So You Want to Start a Soap Business?

So, you've decided to take the plunge and start a soap business, eh? First of all, let me congratulate you on joining this awesome group of weirdos we call "professional soap artists"! It's a wonderful place to be! Before you start ordering fragrance oils and exotic butters like crazy, let me share a few tips with you to help smooth this bumpy road of growing a business. As a disclaimer, I don't think of myself as being very versed in the way corporate America is run, nor how to create a giant company with 50+ employees. If your dream is to conquer the world with bubbles and build an empire, this post probably isn't for you. But, if you're starting small, planning to sell out of your home, and need just a few pointers, try reading this wee post and see if you're ready to begin!


1. Experience
I advise soap makers to create soap for about a year before considering taking the leap into the business side of it. You really do need quite a bit of time to really get the hang of the craft before you're confident enough to sell what you make. After all, soap making is an art, and like any form of art, requires skill that can only be acquired through experience. In that first year, get comfortable with different methods of soap making, try new recipes, take notes about how fragrances and temperatures acted, observe the fluctuations of temperature while the raw soap is in the mold, etc.


2. Passion
If you think selling soap is your destiny, you better bloody love it and I mean LOVE it. This is an art, a passion, but it's about to become your job. You will have customers, real live people, that rely on you to process orders, update your inventory, keep them informed, and post regularly on social media. Your batches, be them big or small, will cost you, and often the the price of one batch can't be taken lightly, even for bigger businesses. There will be so many things you, as a business owner, will be required to do that do not involve actually putting lye water into oils and stirring, so you better really like that part, otherwise the rest of it will seem an overwhelming mess.

3. Marketplace
Once you've decided to sell your soap, you're going to need to sell it somewhere. There are loads of options from Facebook Webstores, to Etsy, to Store Envy, to local farmer's markets, to your own website, to boutiques across the world, etc. When picking where to sell, consider your personal location, whether or not you are willing to ship, both internationally or just in your country, the extras you would need to purchase/make if you take your product to fairs and markets, if you like to interact with real humans ;), and the time it takes to set up a webstore. Selling at craft shows and selling online are two completely different fields, and who knows, you may want to do both!


4. Recipe
I advise that you create a basic recipe you like and have used multiple times for the first 15+ soaps you create for your customers. Make sure the recipe is versatile and easy to use because at this point in your soap journey, you probably won't have loads of extra cash lying about if your bath flops three times in a row. Also, by having an easy to work with recipe, it's easy to add fun things like calendula, lavender, clays, milks, sugar, salt, etc. and see the effect it will have on your colors and finished bar.

5. Moral Support
Having an encouraging group of people who cheer you on is an absolute necessity. These cool kids don't necessarily have to be related to you (because let's face it, your relatives have already figured out you're nutters by now) but they should be like-minded and ready to give you a pep talk when you're on the floor in tears because you dumped a whole jar of mica out. Join a couple of Facebook groups too!
6. Packaging
Professional and pretty packaging is an essential right from the very beginning. Your soap may be gorgeous, but if your packaging is sloppy, it ruins the effect. Handmade bath and beauty products are often given as gifts and you want your soaps to live up to that standard. Think about what you would like to receive and ALWAYS include ingredients! 

7. Branding
This is another biggie from the very get go! Get yourself a logo, for goodness sake. Pick out a name that expresses YOU. Design some labels that really catch a person's eye. Print them on label paper that won't run or bleed if wet. Include all of your business information. Do I need to do a set of branding posts? I feel like I do. ;) This is an essential because (especially online) your customers and loyal followers will need something to quickly identify you with!

8. Organize
Essential. An absolute essential. Write down everything you have ever bought for your business. EVERYTHING. Gas you spent driving to the store, those big fat paper clips to hold the sides of your silicone liners to the mold, discounts given by your suppliers, I mean everything. You'll thank me later and it will save you so much time and money in the end. I highly recommend Soap Maker 3 and if you're more dedicated than I am, you'll utilize the poo out of that sucker. It makes your job as soap secretary a piece of cake!

9. Space
This is also a big one. When you sell soap, you have to keep it somewhere. Make sure this place is very DRY and somewhere out of reach. Pets and children (though I adore both) can really be a nuisance when it comes to oils, micas, or even soap bars so if you have to get a locking cabinet to keep their little paws out, I highly recommend you do so. Also, remember that having a lot of inventory will help you sell. This is something to consider before you even start. Do you have room for this profession? Hopefully, you outgrow your space and have to move somewhere even bigger :D but here at the beginning, make sure you at least have enough for the amount of supplies you'll be acquiring. 

10. Fun
Yeah, it's corny, but by gum if it isn't an essential. Remember, you're doing this because you love it, so keep on loving it! Laugh off the glitter spill, learn from the flopped batches, share and show off your creations to your friends and supporters, and just have fun. Soap is fun.


I hope some (if not all) of these tips assist you in starting your own soap business! If you'd like to see more business help posts, just let this gal know and I'm on it like a duck on a June bug!

xoxo, Katie

17 comments

  1. Great Post! I would love to hear more on branding. There are so many options out there now, would be great to hear from someone who has gotten through it so successfully.
    xox Delia

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  2. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and insight. You are a blessing to new soap makers like me. I would love to read more business related posts from you. It helps to learn from those that have already experienced great success. Thank you for all you do!

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  3. Awesome tips Katie! Thank u! Love ur spunk too btw!

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  4. I made my own brand by combining letters of my business name using a free commercial font. It really doesn't have to be hard. I use it everywhere!

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  5. I made my own brand by combining letters of my business name using a free commercial font. It really doesn't have to be hard. I use it everywhere!

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  6. This is all excellent advice! Turning your hobby into a mini business means spending a lot of time doing things other than making soap, and I'm glad you pointed that out so that people considering it can really give that part some thought. There are a lot of options you can choose from depending on what you like and what you want your emphasis to be, but it's not going to come out by accident and you need to choose what matters and what kind of success you want in order for it to work.

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    1. I agree. I do many other beauty products, while I am perfecting my soap division. I know people frown upon MP soap, but it is a great starter and quick money maker to buy supplies for from scratch soap. And I find some customers prefer MP over the other. :)

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  7. Great blog post and great tips! :)

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  8. Oh my gosh, this was great! You summed it up beautifully. I would love to hear more on branding, yes. I would like to know how a tech-challenged gal like me and create a logo of her own. LOL

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  9. Awesome Info Katie and thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge!! It is greatly appreciated. Love you videos, they really lighten my day!!

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  10. You have saved my butt about three times this week! In this post it's the locking cabinet idea. God puts the right stuff in the right place ;) Thank you for being you.

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  11. Great tips as usual Katie! BTW. I just purchased your Royality Soaps piping kit from Nuture Soaps and can't wait to use it! Loved the rainbow colors of tissue paper and the choice of mica colors as well! Thanks again for all your awesome tips and advice! Happy Soaping:)

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  12. This is a great post for all of those small business people in the soaping community! You really do need all 10 of these things to be successful in any business. Thanks for sharing. =)

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  13. Great post, Katie! Thanks so much. <3

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  14. Thank you for sharing your tips! Would love to hear more!

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  15. Love this article! As an aspiring Etsy shop owner I appreciate this advice. I would LOVE to read about branding and business tips! So glad I found your blog!

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  16. Thank you!!tell us more please..
    I started last year...and i want to do it as a profession.
    I love soapmaking....
    I leave in Greece..

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