Well, small businesses that specialize in manufacturing specialty soaps often supply other small businesses, sell through craft markets, or online. The variety of soaps is only limited by the entrepreneur’s imagination, you can make:
- vegetarian soaps,
- scented soaps,
- non-scented soaps,
- novelty or children’s soaps,
- oatmeal soaps,
- special purpose soaps (like soap for use in the laundry),
What Do You Need?
You do not need any formal qualifications to start a business making specialty soaps, but you do need patience and a lot of imagination! You will create unique products by using basic soap recipes and experimenting with different mixes of oils, fats, and additives.
To make soap you will need some basic equipment including a good quality stock pot (probably more than one), stainless steel mixing bowls, candy thermometers, pyrex jugs, an electric hand blender, and molds. Lots and lots of molds.
You can use small plastic containers, jelly molds, muffin trays or anything else made of plastic or silicon as soap molds. I have some wonderful jelly molds in the shape of teddy bears, dinosaurs and trains that I use for kids soaps! I use small round plastic containers for round soaps and an old kitty litter tray for bar soaps. To buy your initial equipment and a good supply of molds you can expect to spend anywhere between $100 – $250.
To start your soap making business, you will need to purchase your soap making supplies. Depending on the basic recipes you will be using your shopping list will include things like your choice of oils, for example, Olive Oil, you will probably also need to buy Lard, Caustic Soda (Lye), Fragrant Oils, Coloring, and anything else you want to add to your soap.
No matter how you intend to sell your product, you will also need some kind of storage setup, as your soap will take six to eight weeks to ‘cure’ before it is ready to sell.
You will also need to look into packaging especially if you are intending to sell by mail order or online. I wouldn’t bother with business cards as such, but a small card with a description of each type of soap and your contact details could be included in each package of soap. You can expect to spend anything up to $500 on your initial soap making supplies.
As a soap maker, your income will vary depending on how much soap you can produce, and how much you can sell.