Oh if only it were as easy as A, B, C. Unfortunately, it is not. In many areas today soaping has turned into a hot commodity, one that people jump into thinking it is easy and profitable. It is anything but easy and it isn’t profitable unless you spend time working at it and formulating the right soaps for your customer base. Keeping in mind that potential customers may already have a favorite person they buy from breaking their loyalty is not a task easily achieved, add in the guilt for attempting to do that is even worse.
There are several soapers in my area I have several friends who soap and we have done shows together with no issues, why? Because we refuse to be competition to each other. We do different formulas, different scents and we often talk before events to figure out who will bring what to the show. This enables us to also help our fellow soap family out when customers are looking for specific items. If only one of us brings that item we can send them to the right person. So before you decide you want to turn this into a business check the local market and see how many people are already in the business. Also understand there will be ones who only use essential oils, dried herbs and flowers and natural additives in their soap, some will only carry melt and pour, some will only do a certain size, some will only carry goat’s milk, some will only do vegan. The market can be big enough for all of us if we all work together and promote one another. In my area I cover vegan, lard based, as well as goat’s milk soaps. I do essential and fragrance oils in all the recipes. I also offer wholesale, private label and custom orders.
Next you will have to learn how to use Soap Calc or another reputable site to come up with recipes to make your soap. Know if you have mainly soft oils like sunflower, olive, etc it will take longer for your soap to be hard and long lasting. You cannot make your first loaf and decide you are now a professional, it doesn’t work that way. Play around with different recipes on those sites, learn what the readings mean for each category like bubbles, moisturizing , etc.
Then you are going to need to locate the oils. Many people start making with what they call grocery store recipes. These are the soaps that can be made with oils that are easily accessible at most major grocery stores, like lard, olive, sunflower and others. When you first start you want to get smaller amounts of these products, because trust me soap making is something you love or you hate and you will know real quick which way you lean. Keep in mind you will need safety gear, bowls, mixers, measuring cups all designed to be used for soaping only. Lye can be purchased at any Ace Hardware in 2 lb containers. Start with 1 or 2 lb mixes, it is easier to control smaller batches when you are just learning. Read everything you can about the processes, the science, the different oils and their usefulness. Then have fun with your first few batches.
They won’t be pretty trust me. I look back on the batches I made in the beginning thinking I was doing all of these great colors and designs and nearly 6 years later I look at them and cringe. Even now there are still batches that give me a run for my money and go totally South of what I had in mind. That is the joy of soaping. It is like life. You can plan all day what you have in mind but until you do it you won’t know how it is going to turn out. You just jump in, cross your fingers and hope for the best.