Hello from Williamsburg Virginia

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Nov 22, 2015
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My name is Todd and I am new here to these forums. My wife and myself have been setting up our soap making company for the past six months and we will soon be in the testing phase of our product line of soaps we will be offering for sale. The name of our company is McGray's Old Town Gifts. We are based out of Williamsburg Virginia . My wife and I have been talking about our dreams for years and now it is truly coming to a reality for us.

I have learned so much from all of the great information on this forum and can't wait to become an active member of your family.

Hi Todd, welcome to the forum! Good luck to you and your wife establishing your business.

It was the demonstrations at historical places like Williamsburg that first started my interest in soapmaking; I visisted Lincoln's New Salem many times as a kid and was fascinated by the large wooden ash hoppers behind the cabins and people stirring soap in "witch caldrons"!
Hey and welcome!

So, have y'all actually made soap before?

I have been setting up the company for over 6 months getting all of the legal stuff in place and getting all of the equipment made/bought. I have spent hours and hours researching the soap making process and learning about the good and bad results. I have a control group of people set up to test our products before they are sold to the general public.

We will start out using SFIC Soap base and then move into Cold process and Hot Process soaps. This has taken a huge amount of my time to get it set up. I Have a Degree in Business Management and Visual communication which has helped me get the general company set up.

I have been reading a ton from this forum and I must say this group of people is very helpful. You have answered many of my questions just by reading the informative posts on this forum.

We are taking our time to make sure that we are producing products that are safe and will bring value to our customers.

And yet with all that, you don't even read the terms of use of a forum. You can only have one account. Please let me know which one to delete.

The trouble is, you say you are spending all this time to make a great product, but you haven't even made one batch of soap. So you'll move on to cp and hp? You don't know if those will be better and yet your plan is to move on to them.

While the business side of things is crucial, you have to make the product for it to be viable and you have never made the product and yet you plan to sell it already? You've spent all this time, effort and maybe money getting things set up and missed out on the very important bit - learning how to make soap.

You have at least a year of testing from when you get to making cold/hot process to being able to sell batches of it, which I hope you've factored in
Yes please delete the todd gray account my phone signs me in as my face book account I was searching the forums to figure out how to get it fixed .

And to answer your question I have a 1 year business plan from the time we start to produce the soap to when we start to sell it .
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Ok I figured out how to log into tapatalk on the correct account feel free to deactivate the todd gray account sorry for the confusion .

Will do.

But I really don't understand how a business can be planned around such a massive question mark. I wonder at the fact this this conversation has not taken place between you and someone else -

Todd: "I'm going to start a soaping business."
Other: "Oh, well, I heard that when you do something as a business, it is less fun than when it was a hobby. So don't think that just because you like making soap for fun that it will still be fun when it is for work."
Todd: "Oh, I have never actually made soap."
Other: "Really? So you don't know if you can make soap well and if you will enjoy it at all?"
Todd: "No."
Other: "But you're planning on doing it as a business."
Todd: "Yes."
Other: "Even though you have never made soap, you're already planning to run a business doing it?"
Todd: "Yes."
Other: "How about you make up a batch before you go too far, to see what it is all about? You might hate it and/or utterly suck at it."
Todd: "Nah, I'll just assume that that side of it will be perfectly fine and just concentrate on the business side of it, until I have invested a lot of time and effort in to it. THEN I'll actually make some soap. You know, soaping always works out as planned, with no surprises and a perfectly simple learning curve, so my building up of experience will fit in to my plan."
Other: :think:
I agree with TEG. If you haven't even made 1 batch of soap why do you think you will love it enough to make it a business. It's a lot of work, expense, time and engery to do it. It has taken most of us a very long time to even get a good recipe(s) before even begin to thing about selling it. There's way more to it than having a business plan, molds, insurance etc....

Personally, you really need to make some soap and see if you even like doing it.

Talk about putting the cart before the horse.
You seem to have missed my post of a 1 year plan we will be processing melt and pour sfic bases in the beginning and then moving into working towards the cold process at a later date once we have it worked out . In Virginia if you want to sell anything you have to have a business licence and you have to be insured . I did not in any way say I was going to start selling soap tomorrow or even within the next 6 months . To have a successful business you have to have a very well built foundation I chose to tackle the business side of things first . It is funny how judgemental some people can be when some one does not follow the main stream when trying to achieve the same result as their peers. I appreciate your opinions on the subject and respect your thoughts no matter if I agree with them or not.

