Continuing our interview series, I’d like to introduce everyone to Janine Predmore. Janine is the owner/operator of Lemming Central and Things That Make Scents. Things That Make Scents offers an array of products to make your reality smell good (try the tarts…they are amazing), and Lemming Central is a “sample box” company that distributes samples of products from artisans across the bath and body spectrum.
Thanks to Janine for taking the time out to talk to us!
Q: You’re the owner and formulator for Things That Make Scents, can you tell our readers a little bit about it?
At Things That Make Scents, we feature hand poured soy candle, wax dipped critters, candle accessories and lovely gifts both online and in our retail store in Manasquan, NJ.
Q: What was your introduction to the types of crafting that led to TTMS?
It all started with a candle making kit that my husband got me for Christmas.
Q: What was the first product you ever offered for sale, and do you still sell it?
A 16oz soy candle was the first product we sold and is still available for sale in our wide array of scents.
Q: How has your product line evolved in response to changing markets and the boom in artisan crafters offering products for sale?
We listen to what people ask for, and do a lot of research. We have recently added beeswax candles and citronella candles to our line.
Q: What has been your most successful method for marketing your brand?
We do a lot of online marketing, and we do local coupon ads for the retail store.
Q: What was your greatest marketing disaster, and what did you take away from the experience?
We spent a lot of money for an ad in a big popular magazine with a big subscriber base and news stand coverage and it didn’t really pay off at all. Don’t let sales people give you the smoke and mirror routine just to get you to buy an ad from them.
Q: Some of your scents are really fabulous. Do you design your fragrances by nose, or by molecular mapping?
A little of both. I may do some mixing on my own until I get something that I like then I send it off to my perfumer to make it perfect.
Q: Your soy products are considerably better than many of tried. Are you doing something different to temper your wax, or do you credit having a great supply chain?
There are many types of soy wax out there as well as para/soy blends. After extensive testing we found a wax that we love, is easy to work with and gives great results, all while still being 100% soy wax. Soy is a tricky beast to work with, there is a lot of testing involved, but once you get a groove going, its smooth sailing.
Q: What would you say is your signature product?
Our signature product is our OhSoy! 100% Soy candle line.
Q: What do you see as the biggest challenge to new people coming into the artisan crafting business?
It is hard being the new guy. It takes a great deal of time to get your name and products out there.
Q: What about challenges for existing businesses?
Right now? The economy. If people aren’t spending money, it doesn’t matter what you sell.. Unless it is food! *laughs* Add to that all the price increases for supplies & shipping.
Q: Did TTMS lead you to start Lemmings, or was there another driving factor?
I had participated in some of the programs at Lemming Central before we took over ownership. When I found out it was for sale, I discussed it with my husband, and we grabbed it!
Q: How long have you been doing TTMS and Lemmings?
I have been making candles for about 7 years. We opened our first TTMS retail store March 2007. This July is our 2 year anniversary as new owners of Lemming Central.
Q: Could you define the sample box modality for our readers? What do you see as the core benefits for both consumer and artisan?
Our Samples boxes offer the artisian a method to get their products out into the hands of potential new customers. It’s a great way to get not only your products, but your company name out there. When people cant just walk into your store to smell and try your products they might be hesitant to buy something online. The samples boxes give the consumers a chance to try before your buy along with coupon incentives to purchase more products.
Q: What is your target for number of artisans in each box?
There is no set target, one campaign might have 18 Etailers participating and one campaign might have 45. It all depends. Typically there are approx 10-12 Etailers in each box. Some Etailers include more than one product in their sample pack.
Q: How many boxes do you try to offer each period (monthly, quarterly, etc.)
We run the boxes every other month. The number of boxes we have again depends on how many Etailers send in samples for that campaign. Could be 65 boxes or could be 145 boxes.
Q: Your current price point for a sample box is about $20.00 including shipping. Is that your standard price, or does it depends on the contents of the box?
$20 is our standard price for our Sample Boxes.
Q: When is your next LC box planned, and how should artisans reach you if they want to take part?
Our next box goes on sale Aug. 4th and sign ups are closed. We have our Oct. box and our Dec box which will be our holiday box coming up. They can sign up over at the Lemming Central site or contact me with any questions firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editorial Note: I purchased the last sample box without telling Janine, and I’ll be reviewing it and talking to some of the artisans involved in sending out samples in future issues.