If you met someone who said they made soap…?

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I live in a large 55+ community and every year we have a craft fair. My first time selling there, someone told me there was another soap maker a few tables away. I went over to introduce myself. She told me she makes all natural soap, so of course, I was expecting plain colored white, beige or brown soaps. She pulled out a few of her soaps and I see they are all melt and pour! Now I would never think of MP as all natural. We had a short conversation and I told her I make my soap from lye and oils/butters. To which she said, I could never use soap made from lye, that’s why I make my all natural soap! I had to walk away - or else I’m sure I would have gotten in trouble. Anyway fortunately for me, she moved last fall.
 

J-Soaper

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I live in a large 55+ community and every year we have a craft fair. My first time selling there, someone told me there was another soap maker a few tables away. I went over to introduce myself. She told me she makes all natural soap, so of course, I was expecting plain colored white, beige or brown soaps. She pulled out a few of her soaps and I see they are all melt and pour! Now I would never think of MP as all natural. We had a short conversation and I told her I make my soap from lye and oils/butters. To which she said, I could never use soap made from lye, that’s why I make my all natural soap! I had to walk away - or else I’m sure I would have gotten in trouble. Anyway fortunately for me, she moved last fall.
I also would have had to walk away.
She had no idea what she was doing at all or what was in her melt and pour.
I was at a health food store one time and the owner was equally ignorant about what she was selling.
 

earlene

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We had a short conversation and I told her I make my soap from lye and oils/butters. To which she said, I could never use soap made from lye, that’s why I make my all natural soap! I had to walk away - or else I’m sure I would have gotten in trouble. Anyway fortunately for me, she moved last fall.
I was at a health food store one time and the owner was equally ignorant about what she was selling.

That is so sad.
 

scrubadubdub

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I met a soaper that was only 1 year into the game (I've been making soap for 4 years) and she has a full-fledged business. Even though Ive been making soap a lot longer, I admired her entrepreneurial and go-getter spirit. 4 years in and I am just now building my business. I have learned not to judge people because this lady knew her stuff even though she was still new to the game.

I started with MP and I still do some MP; I don't judge on that either because everyone starts somewhere and some people just like MP. It has its place in the soaping world, too. There is room for both :)
 
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I met a soaper that was only 1 year into the game (I've been making soap for 4 years) and she has a full-fledged business. Even though Ive been making soap a lot longer, I admired her entrepreneurial and go-getter spirit. 4 years in and I am just now building my business. I have learned not to judge people because this lady knew her stuff even though she was still new to the game.

I started with MP and I still do some MP; I don't judge on that either because everyone starts somewhere and some people just like MP. It has its place in the soaping world, too. There is room for both :)
It's not the fact that she makes MP, It is the fact that she has no knowledge of the fact that even MP is made with lye. All soap is made with lye - that is what bothered me.
 

J-Soaper

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The one thing I have learned from soaping is it is a constant learning curve. I like to say "I don't know what I don't know" because things I was sure of as a beginning soaper I cringe at now. That is why we always encourage people to take your time!
I’ve been soaping for a few years but, until very recently, only made soap for my own use. As a single person, I don’t go through much soap. Doing it for years doesn’t necessarily translate to lots of batches.

Each time I think I understand something, I later find out that I really didn’t.
 
A

amd

I tend to question my knowledge more often than others. For example, a few years ago I was talking with another soapmaker and she started talking about water discount. I was stumped... until after the conversation when I realized that she used the default lye concentration in the calc and then did her own calculations to adjust the water less 10% (creating a "water discount")... rather than just adjusting the lye concentration in the calc. Playing with lye concentrations is something I've always done, so it never occurred to me that another soaper wouldn't do the same.

