Soap making is becoming one of the most popular crafts to do. It’s very easy to make and there are many great tutorials and recipes around. However it pays to get a little practice in and good advice to start making perfect bars of soap every time. Lye however needs to be used in the making of soap and is a corrosive chemical but disappears when the soap cures, the Lye is used to form a process where fat is turned into soap. Safety when handling Lye it is very important. At my website under “Making Money With Soap” there’s a link to some great safety tips while using Lye.
Soap making can also be a very profitable craft business. Soap is easy to make, small and light to carry to markets and/or shops or post if selling online and the ingredients can be quite cheap if you hunt around. Especially if you buy them in bulk and it’s good to have a business tax file number to get great discounts on products.
There seems to be endless amount of the different types of soaps you can make and you can create your own unique soap with colour, fragrance and other ingredients of your choice. You may want a soft and gentle soap suitable to use on your face or you may want a gritty powerful soap to remove oil, dirt off your hands etc. Handmade soap bars can also make great inexpensive gifts and are also great to sell.
Most local markets have soap stands and seem to be very popular. As always it pays to do your homework first. Check out your local markets and see what people sell and if their stands are popular. Giving that soap can be classed as a consumable (another words soap is something that is used most days in most households, it’s more of a need than a want) it normally is a very popular item to sell. However don’t just assume this. There would be no point in buying all of your ingredients and making soap bars to sell at $5 dollars to make a profit when the next door stalls are selling their soap bars for $3. Also if there’s numerous stands all selling the same things then you’d have much stronger competition and either wouldn’t sell a lot or would need something that stands out to entice people to buy from you instead of somewhere else. Such as making special deals like buy two and get the third for free etc. The same principals apply to online as well. Check out other websites selling soap and get a feel for what they sell, how much they sell for and what special offers do they give. Also what postage costs do they charge.
Creating unique soaps could also give you a great advantage. Instead of just rectangle bars of soap you could learn the tricks of blending colours so you have swirls of two or more colours in your bars. Moulds are also great and can aim at a certain market. Such as making animal shaped soaps may entice parents to buy that soap for their child or they may love animals and splash out on themselves or for a gift. Moulds come in many shapes and sizes from animals, flowers, cars, houses, words, footballs etc and the list goes on. Also moulds are great to double up using them for candle making as well as soap.
Another great trick to stand out from the pack is to focus on a targeted market. You could make very gentle soaps suitable for babies and display a sign with your soap attracting mothers/fathers to buy your special baby soap. Also you could go online to forums and baby orientated websites and get your business and your soap well known. You need to always check first that advertising is allowed. If not you could generally chat about your handmade soap and just have your website link somewhere on the page. Another angle could be attracting mechanics and advertising your great super tough grit soap that gets oil off easily without drying out hands as natural ingredients are used. These are just two ideas as to what markets you could aim at. If you put your mind to it you could create many specialized soaps. Also people are often willing to pay a little extra for something that’s tailor made to do the job they specifically want. Once again do your homework first to ensure that what you say when you advertise is correct.
As always it pays to check what insurance you need to cover yourself such as public liability. You also need to display what ingredients you’re using just in case someone has an allergic reaction to something its clearly listed. A local business office and/or local government office/website should be able to help you with information on this.
Selling soap online can also be a profitable craft business. However you can’t smell nor feel soap via a computer screen! So it would be a good idea to have your soaps for sale in shops/markets etc as well with your website information on it welcoming orders. Another idea would be to offer small free samples for people to try making sure you don’t blow your budget too much to entice people to buy or even have competitions on your website where people can win free soap again getting your soap out there and known. This isn’t necessary but to me I like to smell a bar of soap first and spend a little too much time at a market stall just doing that haha! Once I find a lovely soap I’ll buy it and be a return customer. Same as at home it may take a couple of rounds to make a soap that feels and smells just perfect.
There are thousands of different types of soaps you can make and different processes to make it. Often essential oils are used, fruit and plant oils, natural colourings, natural defoliants such as oatmeal and many more ingredients. Then there’s the part to making the soap and letting it cure and the different methods of displaying it from cutting your soap into shapes to using moulds for unique shapes to stamping the soap for a unique touch, even having your business name as an emblem on it. This way after someone repeatedly seeing your business name it may jog their memory to buying from you again. Also attaching a business card with your soap wrapped in pretty cellophane etc is a great idea for repeat business.