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Old 08-17-2017, 06:34 PM   #61
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Hi Zany in CO. That is a very good question to which I have a totally stupid answer. I am doing it all voluntarily for a charity I volunteer for (actually one day a week on their children's farm, mostly mucking out and feeding the animals). I took in some soap as gifts for people a couple of years ago and they have been bending my ear ever since because they want to make it for their "shop" - actually a shed with a painted board with the word "shop" written on it which is open from 11am till 4pm two days a year on their farm open days, or whenever someone turns up from the village to buy eggs! I said no, absolutely no, not under any circumstances it's not worth it (and it isn't, they will sell one bar a week). Here I am two years later paying for the recipes to be certified and the costs of the first batch. (Certification costs about 230 for 8 or 9 soaps based on one basic recipe, the chemists just review your ingredients, quantities etc and presumably know from experience if it looks right, they don't actually test the product. Then you have to reproduce it exactly.) Then I shall train them up on how to make the soap and they are on their own. I appreciate this probably sounds risky but in the EU, you have each recipe certified and then you stick to it, or pay an admin fee to change it, so they will be just reproducing the recipes I have designed for them. I've written them exact ingredients lists and checklists and good practice guides to help them. They will have to get insurance. They will have to keep records of each batch, all the batch numbers and sources for all the ingredients for each batch, label them properly in accordance with EU regulation, weigh them etc in line with UK or EU laws, the list goes on. When they pass out from the weight of bureaucracy as it overwhelms them I shall say " I told you so, but you wouldn't listen". I doubt they'll make any money at all.
Actually I have rather enjoyed the challenge. Ironically if I wanted to sell the same recipes myself eg at a craft fair, I would have to get them certified all over again in my own name, even though the recipes won't have changed. Crazy eh!?! But I have to say, it isn't an expensive business to become a soap maker in the EU, probably one of the more accessible businesses for the small crafter or hobbyist, but the bureaucracy is quite breath taking and as an ex civil servant I know a lot about bureaucracy. You certainly have to be determined. The really stupid thing is that you don't need any training or experience! Surely it would make more sense to have to pass a course which allows you to then create recipes rather than get each one certified which does rather stultify creativity. But that would actually probably cost more. But the process applies equally, as far as I can see, to international cosmetic companies and Joe or Josephine Bloggs making 8 bars of soap per batch in their kitchen at home and flogging it on a charity stall.

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Old 08-17-2017, 06:59 PM   #62
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Oh Julia! I don't know whether to laugh or cry! God bless your weary soul for the all good work and caring on behalf of the farm. I'm thinking your sojourn would make an excellent BBC TV series -- especially if you were the head writer! I'd watch it for sure!

ETA: Thank you for your lengthy response. It's a wonderful read.

Zany in CO
"There is no substitute for the joy a certain degree of innocence brings to discovery." - Cissy Kuberski
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Old 08-17-2017, 07:35 PM   #63
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Amazing! I had been making soaps for about 2 years before I started selling them. Just for friends & family back then. Did I make mistakes? Of course I did. Selling to the public is a different issue! No way can you make mistakes! Back then I had a B&M NewAge shop when I started selling my soaps. Never had a problem - because I was prepared. I just made plain bars then - not like now! Experience, knowledge and perseverance (?) is what it takes to sell to the public. I have no problems selling to the public now. I do fall & spring festivals every year. My clients are very particular (its the venues I pick- a lot of homesteaders, women's clubs, etc) about what is in the soaps, and you better have the answers! Because they will ask! If you not experienced - how can you answer them?

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