I know a lot of manly spa products exist. Shaving cream, shaving soaps, scrubs, lip balms, and even bubble bath. I want to make some very manly scented products, even some gender neutral products. I have been talking to some people to get some ideas. Scents and flavors that are manly, but still pampering. So far sage, pine, coffee, musk, tobacco and grapefruit have been discussed. I could even make lime, lemon, orange, chocolate, or grapefruit lip balm for a very gender neutral line. I think most lip balm is pretty gender neutral. I have witnessed many men use cherry, cotton candy or even bubble gum flavored lip balm. I think the real difference is in the other spa products. Men don’t usually talk relaxing baths, and they don’t want to smell like flowers or fruit usually. I don’t believe I possess the skills to make a bar of shave soap, but I could certainly make manly scented bars of soap for body washing, salt scrubs and lotion bars.
I was also considering a line of kids spa products. I LOVED cherry shampoo when I was a kid. It would be fun to make kid’s bubblegum scented bubble bath, or a grape scented salt scrub. I have used a very plain salt scrub ob my son’s body for sure, but wouldn’t it be more fun if it smelled like monkey farts? Seriously, there is a monkey farts scented oil for sale all over the internet. I think it would be easier to make spa products for kids than for men, but I really like the challenge. Some day I will make the kid’s spa line, but for now I’d like to move on to manly spa products.
What would the men in your life want in a Spa-in-a-box? I’m imagining lip balm, soap, lotion bar, salt scrub, black or white scrubby pad (just in a circle) and MAYBE deodorant. I have been researching deodorant making. Also, hair care products, but I’m not sure if men want hair balm and leave-in conditioner. Maybe something like pomade would be a manly hair care product? I have a lot to consider, and a long process from concept to product.
My process starts with conversation. I want to talk to people I know about my idea. I ask questions, listen to input, reformulate, ask more questions then get more input. It takes a few days of conversations with a lot of people. Next comes the notebook product sketches and scent/flavor lists. Maybe even for days and days I will draw the product packaging in 20 different ways. I have a sketch book, but I never have it at my desk. All of my idea sketches happen at my desk, I spend the most time during the day at my desk. After a few days of sketching and listing I might actually have a recipe to try. A lot of my products contain beeswax, coconut oil or salt. I have boxes and boxes under my desk full of supplies. I make small test batches to make sure the recipe is going to work. If I like how the small batch turned out I might make a bigger batch and labels. If a product turns out to my liking I end up having my husband help me set up a photo shoot. From start to finish this process can take a few days to a few months. The last product I considered, before this manly spa line, took about a week for the samples to be made. I liked it enough that I want to make a larger batch and photograph the finished product. The last step is promoting and sell products. I haven’t quite got that part down yet. I send out free samples when I can and I use social media a little bit. I have read a lot about the topic, but it’s just not clicking with me so well. It’s my last heddle to get over to be successful. New products can be developed over and over but what is the good of producing products that don’t sell?!
Every day is a struggle. For the small shop owners to the corporate employee trying to raise a family on a part-time salary. It helps to hope. To dream. To look forward to tomorrow. It won’t always be this way, but someday when it becomes some well oiled beautiful machine the struggle to get there will be well worth it. Someday it won’t be small batches on my desk, being inspected for flaws. Someday it might be a product lab. Someday I won’t have to tell my 8-year old that I can’t discuss the finer points of being a Pokemon trainer because I am “working” at the moment. It helps to dream, but don’t forget the process. You can’t dream about having a nice product lab to develop new products if you have no ideas for products, or supplies to test with.
Good luck small hand crafted store owners/crafters! Enjoy your hand crafting.