I don't know what to say

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by John Harris, Nov 24, 2019.

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  1. Nov 24, 2019 #1

    John Harris

    John Harris

    John Harris

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    I've made about 200 bars of soap in the last 6 weeks. I was talking to my father this morning and he asked, "John, what are you going to do with all that soap?" I had no idea what to say. What AM I going to do with all that soap?? And I have enough raw materials to make 200 more.

    Are any of you in a similar predicament? I LOVE making soap, but do I have to face reality?
     
  2. Nov 24, 2019 #2

    Kosmerta

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    Sell your soap!
     
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  3. Nov 24, 2019 #3

    bookreader451

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    You might want to donate.
     
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  4. Nov 24, 2019 #4

    dibbles

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    This is why I make small batches. I still end up with a lot of soap, but can more easily keep it under control. This time of year I give a lot away. Pretty much everyone I know gets soap, in addition to my mail carrier, dental office staff, my hair stylist, etc. How about donations to your local food shelf, churches or organizations that serve the homeless, your neighbors, take a basket in to a school for the teachers or to a nursing home for the staff, or your local fire department. When you love to make soap and don’t sell, the struggle is real.
     
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  5. Nov 24, 2019 #5

    artemis

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    I agree with "make small batches" first of all. My most-used mold just holds 16oz.

    I also gift a lot of soap. I still have kids in school, so it often gets used as teacher gifts.
     
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  6. Nov 24, 2019 #6

    sirtim100

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    I understand exactly how you feel. The first thought that comes to mind now when I'm fantasising about making this or that soap is not "can I make it with the little experience I have?", it's "where on earth can I store it?"

    I agree with the other forum members, I think the solution is gifting. A friend got 3 bars last week, the pizza house owner got 2 yesterday (I told him I made soap when I had a 4 seasons in his place on Friday, and he said, "give me a bar or two", so I did. The look of pleased surprise on his face was worth it). It may even make sense in business terms. Someone likes a gifted bar, asks around, your name is mentioned and things start moving.
     
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  7. Nov 24, 2019 #7

    shunt2011

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    When I first started I had well over 400 bars and was asked the same thing. I gave them to friends and family and I donated the majority of it. I made soap for almost 2 years before I decided to try selling it.
     
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  8. Nov 24, 2019 #8

    lsg

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    Give baskets of soap for Christmas. I agree with the others who suggested making smaller batches. I started with 1 pound batches, that made 4 bars.
     
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  9. Nov 24, 2019 #9

    DeeAnna

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    I think there can be an almost unconscious assumption that it makes no sense to make small batches of soap. That might be a reasonable decision if a person is needing to make mass quantities for some reason. I think there can also be an addictive buzz from making a big honkin' block 'o soap -- a little like bench pressing some massive amount of weight or climbing ever-taller mountains.

    But if a person has no outlet for their soap except personal use and gifts to friends and family, it makes far more sense to let go of the idea that "more is better" and make small batches instead. Creativity is the main reason (I think) why most of us make soap, and small batches satisfy that need to create without overwhelming one's life and home with a bazillion bars of soap.

    There was a discussion on a fiber arts forum on exactly this topic. It isn't just soap makers who are pressured with the idea that if a person makes things, therefore they need to sell what they make. If soap making (or spinning or dyeing or whatever) is a creative outlet that someone enjoys purely for the sake of creating, then why is that not enough? Why do we and our friends and family feel such a need to justify our desire to create by then selling what we make?

    Frankly, not every creative person is necessarily cut out to be a business person too. Running a small business can be creative in its own way, but not the way that most artistic/crafty people envision as creativity. So why not scale the creating down to a realistic level and enjoy it for its own sake?
     
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  10. Nov 24, 2019 #10

    John Harris

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    The last few batches have been 12 bars each. That is my idea of scaled down. How does that sound to you?

    The problem with gifting is that I think it is key to know what scent a person would like. When you hit the right scent, you can see the person's face light up. I'd almost have to carry around a sample case.
     
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  11. Nov 24, 2019 #11

    Carl

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    I'll be the 1st to go out on a limb here and disagree with the making small batches (that everyone recommends).

    If you can afford large batches, then why not? 1 pound soap is only about 3 or 4 bars, so that's a lot of work for a small amount of soap.

    Secondly, many people will tell you that the small batch sizes are better for testing, but I've found that in some instances my small batch size tests do not always extrapolate to a larger batch size. And the accuracy of my measurements is better for larger batch sizes. For example, if I am inaccurate by .05 ounces, this is less significant on a larger batch size.

    But, yeah, I would give the soap away for the holidays or put some labels on it and sell it. Check out the business section here, there's lot's of good info for people who may sell.

    You can also donate. My daughter took a bunch in to her school one day and the teacher had a resource to distribute to those who are less fortunate.
     
