Are you considering soap making as a business? It’s no surprise, with the recent rise of the internet, growth of farmers markets and craft fairs more educated consumers are turning to homemade soap instead of buying commercial soaps.
Handmade soap is great because it’s eco-friendly, and it doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals. It also makes a wonderful gift for friends and family. However, selling soap as a business requires dedication, work and skill.
If you’ve got the skills and desire to make soap, then read on. In this article, I’ll share how you can turn your passion into profit by launching your own soap making business.
What do you need to think about if you want to start a soap business? How do you know if you are ready to sell your natural soap? Can you sell your homemade soap? How can you sell your soap legally? These are just a few of the questions to think about before starting your soap company.
How I started my soap business online and became The SoapLady
I fell into my soap business by accident. I was looking for a way to explore technology outside of the workplace. I had a new hobby of making soap and at the same time Live Streaming had become very popular on twitter. Now you can live stream everywhere, but back then Periscope was a forerunner. I started live streaming my successes and challenges with soap making and my live audience continued to grow as I went live.. In January of 2016, I launched Natural Soap By Zakia and we got over 100 orders on the first day.
Why You Should Consider Soap Making as a Business
The handmade soap business is a great business to start at home.If you are looking for a way to earn extra money from home, or start a full-time business that replaces your income then this could be it! But I will warn you, this is not a get rich quick scheme. You will need to invest time, money and energy into honing your craft and building your business.
According to research, there are over 100 million people in the world who use natural soaps and shampoos. And this number continues to grow.
If you have a passion for creating something from scratch, then soap making is a perfect opportunity for you to make your own money at home. You can create all types of different products using natural ingredients such as olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, shea butter, mango butter, beeswax, essential oils and herbs.
Think about it.
There are different types of bars of soap, liquid soap, hand soap, body wash, lotion, conditioner, shampoo, bath bombs, shower steamers and most of these use the same ingredients. With some slight tweaks to the process you can completely change a product and expand your handmade business product line.
This is an online business that you can start from home with a very small monetary investment. I don’t want to make it appear that it will be cheap. You will need to invest in education, quality ingredients, supplies, packaging and technology but the cost to entry is far less than the traditional brick and mortar businesses. With the technology tools to build an online store you no longer need to invest in commercial retail space or try to get your products in big box stores.
You can go directly to consumers by leveraging social media with your own homemade products in your own online store. If you have an idea for a product that will sell well, then it’s time to get started as handmade business owner.
What does it take to start a soap business?
It takes time, money, effort and consistency with a dose of passion to be successful.
Let’s look at each of these elements, shall we.
- Time to work on your business plan, research suppliers for raw materials, develop your manufacturing process, research your target market, other soap companies, work on your website and social media platforms.
- Money to acquire business registrations, product liability insurance, soap making supplies and ingredients like soap molds, soap bases, shipping materials, packaging for finished products, labels.
- Effort to focus on marketing strategies, mastering your craft through classes, creating excellent soap recipes, reading, experimenting, networking along with trial and error.
- Consistency to keep showing up everyday and giving it 100%. Whether that be on washing dishes, research and development, making products, taking product product photos, posting on social media, engaging with customers, shipping orders, creating labels even washing dishes, you must be consistent. Create a routine for yourself and follow the same process each time you make a product. Consistently document your ingredient costs, time to produce batches of soap, batch logs and your production process. This will pay yields as you start to grow in your business.
- Bonus…Patience. Yep handcrafted soap making will teach you patience, whether you like it or not. Learn to have patience with yourself and the process. Rome was not built in a day and neither is your business. Do yourself a favor and allow yourself time to grow and learn as your business unfolds.
How Much does it cost to Start a Soap Business?
People often ask, can you make money selling soap? How much do soap makers make?
Or they say.
How much is it going to cost me to start my soap business? Can you make money selling soap?
I think the real question they are getting at is: Is making and selling soap profitable?
The honest answer is it depends. This is going to be dependent on your cost to produce the product, ongoing expenses and how much you can sell your products for. One trap that soap makers fall into is expanding their product line too quickly or not buying ingredients in bulk.
You must remember that the cost of your ingredients decrease significantly based on the amount you buy. 1 pound versus 50 pounds versus a drum is going to have a vastly different cost per ounce. Your cost per ounce of ingredient has a direct impact on how much it costs you to make a product and ultimately how much profit you will make when selling the soap.
Selling soap is very similar to selling any other product. You need to know your actual cost to make it and what your market is willing to pay that will put you at breakeven costs and ultimately make a profit. You also need to know how much you need to produce and sell to make your monthly revenue goals. If you don’t know this information then you won’t be able to determine if you should start your business or not.
