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Frustrated Farmgirl Hand-Made Organic Fair Trade Soap

1.  3-5 sentence description of our business.

Frustrated Farmgirl is an organic, fair trade soap company.  We provide hand-hewn soap, made from the highest quality organic ingredients.  We pushed to find ingredients that were certified organic and that helped people transcend poverty  in meaningful ways.  Our mission is to provide useful products and to prevent human trafficking through fair trade job creation.  

2.  11 Questions

- What is Marketing for?  My hope in learning more about marketing that it will help me better tell our story and find our customers.  I'm hoping that as we better articulate our story and put it out there, the story will spread and people will want to engage. I'm hoping to educate people about the power of their spending and to give them a great alternative for soap. 

- What are we allowed to touch?  I can touch the product itself- the recipe, the ingredients, the fair and clean supply chain.  To a great extent, I can touch our environmental impact.  I can touch the way that we articulate the story and well as where we tell the story.  Blog.  Facebook.  Instagram.  Twitter. 

- What can we as marketers measure?  My business is on the internet, so we can measure almost everything.  What should we be measuring?  This is tough for me.  Would love to measure how engaged people are with our messaging.  So, what would that be?  How much they looked around once they came to our blog?  Eventually, we have to become profitable.  With our low overhead, we're hoping that will be sooner rather than later. 

- What can we change?  I can change where I deliver our message.  I can change the way that I articulate what we're trying to do. I'm unwilling to change the basic parameters of our supply chain, which relates to our costs.  I'm unwilling to touch our basic mission.  How we get there is up for grabs. 

- What promise are you going to make?  This makes me take a big heavy breath, because I feel a ton of responsibility around this.  I'm promising that our supply chain is fair and that it actually helps people. I'm promising that our ingredients are the best available. 

- What's the hard part?  You can buy a bar of soap for less than $1 at Walmart.  Why would you go on the internet, click on my page, then buy a $10 bar of soap via mail order, where you also have to pay shipping?  Dr. Bronners is also made from high quality ingredients.  Why would you buy our soap instead of theirs? 

- Should your organization be making trends or following trends?  We are following the fair trade trend.  We are hoping to bring more people into the tribe that believes that there is tremendous potential for good in the way that we spend our money. 

- Where is the risk?  The risk for me as a fair trade company is that one of my suppliers turns out to be a fraud (which is why I was anal retentive in my research).  But, still, that's the risk.  The risk for my customers is that I'm a fraud. 

- Who is in charge?  I am.

- Marketers spend money.  Where are you spending money?  What is it for? Website domain?  Splitting our blog so that it is more focused.  Integrating the blog with the web store.  Help with managing social media. 

- Where would we use more marketing dollars?   Custom website with easy access to social media.  Perhaps custom packaging?  Custom hang tags for each type of soap (less time consuming and look better).  Certifications:  Fair Trade Federation, Fair for Life, Organic

- How should we be spending our time?  I should be our chief story teller. 

What is our brand (what the customer believes)?

Frustrated Farmgirl is an organic, fair trade soap company.  They use organic ingredients that are produced in such a way that people earn fair wages along the entire supply chain.  It's a way for us (customers) to make people's lives better just by buying their soap.  But, it's also an amazing product that's great for my skin.  They don't use dyes and parfumes- only organic essential oils. 

3.  What P's will we prioritize?

- Positioning- What file is our soap in?  I don't think it's really soap.  I think it's in one of the following files for people:

  • JusticeParticipating in a fair supply chain
  • Making the world a better place by how you choose to spend your money
  • Fighting human trafficking with your purchases

- Permission- Building an e-mail list, along with sharing our story on social media. 

- Promotion- Attend anti-trafficking events.  Perhaps do press releases around new products?

- Purple- Be remarkable.  Be worth talking about.  Be what everyone hopes we are.  Learn to tell our story well.  Be Yoda, and bring consumers along as Luke Skywalker- because purchasing well can be heroic. 

- Publicity- Court bloggers and website reviewers.  Implement Tim Ferris Kickstarter article on how to do this. 

- Place.  We can't afford a custom website right now.  What can we do to make our website better?  Connect webstore and blog.  Upload better photos.

- People like us (tribe).  Court my tribe.  People who go to anti trafficking events.  Faith communities.  Fair trade community.

6.  Tell Your Story

In 2010, I started the Frustrated Farmgirl blog as a way to explore all my creative interests at the time.  From cooking and preparing my own lactofermented kraut to keeping bees and chickens to tending my organic garden, I loved all things related to the domestic arts (except for dishes and laundry, of course).  I decided on the name Frustrated Farmgirl because I was frustrated with the size of my small, suburban backyard outside of San Francisco. 

In 2010, I began to investigate the idea of starting a fair trade business.  I had learned to make soap and was enjoying it.  I started to wonder if there was a possibility that we could start a company and help people at the same time.  Poverty has always been an issue that moved me at my core.  I've always felt flayed when confronted by the reality of people living on less than $2 a day.  In 2011, I went to a conference on human trafficking.  It was at that point that my frustration shifted from the size of my back yard to a much more sinister frustration.  I remember sitting there for two days astounded at what I was learning.  There are 32 million slaves in the world.  32 million.  That number slays me, but recent numbers I've read have risen beyond the 32 million mark.  As I leaned into learning more about human trafficking over the next year, what I learned is that there is a direct correlation between being poor and being trafficked.  You and your whole family are more vulnerable just because you are poor.  Let me turn the angle a bit and state it differently.  Traffickers prey on poor people.  Rage.  Anger.  Depression.  These are the emotions that I went through as I learned about this reality.  When confronted with an evil on this scale, I decided that I could either pull the sheets up over my head, or I could attempt to do something about it.  I spent the next two years finding suppliers who had the organic ingredients I needed, but who were also committed to the highest fair trade ideals.  Fair trade provides people with sustainable wages so that they can support themselves.  There are many other benefits for fair trade workers, but fair wages are the backbone of how this movement actually helps people.  When one person in a family is earning a sustainable living wage, their whole family is significantly less likely to be trafficked. 

At its rudiments, I'm also drawn into the dignity that fair trade employment brings.  Fair trade is not charity.  Fair trade provides workers with the ability to earn a fair wage and customers with the opportunity to engage in an ethical, fair supply chain. 

So, I went to work creating the best soap recipe that I could.  I learned how to leave out palm oil, which is the backbone of most soap recipes because of its environmental impact.  It has been quite fun (and challenging) to push this product as far as I could on both the human and environmental impact.  Even our packaging is sustainable and fair trade. 

We brought the product to market two years ago, but we have to figure out how to better connect with our tribe and how best to communicate our message.  I'm looking forward to this class.  I took Seth's Entrepreneur's Toolbox class, and it was so helpful.  Looking forward to learning with all of you! 

In case you're interested, here's where you can find us:

www.frustratedfarmgirl.com

We're also on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

I told our story differently here. 

http://www.skillshare.com/classes/business/The-New-Business-Toolbox-Help-Your-New-Business-Do-It-Right-The-First-Time/1185976550/projects/26376

Would love to hear version you think is more compelling. 

 

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