How to Start Specialty Soap Making Business

Specialty soap making business enterprise actually evolves from an individual’s craft hobby. The business can easily be set up and run from home and will not require very much startup capital investment to get rolling. It is a wise idea to be well on the way to establishing a profitable and personally rewarding home-based specialty soap making business. It all needs a creative mind and a true passion for crafts.

“According to a report of Natural Foods Merchandiser (NFM), sales of natural body care product industry grew by 11% globally.  Customers are buying handmade natural soap in record numbers. Vermont Soapworks and handcrafted specialty soap makers, one of the industry leaders, has experienced sales increases of more than 35% in each of the last 5 years. ”

Skills For Specialty Soap Making

You will need to go for training. There are several different processes available for specialty soap making. You can avail training from online tutorials. Those are helpful and effective. Also, you can avail in-person training from any institute. It is important to have knowledge about the soap making process and different raw materials used for soap making.

Methods For Specialty Soap Making

There are basically two common ways of making homemade specialty soap. One is the so-called cold process and another one is the hot process. Cold process is more common and simple that mixing of lye or some other alkali and fats or oil. It takes a few hours to saponify but takes four weeks to cure completely. Hot process is a variation of the first one that involves cooking the soap. It is an instant process and easier in the handling of added scents and color.

1. Cold Process For Specialty Soap Making

Cold process specialty soap making is made by combining fats (base oils, aka fixed oils or carrier oils) and Lye Solution (Lye + a liquid of choice). The Base Oils you choose will determine the qualities of your soap. You will need to calculate the lye solution. First, you’re going to select the unit of weight measurement (in our case, ounces), then choose the type of lye you’re using. For CP soap, you will always be using Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH). Next, enter your liquid of choice. We’ll be using water for our test recipe, but it’s possible to use other liquids such as goat’s milk, coffee, tea, etc. Add scents, colours, and exfoliants. Once you create the magical batch of soap with the perfect color and scent, you really able to replicate it.

Supplies Needed For Cold Process Specialty Soap Making
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Plastic Goggles
  • Surgical Mask
  • Stick Blender (aka Immersion Blender – you can get one of these for $20-$30)
  • Candy or Oil Thermometer
  • Tupperware Measuring Pitcher (with a lip for pouring, and a lid)
  • Heat-Proof Stirring Spoons
  • Measuring Cups & Measuring Spoons
  • 1 Large Microwaveable Bowl
  • 1 Small Bowl
  • Electric Scale that measures ounces and grams
  • Soap Mold(s)
2. Hot Process For Specialty Soap Making

Firstly, measure out botanical or colorant and essential oils. Measure out your water and place it in the juice jug. Measure out the lye and pour it slowly into the water stirring as you pour. Keep stirring until the lye crystals are completely dissolved. Starting with the solid oils, measure each and place it into your crock pot that is set on low. As you continue to measure, the solid oils will melt.

Once the solid oils have melted, add the liquid oils. Slowly pour a thin stream of the lye solution into the pot of oils while using the whisk/stick blender to stir the mixture. Maintain a steady, strong stirring motion. Make sure to stir thoroughly all areas of the pot. The mixture will turn creamy and opaque and then will begin to thicken. Put the lid on the crock pot and leave it to cook on low for a while.

The soap will heat up and start to bubble around the edges of the crockpot. The mix will begin to take on a clear Vaseline like look. Once the whole mix has this look, you can test it to see if it is done. Now is the time to add color, botanical bits, and scent to your hot process soap mixture.

Supplies Needed For Hot Process Specialty Soap Making
  • A stainless steel 8 – 12 quart/litre pot.
  • Soap making scale
  • A 2 quart/litre plastic juice jug for mixing the lye and water into.
  • One or two mid-size plastic mixing containers for mixing color and a small amount of soap to create multi-colored, marbled soaps.
  • Mixing and measuring utensils – a whisk and/or hand blender, silicon or rubber spatulas (2 would be best), plastic spoons (like the wooden ones) and measuring spoons.
  • Candy thermometer.
  • Different soap moulds
  • Butchers paper.
  • wooden stirring spoon or spatula
  • Safety equipment – rubber gloves, apron or old clothes and safety goggles.

Supplies for making soap include the base that can be purchased from a local store or ordered online. You will need to have dye for adding color, essential oils or fragrance oils for adding fragrance.

Promote Your Specialty Soap Making Business

It would be quite creative by using moulds of various shapes and by using different colors, scents and soap bases. You can try and be fancy yourself with the way you shape the soap bar or emboss your product name for it. Go for attractive packaging for the soap that specially made for children.

Concentrate on a niche audience. Specialty soap by its types is vast. Such as soap for kids, women or men. You can also differentiate by fragrances like rose, olive, lavender, etc. You can concentrate on specialty gift soap combo packing like Valentines Day Gift, Fathers Day Gift, Birthday Gift for children, etc.

Aroma and spa industries are bulk purchasers of specialty natural soap. You can focus on that.

As a startup, you can keep your product in a craft shop and gift shop as a consignment basis or you can go for a retail outlet.

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Concentrate on online selling. You will need to have a smart, informative website. A website makes easier the process for your customers to buy from you again. Also, you can sell your soap from an online marketplace like eBay or Flipkart.

Use social media effectively for online promotion.