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Soap Making Forum > The Soap Making & Craft Forum > Beginners Soap Making Forum > Where to store while curing...?
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Old 01-13-2017, 07:20 PM   #21
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I can see the argument from both sides. Kchaystack has a good point about storage. There is also the issue of having your money tied up in curing stock. And if you sell out of a product, it's easier to keep a customer if you can reproduce the item in a month, rather than "see you in a year!" On the other hand, I am seeing far too many soaps in local gift shops that haven't been given enough time to cure (and I think many people start selling long before they know their craft). Soaps falling out of too large cigar bands, scents fading, even soaps warping.

I think the answer is to know your market. If you sell in a coop or natural foods market, you'll need to be able to restock in a jiffy. The soap is also going to be used fairly soon by the customer, who is looking for a functional soap rather than a 'fine wine' kind of soap. A short cure time is fine. If you sell to a gift shop, go for the long cure! They do want the fine wine kind of soap, and the packaging will need to reflect that. The store wants products that will look good and smell good for at least a year. If the soap shrinks out of its packaging, or the scent dissappears, it's not going to sell.

I hope I haven't offended too many people. I want you to be successful. I don't sell my own soaps, but I did work for many years as a professional buyer, and happy to answer any questions from a gift shop point of view if it helps. Good luck all brave self employed crafters!


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Old 01-13-2017, 07:37 PM   #22
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The soap is also going to be used fairly soon by the customer, who is looking for a functional soap rather than a 'fine wine' kind of soap. A short cure time is fine. If you sell to a gift shop, go for the long cure! They do want the fine wine kind of soap, and the packaging will need to reflect that. The store wants products that will look good and smell good for at least a year. If the soap shrinks out of its packaging, or the scent dissappears, it's not going to sell.

I hope I haven't offended too many people. I want you to be successful. I don't sell my own soaps, but I did work for many years as a professional buyer, and happy to answer any questions from a gift shop point of view if it helps. Good luck all brave self employed crafters!
I just thought I'd comment on this one bit here about soap buyers wanting to use the soap right away. That is not my personal experience when I buy or acquire soap.

When I bought commercially made soap, I bought in bulk & stored them for a very long time, rotating the old to the front and the new to the back. The reason I did this was two-fold: 1. Cost of soap in bulk is less per bar, and 2. Soap improves as it ages. I've always bought & stored soap in this way. I still have store-bought soap that is probably at least 3 years sitting in the cupboard.

Now when I buy hand-crafted soap when I travel, only once did I actually open it and use it right away. Most of the time, I bring it home with me and let it age for quite a long time before it's ever used.

Maybe I am an uncommon consumer, though. I don't really know.


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Old 01-13-2017, 07:45 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by kchaystack View Post
Because we are small home based crafters, we do not have the luxury of large warehouses to store products for months to years.
But because you are all small home-based crafters, wouldn't the volume be correspondingly low? Forgive me since I have no idea what the volume turnover is for the average home soap business. But let's just say I was selling an equivalent of 50 large 7 oz bars a day, 7 days a week. For a 3 month cure, that's only 4,500 bars that would need to be stored and I can (very inefficiently) store 500 bars in a single 7 shelf bookcase. Obviously if I were in business, I'd rig a much more efficient storage system that would probably double or triple the number of bars in the equivalent space. So at 50 bars a day cured to 3 months, I wouldn't even need a whole room for them - just one side of one room.

Of course I may be completely off and the average soap maker sells 100's or 1,000's of bars each day which obviously would make storage in the home office or spare room a bit more problematic!
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Old 01-13-2017, 07:49 PM   #24
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I should have mentioned that gift shop customers often buy presents months in advance, and who knows how long it will take for the recipient to use it. In shop, there were a few scents that sold poorly day to day, like patchouli, but a few customers would pop in from time to time to buy a whole case.

Earlene, did you know to set aside soap before you began making your own?
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Old 01-13-2017, 07:51 PM   #25
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I just thought I'd comment on this one bit here about soap buyers wanting to use the soap right away. That is not my personal experience when I buy or acquire soap.

I've always bought & stored soap in this way. I still have store-bought soap that is probably at least 3 years sitting in the cupboard.

Now when I buy hand-crafted soap when I travel, only once did I actually open it and use it right away. Most of the time, I bring it home with me and let it age for quite a long time before it's ever used.

Maybe I am an uncommon consumer, though. I don't really know.
I think you are a soap-educated buyer. A lot of people have no idea that long cure time makes a soap better. They try handmade soap, it's mushy and they don't try it again. Totally unaware that the same soap will be great in a couple of months.

I don't know about other people but I think it looks really unprofessional when websites say "sold out" of certain products. Is it really difficult to modify a website and remove a product?
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Old 01-13-2017, 07:54 PM   #26
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Now when I buy hand-crafted soap when I travel, only once did I actually open it and use it right away.
Don't tell me you use those dreadful hotel soaps while looking at your newly bought crafted soap... Hahaha!
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Old 01-14-2017, 01:49 AM   #27
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I don't know about other people but I think it looks really unprofessional when websites say "sold out" of certain products. Is it really difficult to modify a website and remove a product?
I don't like the term sold out either. I do understand the need for a way to keep the product available if it will be stocked again in the near future, such as "temporarily out of stock" or something similar. Sold out implies to me that there will not be more, so I see no reason to have a "placeholder." It isn't necessarily difficult to remove the product from most pages, but I see the desire not to when it will be back.
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Old 01-14-2017, 02:17 AM   #28
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I use out of stock generally because they aren't quite ready. I try to keep enough stock but you never know when you may get a run on a scent that doesn't always sell like crazy. I have a few that sell like hot cakes and sometimes it's hard to keep up with the demand.
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Old 01-14-2017, 02:32 AM   #29
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Earlene, did you know to set aside soap before you began making your own?
Yes, I've been doing that for most of my life. I thought it was common knowledge.

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Originally Posted by penelopejane View Post
I think you are a soap-educated buyer. A lot of people have no idea that long cure time makes a soap better. They try handmade soap, it's mushy and they don't try it again. Totally unaware that the same soap will be great in a couple of months.
Maybe they don't seek the same kind of education and that's why they don't know. Long before I made soap I learned this although I can't tell you where I learned it. Probably from my mother, father, grandmother or other family member.

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Don't tell me you use those dreadful hotel soaps while looking at your newly bought crafted soap... Hahaha!
No, I bring my own soap with me when I travel. Sometimes I use the hotel soap to hand wash a clothing item if I forgot to bring my own laundry soap (I usually bring it, but sometimes not) or there isn't enough hotel shampoo. For the most part, those hotel soaps get stains out really well.

I have actually always brought home the hotel soaps to use in making my laundry detergent. But now that I use my own homemade soap for making laundry soap, I have this excess of hotel soaps I plan to donate to the the local Food Pantry. Yes, I have a great big tin Laundry Soap container full of them. But the container itself is another story.


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