I’ll be honest. Before I got into the soap business, I looked at bath and body products as a way that women quickly crossed off the remaining people on their lists without a lot of thought or effort. Don’t know what to buy? Just get her soap! Don’t know her that well? Get her some bath salts… Chicks dig bath salts!
But as I get more and more into the bath and body business, I realize that soap and other handmade bath and body products can be a thoughtful gift, if you have the right approach. Note the conditional statement there. You still have to put some thought into it, but if you do, you’ll be rewarded with appreciation from the recipient, and maybe a thoughtful gift in return. How do I know? Well, when you’ve got easy access to a lot of handmade soap, you begin to get good at knowing when it’s a proper gift, and when it’s not.
To Smell, or Not to Smell?
It sounds like common sense, but more often than not, we’ll pop open a bottle of body wash in a store, and if it smells good to us, we’ll go with it. The reality is that people have different scent preferences, and it’s easy enough to subtly probe to find out what someone likes if you don’t already know. Floral is not the answer to everything. Some like herbal scents, or earthy scents. Others may like sweet, fruity scents. Showing you care by doing some detective work will go a long way.
With respect to scent, there’s another possibility to consider – no scent at all. If your intended recipient is someone like me that has allergies (or chemical sensitivities), he or she might genuinely appreciate getting luxurious bath products that don’t cause a non-stop sneezing fit. Really folks, a good portion of the populace has allergies, many to plants and animals. Fragrance manufacturers use these components and more or less “weaponize” them so they hang around in the air and on your person for longer. To someone who spends a fortune on a bottle of perfume, that’s a great feature. It’s not really a blessing for someone with allergies.
Solving Skin Problems
Everyone’s skin is different, and we can use that fact to add a little more personalization to a bath and body gift. Someone with dry skin would likely appreciate some lotion. Severely dry skin might benefit from a little gentle exfoliation with a salt bar or sugar scrub, followed by a lotion or balm. When winter rolls around, the cold, windy weather combined with the horrendous soap I have to deal with at work takes its toll on my hands. Shannon’s balm is an unbelievable comfort, especially on my knuckles. Sometimes it’s hard to know how someone’s skin will react to a particular ingredient, but some more subtle probing could help. For example, I’m partial to products with oatmeal in them, and I’m happy to talk about it. If you’re totally stumped, you could try a soap sampler pack that has a few different varieties in smaller sizes.
Lastly, personal beliefs or life events can give you a clue. If your sister is opposed to using products with sodium lauryl sulfate, Shannon’s Soaps or shampoo bars would be good candidates. If a friend is going through a tough time at work, putting together a gift basket with some bath salts or bombs, candles and maybe a little wine would be a thoughtful way to encourage her to take a little break for some rest and relaxation.
It's The Thought That Counts
You’ve heard it before when it comes to gifts: It’s the thought that counts. With a little careful consideration, you can turn something that might seem on its surface to be a dull present into a wonderful expression of your thoughtfulness. Hopefully I’ve inspired you to do just that.