Yang Fude clearly wanted to spend one lump sum of money but Su Tang and her brother would never be able to get rich if she did business that way. However, ten taels of silver was a sky-high price for most commoners so he was hoping that Su Tang would just say yes.
He was actually a little surprised that after he threw out that offer Su Tang seemed completely unmoved. Instead, she was ready with a counter-offer.
Nowadays the price of soap was fairly high because acacia trees were relatively scare, and the process to make soap was a bit complicated, so the overall output was very small. But the effects of Su Tang’s soap was even better than the common soap and, more importantly, the price was very low.
The soap bars made by Su Tang were twice the size as the ones he was currently selling so even if he just sold them directly as they were at twice the price, he was sure to make a profit. Or he could simply cut them down the middle and sell each half for ten copper coins, he knew that if he sold them that way they would undoubtedly sell very well. After all, it would be about the same size as his previous soap bars, but it would cost five copper coins less.
And the most important point was that the price he paid for his soap right now was twelve copper coins, which was obviously more than what he would pay to buy from Su Tang. Yang Fude had been running his grocery store for many years, so when he heard Su Tang’s offer he was able to calculate the advantages instantly.
“My name is Yang Fude, I haven’t heard your name yet, girl.” As soon as Yang Fude saw Su Tang’s firm stance he knew that buying the recipe would be impossible. But if the profit was enough he would be equally interested in the cooperation Su Tang mentioned.
“My name is Tang and my surname is Su. The Su is from Sujia Village!” Su Tang also said her name out directly.
Yang Fude saw that she was dressed in shabby clothes and had white mourning flowers in her hair, but he did not ask any questions, “Miss Su, I do want all this soap and I hope you can make more. But what do you think about eight copper coins a piece?”
Su Tang shook her head. “It’s not easy for me to make this thing, and it wasn’t easy for me to figure out how to make it. If I sell it for ten copper coins I’m only barely earning back my costs. I can’t sell it too cheap. But I’m also the only one in Qinghe Town making soap like this and I don’t care how much money you decide to sell it for or how you divide it up after you get it, so it’s a good deal for you.”
After the soap was in his hands, Yang Fude could cut it up however he wanted. Su Tang thought that if this shopkeeper Yang had a brain, he would know that there was no need for her to sell her soap to him in such a large chunk.
If she wanted to, Su Tang didn’t have to sell this big chunk of soap for ten copper coins. She could have cut it up into many smaller pieces which she could then sell for one or two copper coins apiece. Considering the soap on the market, if she sold her soap like that then it would definitely sell easily. The key point was that she was obviously giving up on some money by selling her soap in one big piece because it would clearly make her more money if she cut it up and sold it piecemeal.
No matter what the era, inexpensive things on the market were always more popular. That was because large amounts of wealth were always in the hands of a small number of people. But ordinary people were a much bigger group and, although their buying power was low, there were a lot more of them. So if you could sell your product targeting them, it was a huge market to exploit.
However, Su Tang was not willing to set up a stall and shout at passers-by trying to sell her wares. It’s not that she couldn’t do it, she just didn’t want to. That’s why she wanted to find other people to cooperate with the way she was doing now. A person only had one life, and no one knew if they would die tomorrow, so the most important thing for her was to live her life happily and comfortably.
After living two lives, she did not want to scrimp and scrape just to live. She wanted to live as comfortably as she could within her ability.
That was why Su Tang was determined not to reduce her price. She clearly showed Yang Fude with her words that she actually did know how to make more money, so he should be thankful that she wasn’t asking for more.
After Su Tang finished speaking, when she saw that Yang Fude was silent, she went on to say, “My soap can’t be too hot because it melts easily. But it’s also very easy to cut into pieces.”
