We have heard it quite a few times this last year. When will Sunny Jane be in stock? Plain Jane is still out of stock? We know that this issue as been frustrating for several of our regular clients. Let give you a behind the scenes view of why these popular soaps were out of stock so much last year.
The long and the short of it is that we are a small family business who are starting to grow rather quickly. We have crossed that magical threshold of being online for 5+ years and somehow, that translates into getting discovered. We’d love to say that, “We are ready for our close up, Mr. DeMille.” But we know we have a bit more catching up to do. However, we are in process.
Here is what happened behind the scene. When we started our business, we were only batching 2 lbs of soap. It quickly became apparent that we need to increase our batch size. We doubled the batch size and started batching 4 lbs of soap. As orders came in, the orders were larger and larger in quantity. We increased our batch size to 6 lbs of soap. A bainful blessing to us, 6 lbs of coconut-free soap was still not enough. We moved our batches again to 10 lbs. That seems to be, currently, our sweet spot of production.
However, we find that we must also batch more frequently to stay on top of demand for coconut-free Plain Jane and coconut-free Sunny Jane soaps. The demand has been amazing for these bars and we are ever so grateful to be of service. A 10 lb batch of soap yields approximately 40 bars of soap. Most orders come in for 10+ bars of soap. That means that 3 orders could easily wipe out the current cured stock of soap.
The next hurdle comes in that each batch of soap cures for approximately six weeks before we will sell it. The longer a bar cures, the longer it lasts. Here at Pectolite, LLC we make it a standard practice to cure our bars for six weeks whenever possible. To date, we’ve increased batch size and batch frequency to mitigate outages. We’ve also moved to a new website platform which has improved SEO and functional inventory management. We don’t see demand lessening for our products, in fact we are already trending for more growth. But now, with improved tools and processes, we are not only catching up, we are getting ahead.
Our final hurdle is simply space. Our little business is growing into a bigger business and it no longer fits comfortably in the confines of our home. Please know that we are working on finding an affordable option that will allow us the space we need to really increase production, while still keeping the costs reasonable for our clients.
Let’s face it (we will cover this more in another post) coconut is king for many reasons and one of the biggest reasons is price point. Coconut oil is cheap. Quality, coconut-free ingredients are not. Apparently, coconut-free is not in high demand. We don’t want to increase prices save for when an increase in raw material pricing requires it.
In conclusion, we thank you for bearing with us in this time of growth and transition. We are looking forward to a better year, better service and increasing our family of clients here at Pectolite, LLC.