Is doing M&P Cheating? Like a Box Cake Mix?

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CookbookChef

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I was having a discussion at a local craft fair with fellow soap makers. On the left side of the room they had a stand up with M&P Soaps, Lovely indeed...But the Price they listed was exactly the same price as the Cold Process Soap stand right next to them. The Cold Process Soap people felt infringed upon because of the Labor of Love that they used while making and creating their soap. Where the Melt and P people just well, melted and Poured their soap , added some colors and or sprinkles and such, and the prices where the same. Each bar was $4.50 for BOTH the M&P and the Cold Process Soap. The Cold process soap ppl had to CREATE the bars, but researching what oils and butters went well together, had to risk their own homes using caustic lye and then had to let their soaps cure for 4 to 6 weeks, using space in their homes and or garages all this time. They love what they did to create such works of Art, but to be set side by side next to a stand that did all Melt and P was insulting to them. It would not of been so , but the prices were all the same for both stands. The cold process soap people did not feel it was FAIR. The M&P Stand literally melted their base, which has in it a bunch of stuff that is questionable anyway to many soap makers, and is quick, has litle to no risk, and the curing time is none! Now the feeling I got from the Cold process soap stand was this, that the RISK and TIME was all theirs, as well as the creativity, and felt insulted that such a quick soap could be made, and then sit besides them all the while having the same price. And the sales for the M&P Was almost MORE than the Cold Process stand too. People liked the bright white soap with bright colors and when they got to the cold process soap, alot of the soaps were created naturally without alot of colors and sparkles, but their soap was BETTER for the BUYER, but they had trouble convincing anyone of that cause the M&P Soaps looked so decorated and pretty. The Cold PROCESS PPL Said that TO THEM, the M&P Is like the person who makes a Wedding cake out of that .99 cents box mix from the store and uses canned frosting compared to the Artisan who makes her wedding cake from scratch along with custom made butter-cream frosting. To the customers, if both look nice, they will equally buy the cakes without much thought, especially if the prices are exactly the same. They said that its just not fair that the M&P was getting almost more sales then them that day, where they were the ones to put the actual hard core work into it. Ya, It was a fun day talking to them. I stepped over and talked to the M&P table, and had a conversation with them. They felt differently, the conversation with them was "to bad, so sad for them...ha ha ha" "if we can get the sales for doing less work and less risk, then yea for us"..their attitude was more cold and that its a dog eat dog world. They cared less that the cold process was all natural, they were getting the sales for their PRETTY soap, that looked like cheese cakes and circus candy, and they cared less that the plain Jane, but all natural soap ppl, were having trouble. IT made for an interesting day. I was their to gain RESEARCH and since I am NEW to the soaping industry, both tables were VERY OPEN with me. I got to see two sides to a coin and it left me feeling like ya, the Melt and P. way is kinda cheating, its what I walked away with that day, just like the bakery who uses box cake mixes compared to the bakery who makes the cakes by scratch. The customer cares less over all, and just wants to go home with a cake, or a bar of soap that LOOKS pretty, without any consequence to ART and ALL NATURAL and the CRAFT of an Artisan!! So, what do you think? I am open to thinking different thoughts about melt and pour if somebody can tell me why I should NOT think of it as cheating. And why sell the soap at the same price as the cold process soap, that to me was wrong too and not fair to the ones who put the WORK and RISK involved with the cold process soap makers. Hmmmmm, alot to ponder!! Yes, I would LOVE to here what ya'll think :) Is M&P Cheating?
 

tanglewood

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I do both cold process & glycerine (M&P) as well as using M&P embeds for my CP soap. It actually is much more work for me to do the glycerine soap. Done correctly, it is time consuming & can be quite a challenge. I would never compare M&P to baking from a box.....not the way I do it. You'll have people that prefer one over the other...some prefer natural looking soaps, & some prefer the "circus" of color as I do. No need to sling mud at each other...there's something for everyone when it comes to soap.
 

froggybean37

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This subject comes up all the time, and in the end - everyone will have their own opinion. In the end, sometimes it just plain doesn't matter what does or does not go into a bar of soap - some people don't care what is in a bar as long as it's pretty, while others don't care what it looks like as long as it's full of great ingredients. Buyer's are absolutely entitled to buy for their own reasons. We can only be responsible for our own choices, our own marketing and our own pricing. If the CP stand felt cheated that they weren't making enough to offset the risks/time/commitment involved in CP, I would say they need to rethink their pricing. For the stand selling MP - MP soap doesn't come looking like a cheesecake or a circus candy - that takes time and effort as well. Neither stand is responsible for the other's pricing, or sales, or marketing. We can only do so much to inform a customer and the rest is up to them, to choose whether they want the pretty or the natural (although personally I disagree that soap needs to be one or the other).

