09-02-2016, 01:17 PM
#1
  • beamon
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  • Greenville, SC USA
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Though many do, many more do not. Sterling seems to me to have the best handle on it, offering samples of virtually all the soaps they make. Slicing a piece of their regular puck in sufficient size to give you at least 10 or more shaves, is very satisfying to me. The philosophy of not doing it is understandable, but I suspect that what they end up selling full pucks of are more solid sales and likely to result in repeat business.

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 09-02-2016, 01:20 PM
#2
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Agreed. 

Another approach that I like is the one taken by Dr. Jon.  There you can buy a 2 oz puck of soap or a regular 4 oz size.  Two ounces is definitely more than a sample, but it doesn't commit you to 4 or 5 months of a soap that you might not like.  Also, you could get two 2-oz pucks instead of one 4 oz puck and have some variety without having a soap that lasts forever.

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 09-02-2016, 01:27 PM
#3
  • nikos.a
  • Senior Member
  • Athens, Greece
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Some makers think that this is not a viable business model. If you buy many samples, there is high possibility that you won't purchase the full pucks/ bowls soon. I fully understand that.


By the way, I'm sure that all artisans make samples, but they don't offer them to every wet shaver, only to those that are returning customers or have a good relationship with the company. The next time you decide to make an order ask for samples and see what they will tell you.

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 09-02-2016, 01:31 PM
#4
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I, for one, can't seem to get a good lather on samples.  I really only use them to see what scents I like.

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 09-02-2016, 02:06 PM
#5
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Mystic Water sells samples of all its shaving soaps.  Each sample is 1/8 of a puck.

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 09-02-2016, 02:21 PM
#6
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(09-02-2016, 01:27 PM)nikos.a Wrote: Some makers think that this is not a viable business model. If you buy many samples, there is high possibility that you won't purchase the full pucks/ bowls soon. I fully understand that.


By the way, I'm sure that all artisans make samples, but they don't offer them to every wet shaver, only to those that are returning customers or have a good relationship. The next time you decide to make an order ask for samples and see what they will tell you.

I have had great success with Michelle from Mystic Water adding in samples for free among a few of my order which I did not ask for but it is a pleasant thing to receive. To my understanding, the packaging of such a small amount of product proves to take up much time while taking away from what keeps them doing things that are more productive with the bottom line. But from what I have gathered, not all may agree though.

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 09-02-2016, 02:29 PM
#7
  • nikos.a
  • Senior Member
  • Athens, Greece
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A reason I've stopped buying soaps and started feeding my AD with vintage findings is that I don't know how to handle all these I already have. Samples would be a nice idea for this "problem".

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 09-02-2016, 02:39 PM
#8
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For those that have trouble lathering from a sample, try spreading the soap out in a thin layer in whatever container you want to use to lather in.  Even if it's a thin section, if the diameter approximates the size of a puck it will give you a better idea of how the soap will load and lather in the puck form.

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 09-02-2016, 04:33 PM
#9
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I'm a huge fan of samples. Many fragrances irritate my skin so if I can try before I buy it's excellent. On top of that its nice to sample and smell the scent as well before you pay for an entire puck.

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 09-03-2016, 12:27 AM
#10
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Mike (of Mike's Natural Soaps) do (or at least did) samples - first time I ordered from him I ordered nothing but samples, one of everything he had in stock Biggrin

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 09-03-2016, 05:05 AM
#11
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(09-02-2016, 01:17 PM)beamon Wrote: Though many do, many more do not. Sterling seems to me to have the best handle on it, offering samples of virtually all the soaps they make. Slicing a piece of their regular puck in sufficient size to give you at least 10 or more shaves, is very satisfying to me. The philosophy of not doing it is understandable, but I suspect that what they end up selling full pucks of are more solid sales and likely to result in repeat business.


I can't recall which artisan it was that I was speaking to, but the opposite ended up being the case.  This artisan rolled out samples, which cranked labor costs up significantly, and full puck/jar sales tanked.  The model was unsustainable for that particular individual.