5 Steps to Start a Soap Making Business
1. Learn the Process of Making Soaps
- You must invest the time and energy to learn the process of soap making and everything involved with it. Research techniques, experiment with processes, keep good notes and document along the way.
- If you are just getting started this is your first step. You want to become very knowledgeable about your products, ingredients used in your products, the soap making process and the handcrafted industry. This will ensure that you are making a safe product that is both effective and reliable. It will also help you to share your products with potential customers.
- Take soap making classes with certified soap makers, read books on handcrafted soap making and business, attend industry events and regional meetups to expand your knowledge and network with suppliers and other makers.
2. Gather Supplies, Ingredients, Equipment and Soap Packaging
Try to buy in bulk for at least three months of production. While it may seem expensive at first. This will give you a great starting point at lowering your price per bar of soap and it also allow you to pay less in shipping fees. Click here to download our free soap supply guide.
3. Give away samples and ask for feedback
My business was actually launched by giving away free samples at work. You never know who is going to be your next customer or referral. Even if they don’t turn into customers those early samples give you a chance to get honest feedback and perhaps jump start your testimonials on your website. Don’t give away everything. Set yourself a budget for how much will be samples and when you will transition to only paid products. Make sure you ask for feedback and use it to either improve your product or keep doing what is working well. Watch this live stream to see how samples impacted my business.
4. Market Research and determine your target
Saying that your product is special because you made it by hand is not going to get you very far. You must do market research to identify who your ideal customer is and what they like. Don’t stop there, determine their interests, where they hang out online, what they do in their spare time. This is going to tie directly to how you write copy on your website, what and where you post on social media and maybe even how you name your products.
5. Get in Compliance legally and financially (business registration, business insurance)
My students often ask me: Can I sell soap without a license or Do you need FDA approval to sell soap? This is going to depend on where you are located in the world. As far as the United States you do not need FDA approval to sell soap. Where you live and sell your products is going to determine if you can sell soap without a license.
I’m in Pennsylvania and as of the writing of this blog there is no license required to sell soap. This does not mean I can do whatever I want. I still must follow good manufacturing practices. Be sure to check with your local, regional and state agencies to determine the legal requirements of selling soap.
Compliance also consists of business registration and business insurance. While these can be costly as a new business owner, you need to operate like a real business owner and have these elements as a part of your start up cost.
Until next time…
dropped a sub.
I want soaps making books so how can I get it
from one soap seller to another YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT! You make the decision on your own.
I appreciate you video thank you so much
Exactly what I needed to hear. I’m going to listen to this all day on repeat!!!!!
Keep moving forward in your biz and ignore the naysayers. You’ve got this!
I have seen people be down right brutal in those groups
Great advice: cover your ears to naysayers. Make product that pleases you first. Share your concept immediately thereafter; gather input and make changes from information.
You are too cute. Thank for sharing…..
Do u have a video on how to calculate your own ingredients in soap making?
How did you / are you getting on with the soap business
My soap has now shipped to over 17 countries. I have moved more into teaching and tech for handmade business owners but I still make and sell soap
Lol… great information and I love the way you presented it…..
Such a beautiful woman! Yes and we’ll explained business advice! Excellent! Thank you so very much for being down to earth and straight forward! You are appreciated!
Great info, thank you for sharing
I’m glad you found it helpful. Thanks for watching
This video is gold. Thank you.
Thank you so much darling
I swear it was me too when I was getting started
This has been very helpful
I’m glad it helped to answer some questions. ThAnks for watching
Lol Love your attitude.
Amen sister ❤️
Pretty good advice
Oh my god .. this is the best advise i got! Thank you Zakia you are the best ❤️
Happy to help it definitely is something I wish someone would have told me when I got started.
I LOOVVE yooouu for this video! You just gave me the confidence boost that I really needed. THANK YOU
Thanks so much for watching and subscribing new videos will be loaded in August!
I subscribed to you immediately just based on this video. Thanks for your positivity and good vibes.
I loved it, thank you very much!
That’s great to hear. Thanks for watching and commenting
I did inhale and exhale with you.. it relaxed me.. thanks
Happy it helped ❤️
God bless you.
In Canada, one is supposed to get recepie approval from health department before you start selling it, to be on the safe side. And yes insurance is also required. Alot unfortunatly dont know that.
Thank you for adding this Canada regulation. It’s so important for everyone to know and Follow the rules that govern where their business is located
@Zakia Ringgold indeed! I dont have a soap biz now but I did look into it just in case I decide to take a plunge one day.
Not even half way through the video and I am enjoying this content. Thank you for this! I was very helpful and informative!
