Starting a Soap Making Business

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Through the good times and the bad, certain sectors of the economy seem to consistently thrive. Such recession-proof industries  provide the best opportunities for entrepreneurs who are just starting out. Knowing that there will always be a healthy demand for your wares is certainly reassuring. One such entrepreneurial opportunity worth looking at is the soap making business. Anyone can easily create a thriving soap business from home without a lot of upfront investment or hassle. Here’s one possible road map for launching your own soap making operation.

Devise a Game Plan

While the actual production of soap isn’t complicated, you’ll need to take some time to figure out a viable business strategy. You’re probably not going to be able to compete with the folks at Irish Spring or Dove, so go niche to maximize your appeal. Having a unique approach or gimmick sets you apart from the crowd. Use novel ingredients, shapes and scents to stand out. The story of the Jonas family of Goat Milk Stuff fame is a good model for you to emulate.

Square Away Production Details

Obviously, you’ll need to decide on how you’ll make the actual soap itself. You can either outsource production of the product to a third party or go the DIY route and whip it up yourself. If you opt for in-house production, you’ll need to decide on which soap making method you’d like to specialize in. Both the cold and hot soap making processes have their advantages and drawbacks. Start looking for raw materials like lye, oils and herbs early on from a wholesaler and buy the necessary equipment.

As Always, Tie Up Loose Ends

While you’re tinkering with formulas and cranking out prototypes, be sure to set up a home office for paperwork and a workshop for your soap making. Be sure to get a business license from the appropriate local authorities as well as business insurance if needed. Setting up an LLC for your business is always a smart idea. You’ll most likely be able to launch your operation for less than $2,000, so funding shouldn’t be an issue. If it is, the Small Business Administration can help you get a loan.

Launch Your Enterprise in Earnest

Once you’ve engineered a couple of winning soap recipes and ironed out any fabrication wrinkles, you can begin to make and move your product. In the soap business, presentation is everything. As such, you should seriously consider using eye-catching packaging materials that pretty up your product. Get the ball rolling by giving away some freebies to friends and family. Make yourself highly visible on the local farmers’ market and craft convention circuits to build a name for your business. Online marketplaces like Etsy, ArtFire and Bonanza can be quite effective when it comes to making sales and boosting clout.

Network, Market & Expand

Nurturing the growth of your business in an intelligent manner often comes down to careful image management. As a small soap purveyor, your main selling points will be niche appeal and quality. Play up those attributes as you promote your enterprise. Once you’ve gained confidence through a few initial sales, you can focus on networking and making contacts. From the very beginning, you should have a dedicated website to market and sell your soap. Additionally, the use of social media tools like Facebook pages and Google+ profiles will work wonders.

Swim With the Current & Succeed

Keeping a close watch on the latest trends in the soap industry will ensure your business’s longevity and profitability. Even though soap in general enjoys fairly steady demand, the boutique sector of the industry is prone to unexpected shifts and passing fads. If you can develop a reputation for staying trendy while delivering impeccable product no matter what, you’ll have a long and lucrative career as a soap maker. Ultimately, soap making is a great way to make a living.

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