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 09-03-2016, 06:32 AM
#12
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I also have skin that reacts adversely do different oils and soap ingredients so I buy samples whenever possible.  MW, Shannon's, Stirling, and the multiple offerings at Maggard's allow a broad range of choices.

As a business model I think offering samples is a sound marketing concept.  Personally, I gravitate to companies that offer samples of their products, which for me has led to additional full tub purchases.  Often I have come across a sample of something I didn't think I would like but ended up enjoying for one reason or the other.  This leads to a full tub purchase that I would have never made if I hadn't acquired a sample first.

Main stream players rely on their name recognition to sell their products so samples do not make economic sense for them.  For Artisans and smaller brands I think samples are critical to success, and I very much appreciate those companies that offer them.

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 09-03-2016, 07:11 AM
#13
  • beamon
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  • Greenville, SC USA
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Yes, I can see it breaking both ways as described by @explodyii and @Newton. If the higher labor costs can be withstood during the short term, I believe the long term would be more stable and ultimately more profitable, assuming the product is appealing enough to warrant multiple purchases. Considering how fickle many of us are in our purchases, maybe the multiple purchases do not eventuate as often as necessary. Tough call!  Huh

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 09-03-2016, 08:33 AM
#14
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I used to chase samples, but have stopped doing that. Even though I use the method that Michelle suggested, the brush never loads as well as it does from a regular sized puck. These days, purchasing via the BST is my "try it out" methodology.

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 09-03-2016, 09:56 AM
#15
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A properly used sample loads exactly the same as a full sized puck. If it doesn't, then you aren't doing it right. You are supposed to press it down flat in a bowl, so that it is as wide as a puck.

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 09-03-2016, 10:51 AM
#16
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The only ones that work EXACTLY the same are stirling samples, due to their shape. The rest are a compromise.

[Image: xkosrVy.jpg]

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 09-03-2016, 10:57 AM
#17
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But the Mystic Water samples are just like the Stirling samples if they had been cut in half.  If you press them down into a container, you can obtain the exact same shape as the Stirling samples.  I have never had a problem getting a good lather from a MW sample.  (But I do love the Stirling samples, too.)

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 09-03-2016, 05:17 PM
#18
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(09-03-2016, 10:51 AM)mike_the_kraken Wrote: The only ones that work EXACTLY the same are stirling samples, due to their shape. The rest are a compromise.

[Image: xkosrVy.jpg]

How are other soaps a compromise? Any soapmaker that sells samples sells soft soap/croap, rather than hard pucks, so the soap is malleable. Stirling's soaps are conveniently pre-formed in the right shape, but with other soaps, you have to use your hands to press the soap down flat in a bowl. This is slightly less convenient, but hardly anything worth complaining about.

Off topic: I just got a sample of Stirling Black Cherry, and mine is pure white, rather than pinkish-red. Did the formula change?

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 09-09-2016, 01:04 AM
#19
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Samples are ok. I often buy full soaps tho and sell or trade if I dont like it.

Sent from my Nexus 6 using Tapatalk

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 09-09-2016, 06:08 AM
#20
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(09-03-2016, 05:17 PM)TropicalHotDog Wrote:
(09-03-2016, 10:51 AM)mike_the_kraken Wrote: The only ones that work EXACTLY the same are stirling samples, due to their shape. The rest are a compromise.

[Image: xkosrVy.jpg]

How are other soaps a compromise? Any soapmaker that sells samples sells soft soap/croap, rather than hard pucks, so the soap is malleable. Stirling's soaps are conveniently pre-formed in the right shape, but with other soaps, you have to use your hands to press the soap down flat in a bowl. This is slightly less convenient, but hardly anything worth complaining about.

Off topic: I just got a sample of Stirling Black Cherry, and mine is pure white, rather than pinkish-red. Did the formula change?

I know he does have a new formula that substitutes beeswax for lanolin.  Not sure which soaps are using it, and it doesn't seem like it would change the color that much.  I wonder if he put a coloring agent into it and now is omitting it?

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