Maybe Considering Selling

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TheGecko

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That's it. you don't need a big production-line like you see on some of those soap making videos.
Speaking of which...these folks have been in business for many years and have built up their business to a level to warrant making 40, 50 to 60 bars per batch. And then there are the soap makers who have also been in business for many years and all they use are 2lb molds and make xx soaps a month and that's it.

I never planned on having regular soaps but that happened from customer requests. So, after 15 years I have about 2/3 of the soaps I make are the same as in past years and then about 1/3 are new each year. I have customers at fairs who want a specific soap as well as customers whose first question is what is new.
I did, but that is because that is how I am when I buy things...I'm a creature of habit. It's also how I set up my business aesthetic and the majority of my customers buy the same as the time before. But they also sometimes like to try something new, they like to purchase soap as gifts...as do a lot of my other customers. And so I make seasonal scents and I make 'one-offs'...something that sounds good to me, sometimes something that is on sale*** and always in small batches so I don't get stuck with a lot of soap if it doesn't sell.

*** - Which can suck if it's well-received and turns out it was sale because it was being discontinued
 

Zany_in_CO

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Insurance is the kicker I guess. Is that something I still need to sell any soap at all?
Not at this point. For one thing, you can't afford it! Although the game has changed, I sold soap at garage sales for 4 years making just enough to re-invest to buy supplies for 4 years. Then I started making soap and other products for 3 wholesale customers (for 10 years) who carried insurance at their point of incorporation to cover liability in the market place.
I do strongly recommend insurance when you are selling. Here was my latest info on that: Insurance Policies
Good advice when you get to the point where AliOop is now. ;) :thumbs:
 

TheGecko

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:thumbs: It's the most one can hope for at this stage of the game...

:thumbs: :thumbs: So true. I've seen it happen many times over the years. It takes time to build that customer base... think "4 years" while you proceed at your own pace. ;)
Absolutely...though I'm not quite there yet, but that's my fault.

When starting a new business from scratch, it can take a good five years before you start operating in the "black". That's the point where 1) your Income is greater than your COGS/Expense, 2) your Income has enable you to pay yourself back, 3) that your Income can pay you.
 

Zany_in_CO

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@TheGecko Your common sense approach is gratifying and you are an invaluable asset, not only to me, but I believe to the entire SMF community. 🥰
Thanks.gif
 

TheGecko

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@TheGecko Your common sense approach is gratifying and you are an invaluable asset, not only to me, but I believe to the entire SMF community. 🥰
View attachment 67166
(blushing) Thank you. Sometimes I think I'm too wordy, but I made a LOT of mistakes in the beginning due to a lack of simple information/instructions.
 
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When I was selling I had a large following and had to keep certain fragrances in stock at all times. My Dragon's Blood I need to always have, In another market, I had to always have Bonsai from Oregon Trails in stock, and in all markets, I had Lemongrass, Lavender, Nag Champa, and Caramel Tobacco in stock at all times. I always had approx 40 different fragrances in stock most of the time with vegan, non-vegan, a couple of salt bars, and a couple of shea facial bar soaps in stock. After time you learn what sells at different markets if you attend more than one weekly market regularly which my husband and I did for about 7 years, (up to 5 per week), cutting back to 1 or 2 the last 3 years of our selling. We retired during the beginning of covid when we lost our main market and due to age and health issues, it was just time. It took about 3 yrs to build a following of customers within a 75-100 mile radius and a lot of hard work, but we made money, although I will not say a lot of money it was a good retirement supplement for us and we also used it for entertainment. We loved meeting new people and seeing our vendor friends which we still keep in touch with. I still hear from former customers since I retired. Just remember some weeks you may not sell any soap, and some weeks you may do great, but I also sold other items such as my husband's golf art and horseshoe, depending on which market we were attending, and my crochet hats. It is hard to survive selling soap alone in my opinion. We also attended a couple of Holiday markets every year where I had customers that waited to buy from me and purchased a year's worth of soap.

As for taxes, my little business was set up as a business claiming sales taxes, and IRS taxes were filed as a small business. I was not set up as an LLC, I just do not find enough protection with small corps to go through the hassles of corp structures to go under corps. Yep, I had to corporation one S and one C corp, so I do have some experience with corporations, never again. If a person decides to sue you they will go civil and sue you personally. I carried good insurance under the Guild and was very careful to cover all bases so in 10+ yrs of selling I was never sued. We were threatened once and apparently, she decided she would not win because we never heard from her. Over 30 of self-employment in my moms 50 yr old beauty shop we were never sued, because we were careful.

Sorry for the long-winded post. Bottom line, do not expect to make lots of money but if you enjoy selling go for it if not, don't. It is hard work.
 

MGM

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I think the big question isn't "Can I sell soap without having a business" but "Can I sell soap without [incurring the costs of] insurance?" My understanding that the answer to that is NO. Here in Canada, you must also register each and every product (including variations on colour and fragrance) with Health Canada. Do the people I see at pop-up fairs do that? I'm thinking not, given the way they create their labels, etc. Are they taking a risk? I think so. In a more litigious society like the US, would that be an even bigger risk? Probably.
 

MelissaG

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If you have a business, you need insurance and you need to pay taxes. There's no way around that. And if you try to do otherwise, eventually the government will catch up to you and you are looking at long term prison time. Just play the game the right way the first time around.
 

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