To sell, or not to sell...

Discussion in 'Lye-Based Soap Forum' started by Sarah Seaton, Mar 7, 2019.

Help Support Soapmaking Forum by donating:

  1. Mar 7, 2019 #1

    Sarah Seaton

    Sarah Seaton

    Sarah Seaton

    Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2019
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Hi! I wasn't sure if this was the right topic to post under, but I think it fits. I have only been making CP soaps for a little while now and am nowhere near ready to sell any. However, I was thinking down the line that it is something I would like to do once I perfect my recipe and test it out for awhile. I recently read a long post of all the things that one needs to keep in mind before selling or starting a business and I guess it kind of scared me away from it. My question is to all of those who sell their soaps, do you think it is worth it or would you recommend keeping it a hobby? Also, if you do suggest selling eventually, what kind of market is best? Craft shows? Etsy?
    Thank you!
     
  2. Mar 7, 2019 #2

    dixiedragon

    dixiedragon

    dixiedragon

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2013
    Messages:
    6,061
    Likes Received:
    4,572
    Location:
    Birmingham, Alabama, USA
    Not a seller, but I do think you need to plan to have some kind of online presence and way to buy online. Otherwise, you can't gain traction. Craft shows are very demanding - lots of time before and after, and they are exhausting.
     
    Susie and Sarah Seaton like this.
  3. Mar 7, 2019 #3

    Sarah Seaton

    Sarah Seaton

    Sarah Seaton

    Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2019
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Thank you!
     
  4. Mar 8, 2019 #4

    Misschief

    Misschief

    Misschief

    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2015
    Messages:
    2,711
    Likes Received:
    2,862
    Location:
    Kelowna, BC, Canada
    In my case, at this time, I only sell at one seasonal market because I still have a full time job. Once I retire (I'm on the Freedom 95 plan, btw), I plan on applying for more markets, as well as expanding my online presence. It takes time and right now, I just don't have the time to put into that it will take.
     
    smengot0, Nanette and Sarah Seaton like this.
  5. Mar 8, 2019 #5

    lsg

    lsg

    lsg

    Staff Member Admin

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2007
    Messages:
    11,454
    Likes Received:
    4,075
    I tried selling bath & body products on etsy and at a fair, but found out it wasn't profitable for me. I only sell to freinds of family now. The market is very crowded.
     
    MarnieSoapien, Susie and Sarah Seaton like this.
  6. Mar 8, 2019 #6

    Sarah Seaton

    Sarah Seaton

    Sarah Seaton

    Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2019
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Good advice, thank you.
     
  7. Mar 8, 2019 #7

    Susie

    Susie

    Susie

    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2013
    Messages:
    9,182
    Likes Received:
    8,393
    Location:
    Texas
    You really need to be aware first that all the fun goes out of making soap when it becomes a source of income. You have to start adding ingredients for label value rather than what it actually brings to the soap, you have to do lots more testing with other people on scents, colors, patterns, etc. It really is a big change from just trying to please yourself. Think long and hard about that before making the leap.
     
  8. Mar 8, 2019 #8

    Sharon Patterson

    Sharon Patterson

    Sharon Patterson

    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2018
    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    Indiana
    I have had my soap business for about six years now and enjoy it so much. I do farmer's markets and craft fairs plus have a web site. It is hard work but I enjoy it so much. I love talking to people and telling them how I make soap and my other products. I am semi-retired from my other business and am old enough for social security so that helps out a lot. I don't make a lot of money selling my soap but I make enough.
     
  9. Mar 8, 2019 #9

    Sarah Seaton

    Sarah Seaton

    Sarah Seaton

    Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2019
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Thank you! It's nice to hear your positive experience with it. I know it's hard work and wouldn't pull in too much income, but I'm glad you are still enjoying it.
     
  10. Mar 8, 2019 #10

    The Efficacious Gentleman

    The Efficacious Gentleman

    The Efficacious Gentleman

    Lifetime Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2013
    Messages:
    8,918
    Likes Received:
    8,843
    Location:
    Austria
    It's a good point though. You like making soap - great, lovely. But do you like selling? Do you like marketing and finance? Do you like business?

    As an example, a friend of mine and I both had photography work on the side. He was a better photographer but I was more successful, because I enjoyed (and could do) the other parts better.

    You won't just be making soap. That should be at most 50% of your time. The rest will be business
     
  11. Mar 8, 2019 #11

    Sarah Seaton

    Sarah Seaton

    Sarah Seaton

    Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2019
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    It's hard to tell without ever having had my own business before. But I think it I would enjoy both aspects of it. Thank you!
     
  12. Mar 8, 2019 #12

    Dawni

    Dawni

    Dawni

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2018
    Messages:
    1,256
    Likes Received:
    1,452
    Location:
    Philippines
    I wouldn't enjoy the math.