That said... there are some people I wonder how they are still in business. There are two GM soap people in my area, one of them over the last few months has sold her goats and hung up her soapmaking apron. She has been telling her customers that she is not aware of any other GM soapers in the area, but has started to send a few my way as I do occasionally make the odd GM soap. So I asked her if she knew the other ladies who do GM soap... and she laughed. They have goats that they milk and they sell the milk, but for their GM soap they use an MP GM soap base. We're shaking our heads over that one... 'cuz if you have the milk, why not go the next step? But talking to them, they will tell you that it is handmade GM soap. The next time I see them, I may just have to buy a bar or really dig into a conversation.... 'cuz they seem to be misleading a lot of people about what their soap really is.
 

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Every soaper I've met in real life has been fairly nasty as soon as I say I make soap too. Never had a chance to just BS with one.

The exception was one at a crafts fair who had really pretty HP soaps. He got a kick out me being able to ID many of his scent blends. Very nice guy, I ended up buying a bar of the one scent I couldn't ID.

What little discussion I have had with other soapers is the one who didn't know if her soaps were CP or HP. I couldn't tell either, they just looked odd. All I could get out of here is she didn't cook them. Maybe they were tabletop HP, who knows.
Or the one who didn't know the percentages of her oils in the one recipe she used. I needed to know roughly how much coconut as my skin is sensitive.
 
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I’ve been soaping for a few years but, until very recently, only made soap for my own use. As a single person, I don’t go through much soap. Doing it for years doesn’t necessarily translate to lots of batches.

Each time I think I understand something, I later find out that I really didn’t.
Me too! I've been soaping for 11 years but that was one or two small batches a month for family and gifts so really not that much.
 

Obsidian

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99% of the time this is true for me as well. Especially if we are selling at the same market. Occasionally I do run into nice soapmakers, but not usually when I am also a seller.

I was a buyer in all these cases, they acted like I was out to steal their secrets even after I said I don't sell.
 
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A lovely question. Personally, as new and very inexperienced in soap making, I’d love to meet an experienced and successful soaper. I’m so curious what they’d say and what gems they have to impart. Whenever I read soaping books ; read through the answers on this forum, or watch YouTube, I’m just in awe observing masters at their craft.
 

scrubadubdub

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It's not the fact that she makes MP, It is the fact that she has no knowledge of the fact that even MP is made with lye. All soap is made with lye - that is what bothered me.
New and inexperienced, as well as MP-only soapers are mostly clueless about the role that lye plays in soapmaking. Most people hear lye and they immediatly think danger - dont go near it. When I tell my friends and family that I use lye to make soap, they are so surprised. Honestly, I had to convince my sister that all soap was made with lye - not just mine lol. She went from loving my soap to being skeptical, until I explained it thoroughly and now she loves it again. Lol - but seriously, I understand newbies fears of lye - it is dangerous stuff.
 

J-Soaper

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Most people hear lye and they immediatly think danger - dont go near it.
My friends and I started playing with lye when we were still in elementary school. I respect it, but I'm not at all afraid of it.

"What in the blazes were we doing playing with lye!?!?!" you might ask.

Get a gallon glass jug, put about 3 inches of water in it, add a bunch of lye (we NEVER measured it). Put a brick or two down into the bottom of a five-gallon bucket, set the set the gallon jug on top of the bricks, get the garden hose and fill the bucket with water. Then turn the water down really low and let it keep flowing into and over the top of the bucket (cold water bath), shove aluminum foil into the jug and put a balloon over the top of the jug.

Aluminum is a VERY strong reducer -- so much so that it can pull the oxygen out of water -- WAY better than iron. But what normally happens in that a layer of aluminum oxide form on the surface of the aluminum and it prevents the rest of it from oxidizing. However, the lye prevents that layer from forming. Rather, the aluminum oxide falls to the bottom of the jug. That process liberates the hydrogen -- which is captured by the balloon.

When the balloon is full, tie it off and let it go -- floats away.

You need the water bath to keep it cool or your balloon will fill with steam instead of hydrogen -- and it will not float away.

Or, let the aluminum fizzle a while and then strike matches and throw them at the top of the jug -- poof.

