Starting Your Own Soap Making Business
Make Money With Homemade Soap!
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By Virginia Montgomery – I remember when I first discovered I could make my own soap and started my own soap making business. I was intrigued and obsessed with the various scents and ingredients. Immediately, I purchased $200 in soap supplies and made my first batch. That first batch turned into a small side-hustle when I was in high school.
Still, to this day, I make our own soap and occasionally use my bars as gifts or even sell them to my friends and family. It is a hobby that keeps on giving. Luscious ingredients give a feel of luxury and can lessen the bill for the majority of your expenses.
Starting Your Soap Making Business
The first step is to learn how to make soap. Get your craft down before even thinking about selling. This is true for all businesses, not just a soap making business. The next thing you need to consider is your brand. Things to consider are:
● What ingredients do you want to use?
● Who is your target consumer?
● What is your competition?
● Where will you sell your product?
Construct a business plan with these in mind and begin planning out what you would like to do. Research what companies you want to purchase your ingredients from. Figure out the cost it takes to make a single bar of soap. From there you can decide how high you want to mark up the cost.
Must-Have Tools and Ingredients
There is a bare minimum needed to make soap. The ingredients are water, lye, and fat. The fat can be lard or even basic olive oil. Different oils have various properties in your finished product, so be sure to consider that when you calculate in a lye calculator for your specific recipe. However, there is a bare minimum to have. These include:
● Non-stainless steel containers
● Non-stainless steel or wood mixing utensils
● Online lye calculator
Anything else is extra. Keep in mind that most people want more additives in their soap.
Following Rules and Regulations
Double-check laws in your area to ensure you are following the rules. Making sure your label lists ingredients and everything required on a soap label is important.
Do not make any claims regarding your soap or ingredients. Legally, without certain licensing, the only thing you are allowed to say about your handmade soap is that it gets somebody clean. While some ingredients have medical properties or are good for certain conditions, claiming such on your product can get you into a heap of trouble.
Follow manufacturing guidelines and safety guidelines as well. Gloves and goggles are a must when working with lye. Hairnets are another good idea. Store all ingredients off the floor as well and keep a clean work area.
Marketing Your Soaps
Once you figure out your market, you need to grow clients. You can either sell online or locally at craft shows and farmers markets. Making social media pages and growing a following can be an excellent way of finding customers.
Another way to sell your soaps is by finding stores that will allow you to sell your products inside their store. Many local shops do this and this can be a wonderful way to start your own following. Having attractive labels that look professional is important to ensuring that your soaps catch the eye.
Word of mouth is another way of selling soaps. This can be unreliable as you are relying on others to talk about your product. Word of mouth can work if others share your work and tag you on social media or give your card to others. This makes having business cards and attractive logos important to market yourself.
Social media is the easiest way to build a customer base. Posting on online marketing boards and building a following on various sites such as Facebook and Instagram can help grow your target audience. These sites also help you run advertising for relatively little money.
Having nice branding is important to marketing your product. Packaging is everything since it is the first thing people see. Soapboxes, wrapped in plastic, or naked are amazing ways to package your soap.
Design a nice label that matches your brand and ensure it contains everything needed to meet regulations. A catchy name can go a long way when marketing, especially if it is easy to remember.
Have Fun Making Soap!
This is a hobby that for many can turn into a lucrative side hustle. However, finding love in the diversity of the craft is key. Enjoy what you do and the rest should be an afterthought. Learning about different ingredients and designs is the best part of soap making.
There are so many colors, fragrances, and additives you can use. Some of the favorites I have used are:
Researching the various properties is important because some need to be added a certain way. Sugars heat up the lye solution and create a mess. Milk can also scorch if added without being frozen first.
Knowing how, when, and how much to add to your soap is important for creating a safe and effective product. While soap making as a job is fun, ensuring a safe product is important.
Have fun learning ways to make money with this hobby!
Have you considered starting your own soap making business? We would love to hear your experiences in the comments below!
Originally published in the May/June 2022 issue of Countryside and Small Stock Journal and regularly vetted for accuracy.