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the_appalachians

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Hi Everyone,

Newbie soap makers here, husband & wife duo, with the hopes of starting a small home-based business selling to friends, family, co-workers, and so forth.

We've made 4 batches of soap thus far and are trying to find our rhythm. 1 Hot Process, 3 Cold Process. The hot process didn't go so smooth--literally! But we think we know what went wrong (it was our first soap ever). We've still been able to (personally) use the soap though, so I guess it could have been worse. :) The cold processes are looking good, but that's the beauty of CP... smooth pours and nice uniform textures.

I'm eager to meet other soapers and get tips/tricks.
 

dixiedragon

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Welcome to the forum! You are probably going to get a lot of pushback on the selling issue - the forum members feel very strongly about newbies jumping into selling.
 

littlemissjellyfish

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Hi! I'm new here too! So nice that you and your husband are making soap together. My husband helped me once just to see what all the fuss was about. I think it was too much for him! *chuckle* (I liked having the extra set of hands) I plan on giving most of my soap as holiday gifts. I've looked into what selling would entail, but it's a lot to consider for me. Good luck in your endeavors!
 

Susie

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Hey and welcome!

I would suggest you get a good look around your area's flea markets, farmer's markets, and take a good long look at Etsy. I was encouraged to sell my soap, but the competition is overwhelming. I also want you to consider that you have a lot of trial and error in your future before you find recipes that you love, and that you can reproduce over and over, and get the same results each time.
 

earlene

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Welcome to the forum.

There's nothing wrong with hopes to start a business, even though you are new. Hopes to start a business is not the same as selling from day one.

It will take at least a year of soap making before you should really consider selling your soap to anyone, though. In the meantime, asking your friends and family to be testors is a good thing, after a sufficient cure time. Make sure they give you feedback; maybe even make out a little comment card with directed questions to answer. It helps because often people just 'like' or 'don't like' a soap and can't pinpoint why.

I am a hobbyist and have no plans to ever sell my soap. I have owned and run a business, and don't want to do that again. I am old and a retired nurse with sufficient income. Sure selling would potentially offset some of the cost, but for me, I'd rather bear the cost and avoid the hassle.

But I still like to know what it is my family likes or prefers in a soap. I can't tell you what directed questions to ask, but things like dry and cracked skin after using your soap is undesirable. My DIL told me she doesn't need to use skin lotion since starting to use the soaps I make. That was some pretty positive feedback about my formulas! My granddaughter's pimples start clearing up when she uses the facial soap I make for her. Positive feedback. My brother and husband rave at how clean their hands get (stain removal) when they use the blacksmith's soap I make for my brother. Super good feedback. My husband also told me when the coffee grounds in a particular batch of coffee soap was too rough (the finest grind possible is preferred in coffee soap). Very useful feedback.
 

Scooter

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Welcome! The people on this forum are unusually kind and generous with their time and advice. I hope you enjoy all your soap-making endeavors.

Scooter
 

KristaY

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Hi there and welcome aboard! :wave: (I'm picturing you two as Team Appalachian, wearing matching shirts and arguing over scent and color choices, lol!)
 

the_appalachians

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Thank you all for the warm welcome and words of both caution and encouragement. I understand the push back from a newbie showing interest in pursuing the business side of a craft they are just learning. We do not have illusions of thinking we can make a living off of selling soap alone. Instead, we expect to supplement our various income with it. As for recipes and learning what mixes work, there are tried and true recipes from vendors and others on here that we will be following. We're not looking to venture into the novelty soap area, rather make affordable everyday soaps for everyday people. :)
 

dixiedragon

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Nothing wrong with having an idea or an ambition. The pushback tends to come from, "I've made 3 batches and now I want to sell!" The majority here strongly feel that people should soap for at least 1 year before even considering selling.
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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Taking a tried and true recipe does not remove the need for you to get experience. If people are buying from you, there would be an expectation that you know enough about the trade to be selling.

Can I leave the soap for two years? What is it like after all that time? If you haven't actually left one of your own soaps (not the same recipe but made by someone else) then you can't answer that.

Why is x ingredient in there? If you are just following recipes without understanding how soaping works, you can't actually answer that.

It's like if you go to buy a car and the salesperson says "it has a triptronic gear box" but then has no idea what that means or what benefit it would be to you, that person has no place selling you a car.

If you only make soap but don't actually know why things work or not, you have no place selling soap.
 
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