LOL, referencing the last comment above, when does soap work out as planned :confused: I can plan for a week how I am going to make a particular soap and very seldom it works!! I wanna know the system to make it work as I want. Know how to make your product first, and keep in mind this is a highly saturated business, not just a little niche market

ETA Welcome to the forum!
No, I haven't missed it. That's the point - you are planning on something that is such an unknown. You're basing your plan on something that might not work at all, something that you can test now. There is nothing to stop you from making some cold process soaps right now to see how you like it. It doesn't upset your plan in anyway, but at least you can actually know what it is that you are planning. No research, reading or videos can compare to actually mixing lye and oils. None. Nor does it compare to creating some melt and pour bars.

It would be unarguably good business practice to do this now.
Not sure how welcome I am it seems to be really chilly in here . I guess I will end the conversation here seeing as this is an I introduction area and I seem to have cause such a huge ruckus that my thread has become a two page beat down the new guy post.

Hope every one has a nice day .
If you saw a child about to run into a busy street, what would you do? Stand by and watch that child get hit by a car? Of course not!

No one is "beating down the new guy". Those folks that are trying to encourage you to simply make a batch of soap before proceeding are trying to keep you from running into a busy street.

They know what it takes to make a business out of soap and B&B products. They are making a living doing what you want to do.

Stop being defensive and listen to them.

No one is trying to stop you from going into business. No one. You just need to learn to make soap first. There is no rule that says you can't learn to make soap while setting up the business.
Not sure how welcome I am it seems to be really chilly in here . I guess I will end the conversation here seeing as this is an I introduction area and I seem to have cause such a huge ruckus that my thread has become a two page beat down the new guy post.

Hope every one has a nice day .

So you only want to hear what you want to hear. I am so very sorry. Let me correct that -

You have the best plan in the world! It is the best and most well thought out way to do things. Planning a business based on a process of which you have only theoretical knowledge is totally sound and not in any way flawed.

Now that we have that out of the way - if you want good advice on soaping and running a soaping business, you're in the right place. But there is no sugar coating. This isn't a "safe space". People will tell it how it is.

If you don't want that, you don't have to be here. No one actually HAS to be here to help each other, they choose to do so. You can't dictate HOW people help you, as long as it is within the terms of the forum. You don't like what you're hearing? Might be a reason for that, in fact it's in this section as a sticky, that early sellers will likely hear things that they won't like.

It's up to you, but do you really think that you would be losing more than you would gain by staying?
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Exactly as Susie said. Nobody wants to stop you, we are just telling you to slow down. It's not as easy as you seem to make it sound. Many of us have been making soap for quite some time and sell as well. There is a lot more involved than just having a business plan, insurance and the necessary tools.

Have you looked into your markets to see how many soapmakers there already are?

There is an abundance of them just since I started making soap. Markets are polluted with soapmakers. Check out Etsy... etc.... It's very difficult.

We are just telling you to slow down and try making soap first. See if you like it. I'm thinking most of us (there are exceptions) started this as purely a hobby. I know I personally never had any intentions to sell. It just kind of happend one step at a time.

This isn't a get rich quick business for sure.
It is hard hard work to make a business selling soap. The soap sellers such as "Soaptopia" started before it became a big rage. They got in the niche market in Venice Beach. I just finished a 3 day craft fair that I have attended for 6 yrs, only thing that saved me was my additional products. If I had to depend on selling soap to make money and booth space I would have been very sad. There were 4 other soapmakers, plus people selling totally unrelated products that were selling all sorts of scrubs and lotions. For scrubs they mix sugar and oils, for lotions they buy a gallon of premade, fragrance and call it handmade.

No one here is trying to discourage, just bring a little reality to the picture. Any of us selling see new soapmakers regularly and they usually do not make over a year or so selling in the markets. I find it interesting that I cannot sell cp and m&p at my booth. The M&P will always take a very back seat in sales. My daughter does beautiful m&p. For us her soap sells well online and mine sells well at the markets, but not usually both together. Melt and pour soap has taken a bad rap over the years even though there are some very quality veggies bases available. I think people relate it to the junk hobby shops sell. Sorry I steared a bit off the original subject. Anyhoo, if you decide to stay you will glean a lot of info. As mentioned before, no real sugar coating just good info
Please take a step back and breathe deeply people.

The op came here and introduced himself. He did not ask for advice. Advice was forced on him anyway. And then he was criticized for not taking what he didn't ask for.

There is nothing in the forum rules that states a member has to conduct their business in a manner that meets approval of other forum members.
There is also nothing to say that people cannot give advice, whether it is wanted or not.

I'm not saying what I'm saying to be mean. As I have often times stated, very few people will bother going through the hoops required to sell over here so I am really not trying to stop competition or anything like that.

Is it wrong to give really good advice just because it was not asked for and/or it wouldn't be well received? Not at all.

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