Making Soap for Fun and Profit
Making Soap for Fun and Profit
Making soap is so much FUN!! Just as an activity it is fun to do, but it's fun in that it can be cost effective as well, and saving money means that you can actually afford to have some fun! But homemade soaps are also fun because they can make for great gifts for holidays, birthdays, housewarming parties, etc. and giving gifts that are handmade with love = so much fun! Another thing that makes soap making fun (in my eyes, at least) is that your homemade creations can also be more eco-friendly than some of the store bought creations out there. And what's more fun than giving the Earth some love?!?
But did you know that in addition to soap making at home being so much fun on so many multifaceted levels, it is actually possible to make money off of making your own soap at home too? It's true! You can! It takes a lot of hard work and dedication, and some investment of time and money of course, as any business venture does, but it is possible.
To help, I've created a little beginning guide for you as to how to get started making soap for fun and profit. Obviously as you advance your skills and your profits, you will need someone more business savvy than me around! (Trust me! I never charge enough for my services! Whether it's as a writer, a music lessons instructor, a fitness trainer, a model, for my minister services, for bath and body products and handmade jewelry on Etsy, whatever, I have a hard time wanting to ask for a lot of money! I wish I could just do all I do for free!) But this will give you a good start at least.
Making the Soap
What You Need for this Basic Recipe:
- Aloe Vera soap base
- Essential oils or fragrance oils
- Soap molds
- Glass bowl
- Plastic wrap
- Spray bottle of rubbing alcohol
Basic Recipe Directions:
- Put your soap base in a glass dish and cover it with plastic wrap. Microwave (on high) for one minute to one minute and fifteen seconds. Remove the dish from the microwave and stir in any hard pieces to melt them. Continue to warm at short intervals and remove to stir frequently if the base is being stubborn.
- If you add fragrance oils or essential oils, make sure to add them only after the base has fully melted. Mix the base and oils well so that the base doesn't begin to develop a cloudy appearance.
- Add colorant, but remember, a little goes a long way. Mix well and continue to add small amounts of colorant until you have reached your desired shade. Be gentle throughout this process.
- Pour your finished base into your molds. Gently tap the bottoms of the molds on a hard surface (like a counter top) to distribute the base and get rid of bubbles. Then, spray the top lightly with rubbing alcohol to try to remove any remaining bubbles.
- Let the soap base sit and set for a few hours in the molds. When they are hardened, remove them from the molds carefully, make sure they are fully formed and hardened, package them creatively, stick a label (listing ingredients) on them, and you are ready to start selling.
More Soap Making Help...
A beautiful example of some great homemade soap...
What You Need:
- Product (soap)
- Supplies, equipment, and packaging
- Feedback forms
- Pencil or pen
- Paper (Notepad)
- Internet Access
What You Need to Do:
- Evaluate the quality of your product before you begin to sell it. Have friends, family members, and coworkers sample your soap. Provide them with feedback forms to fill out asking for opinions on the product. When you review the feedback, if it appears that the product (and its packaging) are appealing to consumers, then you are ready to start selling.
- Determine how much it costs to make each bar of soap. To do this, gather all of the ingredients and equipment you need to make one batch of soap (including packaging). Also have your notepad, calculator, and a pen or pencil.
Write down each item and how much it costs. Add the cost of each of the items together using a calculator for accuracy. The total is your "total cost of supplies." Write this number down.
Now take your "total cost of supplies" and divide it by the number of bars of soap you make per batch. This is how much your soap costs to make per bar, or it's "base price." Write this number down.
- Give yourself an hourly wage to account for the cost of your labor. Base your wage on experience. If you are new to making soap, only pay yourself five to ten dollars an hour. If you are more experienced, and/or your soaps are complex in their design and creation, then pay yourself fifteen to twenty dollars an hour. Write this amount down in your notepad.
Determine how many bars of soap you make in an hour. Divide your chosen hourly wage by the number of bars of soap you make an hour. This is how much labor costs per bar. Write this number down.
- Take your "base price" and add the cost of labor per bar. Write the total down. This is the minimum amount of money you can accept for your product (your "breaking even" point, where you neither profit nor lose money) or, to put it simply, your "minimum price" per bar.
- Compare your "minimum price" to the average selling price of comparable products. (This is easy with a computer and internet access.) Decide on a competitive mark-up and price your product. Write down what you will be charging per bar.
- Find places to sell your soaps. Local boutiques, coffee shops, salons, galleries, hookah bars, record stores, and other specialty stores are often receptive to displaying handmade goods. You can also sell online using sites such as Etsy.com to create your own store, or simply place ads and listings on Craigslist or Ebay.
- Invest in business cards, brochures, and banners. Make sure to keep track of all the costs. Keep a running total in your notepad. (You will need to know exactly how much you spend on advertising.)
- Rent booth space at arts and crafts shows, music and art festivals, carnivals, fundraisers, and other special events. Hang your banner, and use the opportunity to pass out business cards and brochures while chatting with potential customers. Once again, make sure to keep track of all the costs and write them down in your notepad.
- Keep track of how much money comes in weekly through sales. Keep a running total in your notepad.
- At the end of every month, sit down and add up your weekly sales totals. Add those together and you have your "total monthly sales." Write that number down.
Next, add up any expenses you had for the month (advertising, booth rentals, etc. Always include your "minimum price" per bar sold in your expenses.) Write this number down as the "total monthly expenses."
Subtract your "total monthly expenses" from your "total monthly sales." The number you get is your monthly profit. If it is a positive number, it means you have made a profit from your soap that month. If it is a negative number, it means you have lost money.
Packaging can be important...
Tips, Tricks, and Warnings
- If you plan to make soap making a full time profession, consider starting your own business. This article can help, but for more information contact the Small Business Administration.
- When selling online, you will most likely need to have an account with Paypal.
- Keep your quality high and your prices relatively low to help insure customer loyalty.
- Be creative with your soaps and packaging. There are lots of soaps to buy out there, so make sure that yours stand out.
- Have an e-mail list that people can sign up for. Use this to send e-mails about special promotions, new products, updates to your online store, etc.
- Advertise your soaps for free on Craigslist, Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter.
- If you are using food coloring to color your soaps, be sure not to use too much as it can stain clothing and even slightly color the skin for a few days.
- Making money and not paying taxes? You could be in serious trouble, especially if you are running an "official business" unofficially. Talk with a tax professional with any questions you may have on the matter.
- Make sure that your soaps have labels and that those labels list the ingredients used in the soap. Also, if you are selling online, list the ingredients in your product description. People need to have access to your list of ingredients, especially as they may be allergic to one or more of them.
More great advice, especially if you are already starting a soap selling business...
“When you are calculating an hourly labor rate, add in an additional thirty percent to that rate to cover employment taxes.”
- James Dillehay from "How to Price Crafts and Things You Make to Sell -- Formulas and Strategies for Arriving at Profitable Craft Prices for Selling Online or Off, Wholesale or Retail"
Are you a Soap Maker?
Do you make soap for fun and/or profit?
Remember, you can also still give some of your creations away as gifts!
- SoapQueen TV
The Queen of soapmaking. This may be a good channel to subscribe to...
Etsy is an online marketplace used for buying and selling all things handmade. On Etsy, you can have your own personal store and sell handmade products, craft supplies and vintage items, so it could be a good place to sell your soaps!
What did you think of this hub?
So, what did you think of "Making Soap for Fun and Profit?" Please let me know in the comment section below. I am always so curious to know what my readers have to say!
Thanks for reading and good luck with your soap making!
Peace and Love to ALL!