Teach Soap

Soap Making Recipes, Tips and Tutorials
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2011 11:45 pm 

Joined: Thu Apr 07, 2011 1:32 am
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Does anyone on here have their own business selling soap? I am in the UK. What do you need to do to be able to sell your soaps? I just started to make my own melt and pour soaps and some bath bombs but am thinking in the future of trying to make a living at it rather than return to work. Can you make a good profit as I find some of my soaps cost quite alot to make (cocoa butter/shea butter recipes). Any advice is very welcome :)


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2011 1:27 am 
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Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2010 6:01 am
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Hiya,

I am also in the uk and going through all that at the moment. The first and most important thing you need to do is find a safety assessor as your products need to have a safety assessment before you can legally sell them, this sounds like hard work but I use an assessor that sells special packages for certain types of products which allows you to use a whole range of ingredients. You would have to buy 2 different packages, 1 for melt and pour soaps and the other for bath products, the website is http://cosmeticsafetyassessment.com/ if you would like to take a look.

There is a large amount of paperwork when you start selling too, you need a Product Information File on each of your products even if they only vary slightly, for example if you use a different fragrance. You also need to keep a record of every batch you make. all this is again a legal requirement

Labelling is a headache, there are 24 different possible allergens in fragrance oils/essential oils which need to be listed on the ingredients if they appear in your products at a rate of 0.1% or more so you would have to calculate this. There are many other considerations legally also, for example Insurance, and if you are making the soaps at home to begin with then you need to check with your mortgage lender/Landlord that you can work from home in this way.

Phew I hope I haven't put you off, I find my work very rewarding and am starting to make a little money for myself, but nowhere near enough to support myself as yet. My biggest tip is once you have done all the legal bits, have a look at the Country Markets Website, they run markets all over the country and you can become a producer for them for 5p (not a typo!) which allows you to sell your stuff there, they take a 10% commission on everything you sell but it's a great way to get started. the only downfall is that some of the markets do not have a huge amount of customers so I would take a look around before commiting to anything.

Whereabouts are you in the UK? I am in South East London right on the outskirts

Hope all goes ok for you

Hel x


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2011 7:23 am 
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Joined: Wed Feb 16, 2011 8:30 am
Posts: 31
There are definitely a lot of things that need to be taken into consideration, as soaphel outlined beautifully! As for the money part, I think a lot of soapers would agree that you might make a bit of profit, but most of it ends up getting re-invested into more supplies, and you only make enough to keep going. Now that is not everybody, but I see soap making as a great side business, but not a money-making career move. :)

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2011 9:44 am 

Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2011 9:54 pm
Posts: 339
soaphel wrote:
Hiya,

I am also in the uk and going through all that at the moment. The first and most important thing you need to do is find a safety assessor as your products need to have a safety assessment before you can legally sell them, this sounds like hard work but I use an assessor that sells special packages for certain types of products which allows you to use a whole range of ingredients. You would have to buy 2 different packages, 1 for melt and pour soaps and the other for bath products, the website is http://cosmeticsafetyassessment.com/ if you would like to take a look.

There is a large amount of paperwork when you start selling too, you need a Product Information File on each of your products even if they only vary slightly, for example if you use a different fragrance. You also need to keep a record of every batch you make. all this is again a legal requirement

Labelling is a headache, there are 24 different possible allergens in fragrance oils/essential oils which need to be listed on the ingredients if they appear in your products at a rate of 0.1% or more so you would have to calculate this. There are many other considerations legally also, for example Insurance, and if you are making the soaps at home to begin with then you need to check with your mortgage lender/Landlord that you can work from home in this way.

Phew I hope I haven't put you off, I find my work very rewarding and am starting to make a little money for myself, but nowhere near enough to support myself as yet. My biggest tip is once you have done all the legal bits, have a look at the Country Markets Website, they run markets all over the country and you can become a producer for them for 5p (not a typo!) which allows you to sell your stuff there, they take a 10% commission on everything you sell but it's a great way to get started. the only downfall is that some of the markets do not have a huge amount of customers so I would take a look around before commiting to anything.

Whereabouts are you in the UK? I am in South East London right on the outskirts

Hope all goes ok for you

Hel x



Wow... this post made me glad I'm not selling in the UK!

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2011 10:00 am 

Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2011 9:54 pm
Posts: 339
To put in my two cents, the main things I've discovered as a small business owner (either by research or experience) are:

- expect to NOT make a consistent, sustainable profit for at least a year. Some pessimistic business models will say as much as five years. It is advisable to have enough materials/seed money on hand that you can keep your business open for one year even if you don't make a single cent.
- identify exactly what you need to succeed. Sometimes it helps to write this down, even if the concepts are simple. What market are you aiming for (weddings and events, naturalists)? What will be your main mode of selling (wholesale to boutiques, farmer's markets)? How will you advertise and how will you afford it (flyers, social networking)?
- keep capital low. This seems obvious, but once you get started, it's easy to convince yourself that you 'need' more than you actually do. You probably don't need a separate work computer or multiples of the same mold (until it starts selling). Use what seed money you have to buy necessities in bulk and keep costs low. Also, my personal rule about funding a new project is to run the numbers carefully and then expect it to cost twice that :P
- don't go into business with friends or family. Almost anyone who has tried this will warn against it. Your business strategies will suffer for the sake of diplomacy.
- go slow to create manageable growth. Don't invest in a bunch of similar projects until you know the concepts are successful, or go wild with advertising if you can't deliver!

I hope this helps.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2011 10:08 am 
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Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2010 6:01 am
Posts: 58
Believe me, when I found out how much work it all takes just to sell soaps I nearly threw in the towel there and then, It has been a long hard slog but I got there eventually.

Hel


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2011 11:12 am 

Joined: Thu Apr 07, 2011 1:32 am
Posts: 8
Well thankyou ever so much for your very detailed advice!! It has put me right off to be honest though :( I have started buying ingredients and moulds but am now thinking I have wasted my time. I am in Staffordshire by the way. So basically you are best to just pick a select few recipes and stick to them? But as for calculating the percentages and stuff I'm baffled at how to do this. I am gutted :( but glad I know before I wasted more money so thankyou very much xx


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2011 9:31 pm 

Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2011 9:54 pm
Posts: 339
emmyloules wrote:
Well thankyou ever so much for your very detailed advice!! It has put me right off to be honest though :( I have started buying ingredients and moulds but am now thinking I have wasted my time. I am in Staffordshire by the way. So basically you are best to just pick a select few recipes and stick to them? But as for calculating the percentages and stuff I'm baffled at how to do this. I am gutted :( but glad I know before I wasted more money so thankyou very much xx


I think picking a few recipes is a nice idea in theory, but even if you're just doing this as a hobby, the best part about soapmaking is branching out and trying new things. I say don't invest too much in one project before you know it has a return, but what I mean there is not to make 10 different "bachelorette party" style soaps before you know there's a market. Feel free to make projects in a thousand different niches! Some will succeed, some won't, but even the projects that fail help perfect your techniques.

Should you really decide that professional soapmaking isn't for you (doing it in the UK sounds like a challenge!), I would recommend hanging onto it as a hobby. It's still very enjoyable---at least, I think---and they make fantastic gifts. Are there things like Etsy available in the UK? You could find an outlet like that to sell in without going balls out and opening a "real" business.

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