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lmfrancis15

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Hello soapers - how are we all doing today?

My first post is done with...

ok, my journey through soap so far.
December 2019 my niece buys me a Anne Marie Faiola Pure Soap Making book for Christmas. It looks beautiful and I am enthralled by it. I joined this forum shortly after, I can’t remember how I found it... but the wealth of knowledge herein, and the sub folders etc made it all a bit daunting. But soon became an avid reader.

March 2020 - well yeah.... work from home i live alone, wasn’t seeing anyone, bored with the tele box and then I discovered soap making Youtubers.

i found the videos to be such a relaxing watch, and started to gorge myself on them, many of them, Ariane, I dream of soap, Tree Marie, Brambleberry, Sorcery soap, Soapry 101, Dean Wilson, Tiggy Makes Soap, uncle Jo, and so so many more. (I’m a good you tube consumer, - never clicking on the skip ads button, always paying something back).

A few of the videos provided links to buy their recipes. So as a bit of further support, I would buy from the soaps from the etsy shops, and also bought a few recipes. All of it by way of showing some support for the joy and relaxation I was getting from their videos.

So by September 2020, I have ohhh, around 8 soap making books, and 2 digital downloads, and 100 of hours Of videos watching under my belt, and I have still not yet made a single bar of soap.....

I decide to take the plunge, i buy a pre-assessed cosmetic recipe from a supplier, and buy some wears from them, and make my first soap...

yes, I chop up the Stevenson’s base, throw in some clays, add a bit of 5 fold orange, and miraculously a couple of hours later, I have my first soap. I timed it to coincide with a major release form lockdown, and when I meet up with my friends for the first time in months, I bring them all a bar of soap....

From Sept 2020, I pretty much carry on making M&P, and also start making some candles and wax melts too. I think I may have been disguising my habit for buying EOs and FOs. Still had my videos, and books, and recipes, and still not made a single CP bar.

feedback from friends was how they were loving the Clay Soaps, and could they have some more.. how much do I want for them, willing to pay me etc, explained to them I can’t take money as I’m not registered to sell on the portal, and explain that they’re helping me out anyway as they are ridding me of my soap mountain.

So come Christmas 2020, theres a new more virulent strain, and we’re about to go into another lock down. I was going to have to contend with being off work for annual leave, and not being allowed to see anyone.

so I check out my pre bought recipes, and order in some supplies. During the Christmas break I make my first CP soap, a whole 6 bars!

In January 2021, I have another go, same recipe, different colours, added an FO, and experienced seizing for the first time- just look at the top, it got to the point it wouldn’t move, and I couldn’t swirl it, and it came out all crooked, but thanks to the 100 hours of video watching, I knew it was either caused by the FO or the colours I had used.

Later that same month I try same recipe, reduced the micas and used different colours, NO FO, and I had no siezing. I overfilled my soap mold, and discovered although you can pile it on, as it sets, the top will crack apart.

Then in February, I made my first Himalayan Pink Salt bar. Recent weeks feedback from friends is that they absolutely love this one.

as I have not taken any money from friends for any of the bars I have made, they are a bit confused about what I want to do. They are encouraging me to sell, something I am not yet ready to do. However, some of them do have a useful skillset, so they are piling in with offers to build a website, sort my branding, writing the ’copy’ etc.

and me? Well I am in the middle of moving house, so I can’t register to sell yet until that is settled. But in the meantime I continue to experiment with my tweaked pre-purchased recipes, and continue to learn. And am very much looking forward to becoming a very skilled artisan soap maker, I’m not looking to make a living out of it, or to set up a business, but just using it as my space to be, with the option to sell by word of mouth alone, to small group should I so wish.
 

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SilvanSoapy

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Hello, I'm Di and new here also. Your soaps are beautiful, I love your colors in photo 2 ~ magnificent. Look forward to hearing how you go with your move & of course journey!
 

Babyshoes

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Hi and welcome. You have some pretty soaps there. 😊
 

lsg

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Welcome to the forum.:)
 

Tracy von Elling

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Welcome to the forum. This for sure is my go to place to read and learn and everyone has been so helpful too :)
 

MGM

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Welcome! I loved your story because it VERY closely mirrors mine; I just started a few years earlier, so have hundredsof bars sitting around.

Just one thing....friends ALWAYS think you should sell. They are very proud of you and kind of can't believe you're so good at this new thing, as it's a mystery to them. You give them soap and then they feel guilty like they should be paying you, but, you're like me, so you say, "Guys, you're doing me a favour here."

Anyway, I'm going to add a few reasons I don't sell to those you've already said, just so you can feel confident in your decisions (I've been resisting for 3+ years, if you count the bath and body products).

1. Paperwork & process: officially becoming a business; registering with your federal regulator; purchasing and following insurance requirements; readying yourself for an audit (either taxes or FDA-type); etc.
2. Expenses: it seems like a good idea to take money to subsidize your hobby, but there are new/other expenses with a business that you don't have with a hobby.
3. If you are selling, you need to make what the customer wants, not what you want. Sure, you can try new things and they may be successful--but they may not, and you have to decide how you feel about that "loss". I have never made the same thing twice, and I don't want to, but if I sold, I would have to pay attention to what people buy and what they say they want. People will always take a less-than-perfect soap if you're giving it away, but not if they're paying for it.
4. If you are a business, you have to make money. I look at what I earn doing my real job at which I am highly skilled and then I look at the "labour of love" that is my soap-making. A very simple cost-benefit analysis shows that I would make pennies an hour at soap-making.

5. Labelling, marketing, website, etc. If you're like me, you love to make soap! You don't love to do all that other stuff. For me, marketing and websites would be the worst, but even labelling can be overwhelming. Although I've never sold, I did donate 80ish bars for gift bags for my son's Grade 8 graduation last year and I remember working under the deadline for both making the soaps and labelling and becoming resentful about having to rush. I had volunteered to do it and I was enjoying it and I was still resentful!!

Anyway, I'm not sure whether this big list is for you, @lmfrancis15 , or for me :p. There are dozens of people on this board who sell successfully and enjoy it, so if you get to the point where you maybe want to, they are a font of knowledge. But if you need a pep talk of why it's ok to just do this and give stuff away, come find me :). And whereas your friends can't necessarily cover your expenses, I'm sure you wouldn't say no to a batch of cookies, a bottle of wine, someone running an errand for you, a donation to a favourite charity, or any other kindness they feel would express their appreciation for your beautiful soap!
 

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