- Teri Sutherland
A sweet-smelling success story: Meet the maker of Beautiful Batches – Sonia Taylor
As many of my clients know, I live in the beautiful Scenic Rim area of Queensland. It’s a very creative community and that’s how I met Sonia Taylor. Sonia is a former dog groomer who started making batches of soaps and perfumes at home. Soap-making soon took over as her main job and she sold her wares in her small shop in Canungra on the weekends. Sonia’s Beautiful Batches are soaps, natural deodorants, perfumes, clay masks, body butters and balms inspired by nature and dedicated to using ethical suppliers as close to home as possible. Sonia even uses beeswax from a neighbour and lavender from her daughter’s garden!
When Sonia asked me to redesign her product labels and tags, my inspiration for the rebranding came from her work philosophy and love of all things nature. Sonia still makes all her own products from her home workshop from all-natural products, so that directed my ideas for her rebrand and the recycled paper we sourced for her new labels. Part of the rebranding journey was to create a new website to tie in with the update.
As part of the exercise, Sonia took the opportunity to consolidate some of her product offerings. The scrolling site design is great for displaying all Sonia’s products, and makes it easier to see what’s available in her online store, no matter what mobile device the site is displayed on. The design also helped us to group products into types and themes, and made it easier to look at things from the customers’ perspective when they are in online shopping mode. Streamlining the product offering helped Sonia to focus her workload too.
The old website used Shopify, but not all functions were showing their best side. Collaborating can combine the designer’s display and web skills with the customers’ perspective, resulting in a win-win web design. We chose Shopify again for the new site because this needed to be more than just a ‘shop window’ of product photos – it really needed to work as Sonia’s virtual shop – including the back office and post room, because, as well as making all her products, Sonia also does all the packaging and posting too. Keeping things streamlined and simple is what a Shopify site is magic at enabling, with design functions combining e-commerce, order tracking and inventory. The Shopify platform app also lets you use the system with card readers – great for small businesses taking advantage of markets or pop-ups in their local area.
The rebrand has helped to increase interest in the products and the new site has make product orders and postage easier to administer.
Here’s what Sonia said about her new website.
“I draw people to my website through Instagram and Facebook. I don’t currently do any other advertising, so my website has to look good and work for me. The website is now cleaner and neater and much easier to navigate. I have a special linen clothing range that was hidden before. It’s now much easier for people to find on the new site. And my regular customers have told me how much they love the new branding.
The wholesale side of things has picked up – the new site made it easy to expand my wholesale orders because we added a new section, with a discount code for wholesalers to use with their online order. I couldn’t do that with the old site, so I had orders coming in from all over the place – emails, phone calls, text messages. But now, I direct all that traffic to the website. It’s much simpler to keep track when it’s all in one place.
Better branding, web design function and ordering for wholesalers and customers – it’s streamlined things and lets me deliver on my promises to my valued customers in a much easier way. Shopify also automates the updates for customers – sending out text messages and emails direct when I’ve packed and posted people’s orders. It’s reassuring from a customer perspective, and their feedback is that they value the updates, especially if they’ve ordered a batch of soaps or perfumes as a gift for a friend or family member.
I am part of a Scenic Rim Arts Collective and I participate in local markets and events such as the Arts in the Olives Festival – but, with all the rain in Queensland lately, having the online shopfront has been such a blessing! I still prefer to meet people face-to-face and talk to them. With such good feedback about the new branding – having something that is a perfect fit for me and my business makes me more confident in pointing people towards my website, knowing that they’ll see all my products and can easily order more of their favourites that they’ve found in person.
I administer all the orders myself from the website – when someone places an order, I get an alert. My kids always laugh when they hear the little Shopify bell ding: they know it means we’ve received another order! They know I’m going to be busy packaging up boxes to send out to shops in the Scenic Rim, a couple in Canungra and Tamborine Mountain, O’Reilly’s, and O’Reilly’s Vineyard, Binna Burra, the Scenic Rim’s Farmbox, and others. Because I’m processing all the orders myself, I need things to be as efficient as possible, to leave me more time to MAKE more products. That’s the part I really love.”
You can see Sonia’s Beautiful Batches on her website: https://beautifulbatches.com.au