So glad you found it useful
I just found you and by only one video I can already say eeeeek I love you. You have a great sounding voice and did a great job conveying the information without coming accross as a know it all. Thank you for your time!
I’m so glad you found it useful. Much success to you!
This Beautiful Sistah said more in 10 minutes than most “in the know” say in their 45 minute videos! Thank you so much! You were clear, concise, and to the point. ❤
Its hep me a lot. Thanks
I’ve got a lot of raw cold-pressed shea butter (nilotica). Question is how do I find lots people who make soap at home so that I can supply them?
Consider joining and participating in soap making groups.
@Zakia Ringgold Great suggestion. For a while I thought of actually making soap myself but with COVID and other personal issues I abandoned it. I had even bought a scale, lye, thermometer and 70 gallons of butter!
Anyway shea plants grow on my fathers land and all around the area where I come from. There’s really a lot of it and it’s cheap. There is a women’s cooperative that extracts the butter and sells it at less than $20 a gallon. I thought I would link them up and broaden their market.
“I’ve been making soap for 25,000 years”
Thank you for giving a realistic advice.
fhadkfhdf your hand movements when you’re like HOW DARE YOU. Thank you for this video!! My sister and I just made soap and we were like “sell…?”
17 years ago I invested in making cold press soaps and soy candles and had a small but dedicated following from family, friends, referrals and marketplaces. I stopped doing this when I started my family and gave up on my dream. Well, I graduated with my degree in Business Management this past spring of 2020. I have one child out on his own and two teenagers so I’m not getting any younger lol! Time waits for no one and with that being said out came all of my old tried and true recipes and I have started working on a solid business plan! I will do this! It is possible ladies and gentlemen. Go after your dreams. God is speaking to me to be of service and I am not asking for permission to do what I have always loved to do with his guidance.
You just made my entire heart smile. I wish you much success in your business. Much love to you
Thank you, regards from Rhodes Hellas
You just described me haha! Thank you for the honesty and the positive vibes. You are gorgeus! I do make a quality soap, it looks very attractive, people love it is also effective. As a beginer, i want to legalise it and start an online shop. How do i do it ? How i legalise the soap ?
It’s lit rn
This is so useful, thank you
Very informative… thank you!
I love the humor..the whole attitude to doing this business..subscribing! 🙂
Rebecca Stinson you are very welcome
Great information..thank you!
So glad you found it useful.
Always find styles on your own and don’t copy others
Do you need a certificate to get started
little me rt no certificate needed but check your local regulations regarding selling cosmetics
I am a 16 year old and i wanna start making soap by myself as a buisness owner to help myself and family.. i know for a fact that this is what i want to do but also im kinda anxious and lost because i want to build enough knowledge about the process of making soap yet I don’t know which videos should get me started and who’s to trust on the internet.
But what keeps me going is knowing that every other buisness owner has been at this stage before so i should do more research, rely on many sources and follow my dreams, *you inspire me so much tysm <3*
doen toearth you re absolutely right we all start with so many questions. The best thing you can do is to try. Learn the basics don’t worry about all of the fancy swirls, exotic oils and techniques. Get your foundation down and understand the soap making process. Make test batches and let your friends and family give you feedback. Good luck
Take entrepreneurship at you’re high school if you are in a school that has those classes. And network with your peers. Those could be your loyal customers. And of course continue to do your own research!
Jorja Panda do whatever color or style you like, whatever inspires you, you have a good imagination the sky is the limit
Hi zakia I just wanted to know as I make soaps and a, trying to sell up to 200 bars a day anyways you know that are the quickest ? Love your channel btw
Thank you Thank you Thank you
Crafty Lottie I imagine this was helpful and if so you are very welcome
I want to start a soap business. Also selling candles and bath bombs. I don’t know how to do it. I ordered supplies to start. I want to make them as gift first to see if anyone likes it but I do hope to turn it into a business. Where do I start?
The best thing you can do for your customers and business is to truly understand soap making process and be absolutely certain you have a safe product. After that get control of your costs for everything down to and including the gloves you use to make each batch. Most importantly believe in you and your products. Good luck
Thank you so much! I will not be making soap but have found credible wholesalers. However, I will be following your advice legally – getting my LLC, local and state licenses. product liability insurance and I’m learning the soap business to know my product. Thank you so very much!
I’ve been making soap for a few years now. I just need to get my name out there.
Thanks for information great info.
I don’t know how to thank you but God bless you real good. I just started making soap and my mum loved the bar I made her and thinks I should market it. Thank you for this
I was doing so research & this video pop up.
