Quantcast

Looking for soaper in S. La. area for soap business FREE

SoapMakingForum

Help Support SoapMakingForum:

SueAnn

Member
Joined
Dec 6, 2007
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
Really, I'm giving it away. I'm just looking for the right person to service the wholesale customers I have now and, of course, you can always expand. My soaps target tourists at Acadian-type museums and plantations. I have all the equipment to make the soap, including custom-built molds and cutters to fit the boxes I use, pots, measuring cups, etc. etc. I don't have any oils left, just the fragrance oils, silk, soap boxes, labels. I also have molds for shower-size soaps with lots of Victorian-type pictures and labels that you're welcome to also. I'll be happy to give you my Word files that I've developed since being in business since 2001 and, of course, fill you in on all that you need to know. I live in the Thibodaux area and work at the university so the stuff can be picked up because I'm not shipping. If you want, you can email me at sarcement@lsbdc.org. Hope I can help someone out!
 

SueAnn

Member
Joined
Dec 6, 2007
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
more info

I probably should have explained my concept more. I call my business Acadiana Soapworks. My soaps are named such things as Southern Belle, Bayou Cypress, Ragin Cajun, Dixie, Voodoo, Vieux Carre, Orleans, Ponchatula, Southern Nights, Cajun Fish Soap, Magnolia Blossom, Southern Nights. Labels are off white and printed in black. I have a small picture of a Southern Belle for that soap, a black cat for Voodoo, the French Quarter for Vieux Carre, etc. with a little write up under the picture about that particular soap and our culture. On the side I have "Genuine Cajun Made in South Louisiana". My soap displays are made of an oblong galvanized tub with a small washboard (costs me about $25 to make). I have my soaps at some of the plantations (some good sellers, some not, that you can pick up the displays from and try somewhere else.) My best customers are the Jean Lafitte museums. There are 5 in La. I don't ever have to call them. Whenever they need soap, I get an invoice in the mail, fill it, mail it and in about a month I get payment. Can't get easier than that! Everything the Jean Lafitte's sell in their gift shops have to be educational in nature, so when I first sold to them, I added a description of how soap was made in the "old days" on the back of the label.

Not doing anything more than this, I make about $1000 a year. If someone had the time and energy (I don't anymore, ha!) you could expand to other stores, such as in New Orleans French Quarter and Lafayette, etc. The reason I'm getting out of the "soap business" is I have a new job that pays well and I will be starting a newsletter business in January.

The reason I'm giving it away, because, if possible, I would like someone to continue "my baby". If I can't find someone locally and someone just wants the stuff (and I have a lot of stuff), I just want my space back!

But really, if someone doesn't want to continue with my concept, once I'm out of the Jean Lafitte's, it would be a nice little opportunity for someone that can sell their soaps if they can make the packaging appealing and Cajun or South La. themed. Let me know if you need help.
 

gbtreasures

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2007
Messages
133
Reaction score
0
Location
Pennsylvania
Sue Ann: I am a newbie soapier. From your point of view, do you feel like the soap business was alot of work, expense, and not enough on the return? For making $1000.00 a year, how much time would you estimate/month that you put in? Would you consider it to be a profitable business? I'm not being nebbie, but the soap bug has bitten me and I sometimes fancy that down the road, perhaps, I would like to try my hand at a soap business. What was the most trying aspect for you. Thank you for your insights. :)
 

SueAnn

Member
Joined
Dec 6, 2007
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
I think the most trying (and expensive) part of starting a soap business, in my experience, was trying a whole lot of different things, going in a lot of different directions, before I just settled on wholesaling to the tourist market. I first thought all-natural with EO was a great idea. Not here, I found my customers didn't care about that, they just wanted a soap that smelled good. I did the craft shows, that got to be a lot of work, and I just don't have the personality to go over and over the same spiel about why homemade soap is so good for you - I got bored with it. When I was doing the craft shows, one year I made almost $4000 and I might have done 5 shows. And when I was doing shows, I had a lot of other body products I was making. Yeah, it was a lot of fun experimenting, but the cost for supplies was more. I did Suzie's Soap Shoppe line once. The soaps had botanicals on top and I put them in these pretty little pink pastry boxes, and I had pretty little bath candies and other stuff and everything was in pink pastry boxes. Really cute.

Then there was the time that I tried doing at craft shows for the kids giving them a plastic bath salt tube and having different colored scented bath salts available for them to make their own tube. The hightlight of that was at one of the shows, a cute little girl came to my booth and asked to make one. I started talking to the lady she was with (because we Cajuns do like to talk, you know) and come to find out, the little girl was the kid that played the star in Finding Winn Dixie (they were filming in the area). I can't think of her name. Anyway, a local reporter happened to be there and took a picture with the little girl at my booth and I was all excited because my soap company was going to make the paper. I made the front page, all right, but the caption under the picture was all about the little girl - all I got was my mispelled business name - Acadian instead of Acadiana Soapworks. Ha!

