Question about “ How you market your soap”

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IslandSoap

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Hi!! First, let me start off by saying I am a beginner since January.. so I am not selling my soap... even though I have enough to last a year or so (😳), but I have looked at Etsy sites and even on Instagram and see people selling their soaps and “ making claims” about them.. which, I would think, would put them into a “ medicinal” category rather than soap.. for example: “ my soap has such and such which helps with inflammation, or psoriasis, or “ calming” effects... is that even legal? And some of them look like they haven’t been in “ the business” very long. Just curious. I wanted to post this in the “ Business section” but I have an insufficient number of posts. 😐
 

amd

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You're exactly right. Any kind of claim like that is not legal in the US. Some sellers may have different rules for their country, and I'm not sure how that works for making claims and then selling in US. I would think that they couldn't... anyways, you can't say "made with tea trea oil known to help treat acne" as that implies that your soap is used to treat acne. And we get a lot of people who start making soap, and after they have one or two batches, want to sell. We discourage the practice here, but they're free to carry on with whatever they want IRL.
 

earlene

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Well, is it legal (in the US)? IF they follow the (US) rules for drug labeling, then, yes. But the regulations are really specific and I doubt there many cottage industry soapers who are able to do that. It's been awhile since I read up on it, but I'm not even sure that manufacturing something that falls into the category of a drug is allowed to be done in ones home in the first place. Cosmetics can, but I don't recall if drugs can or not.

But anyway, large companies might be able to make those claims, but to do so, they'd have to be able to back them up with proof, and even they get letters from the FDA about invalid product claims sometimes.
 

shunt2011

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A home business cannot make medical claims/drug. They would require FDA approval. And what small business could afford that.
 

IslandSoap

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A home business cannot make medical claims/drug. They would require FDA approval. And what small business could afford that.
Look around on Etsy and Instagram under some of the small soap businesses. Some are making claims that I wrote above about. I was floored the one night and talking to my sign. other about it. Like he said..” There r so many small soap businesses that the FDA etc.. will never find them.” It kind of ruins it for the ones doing the right thing. I would like to sell one day, but I’m giving it a year to see how my soaps hold up. Have close to 40 some 3 lb loaf soaps made at this time and just experimenting with different ingredients to make the “ perfect” soap bars. Lol.. I am giving them away left and right as they cure.. everyone loves them .. plus they r free. 🙄. If I am still financially able to keep making soap by next January, 😐, I’d like to sell mine, and at least be able to continue to afford this little expensive hobby.
 

IslandSoap

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Look around on Etsy and Instagram under some of the small soap businesses. Some are making claims that I wrote above about. I was floored the one night and talking to my sign. other about it. Like he said..” There r so many small soap businesses that the FDA etc.. will never find them.” It kind of ruins it for the ones doing the right thing. I would like to sell one day, but I’m giving it a year to see how my soaps hold up. Have close to 40 some 3 lb loaf soaps made at this time and just experimenting with different ingredients to make the “ perfect” soap bars. Lol.. I am giving them away left and right as they cure.. everyone loves them .. plus they r free. 🙄. If I am still financially able to keep making soap by next January, 😐, I’d like to sell mine, and at least be able to continue to afford this little expensive hobby.
lol... probably going into right field with this..but there is a lot of responsibility with making soap and selling. Basically you r responsible for what others r putting on their skin. Being in the medical field for so long.. I believe in certification. I think if ppl were certified, they would also know more about “ what they can post about their soaps and what they can’t” on their business websites. I do know there is certification for soap making, so .. that is also on my list of “ to do” before selling anything. Who would you rather buy from? Someone who says they can make soap, or someone who has a certification in soapmaking?
 

shunt2011

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Look around on Etsy and Instagram under some of the small soap businesses. Some are making claims that I wrote above about. I was floored the one night and talking to my sign. other about it. Like he said..” There r so many small soap businesses that the FDA etc.. will never find them.” It kind of ruins it for the ones doing the right thing. I would like to sell one day, but I’m giving it a year to see how my soaps hold up. Have close to 40 some 3 lb loaf soaps made at this time and just experimenting with different ingredients to make the “ perfect” soap bars. Lol.. I am giving them away left and right as they cure.. everyone loves them .. plus they r free. 🙄. If I am still financially able to keep making soap by next January, 😐, I’d like to sell mine, and at least be able to continue to afford this little expensive hobby.
I’m well aware of the claims people make. I see it all the time at shows. However, just because they do doesn’t make it right or ethical. I choose to follow the rules and make soap. No claims. Just soap. This isn’t a cheap hobby but it takes time. Plus the market is so over saturated with soapmakers. I have built a great following but it’s taken 9 years. I am the only soapmaker at the shows I do that has been there for years. Most come and go.
 
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Rsapienza

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lol... probably going into right field with this..but there is a lot of responsibility with making soap and selling. Basically you r responsible for what others r putting on their skin. Being in the medical field for so long.. I believe in certification. I think if ppl were certified, they would also know more about “ what they can post about their soaps and what they can’t” on their business websites. I do know there is certification for soap making, so .. that is also on my list of “ to do” before selling anything. Who would you rather buy from? Someone who says they can make soap, or someone who has a certification in soapmaking?
When you say "certified", what exact certificate are you referring to?
 

shunt2011

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I have been a member of the HCSCG. I don't have any interest of being certified. They just want your money. It means nothing to me nor my customers. I have carried my insurance through them though. I've found other source for insurance.
 