I've done both MP & CP, and personally love both for their own reasons. I have nothing against which craft someone chooses, and don't agree with this ongoing "us vs. them" dialogue. MP soap isn't "cheating" - it is what it is.
 

jules92207

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I don't understand why there is such a stigma with M&P. I only do CP/HP but that is because I don't have a strong creative streak and I think it takes a real artist to make the work you all make. Its still soap, you make it beautiful.

I am sure others are like me too and can admire and appreciate what you do. :)
 

Seawolfe

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I would guess that by the time a person who makes melt and pour soap has bought decent bases, add-ins, moulds, colors, fragrances and whatnot, that M&P is more expensive than CP. I'm also willing to bet that some of the intricate M&P creations that I see take more time to make, simply because you only have a limited amount of time to finish CP before it sets up, and if know I can make 4 lbs of pretty CP soap in an hour or less.

The only valid arguments I see are about the quality of the M&P base, but some are very good quality indeed. And some M&P sellers do the whole "my soap wasn't made with lye so it's better" which is just weird.

Other than that it sounds like two women at a bake sale, dissing each other because one used store bought jam in her cake, and the other didn't hand make her sprinkles. People buy what they like, it's that simple. Blaming your competitor means you're missing the point.
 

Lindy

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I believe there is room for both. The talent that I see expressed doing M&P blows me away, things that we will never achieve with CP/HP. Yes we create beautiful products but we are limited and the new bases are not full of surfactants of dipropylene glycol.... I think there is a certain amount of arrogance and snobbery shown by our side of the room (CP/HP). Personally I have no idea how they do it....
 

btz

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Exactly. M & P can be very creative and time-consuming (plus a good base is more expensive to buy than making from scratch). Just look at this shop: www.etsy.com/shop/Kokolele
Sounds like neither camp had wise attitudes.....
Some of the soaps looks so good. If I bought 1, I won't use it, I'll just put it on display.

As for MP vs CP, I think both sides has pro and cons. It's up to the customer to decide which one they want to buy.
 

Dorymae

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What people need to realize is that it is apples and oranges. M&P is not easy when it is done well. It takes a long time to create intricate designs.

No, M&P is not making soap, but it is designing soap. It takes quite a while to get good at making nice looking M&P.

Since you compared it to cake, think of it as a beautifully decorated cake. The cake may have come from a mix but it does not take away from the artistic ability of the design. In contrast maybe you make an awesome carrot cake from scratch. Your design isn't as intricate but the cake is something you made all on your own. They are two different things, and yes I think there is a place for both.
 

Jaccart789

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I have NEVER felt a melt and pour soap that compares to CP. Even before I was soap making, I could tell the difference in the quality. I honestly think there is no comparison. I never buy anything for looks as far as soap is concerned. I am a person who reads ingredients and really care not only about what I eat but what I put on my skin.

To those who make MP soap, does the lather and quality compare? I am wondering because the two times I have tried them I hated them. I am wondering if it was the formula and not so much MP. Can they be just as nice as traditional soap?

By the way to answer your question... MP is not cheating. It has its place and they are beautiful. Its the beauty of capitalism and competition is a good thing. :)
 
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Lindy

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Here is the ingredient list for the new style of MP:
Coconut Oil, Palm Oil, Safflower Oil, Glycerin (vegetable origin), Unrefined Cocoa Butter , Purified Water, Sodium Hydroxide (saponifying agent), Sorbitol (moisturizer), Sorbitan oleate (emulsifer), Oat protein (conditioner), Titanium Dioxide (mineral whitener used in opaque soaps)
I no longer see any artificial surfactants nor dipropylene glycol. I have had friends give me MP to see what I thought, and these ladies were exception at what they did and their soap was every bit as nice as CP. The old bases that were full of detergents & DPG were not pleasant to use....

I used to be as snobby about MP until I was educated about it. They are adding butters, and other additives for superfat and creating soaps that will rival ours to the uneducated.
 

CanaDawn

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Sort of like "oh, but lye soap is harsh"....saying M&P isn't soaping is kinda..."old school" or undereducated about the nuances and improvements to the art/skill/craft/science.
 

Jaccart789

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Here is the ingredient list for the new style of MP:


I no longer see any artificial surfactants nor dipropylene glycol. I have had friends give me MP to see what I thought, and these ladies were exception at what they did and their soap was every bit as nice as CP. The old bases that were full of detergents & DPG were not pleasant to use....