Either way, lots of fun for young boys.
 
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My friends and I started playing with lye when we were still in elementary school. I respect it, but I'm not at all afraid of it.

"What in the blazes were we doing playing with lye!?!?!" you might ask.

Get a gallon glass jug, put about 3 inches of water in it, add a bunch of lye (we NEVER measured it). Put a brick or two down into the bottom of a five-gallon bucket, set the set the gallon jug on top of the bricks, get the garden hose and fill the bucket with water. Then turn the water down really low and let it keep flowing into and over the top of the bucket (cold water bath), shove aluminum foil into the jug and put a balloon over the top of the jug.

Aluminum is a VERY strong reducer -- so much so that it can pull the oxygen out of water -- WAY better than iron. But what normally happens in that a layer of aluminum oxide form on the surface of the aluminum and it prevents the rest of it from oxidizing. However, the lye prevents that layer from forming. Rather, the aluminum oxide falls to the bottom of the jug. That process liberates the hydrogen -- which is captured by the balloon.

When the balloon is full, tie it off and let it go -- floats away.

You need the water bath to keep it cool or your balloon will fill with steam instead of hydrogen -- and it will not float away.

Or, let the aluminum fizzle a while and then strike matches and throw them at the top of the jug -- poof.

Either way, lots of fun for young boys.
I don't remember what the experiment was but I remember our science teacher demonstrating something using sodium hydroxide. He must have added the water to the lye because all I remember is that there was a violent reaction and a drop of the lye mix hit one of the students on her throat. She had a scar there for many years, likely still does. I don't think that teacher ever did that experiment again... or he learned to do it correctly.

It did foster a healthy respect for lye.... and the first hand knowledge of what happens when you do it wrong.
 

scrubadubdub

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A lovely question. Personally, as new and very inexperienced in soap making, I’d love to meet an experienced and successful soaper. I’m so curious what they’d say and what gems they have to impart. Whenever I read soaping books ; read through the answers on this forum, or watch YouTube, I’m just in awe observing masters at their craft.
Maybe visit a local farmers market and try talking to a soap maker there. I went to a market on a whim and met a really nice soapmaker. We are planning to do lunch and talk soap stuff soon.
 

lucycat

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I have met lots of nice soap makers at fairs. Generally, I think nice soap makers at fairs know their niche, are confident and don't let competition bother them. They tell me at the beginning they are a soap maker and where their booth is located as well as stopping by before the show starts or when traffic is slow. At one time I had a couple of other soap makers who went together with me on some bulk orders because it saved us on shipping.

However, I have also met beginning soap makers who spend too long at my booth and don't think about the effect they have on me being able to converse with customers. I also have had soap makers who came to ask questions and check prices and scents and then I found out later they had a booth. That type of practice can really sour you on other's intentions when someone comes to your booth asking questions.
 

scrubadubdub

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I have met lots of nice soap makers at fairs. Generally, I think nice soap makers at fairs know their niche, are confident and don't let competition bother them. They tell me at the beginning they are a soap maker and where their booth is located as well as stopping by before the show starts or when traffic is slow. At one time I had a couple of other soap makers who went together with me on some bulk orders because it saved us on shipping.

However, I have also met beginning soap makers who spend too long at my booth and don't think about the effect they have on me being able to converse with customers. I also have had soap makers who came to ask questions and check prices and scents and then I found out later they had a booth. That type of practice can really sour you on other's intentions when someone comes to your booth asking questions.
I agree - that would be aggravating - especially at a market or an event. However...when I met the soapmaker I’m planning to have lunch with, I realized that I had never bought a handmade bar of soap from someone else, nor had I ever even tried another soap makers soap before. I genuinely wanted to see what others were doing and how my soap compares. For me, it isn’t about competition, it’s just curiosity. Also, if I expect others to buy my product, why wouldn’t I try someone else’s? Just my two cents :)
 

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