    Even now that I'm not selling. Just thinking about how much one bar of soap actually costs to make is giving me a headache. That might be one deterrent for me, if ever..

    My testers, family members all of them, want to help and insist on at least paying for the ingredients since they're using soap that's much better than any they've used before lol

    That's why I sat down to think on it and to make it easier I told them to "pay" me whatever they've saved on not buying soap lol but some aunts are insisting I do basic costing at least. Ugh..
     
    smengot0 and Sarah Seaton like this.
  13. Mar 8, 2019 #13

    Donee'

    Donee'

    Donee'

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2019
    Messages:
    181
    Likes Received:
    130
    Location:
    Johannesburg South Africa
    My experience is to think outside of the box
    Mainstream markets and online and such are completely crowded and the competition is to much.
    Start with your local florist - sell them novelty soaps to include in gift hampers
    Start with your local Liquor store - sell them beer soap as a novelty
    Sart with your local butcher - sell them lard soap
    If there is a local corporate gift place - approach them to include your soap in their gift bags
    Visit your local hotels or b&b's or such and sell to them
    If you have a racetrack - sell them mechanics soap (aka gardeners soap)
    got to your local nursery and sell them soap on a rope gardeners soap that people can hang off their taps

    Once you get money for your goods and repeat customers or word of mouth then you will fly.
    People buy from people.

    And dont take no for an answer

    There are so many other avenues to sell soap.

    I have an excel spreadsheet with all the oil prices and then i dump in the quantities. Marke up is between 200 - 300% which covers packaging, labelling, labour, petrol and other incidentals.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 10, 2019
    brandiesnap, Sarah Seaton and Dawni like this.
  14. Mar 8, 2019 #14

    jcandleattic

    jcandleattic

    jcandleattic

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2008
    Messages:
    2,824
    Likes Received:
    1,860
    Location:
    Stuck in my head
    I personally have not found this to be true. I sell, and I still only make what I want. Of course what I want to make is what my target market also wants. I suppose it would be a different story if my target market demanded a different type of soap.
     
    Susie, Primrose, KiwiMoose and 3 others like this.
  15. Mar 8, 2019 #15

    IrishLass

    IrishLass

    IrishLass

    Staff Member Admin

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2008
    Messages:
    14,819
    Likes Received:
    8,801
    Location:
    Right here, silly!
    This is exactly why I decided not to sell^^^^. That's not to say I didn't flirt a great deal with the idea of selling (it's hard not to when everyone you know is pushing you to sell, lol), but I know myself only too well... When it comes to business savvy, I've definitely "got no game", as they say. lol I'm just not gifted in that way.....

    And because I'm not gifted in that way, going into business with my soap would suck the joy out of me. I'm at my absolute happiest when I'm creating and making all kinds of stuff at my leisure just for the pure joy of gifting it to someone that I know will love it and appreciate it. If I had to dedicate 50% of my soaping time to marketing and selling it, I would burn out fast, no doubt about it. If I ever went into business, it would definitely have to be a partnership with someone who is trustworthy and passionate about marketing/selling, yet wise enough to leave the creating part to me.


    IrishLass :)
     
    laurahatt214, Susie, Hils67 and 2 others like this.
  16. Mar 8, 2019 #16

    The Efficacious Gentleman

    The Efficacious Gentleman

    The Efficacious Gentleman

    Lifetime Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2013
    Messages:
    8,918
    Likes Received:
    8,843
    Location:
    Austria
    True! I think most people would be happiest working as the soap maker for someone running the business side, like an artist with an agent, almost
     
    Susie, IrishLass and Sarah Seaton like this.
  17. Mar 9, 2019 #17

    Donee'

    Donee'

    Donee'

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2019
    Messages:
    181
    Likes Received:
    130
    Location:
    Johannesburg South Africa
    But thats where partnerships come into play. Find a partner who is good at the stuff you arent good at. One of my major downfalls in previous businesses is trying todo it all myself.

     
  18. Mar 9, 2019 #18

    smengot0

    smengot0

    smengot0

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2015
    Messages:
    114
    Likes Received:
    48
    Good places to start. Thanks for your thoughts Donee
     
  19. Mar 9, 2019 #19

    Lin19687

    Lin19687

    Lin19687

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2018
    Messages:
    2,662
    Likes Received:
    1,437
    Location:
    Massachusetts
  20. Mar 10, 2019 #20

    Sultana

    Sultana

    Sultana

    Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2019
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    18
    Location:
    Maine
    What a fantastic post. I have been at this since 2003. I am constantly amazed by the amount of soapers and bath and body "producers" that try a receipe that weekend and then are selling it on the market the following weekend. It makes for a bad reputation for all handcrafted soapers. There is a reason why there are bath and body regulations. When the day comes that the FDA decides to start going after the handcrafted market (and eventually they will) the "competition" will be cut down 90%.
     
    Sarah Seaton likes this.

Share This Page