Many people start soap making as a hobby with little or no intention of selling their creations on. Maybe you are opting for a handmade alternative to try and avoid the mass of mysterious chemicals used in processing modern soap products, or maybe you simply use soap making as a creative outlet. Whatever your reasons, if you enjoy making soap enough, then it is inevitable that you’ll start to think about how you can change the hobby into a business, and make money doing what you love!
No matter how familiar you are with the soap making process, or how much you enjoy it, you still need to have realistic expectations set out before you embark on a business venture. Running a business is not the same as having a hobby. Be prepared that making soap will be just one small element of your business, and you need to recognise the amount of paperwork, research and planning that goes into setting this up. There are so many regulations and laws surrounding the manufacture, labelling and selling of soap based products. If you expect this to be easy, then think again!
Before you quit your day job and go all in, never underestimate the power of research. Look at competing companies in your area. You need to identify the gaps in the market and what room there is for your product. There’s no point in going into direct competition with someone and creating a similar business, as you are simply creating an issue for yourself before you start.
Ensure you know the legal regulations for everywhere you plan to sell your products. These are laws and obligations that ensure your product is safe to be used as a cosmetic, manufactured responsibly and correctly labelled. This can be one of the most confusing parts for new business owners in the soap making industry to understand.
When you have done some in depth research and feel you have a good understanding of the marketplace, competition and industry regulations, you will naturally want to start to create a plan. This will include some of your research as a background to your business plan.
Your plan should be a comprehensive guide to your business. Among other things your plan should outline where you are going to sell your products, budgets, cost to produce and sales forecasts. This document will be the complete base to your business and it might be worth you getting a second opinion on this. If all is well, then it would be around this point in time that you would quit your job – if you are in work.
Launch and Marketing
Your business plan and products can be launched as soon as you are ready! This will be a very exciting, but also demanding and worrying, stage of your business launch. Start by figuring out packaging and branding if this is something you have not thought of yet. You can find more detail on that here.
Next, build up your stock – but not too much! You need products to start selling, but don’t invest too heavily that you end up with waste. At first you almost want to be creating to the demand. You should reach a stage where you can start to be creative and experimental once the sales start coming in.
Another area where people struggle with their soap making business is the sales. Although a vital aspect of owning your own business, many people struggle with confidence or understanding of how to sell. The easiest first step is to create a community. Asking friends and family for their support, and interacting with your local environment, can be a familiar and natural lead into the sales process.
We can offer you advice and support on starting your soap making business so don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can also find the latest information, tips and trends on our monthly newsletter – sign up now!