The Future of Farmer Pits

small business soap making

I started experimenting with deodorant recipes almost ten years ago. While I've adjusted the ingredients over the years, mainly to help it tolerate the hotter summer temperatures it may encounter when being shipped outside of Vermont, the shape has remained the same.

As you might have guessed, Farmer Pits is indeed poured into cupcake trays. The advantages to this are cost (even in bulk, deodorant tubes are expensive!) and minimal waste (just a paper wrapper to throw out, not a big chunk of plastic). 

Now the disadvantages. One is purely aesthetics, when I sell my products in person at a farmer's market, at least one person will come to investigate the "cheese" I have for sale. From a distance, it simply doesn't look like what people expect deodorant to look like! I've also have people buy it thinking mistakenly that it's soap. They are then quite surprised at its inability to make any bubbles!

The big disadvantage though, is ease of use. While I know many people, like me, are quite happy to grab the bar bare-handed to apply, that's not true for everyone. In fact my guess would be that having a version of Farmer Pits in a deodorant tube would really broaden its appeal.

Deodorant Tube Options

So how to get Farmer Pits into a tube that is:

1. Convenient
2. Environmentally friendly
3. Not too expensive

Here are some options:

As is often the case, we can only have two out of the three things we want. The compostable cardboard tube is convenient and environmentally friendly but would result in a price increase of about $2/bar (maybe a little less if I can find a good bulk deal). The tube pictured holds around 2.5 oz., so would be the same size as the current bar.

The refillable tube (this is one I've tried out recently from a brand called Kiima) is environmentally friendly and doesn't require any changes or price increases on my part. Kiima offers a DIY kit which provides you both an empty tube and a silicone mold, which would let you melt a bar of Farmer Pits into the correct shape to refill you own tube. This is probably more trouble than it's worth for a lot of people. The two bar mold included in the refill kit holds one 2.5oz. bar of Farmer Pits.

Another option would be for me to pursue getting the equipment to make the refills myself. Since the available refill kit only has space to refill two bars at a time, I would need a larger mold to do dozens at a time to make it worthwhile. I would also need to know I have a market for this exact refillable tube.

Kiima has unfortunately been unresponsive to my questions about acquiring a larger mold from them, so I would need to get some custom silicone molds made, potentially an expensive investment! This method would also require a price increase to cover the cost of new equipment but of an unknown amount. I think this could be worthwhile but only if there's enough interest.

Help decide the future of Farmer Pits

So this is where I need your help to decide which direction to move forward (or just stay the same) with Farmer Pits! No matter what we decide, the original, paper wrapped version will still be available and will remain the cheaper option.

I'll be including a poll so you can vote for your favorite option in my April 3rd, 2024 subscriber email. If you want to vote and aren't signed up for the email list yet, sign up now! Either scroll to the bottom of this page or use the pop up window. I only send about one email per month (plus an additional email per month if you want updates on local deliveries) and you can unsubscribe at any time. 

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