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  12. Nov 24, 2019 #12

    Carly B

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    My favorite loaf mold is my little 1 pound mold, although I have a 40 oz mold and a 6" slab mold. But I also have many silicone single molds. I have SO MANY fragrances and things I want to try that I have even been considering doing one or two bars at a time. I masterbatch my lye (an aside question--how long will masterbatched lye still work? Is there a window after which it's not efficacious?) and I got some of the Nurture premixed oil, and I've been thinking of making batches with 6-8 oz of oil, which would give me two bars. :p

    I would just mix the oils and lye with my whisk, add the colors/fragrances/additives and pour into the individual molds. It would be minimal cleanup and minimal prep, so when the "I just gotta make soap" urge hits (you know we all get that), I could do a couple bars to get it out of my system.

    Does that sound crazy?
     
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  13. Nov 24, 2019 #13

    Millie

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    The difference I experience between batch sizes is that the larger batches always gel effortlessly for me and I struggle with gel for the small batches. It is also a little harder for me to do the swirling I love in the small batches.
     
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  14. Nov 24, 2019 #14

    Millie

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    @John Harris I think you mentioned once that you used to sell a long time ago. And I can see you have a strong brand going already. Is your recipe similar to your old tried and true? Take lots of photos of your process, your great slab mold and your couch-sized knife, and I think you'll get a following in no time at all. Why not?
     
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  15. Nov 24, 2019 #15

    Soapaddict_Kay

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    John, I know your plight! I still have a few soap bars left I made like half a year ago (I love doing hot processed soap) - I gave a lot away for my Walk for Alzheimer’s, (I work with people with Dementia and making soap is my way of relaxing on my days off) - asking for a donation and give soap as a “thank you”. I also give away soap for birthdays or thank you’s to my coworkers and care associates. They love it so much I started making soap with my residents- they watch me from a safe distance making the soap (hot process), get some aromatherapy treatment because I use essential oils, and when ready and cut they get a potato peeler to rebatch the now safe soap: we melt the soap again, put them into seasonal molds and have “welcome” and more “thank you” soaps.
     
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  16. Nov 25, 2019 #16

    Quilter99755

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    I agree with DeeAnna that not all creative people are cut out for the business world. I have, in my former life, had a very small business inside my home. What I found out is that it turned my hobby/passion into work and for the most part I spent my time helping others create and no longer had time to create for myself.

    Whether it is quilting or soaping, I want to wake up and decide what I will do that day that will make me feel good or will challenge my creative juices. I don't want to have a list that tells me what I NEED to do today.

    Because I have a choice I can explore the new (to me at least) processes in either one of my crafts at my leisure. My quilts go to my kids or to any number of charities in the area that can use them. I haven't gotten to the point of having too much soap as I supply my children/families and a few friends. And because I usually make small batches to test out a different oil or combination or experiment with additives or scents, I don't have a huge inventory (although my hubby will disagree on that point).

    At this point in my life (old) I don't think I will ever have enough time to do all the experiments that I want with soaping or quilting. There seems to be something new that comes out that I want to try on a weekly basis. I have a Bucket List for each hobby and when the mood strikes me, I look at my lists and go create something new. When people tell me I should try selling my soaps I just remember my past and know that I won't do that. I want to keep my hobbies fun and enjoyable.
     
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  17. Nov 25, 2019 #17

    DeeAnna

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    That's roughly the batch size I make for sale at the one gift shop I sell at. IMO that's not very "scaled down". When I make a test batch, I do more like 500 grams (16 ounces) of fats and that's what I'd scale down to. That makes about 4 full-size bars.

    A 1 pound loaf mold is big enough to do some very creative work -- there are a fair number of Youtube soaper stars using this size mold.
     
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  18. Nov 25, 2019 #18

    Dahila

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    Lol I am the one that away 6 pounds mold , Can not control myself and a bit more in the container is easier to mix
    my smallest # of soap is 18, my bad
     
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  19. Nov 25, 2019 #19

    cmzaha

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    It does not come down to if one can afford to make the larger batch, if there is no outlet for all the soap it does not really make sense to make larger batches. With curing time soap is very forgiving so being paranoid about tiny differences in weights really is not necessary, with .05 being about 1.4 g is not going to make much difference in a small batch either. Just round up oils and round down lye.

    My favorite test mold is a little acrylic loaf mold that takes 12 oz oils to fill, and my regular molds require 59 oz oils which give me 14 1.25" bars. I still do not like using larger molds in case a batch goes sideways or I miss pour and have to figure out correcting the batch before mixing it. I do not find my little batch acting any differently from my larger batches. I still have to force gel with my formulas.
     
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  20. Nov 26, 2019 #20

    Mobjack Bay

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    I mostly make batches that require 1-2 lbs of oils. My main issue with the 1 lb batches is how fast the batter cools down after I finish mixing. Soaping at low/room temperature works fine for my recipes that are high in soft oils or lard, but not for my recipes that are high in palm or have soy wax.

    So far, I still have many people who would like to “test” my soap, which is great because I love making soap.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2019

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