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WAHM > Stay at Home Mom Work Ideas > Traditional Product > Start a Soap business from Home

Start a Handmade Soaps Business

What you will be doing.  Everyone needs to be clean.  Soaps these days range from unscented, deodorant brands, to homemade ones.  Specialty soaps are a novelty that people everywhere enjoy.  I’ve seen them myself at farmer’s markets and flea markets.  They are made from herbs, flowers, oils, and other things.  Depending on your tastes there is an aroma for you. 

As a handmade soap supplier, you will be manufacturer, bookkeeper, advertiser, and salesperson.  With a home based soap business, you will wear all of these hats sometimes two at a time.  All of this and more is needed to provide a well made product to the general public. 

How to start.  When you talk about manufacturing a product for bodily use, you will need permits and licenses to get started.  A business license will probably be required.  Check with the courthouse or city hall to find out the particulars.  As a manufacturer, you will need a separate permit to make your soap at home.  Check with the Department of Agriculture to see if soaps fall under their category of cosmetic products. 

Once permits are in place, you will need to purchase the equipment and items needed to make your soap.  A garage or other area that is uncarpeted would be best for what you require.  If this business is starting from a hobby, most of the items needed you will already have.  To keep track of orders and do business online, a printer, computer, fax machine, telephone, and printer are required.  Wrappings and labels for the various soaps are necessary, too. 

Starting costs.  If this was a hobby, then most of the equipment is already in place.  If not, the costs could run into the thousands to get everything in place.  This includes advertising, booth rental fees at markets, accessories, and ingredients.  A small business loan may be advisable if the estimated start up cost is more than you can spare out of pocket.  When securing a small business loan, include the yearly cost of Internet access, phone service, supplies, and equipment rental or payments.  

Skills needed.  To start, a soap maker needs to know how to make soap.  A manufacturer of cosmetic items needs to know which combinations of ingredients are safe to use and a bit about chemistry.  Knowing the safety of all ingredients is important.   

Marketing savvy is also important.  Many people sell handmade products these days.  You are the only person that can tell why your product is better and make the customer believe it.   

Marketing.  This part of the operation will keep the manufacturing going.  Place ads in the local newspaper and advertise on home business websites.  Setting up shop at flea and farmer’s markets gives you a weekly venue to showcase new items and see how the public reacts.   

Keep a basket on your table with free samples of various soaps.  Experiment with different molds for the soaps.  Make your business stand apart.  If your products are all natural, then have them listed as organic.

No matter what you sell, offer a money back guarantee.  Even if the customers don’t use it, it will help with good customer service.  They will feel that you have nothing to hide and that you stand behind your product. 

Handmade soaps may not make you rich, but they will make a profit if you keep at it.  Turning a hobby you love into a business is worth more than millions.  It gives you the satisfaction that you are providing a needed commodity in the community.

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