Don’t think that she was being unreasonable. For most ordinary people, they could spend two copper coins without thinking too much about it. In the past, a soap bar cost fifteen copper coins and many people only knew that it was good for washing clothes, washing hands, and bathing in a way that would make you cleaner. So even though it was acknowledged to be sort of useful, ordinary people wouldn’t ever be willing to spend fifteen copper coins to buy it.
But if you cut it up into small pieces and sold it for two copper coins for each small piece, even if the new pieces were only a third of the size of the previous soap bars, there would be many ordinary people who would be willing to buy them back to use at home.
Su Tang had thought about it seriously. She could have cut her soap to be about a third the size of the current soap being sold and price it at about eight copper coins. If she did that she would have made a considerable profit but she would have had to do a lot more work personally.
Yang Fude had wanted to lower the price with his words but by saying what she did, Su Tang was letting him know that she did understand how to do business, she just didn’t want to bother with it.
When Yang Fude heard Su Tang’s prompt, he was no longer silent. He immediately said with a smile. “Miss Su is really an incomparable youth. Since that’s the case, let’s make a contract!”
Yang Fude actually hadn’t be able to see it at first, but Su Tang suddenly woke him up when she told him her soap was ‘easy to cut’. Since it was easy to cut, why did he only want to cut it in half? He could cut it into even more and smaller pieces, which would lower the price and overall make it easier to sell.
Because he ran his own grocery store he was very clear that the things that sold the most were the things that only cost one or two copper coins. If the price was lower there would be more people who could afford it. In reality, his most expensive items that would seem to be profitable at first glance didn’t actually bring in much money because there were so few people able to buy them. Because the volume of sales was never very high the profit margins were never as good when compared with other, cheaper, things.
That was also the reason why he sold things like candies for one or two copper coins. Those seemingly inconspicuous and cheap items were actually some of the most profitable ones in his store.
“Shopkeeper Yang is too polite.” When Su Tang heard him agree, she smiled and nodded along.
Shopkeeper Yang himself could recognize a few words but not that many. So they also had to especially find a person who could read and write to draw up a contract for them. After it was done, the two of them quickly signed the agreement.
First, Su Tang would sell her large chunks of soap for ten copper coins a piece to Yang Fude and then he could sell them at whatever price he wanted. Second, Yang Fude needed to schedule his orders for Su Tang at least five days in advance. And third, Su Tang would only supply Yang Fude her soap for one year. Basically, those were the terms of the contract.
After the contract was signed, Yang Fude took all the thirteen bars of soap that Su Tang brought today and gave her 130 copper coins. Su Tang immediately took out twenty of those copper coins and bought two kinds of flower seeds before she left Yang Fude’s store.
Su Nuo felt numb as he watched his sister easily making money again. He had heard from the adults in the village that it was not easy to make money, and he had never thought that making money was actually easy. After all, he had only made a few copper coins after selling his wild peaches, and getting those wild peaches and then bringing them into town had been a lot of hard work.
But on the other hand, it seemed his sister could go out for a little stroll and make more than a hundred copper coins. And even more important was that after she made those hundred copper coins, she went on to sign a cooperation contract which meant that she would be able to make even more money all the time. That was why his next words were from the bottom of his heart, “Sister, you are so amazing!”
Su Tang was very satisfied seeing her little brother’s worshipful expression. “Well, you don’t have to worship your elder sister too much. Your elder sister is only a little bit legendary.*”
She didn’t know what kind of brain cramp made her blurt out some modern slang but she quickly laughed past it.
Su Nuo just gave her a confused smile in response and Su Tang struggled to suppress her laughter until she heard the little guy’s belly growl. It was only then that she remembered that they had been busy all day and hadn’t eaten anything yet.
She hurriedly took the food she had prepared this morning out of her basket and shared it with Su Nuo to temporarily fill their stomachs. After that ate a bit, Su Tang quickly pulled Su Nuo along to go to a fabric shop.
*the is web slang. Like ‘epic’ or something.
tl note: man I feel like the author was really talking in circles this chapter, so annoying