Do you enjoy making good-smelling handcrafted soaps? Then turn your passion into profits! Here is how to start a soap business from home.
Have you dreamed about starting your own business but have floundered with the ideas and where to begin?
How about starting a soap-making business?
It’s not as overwhelming as it might sound, and this article will walk you through the steps of starting your very own soap maker’s business.
Being in business for yourself is so rewarding, something you’ll likely never regret doing. And if you love everything about soap, this could be right up your alley.
How to Start a Soap Business
This article is broken down into three steps. You’ll start with the business planning section, then move onto the marketing side, we’ll talk about deciding where and how to sell your soaps, and we’ll also discuss the items you need to make soaps and how to find recipes.
The Business Side
When you’re setting up a business selling soap, you’ll want to complete some steps before you get into the actual soap-making and selling step.
You’re going to need a business name, purchase your domain name, set up your website, and get all your legal ducks in a row.
I recommend taking your time on the business name, don’t jump at the first idea you have. Let the idea sit with you, tell a very close friend or family member and get their opinion, make sure the name is available for purchase as a domain, and so on.
You can go to sites like GoDaddy or Namecheap to check if the business name is available as a domain name. If it isn’t, I recommend moving to a different name and not choosing a .net. A .com domain name is important for your business.
You’ll also want to put together a business plan.
I know that might sound overwhelming, but no worries, we go over that step below.
Why Do You Need a Business Plan?
Consider a business plan as the road map to your business. Instead of flying wherever the wind blows you, a business plan anchors you and your business.
The business plan will allow you to outline your vision, mission, and values and allows you to define your goals and what you want to achieve in your business.
A business plan will allow you to delve into important parts of the business that may be overwhelming but are necessary to a successful business.
Elements of a business plan:
- Executive summary
- Company description
- Market analysis
- Product line
- Sales and marketing strategy
- Operational plan
- Organization and management
- Financial projections
- Funding request (if you’re requesting funding for your business)
If you need help writing your business plan, grab this free business plan template!
How Will You Structure Your Business?
You’ll also need to decide what kind of business entity will you have and what will your business structure look like. Will you be a sole proprietorship, a limited liability company (LLC), a partnership, or a corporation? If you choose to formally incorporate, you will need to open up a business banking account; this is a good practice for sole proprietors too.
It’s recommended that you meet with a lawyer and accountant before launching your business; they’ll be able to guide you through the process of setting up the business side of your soap-making business.
You can ask questions of the lawyer and accountant, such as do you need business insurance, which structure is right for your tax situation, and what protection each provides. Plus, a lawyer might be able to point you in the direction of FDA regulations even.
Just take the business prep one step at a time; that way, you keep any potential overwhelm to a minimum. Anytime you’re doing something new, it can be overwhelming, but once you get through the business step-up, the fun part starts!
Bonus – need help with your business plan? Check out our Ultimate Business Planning Toolkit!
Marketing Your Soap Business
Marketing can also be a bit overwhelming if you haven’t experienced marketing a business, but it really doesn’t have to be! Marketing can actually be fun. Really, it can!
Some marketing ideas:
Social Media Marketing
Depending on your niche and target market may determine which social media platform is best for your business.
As an example, if you’re looking for a video-heavy focus for your marketing, I’d recommend TikTok. For example, if you want to show behind-the-scenes videos, packaging videos, craft fair videos, and the like, you’d likely excel with that social media platform.
No matter what social media platform you choose, I’d recommend not having your hands in too many pots unless you hire people to help you, as it’ll get overwhelming and become a time suck.
Social media platforms to consider:
Search Engine Marketing
It’s highly advisable to incorporate search engine optimization into your marketing plan. Every business can benefit from showing up in the search results of search engines like Google.
Even on marketplace platforms like Etsy, it’s good to utilize SEO to show up in their search results.
What is SEO anyway?
You know how when you go to a search engine searching for something, and you type in words that pull up the results? Well, SEO is when businesses perform actions on their websites in order to show up in the results for specific keyword phrases that people are searching for.
So, for soap making business, maybe you’d use phrases like “handmade oatmeal soap” or “homemade lavender bar soap” in order to show up in the search engines for those phrases.
This just touches the surface of SEO, but I highly recommend learning more about SEO in order to get that organic traffic from Google and other search engines.
Did you know Pinterest is considered a visual search engine?
Pinterest isn’t social media, as some may consider it. People tend to go to Pinterest to have a question answered, a need taken care of, to learn, or to find products. It isn’t a place to connect with others, which social media tends to be.
You’ll want to treat Pinterest similarly to Google in that you’ll want to use specific keywords and use SEO tactics in order to show up in their search results for those specific keyword phrases.