Rsapienza

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I’m in the US. There is a soapmaker’s guild here that you can join and, if you r interested, you can become certified in cold process, etc... there are different certifica

I am in the US and there is at least one organization, The Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetic Guild, that does certification for soap
makers and for those whom make cosmetics. I just joined a couple months ago and it is very informative. They have annual conferences that look like a lot of fun😊
Ah....yes. I am aware of them. I, personally, feel they are way overpriced (at least for my pockets). I do not believe being certified by them makes you a better soapmaker by any means. They do, however, have some useful and informative information on their site.
 

Megan

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Look around on Etsy and Instagram under some of the small soap businesses. Some are making claims that I wrote above about. I was floored the one night and talking to my sign. other about it. Like he said..” There r so many small soap businesses that the FDA etc.. will never find them.” It kind of ruins it for the ones doing the right thing. I would like to sell one day, but I’m giving it a year to see how my soaps hold up. Have close to 40 some 3 lb loaf soaps made at this time and just experimenting with different ingredients to make the “ perfect” soap bars. Lol.. I am giving them away left and right as they cure.. everyone loves them .. plus they r free. 🙄. If I am still financially able to keep making soap by next January, 😐, I’d like to sell mine, and at least be able to continue to afford this little expensive hobby.
I started out making the 10 in loaves too (3 lb)...I found that for experimenting, it is just too costly and the soap was stacking up too much. I would very much recommend getting a 1 lb mold. I still use mine for overpour and experiments.
 

earlene

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I actually do want to become certified through the guild. I have discussed it briefly with my soapmaking instructor, from whom I took two classes in the first couple of years of my soapmaking. One reason I like the idea of becoming certified is to be able to at some later date in my life, also become a certified soaping instructor. This may or may not ever happen, as it really is just a maybe for me, but I do believe there is value in the process, in spite of the cost factors.
 

B&E Homestead

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The way I understand it, they can say anything they want a long the lines of "this herb has been used for..." because that is just a historical fact.

As long as they don't say, " this soap is good for..." they aren't making a medical claim.

At least that is how I remember reading the laws before. It's been a while.
 

shunt2011

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The way I understand it, they can say anything they want a long the lines of "this herb has been used for..." because that is just a historical fact.

As long as they don't say, " this soap is good for..." they aren't making a medical claim.

At least that is how I remember reading the laws before. It's been a while.
That's not true. People have been called out because they list ingredients/additives and what they are known to do/be. It's indirectly making claims if its written somewhere customers can see it. Many do though.
 

Kathymzr

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Read the laws, have good insurance, and consult an attorney before selling. That alone is an investment. Soap classes are a fine idea. But people often are just desperate for a “quick buck”. Expensive certifications can be barriers to entry, yet with all the icky stuff I see people putting in their soaps, the idea is appealing. The laws could be a little more specific about ingredients not ok for sale in soap. A little regulation might be ok. But it’s always buyer beware, so at least be able to afford lawsuits. I use expensive ingredients, so I can’t afford to sell my soaps at a competitive price. But as gifts, I can give really nice “just soap.” Why sell coconut-olive oil-palm for $12 a bar?? However, I am inclined to sell good soap dishes that don’t turn expensive soap into mush!!!
 

cmzaha

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Read the laws, have good insurance, and consult an attorney before selling. That alone is an investment. Soap classes are a fine idea. But people often are just desperate for a “quick buck”. Expensive certifications can be barriers to entry, yet with all the icky stuff I see people putting in their soaps, the idea is appealing. The laws could be a little more specific about ingredients not ok for sale in soap. A little regulation might be ok. But it’s always buyer beware, so at least be able to afford lawsuits. I use expensive ingredients, so I can’t afford to sell my soaps at a competitive price. But as gifts, I can give really nice “just soap.” Why sell coconut-olive oil-palm for $12 a bar?? However, I am inclined to sell good soap dishes that don’t turn expensive soap into mush!!!
May I ask why to consult an attorney before selling? Attorney's are expensive and do not necessarily know anything about selling soap. All my attorney knows he likes the feel and smell of my soaps! Read the laws for your state and city, fda regs, labeling, and carry insurance.

As for expensive ingredients is soaps, they do not necessarily make good soap. I am also curious about what type of ingredients you think would be really bad in soap, since lye negates most properties of ingredients added to soap. I would put my soaps up against your expensive oils soap any day in a blind test.

I tossed the idea around at one time about the certification and teaching but decided I did not want the legal issues with the possibility of a lye accident. Other than that I see no reason to be certified and I have been selling for around 10 yrs. I am also aware of the claims people make and have done markets with many of them. Most of them have disappeared and I am still around.
 

Kathymzr

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Different parts of the country are more litigious than others. It often doesn’t matter who is “at fault”. Defense in suits are expensive, time consuming, and may affect other family members. Set your business up to protect yourself.

The reason I like to use fairly expensive ingredients is 1: I can, 2: I like to experiment 3: my giftees lovvvve them, 4: I don’t need to sell. Now inexpensive ingredients make perfectly fine soap, and it’s perfectly fine to sell. Don’t get me wrong about that. People love fancy soap design and are happy to pay for that! It’s business. So in light of that, no matter where you sell, just remember to CYA!!
 

cmzaha

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So what is CYA?

Guess what I live in one of the most litigious States in the US and in an area where people love to sue. An attorney is not going to stop that when you open your Soap business. LOL, even my attorney has been sued!! So if you are afraid of such do not go into business, if it is going to happen you cannot stop it.

I sell a lot of soap and fell in the trap of expensive oils in the beginning then I discovered they were not necessarily the greatest soap. I can make them too.
 
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