Donating Soap

Soapmaking Forum

Help Support Soapmaking Forum:

Joined
Jan 25, 2020
Messages
9
Reaction score
24
Every year I send a box of half bars to a friend who goes on a mission trip every year to Central America. The women there treat them like gold. They are just so thankful and are even more surprised that they get to keep the bars. This has been a blessing to me for several years. Love the pictures I receive when she meets these people.
 

TheGecko

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2019
Messages
3,537
Reaction score
6,686
Location
Oregon
When we donated to shelters we labeled with plain labeling.
I really struggled with labeling donated items. There was no question about providing an ingredients label...allergies don't care about your financial status, but it was putting my company name on it. It is not my intention to create an obligation or to publicly 'benefit' (if that makes sense). But at the same time, business is business. Just because you're poor at this time, doesn't mean you will stay that way. So I struck a balance.

Soaps that I donate to the homeless shelter, the food bank, the DV shelter do not have my company name on them, but the information is available at the offices if a person wants to inquire where the soaps came from. I don't take a retail value deduction for the soap, it's just money out of my pocket on the cost of the ingredients and packaging.

Soaps that are being donated for fund raisers come straight out of inventory with full packaging and I do write off the retail price as advertising because that is the trade off.
 

MelissaG

Owner and Creator at Silver Branch Soapworks
Joined
Jan 6, 2020
Messages
393
Reaction score
371
Location
Louisiana, USA
I donate to a women's shelter. I have a bunch more for them too but I haven't gotten around to it. I figure, after a year, if they haven't sold they aren't going to.
 

meepocow

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2022
Messages
51
Reaction score
202
Location
Canada
This seems weird. Your logic is sound.

A friend of mine assembles Christmas baskets for women's shelters, and one of the items she often includes is handmade soap.

When I assembled baskets myself, the directions from the staff were to not include anything you wouldn't use yourself, and they also asked not to include hotel samples as the intent was for the women to really have special gifts. I put in some fun fuzzy socks, hair ties, lip balms, warm but cute hats and mittens etc. One thing I also remember is they said please no bath bombs, bath salts, liquid bubble bath, etc. as the women often don't have time or access to bathtub facilities, and these items can be heavy and impractical to carry around. :) They actually recommended solid soap, in a case or sturdy ziploc, as the better option.

TL;DR Artisan solid bar soap is probably the most thoughtful, practical gift you could give.
 
Joined
Oct 25, 2022
Messages
210
Reaction score
424
Location
Canada, BC
I recently got into a discussion with some other soap makers after one recommended pulling 'clearance' items before Christmas so they don't damage your 'business reputation' by people being gifted imperfect products. On one hand I understood where they were coming from, but on the other hand I thought it was a bit of an oxymoron because it was fine to do so the other ten months of the year. I said that my preference to simply donate soaps that didn't meet my selling standards and I mentioned my 'donation box' and how I cut my soaps in half and put half in a ziplock bag with a washcloth and leave the other half in a box and take them to my local homeless shelter.

The general consensus among the half dozen folks was that I was lower than a snake's belly by donating 'unwanted' items, that I was (paraphrased) "adding insult to injury to folks who were already feeling pretty low by donating something that was subpar". That last bit really confused me...so it was okay to sell stuff that is subpar, but not okay to donate it? And what are we supposed to do with 'unwanted' items...toss them in the landfill instead of passing them on to people who can use them?

I have never in my life donated anything that wasn't something that I wouldn't use or eat or wear myself or allow my family/friends to do the same. All the soap daughter and I use in this house on a daily basis comes from the donation box (hubby is dedicated to his Cantaloupe), and when the other kids come to visit they grab soap from the donation box. There is nothing wrong with the quality of the soap...it's my Regular recipe, but maybe I forgot to add the scent, or the scent has faded or it has been discontinued. Maybe the colorant morphed or the design didn't turn out. Maybe the plop was too thick to swirl (hello honeysuckle). Maybe I didn't get the first two or last two bars lined up correctly. And of course, it's where the majority of my 'test' soaps end up because they are 5oz bars while I sell 4oz. I could sell any of these soaps for at least cost, but I choose not too. Again, if I won't use the soap or give it to my ex (whom I truly dislike), I will toss it.
Wow I think what your donating is awesome I think if I was homeless I would really appreciate your soap in any shape or form. Sometimes I think people act like that cause they are jealous or something.
 

WhittanyWho

Small Time Soaper
Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 4, 2022
Messages
76
Reaction score
271
Location
AL
I tend to donate only soaps that I would feel comfortable selling at full price. I tend to even make special batches to donate. Oops soaps get labeled "I have a good personality" and get marked down. That's my personal preference on how I choose to donate.
However, I wouldn't look down on those who donate differently. The most important thing is that we're trying to make a positive impact in someone else's life. Kudos to you for making a positive impact in someone else's life in what ways you can. 👏👏👏
 
Joined
Mar 27, 2011
Messages
5
Reaction score
7
Location
Northern California
I've been making soap as a hobbyist for over 10 years now, mostly for my family and friends as gifts. I always save the "ends" of my loaves for personal use. This year I accumulated more "ends" that I can use. Until I saw this thread the other day, I'm sad to say it never occurred to me to donate these little soap bars to a shelter. Yesterday, I made up a basket of "ends" and brought it to a local women's shelter. They were very happy to receive it and I was very happy to do it!
 

TheGecko

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2019
Messages
3,537
Reaction score
6,686
Location
Oregon
I've been making soap as a hobbyist for over 10 years now, mostly for my family and friends as gifts. I always save the "ends" of my loaves for personal use. This year I accumulated more "ends" that I can use. Until I saw this thread the other day, I'm sad to say it never occurred to me to donate these little soap bars to a shelter. Yesterday, I made up a basket of "ends" and brought it to a local women's shelter. They were very happy to receive it and I was very happy to do it!
Personal hygiene products are heavily requested in shelters and food banks.

It should be noted that not all shelters and food banks will accept 'homemade' items so you just have to ask around.
 
Joined
Nov 15, 2018
Messages
8,974
Reaction score
15,981
Location
US
I tend to donate only soaps that I would feel comfortable selling at full price. I tend to even make special batches to donate. Oops soaps get labeled "I have a good personality" and get marked down. That's my personal preference on how I choose to donate.
However, I wouldn't look down on those who donate differently. The most important thing is that we're trying to make a positive impact in someone else's life. Kudos to you for making a positive impact in someone else's life in what ways you can. 👏👏👏
I totally appreciate your kind heart to make nice things for those less fortunate. I also appreciate that you don't look down on anyone who donates their "off" bars. After all, haven't most of us have donated gently used things to the Salvation Army thrift store or Goodwill thrift store? I've never felt that I had to buy something new, just to donate it. I have on occasion donated new coats during their coat drives, but I've also donated nice used ones, and I'm sure who ever received those were just as blessed.

Of course, that's not an exact analogy since our donated soap-seconds are NOT gently used - or used at all! - but you get my drift. ;)
 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 22, 2016
Messages
207
Reaction score
177
Location
USA
@TheGecko Thanks for starting this thread. It came at a very opportune time to remind me that I could donate some soap that I needed to get rid of (too much). I labeled it all and sent it with my husband, who was going to town. He took it to a women's shelter where he'd recently done some electrical work. He came home and reported their reaction . . .

"About a dozen ladies all came up and opened the box and started ooing and ahing over the soap. They smelled it and passed it around and were so glad to get it."
 

Latest posts

Top