Here is my story:
I went to learn soap making Nov last year all the sudden & fall in love with handmade soap since.
Working on a full time job, I always wanna make some extra if possible & I saw the chance on this soap business.
Since then I keep making soap to practice my skill & hope I can find a good recipe.
My investment is small, using whatever is available around me to start with. I make some & gave away to friends to try, hopefully to receive some feedback.
Anyway, I start this month to put some in my friend’s shop to sell & see how the market response.
Even it just a small step & slow move, I hope I can learn something at the end of the day.
After watching your video, I feel more encourage on working toward to my dream.
Thank you for this video! I just started selling soap on Etsy: MysaSoap and waiting on my first sale.
Hi how is your sales going
@Norma Valdez Looks like she sold 85. Congrats!
5:25 THIS IS SOMETHING EVERYONE NEEDS TO CONSIDER…
This video is so informative.
2:57, I appreciate your energy, like I laughed.
1:07 is what made me instantly subscribe.
Great video.. You covered the basics
Thanks this is filed under the category of “things I wish people would have told me”
@Zakia Ringgold yea a lot need to hear this. I’m getting back into making soap. Ised to do it on a small scale. This time im going to do it on a mich larger scale. Working my way upnto that and not just jump out there big.
Thank you so much for this video! I’m starting a soap business this year, and this video helped me go in the right direction with my business! Thank you!
Congratulations on starting your new business and much success to you. Enjoy the journey
@Zakia Ringgold Thank you! God bless you for all you do to help out the world.
anti corona virus vaccines are soap and detargents.
Overjoyed to see your video clips.
Very nice information.
Thank and regards,
Thank you needed some confidence to continue just started my journey to soap making.
This is so appreciated, thank you!
You are very welcome❤️
As a lawyer (who happens to also practice products liability) and a soap maker, thank you for this video! So so much. Thank you.
@Paola Sanchez Hi Paola – you can do both! 🙂 Soap making is much more fun, though.
Is it okay to sell soap products without any licences?
Yes as long as the product is safe. Truly in the US there aren’t any licenses for selling soap but you may want to double check where you live for local regulations
Tiffany please let me know what I should do for a product liability..thank you with all my heart.
Loved this video. Some of the fees and cost you mentioned I had not even thought of, thx!
So glad you found it useful!! Yeah those fees start to creep up if you aren’t careful all of which need to be accounted for in your pricing
You’re amazing <3
Kalifornia Sol much love right back to you. Those comments burn me up like really who are you to tell someone “they can’t”. I hope this video gives a different perspective to people considering starting their own business.
Anyone know if PH test strips are reliable for safety testing? I heard we cant even give soap away for free without insurance, inspections, 3rd party product testing etc. I don’t get how so many people start selling at markets or online before they get license and stuff unless its done illegally. Im in WA and so far as long as crazy claims about the product are not made than its not considered a cosmetic from what I have read. Feels like a lot of yt soaper videos are geared toward telling people not to sell or makes it sound terrible difficult and worthless. Kinda makes me think those people feel threatened by new soapers or something or else why would they be doing it… Glad your honest and not negative lol. I guess my only fear is I jump through all these legal hoops only to find out nobody likes my soaps lol.
Tiny To Tall pH test strips are a start you can use them to get a range but they aren’t that dependable. Giving soap away for free without insurance or inspections is possible. Most people in business have NEVER been inspected. Most of what you see or hear around the internet are people whispering down the lane and regurgitating something they have heard which may or may not even be true. Go to the source which is the FDA they have very clear information on what you can or cannot do. You are correct in assuming it’s a mindset thing but you can ignore all of that and operate based on your understanding of the Facts not he say she say. Most of the time it’s just that gossip. Ignore it and research from trusted sources. Start with your county and then your state. Ask what’s required to sell soap or cosmetics where you live. Then go to the FDA website to understand the rules and regulations relative to labeling, marketing and ingredients you can use.
you are amazing! it helped me with my decision in a positive way
I’m so happy to hear that. Enjoy the journey and avoid naysayers ❤️
very true indeed… spot on..! 🙂 thank you..
I love your attitude, and personality.
I watched this 3 months ago after I made my first batch, yesterday I signed a contract to sell at a local business that noticed me because my soaps were selling so much, this video helped me immensely in the beginning when a lot of people doubted me (including myself) and I was told by another soap maker that I had wasted my time and money the minute I ordered my first mold when I asked for advice.. Thank you!
Ashley Banks continues success to you Ashley. I’m glad it helped
I was discouraged by my family and eventually threw out all my supplies in frustration. Now I’m buying all over again to reboot. Advice from like-minded ppl is great but you really have to fan out for support which is completely different.
