Making it is one thing. Figuring out how to successfully market and sell handmade lip balm is an entirely different ballgame.
When you sign up for marketplaces such as Etsy or use website builders such as Shopify, it’s not always apparent that you still have to drive your own traffic to get sales.
Creating the perfect lip balm is just the tip of the iceberg.
However, it is (very) possible to build an entire business with lip balm alone using this list of product ideas and marketing strategies.
This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links (at no cost to you). Please read the disclosure for more information.
SELL YOUR HANDMADE LIP BALM VIA ECOMMERCE
One of the most convenient ways to sell your handmade lip balm is through ecommerce and marketplaces such as Etsy, Shopify, and Woocommerce.
You can easily build a whole website with lip balm variants that you make and sell from your own home – that’s how my own natural skin care shop on Etsy started.
By making different sizes of bundles and gift sets, you can quickly make multiple listings with just a few scents of lip balm.
Try these six different ways you can attract customers with different price points:
INDIVIDUAL LIP BALMS
People LOVE lip balm, and once they find a favorite, they’re typically loyal customers for life.
It’s amazing how many people purchase just one lip balm at a time, even when the shipping can be as much as the tube itself.
Individual lip balms are also are a great price point for add-ons to get to a free shipping purchase minimum.
These are very popular during winter holidays for stocking stuffers and Secret Santa gifts, so make sure you have packaging that is beautiful enough to gift, such as a cotton muslin bag or a kraft paper jewelry box tied up with a ribbon that matches your business branding color palette.
The possibilities for selling lip balms in gift sets are endless.
Consider sets of 2, 3, 6, and 10 where customers can mix and match the scents they would like.
Another SUPER giftable way is to package similar scents together for a theme, such as a holiday lip balm gift set or an organic tea lip balm gift set.
Offering gift wrapping for niche-specific gift sets like these make for an easy ‘YES’ during the busy holiday season.
An affordable, thoughtful gift idea that has a high conversion rate.
Convenience sells. No doubt about it.
Offering your handmade lip balms already packaged and ready to gift could be a game-changer for your shop.
At one point I sold boxed-up natural lip balms in sets of 10 (each individually gift wrapped in kraft paper jewelry boxes and ready to hand out).
Bulk sets like these are (incredibly) popular for:
If a customer wants to have a variety of scents, just write the individual scent names on pieces of paper and slip them under the ribbon so they know which is which.
OFFER PERSONALIZED LABELS
If you print your own labels at home, offering personalized labels for your products can open up a variety of business opportunities.
Businesses love adding their company name and contact information to custom promotional items like lip balm, brides love favors with their names and wedding date, and baby shower favors with the little one’s name is always a win.
Keep in mind that offering customizations like this does take more time.
You will need to get your label design approved by your customer, and sometimes there can be three or four rounds of emails before a final design is agreed upon.
Make sure you’re up to the task of extra communication before offering this service.
Subscription boxes are having their time in the spotlight, and website platforms such as SquareSpace and Woocommerce have plug-ins available to make organization of all the necessary details pretty easy.
For example, if you have 12 scents of lip balm, you could create a subscription box for:
Are you a super organized spreadsheet master?
You could even start your own program if your marketplace (such as Etsy) doesn’t have subscription options available. Make your own!
BUNDLE WITH OTHER PRODUCTS
Do you make other skin care or wellness products in addition to lip balm?
Combining a variety of items together is a very attractive way to sell your handmade lip balm, and it’s an easy way to add more listings to your website without having to recreate the wheel.
Create mix and match sets where the customer can choose the types of products they would like, and also offer pre-determined gift sets.
Both are popular and provide a variety of price-points for any budget.
Don’t forget to add photos of these bundled sets in your individual product listings as well so that your customers know they’re available.
SELL YOUR HANDMADE LIP BALM IN PERSON
Even with the rise of online sales in almost every industry, making connections in person is still the number one way to network.
This isn’t exactly easy if you are a work-from-home mom such as myself, so check out some of the tips below to see how this can still squeeze into your schedule.
Craft fairs are in-person events that are usually just on one day or one weekend without any further commitment.
There is typically a booth fee and expenses to create your own display, but super fun to design your own mini ‘brick and mortar’.
Be sure to pass out business cards with your website information on them so that your visitors can still purchase from you at a later date.
This is also a great time to collect email addresses from interested patrons, so be sure to have a signup list available so that they can be contacted about future events or online sales.
