money as well - although not very much at this stage I have to say!

This led me to try the Banstead Village Market, one Saturday in September; a small indoor market in the village church hall selling all manner of things in a really friendly environment with heaps of passing trade. By this stage I was starting to try my hand with different packaging and had decided on a much bolder display, changing the chintzy gingham for a dramatic black cloth and a more regimented display of the soaps.

Banstead Village Market
This display seemed a marked improvement on the previous haphazard arrangement and seemed to go down pretty well. I tried selling 'soap bundles' at £3 for three small soaps. These seemed to attract the buyers but took the emphasis away from the individual soaps.

By the time Autumn came I had found the confidence to arrange three further sales, all within a month. First came The NSPCC Table Top sale in Harestone Valley Road in Caterham;  off the beaten track but a nice friendly Fair in a church hall with some nice stalls.

NSPCC Craft Fair Sept 2012

The display was now starting to take shape and at each Fair I made improvements to packaging and layout.

Next came the RSPB Fair in Sanderstead...

RSPB, Sanderstead, Nov 2012

...again with my little helper!

Normally a well-established craft fair, this year's event was blighted by bad organisation leading to a paucity of quality stalls. This meant that I did well but it was sad for the buyers who had come to look upon this as a good Christmas Fair.

A week later, on 10th November (just a day before Kara's 8th birthday and also the day of her party) we set up at Warlingham High School for the Annual Craft Fair of Croydon South Rotary Club. This was the best fair yet in many ways not least the wonderful quality of the stalls and crafts people.

Croydon South Rotary, Nov 2012

Things have been pretty busy in the Khandala Soap Kitchen since the Rotary Fair. In the curing room now you'll find Lavender & Lemongrass, a new batch of the ever-popular Rhassoul Clay, Purity, Vanilla & Sandalwood (second batch as I was so pleased with this fragrance combination), White Tea & Ginger with rose soap shavings, Rosewood and Bay Laurel and la piece de resistance - Siberian Fir Needle with Lavender!! Wow! I think that will do for 2012.

Off to The Arc in Caterham for their Christmas Craft Fair tomorrow. Kara is to be my assistant once again!

Oxted Village Market at the end of November, a small community market which takes place weekly on Mondays.

And finally, our last Fair of 2012, once again at The Arc in Caterham. Kara was on hand to help me once again and thoroughly enjoyed the day. Nice venue and the rose and neroli soap completely sold out! Must make some more!