Starting your own soap making business can be a great way to earn extra money while doing what you love.
Making It Legal
The first step in beginning your own soap making business is to fulfill the legal requirements of turning your hobby into a profit-making endeavor.
Licenses and Permits
Depending upon where you live, you may need city, county, and state business licenses in order to sell handmade soap. In most cases, you can apply for these licenses at your county courthouse. Fees for licenses can vary substantially; some locations have a flat fee for business licenses, while others will expect you to pay a fee based on your estimated gross income for the first year.
It's also a good idea to check with your local zoning board or department of engineering to see if it is legal to operate a soap making business from your home. Many places have restrictions on the type of home based businesses they will allow. A home occupation permit may also be required.
Contrary to popular belief, your homeowner's insurance policy won't cover your soap making business. Some policies may cover a small amount of business equipment, but you'll still need to obtain separate insurance to protect yourself against theft and lawsuits. An experienced insurance agent can help you determine what type of policy is best for your business needs.
Once you decide to turn your love of soap making into a business, you'll need to keep diligent records. The IRS will expect you to report all income and expenses from your soap making business, so it's best to develop a good filing system right away. For detailed advice on how your soap making business will affect your tax liability, consult a qualified accountant.
Selling Your Soap
There are many different ways to sell your handmade soap creations. For example:
- You can set up a booth at local craft fairs.
- You can advertise your soaps in the local newspaper.
- You can arrange to have your soaps sold at a local gift shop.
- You can take special orders from your customers.
- You can host a "home party" where guests have a chance to buy your handmade soaps.
- You can sell your soap through Etsy, a unique service designed to allow crafters a quick and easy way to market their creations.
- You can create your own website to sell your soap.
If you're on a tight budget, consider teaming up with a friend who sells handmade candles, bath bombs, bath salt, body lotion, massage oil, or other complimentary products. You'll attract a larger group of customers while sharing the expense of marketing your business.
Regardless of how to decide to sell your handmade soaps, it's important to make sure you've set a price for your merchandise that will allow you to cover your expenses while still earning a profit. Making handmade soap is fun, but it's also time consuming. Don't underestimate the value of your time when pricing your soap.
Joining a Professional Organization
One of the best ways to get tips about growing your soap making business is to join a professional organization such as the The Handcrafted Soap Makers Guild. Members of The Handcrafted Soap Makers Guild are committed to the art of making and selling handmade soap. When you join this organization, you'll receive benefits such as insurance coverage, discounts on soap making supplies, and a chance to list your products on the group's website. You'll also be able to attend regular conferences to meet other soap makers from across the United States.
Learn More about Starting a Soap Making Business
If you are interested in learning more about starting a soap making business, check out the following helpful articles:
You make also be interested in these soap making reference books:
- Soapmaking for Fun & Profit: Make Money Doing What You Love! by Maria Nerius
- The Crafts Business Answer Book: Starting, Managing, and Marketing a Homebased Arts, Crafts, or Design Business by Barbara Brabec
- How to Start a Home-Based Craft Business by Kenn Oberrecht