Cody & Brooke Hanson I wish you and ur family success and yeah I see what you mean. I can’t believe even family will try to bring you down like that. It’s mess up but you keep moving forward and be successful!!
Wow. I can’t believe another soap maker would say that to someone. Not a successful one. Many of us have been making soap long before YouTube and can tell you it is not easy but no business is. You just have to be financially able to support it until you “make it”. It’s not cheap and you want to make a really good soap. It took me three years before there was money I could keep!
Congratulations on signing your first contract. I wish you many more.
My friends and i make soap for 1 month now and we really want to start a buisiness thanks for this video!
G’Day Mate thank you for tuning in and leaving a comment ❤️
Wow that takes dedication and I’m sure whenever you decided to put your “open for business” sign up you will be very successful! Hats off to you for going about it in your way to dot all of your I’s and crossing all of your t’s. Continue to enjoy the journey and please do let me know when you officially open. I would love to try your soap
You are amazing, Zakia.
can I do soap while in college ?
Dareen Paudel absolutely many people do to supplement their income!
@Zakia Ringgold thank you so much for replying u so nice .
Am happy that I come across your video
This is so helpful. Thanks so much!
Elenor by Design you are very welcome. Thank you for watching
Thank you so much, this is great advice!
Octavia Symone so glad you found it useful
Thanks for sharing! I am not in “soap” but I am in homemade and I am launching next month. I’ve been coming on youtube watching videos for last minute things that I haven’t thought of before launching. 2 years ago… if I had searched for this video, it would have been really been really informative and comforting, lol. It’s amazing what can happen when you break things down in to small pieces and small goals. Believing in yourself and not settling for limitations is really the key!
Good luck on your launch and thank you for launching.
I love you!!! You are so real….lol. I haven’t even made soap yet. Ordered my products to make it already. Will be experimenting and going from there. Very useful information, thank you.
Radiant Light so glad you found it useful and good luck on your soap making adventure!
New subscriber, please consider subscribing to me
Great video and good information. Thank you for sharing.
Thanks for watching Marcia and I’m glad you found it useful
Good info. Thank you.
I love your advice , such humour
Great energy! Thank you!
First rule of fight club
Katie Robbins thanks Katie!!! Glad you enjoyed it and found it informative. ❤️
Good video, I especially appreciate your stating that the way face book advise is given with good intentions but doesnt alway come across that way. Only one small thing wished you would have touched on, have a financial system or an accountant and a marketing concept. Totally agree with you, that the timing of starting a biz is highly individual
Rusty Nails Thanks for watching and I completely agree about the accounting system. I’ll add it to the “videos to record” list.
Elizabeth H welcome aboard
I see some many people ask FB groups, and you’re right… Some of the responses are ruthless! I did my research, made sure I priced Right, labeled right, and made a great product. I didn’t care what others (namely FB groups) said…. Most of those nay-sayers are actually labeling their products wrong anyway – lol
I wish more people could see this video – thanks for sharing!
I always cringe when I see the question posted because it’s really innocent. We often forget that the tongue can give life or death my hope is this video encourages more makers and would be makers to operate in a spirit of grace. We’ve all been new at some point. Thanks for watching
why are people so against it im confused?
I’m not sure Julie I think it’s a mindset thing but there are many of us who are not against it. We all started somewhere
In what way labelled wrong? X
Katie X many people will say their soap will help acne or eczema wrong wrong wrong unless the FDA has approved it they have just made their soap an unapproved drug
If i can hug you .
Gabriella Verhaeg thanks so glad you enjoyed it
You are just too awesome! What a breath of fresh air. Thank you!
Great video! This is exactly what I needed
Thanks for watching so glad you found it helpful.
If you make products from home do you have to put your address on the label. I also don’t understand the choices when registering as a business. Also I’d rather start off with body butters and scrubs
Great question, if you make products the labeling requirements are such that you need to have the physical address on the label. There is a small exception where if you have the physical address listed in an online directory you wouldn’t need to put it on the label. Very understandable where you don’t want people knocking on your door at home. The best place to start with registering your business is your states commerce department. They will have the rules spelled out and the steps to do it yourself. Also check with an accountant to help you decide if you want an LLC etc. Body Butters and scrubs are great when getting started! Good luck
Zakia Ringgold thank you
Don’t ask in a facebook group…..this is the truth…..lol
pls more vedios on pricing
I will put one together for the next video. Thanks for the suggestion.
looool i can relate to everything you said
It’s such a common question with so many variables to the answer.
I give this lady so much credit, she is on all platforms and keeps working hard!
Mountain Evergreen THANK YOU!!!!