I used to be as snobby about MP until I was educated about it. They are adding butters, and other additives for superfat and creating soaps that will rival ours to the uneducated.
Thanks Lindy for clearing things up. I tried the MP soap from a friend who used the base from Michaels I think. It was probably what made the difference. I honestly haven't tried a good quality, so I might change my mind if I tried a good base.
 

pamielynn

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There are MP soapers who I DO feel are "cheating". When someone takes a block of MP, melts it and pours in into rectangles, lets it set up then slaps a sticker on it (albeit a nice sticker) and calls it good - yeah, there's not too much effort going on there. They just want in on the soaping craze without having to deal with any of the issues that come with learning to soap.

And, I can tell the difference between a "from scratch" bar and an MP bar, even if it's a high-quality base. But, if you've got a soaper that's making MP into works of art, then I don't consider that "cheating"- it's just a different art form, but it's still not "making soap".
 

FGOriold

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There are all kinds of melt and pour bases, some are true "soap" and some are detergents. Don't judge the quality of one base based on another. To each his own. If someone wants to consider using M & P cheating, so be it. The methods and outcome can be so different I don't understand the constant comparison and whether one is better than the other. Two different animals. If someone wants to take a base, melt it down and pour it into a mold - go for it. There is a market for that. Consumers figure out what it is they want in a soap. Some want simple, some ornate, some won't touch any of it and prefer store bought commercial products.

I happen to do both and for various reasons. What I do with melt and pour cannot be done (or done easily) with cold process. What I do with cold process (control ingredients for instance) cannot be done with melt and pour. Many of my melt and pour soaps are priced much higher than my cold process - why, because of the labor that is involved in creating them. IMO, the biggest misconception about using melt and pour is the statement you hear over and over "you just melt it, scent and color and pour into a mold". For some this may be true, but for those who create truly artistic and detailed soaps using a base it could not be farther from the truth.

You cannot control what other people do or what other people say about their soap or how they price it - you can only know your own product, what went into it, price it and promote it based on what makes it so good, special, unique, etc.
 

Stacy

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While there are a lot of creative sides to MP vs HP/CP argument, I think a lot of it comes down to what the market will bear and the crafter's knowledge and approach.

Perhaps you're in a market with a high concentration of people who are very educated about what goes into the products they buy. They want vegan and organic ingredients and nothing else will suffice. Depending on the ingredients of the M&P, they're going to go to the CP stand (who I'm presuming uses all those 'high quality' ingredients).

On the other hand maybe your main market is a tourist type or people who want eye candy, they're drawn to the sparkle and the glitter. They're going to gravitate to the M&P stand every time.

Maybe your customers are somewhere in the middle where and you need to educate your them about why your product is superior be it a high quality M&P base or CP/HP

If you're looking at the question from a business perspective, it's about doing the market research and finding out who you're selling to. You wont have a lot of luck selling winter coats in the Sahara even if your product is a higher quality than the guy selling umbrellas beside you.

Just my two cents :)
 

Aline

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Also, there are organic M & P bases being sold now.
 

Amybell

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Pricing product is about making a profit. I don't see any reason why it would be wrong for someone making melt and pour soap to price their product the same as someone selling cold process soap. It's not just about the labor but the cost of goods sold as well. If you do the math, you might actually find the M&P soap makers who buy quality bases spending the same or even more on COGS than the CP soap maker. Their labor isn't necessarily less, either, when you take into consideration the design time and the time it takes to put everything together. M&P soap makers also spend time researching products and additives and making sample runs to experiment just like the CP soapmaker. The biggest difference is just that the M&P soap makers have a product they can sell almost immediately, versus the cure time necessary for CP soap.

I have--and do--make both and enjoy both processes. Both can be challenging and create a beautiful product.

IMO, if the people at the CP table were upset about the sales of the MP soap table, they probably should spend less time complaining about M&P soap and more time developing a marketing and sales strategy that better promotes their products and increases their sales. I don't mean to sound harsh saying that; it's just business 101.
 

Khanjari

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This topic comes up Time and again.

IMHO, I think that the sales only depend on what the buyer wants to buy. Before I started soaping. .. I personally used to buy soaps that are 'different' from such craft fairs because I didn't want to buy a bar of soap for $5.00 to just take a shower. .... I can buy that soap for much less from SAMS OR COSTCO. I wanted to buy 'unique' soaps as keepsakes or gift aways (which now I know as MP) and I was paying for the price of the uniqueness of the soap! As a soaper, I only do MP because I like creativity and I can show that in MP. But at the same time, I have equal respect for CP and HP Soapers as they do try new recipes and are very particular of measurement and stuff!
But this is just an example of ME as a BUYER/SHOPPER and as a SOAPER!!!!!!
 
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