I also did up some really nice scrapbooks for shower soaps. I have beautiful Victorian pictures and I had my fiance custom-make molds for the soaps. I didn't really pursue for very long though.

I guess the time it takes to make the soap isn't that bad for the $1000. I do a marathon soap session and have soap for months to sell afterwards. But, of course, you can't live off of $1000. But I wasn't pushing to sell for the last 2 years. I was just keeping my customers supplied. I think there's an opportunity in the tourist market but you would really have to go out there and sell. Our tourist industry in this area was hurt badly by Hurricane Katrina, things are slowly picking up.

Can you make a decent amount of money making soap? If you decide "what is it I want to do", "who are my customers" and keep costs down. But most importantly, how bad do you "want" it? Yeah, it was fun for a while, but I didn't want it that bad. For any business, you have to put in the time and above else, you have to want to sell and you have to be persistant because you're always going to come to a point where you're disappointed or tired or just want to quit.

Okay, I talk too much. I wish you well if you decide to start soaping! Soap forums are the best place to learn how to make soap and all the other bath products.
 

gbtreasures

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2007
Messages
133
Reaction score
0
Location
Pennsylvania
Thank you so very, very, much for sharing your experiences and insights. I read with great interest every word that you wrote, and felt your emotions from the clarity of your writing. You seem to be the type of person that will succeed once you decide to let it happen, but first you need to find that true niche. It very well may be a newsletter. I have to say, however, that your soapline sounds wonderful! I have dreamed of starting soaps with my personal flair (probably won't get too far on that!), and I know the road is not an easy one. The business is tricky every step of the way from finding ingredients, mastering techniques, being legal, staying economical and, yes, finding the market. Again, thank you. I wish you well in your new business venture. When you are ready, please post your website or where we can find your newsletter. Best of luck! :)
 

SueAnn

Member
Joined
Dec 6, 2007
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
Thanks, GB. To me, creating your own unique business is the fun part. You have a lot of experienced soapers you can go to for help here at the forum.

In case anybody's interested, my newsletter will be about Cajun cooking - REAL Cajun cooking, not the stuff you might find in restaurants outside of S. La. that claim it's Cajun or the REALLY awful stuff in the frozen food section. NOTE: Cajun cooking is NOT about the cayenne pepper. Ha! And La. travel. Also, I want to have an affordable place for Cajun crafters, artists, and writers to advertise their products, so I'll be promoting them too.

Now, let me give all of you a tip for helping you start a business, financial-wise. I can only speak for La., but I'm sure other states' Economic Development offices have some type of program also.

When I first started my business, a new program with LED (Louisiana Economic Development) had started where you can get help with technical assistance, i.e., website design, marketing & advertising design, management, accounting, entrepreneurial training - called SEBD (Small and Emerging Business Development). I was able to get Quickbooks software and training, with an accountant coming to my house, setting up my books and then training me. I wanted to learn how to do my own website, so I received training in FrontPage. I paid only 10% of the cost. Now, in order to help more people, the cost to the client is 50%. But it's still a great deal!

I'm actually now running the SEBD program here in the Assumption, Lafourche, Terrebonne and St. Mary Parishes and would be happy to help anyone that needs it. (I'm actually swamped with work right now, but that's okay). If you live in another area, just call your local SBDC and ask about it.

Also, there is a 2-year grant for people in parishes affected by Hurricane Katrina. Each SBDC is administering it differently. It's a new program and we're all trying to work out the kinks. This program pays 100% of the cost of technical assistance.

For those of you in other states, call your economic development office or SBDC and ask if they have anything similar. It's a great progam.

You're not going to get a grant to start a business or buy equipment, but this SEBD grant can help. I've helped people with projects from as little as $150 to $10,000 - that means they only paid $5000 of the $10,000 - not bad, huh?

You just have to know where the money's available. And please, please, don't pay someone for the info and the hype that goes along with the sales pitch. If it's a government grant or loan program, you can get the info for free.
 

leansoapqueen

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 5, 2007
Messages
295
Reaction score
3
Location
Chicago, IL
I don't think of making soap and stuff as work- while it is I do it on my own time! My friends and family love it so I thought I would try to sell it- for me it has been a bit pricy because I had to re-buy a lot of stuff that I got rid of the first time I quit soaping! Believe me my skin felt that! The way I see it- I have some stuff on Etsy though my shop looks like dog do-do right now because my camera is horrible- if I sell some great if not oh well. My local wine bar- it's like a little shop- has actually put an order in for some wine scented soap that I made for the owners wife- it smells different that you think! :) So I just keep getting my word out and prices down and it works out great. I don't assume to become a millionaire or make boatloads of money selling soap- I just like to do it!
There's my 2 cents again!
 

SueAnn

Member
Joined
Dec 6, 2007
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
Thank everyone that wrote me interested in taking over my business. I have someone locally that is interested in continuing it.

Good luck to everyone with your soaping! And if there's anything I could ever do to help anyone, just email me and let me know.
 
Top