Farmer’s Markets usually require sellers to pay a booth fee for the whole season – a pretty big commitment.
BUT, worth considering since many locals go back every single week (jackpot for repeat customers!).
If this idea is intriguing to you but can’t manage the time commitment, see if there is a complementary booth that would like to partner up and trade off every other week.
Another option is to lease out a corner of someone else’s booth if they’re willing to let you sell your handmade lip balm on a mini display.
Your products are there but you won’t have to be!
If you are able to sell your handmade lip balm at wholesale prices, you should DEFINITELY be checking out the boutiques in your area.
This gives local customers the chance to skip shipping fees, helps support other small businesses, and cuts down on the time required to sell ‘in person’.
When you visit a boutique to pitch your line, make sure that you have:
You’re selling your brand to another business owner – be professional and memorable!
SELL YOUR HANDMADE LIP BALM ON SOCIAL MEDIA
After your online shop is all set up, you have to have a marketing plan in place.
Driving your own traffic is essential to success when selling via ecommerce.
The three suggestions below have the most traffic and ROI for natural skin care products overall.
I personally have found that Instagram is the best social media platform to sell my skin care products on.
Instagram is growing rapidly, and the sheer amount of users and businesses on it means it is hard to get seen if you have no method.
To make this work for your business, you need to put in the time to learn an actual Instagram marketing strategy.
Make sure that you are:
It takes work, but is well worth the effort and time.
If you are still growing your audience or want to see if your products would be intriguing to a different target market, have someone else with a large following promote your lip balm.
Social media influencers share your product on their feed in exchange for either free merchandise or an agreed-upon financial compensation.
The payment parameters of an influencer largely depend on their number of followers.
If the influencer’s terms are right for your budget, this is a fantastic way to sell your handmade lip balm to individuals you wouldn’t have otherwise gotten in front of.
(Psst…check their feed before committing to make sure they share recommendations and content in a way that you feel comfortable with.)
Pinterest is a visual search engine (technically not social media) and is growing at exponential rates.
The opportunities to get yourself and your product line in front of new customers with an attractive pin are greater than any other platform right now.
Pinterest is a long-term game (about 3 months before seeing growth), but the life of a pin can last up to 2 YEARS (compare that to a 5-hour life for a Facebook post)!
(This example Pinterest pin below is one of mine from years ago and is no longer active…just a visual example only!)
SELL YOUR HANDMADE LIP BALM THROUGH PROMOTIONAL ITEMS
The saying is true…it takes money to make money.
Giving your products away is a fantastic strategy to eventually sell your handmade lip balm, as gaining customers really boils down to two things:
It’s a numbers game.
Get a quality product into the hands of a specified target market, boost the number of those hands as high as possible, and the business will follow.
That is IT for a successful business, no matter WHAT you are selling.
DONATIONS AND RAFFLES
If you’ve been a maker for a while, you’ve probably had people request a gift basket for a community event as a donation.
Especially if the event is local, do it!
Shoppers love supporting local businesses, and this is a great way to get your products in front of people in your area.
BUT…give yourself some boundaries.
Set a monthly promotional budget for yourself and be choosey with the events you participate in.
Make sure the foundation or cause is something you are okay identifying your brand with.
Including smaller sizes of lip balms in your customers’ packages will pay itself back tenfold.
If you can ignore the not-so-great quality of this example photo (yikes…I’ve rebranded since this photo, don’t judge), you’ll see that I included a half-size balm, a tiny insert with the available scents at that time, and on the back of the insert is my contact information.
Always be conscious of your customer’s order when choosing their lip balm sample:
Even your samples can be thoughtful and personal.
As small business owners, there is no way we can match the huge discounts that big box stores advertise during popular sales such as Black Friday and Labor Day.
Offering free items during these times in lieu of a discount is still a wonderful incentive for your customers.
Lip balm is the perfect giveaway item due to its higher profit margin (especially if you are able to buy your ingredients and packaging in bulk).
The example below is from my Black Friday email campaign in 2018, an annual promo that results in customers gifting the free lip balm as stocking stuffers (which then turns into new loyal customers).
BUT THE REAL SECRET TO SELLING HANDMADE LIP BALM?
Having a PROPERLY BRANDED BUSINESS.
Get insight and visual tutorials on how to create a cohesive, consistent brand that your customers will keep coming back to:
Take a look through the skin care business branding section of this site to make sure you’ve set yourself up for ultimate success!