Because soaps are beautiful to look at, Pinterest could be a great tool for your business. I recommend learning more about marketing on Pinterest, and whoever you learn from, make sure they’re up to date on the latest Pinterest marketing news.
Social media platforms do offer paid ad options for those interested in that. Sites like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok allow their users to run ads in order to get your ad in front of buyers. Even Pinterest, which isn’t technically social media, allows you to promote “pins.”
Although not necessary for a successful business, paid ads can give you immediate sales and results vs. the typically longer route of social media marketing and SEO.
I would advise that you learn everything you can about paid ads before going that route.
Business Cards and Word of Mouth Marketing
Don’t discount old-school marketing like business cards and word-of-mouth marketing; they can really help kick-start your business.
Tell your friends, your family, and your colleagues about your new business. Start a FB group and invite friends and family to join. Give out samples and ask people to test them. Give out business cards and marketing material at craft shows, and anywhere you have the chance to talk to somebody about your new business.
It’s a good way to start!
The Soap-Making Process and What You’ll Need
Now, the most fun part of all is the soap-making process!
Maybe you love the idea of making soaps, but you aren’t even sure what you need in order to make soaps or the process of the soaps. The steps below will give you a great jumping-off point to getting your soaps made and in the hands of your customers!
According to Candle Science, the following are supplies you’ll need to get started making soaps from home.
Supplies you’ll need for your soap business:
- Soap molds
- Soap dyes
- Fragrance oils
- Melt and pour soap bases
- Kitchen scale
- and soap cutter
Soap molds – are containers or shapes used to give the liquid soap mixture its form and also its size. They come in various materials like silicone, wood, or plastic and are designed to stand up to the soap-making process, including the heat, and they also have the ability to release the soap easily.
Soap Dyes – are colorants specifically made for use in soap making. These dyes come in liquid, powder, or mica form and are used to add color to your soaps. ‘
Fragrance Oils – are oils that are used in the soap-making process to add scents or aromas to the soaps. You’ll want to make yourself familiar with these oils, as the smell of soap is important and can be a big part of your marketing of each natural soap and handcrafted soap. You can also use essential oils in your soap recipes.
Melt and Pour Bases – are popular among beginners and also those seeking a faster and easier soap-making process since they eliminate the need for working with lye and also allow for creative experiments with various designs and scents.
Spatula – is used in many ways during the soap-making process, including mixing ingredients, scraping the sides of the molds, removing air bubbles, and more. It’s a very important part of the soap-making process.
Kitchen Scale – is essential in soap making since it’s used for accurate measurement of the ingredients. In soap making, exact measurements are very crucial in order to achieve the desired results and also ensure the safety and effectiveness of the soap.
Soap Cutter – a tool made for cutting soap into consistent and uniform bars or slices. Using a soap cutter will elevate your product and help every batch be uniform, which is important.
In addition, you’ll need to decide if you’re going to work with the cold process or the hot process. And you’ll want to decide which oils to use, such as coconut oil, olive oil, palm oil, or other oils.
Here is a list of candle-making business supplies.
Finding Soap Recipes
If you’re just tossing the idea around of making soaps and haven’t researched yet how to actually make the soaps, you’ll want to find soap recipes online to practice with.
I recommend this article with soap recipes included. You should also go to Google and search “homemade soap recipes” or “soap recipes for beginners” to find more step-by-step recipes.
The Website Setup
So you have the business plan, you’ve secured your social media handles, you have a marketing plan, and you’re learning how to make soap – what’s next? Your last step will be deciding where and how to sell your soaps.
Decide How You’ll Sell
Will you sell on a marketplace like Etsy or Amazon? Will you sell on your own e-commerce website like Shopify or Squarespace? Or do you plan on wholesale orders and craft fairs to carry you through with sales?
I have seen business owners that have an Etsy or Amazon store and their own website using Shopify so that they can have the best of both worlds. Though not necessary, if you like the idea of a marketplace but want the benefits of your own website store, it might be a good option.
Soap Business: Wrapping it Up
So, in the end, making soaps can be a great way to make money and pursue your dreams of becoming an entrepreneur.
Not only are soaps a necessity in our daily lives, but they can also make bathing a more enjoyable experience with their different scents and functions.
Homemade soaps are just special, and if you find a good niche and know which customers you’re targeting, it can be a successful business venture as well.
Take your time developing your line of soaps, test, and test some more; allow some word of mouth to grow from friends and family by handing out samples of your well-tested soaps, and watch your brand take off!
Wishing you the best with your soap-making business!
If you’re ready to start a soap business, grab our free business plan template and set your business up for success!