Making soap is a challenging creative outlet, but it can also be a profitable business. A soap making business requires the same basic licenses as any other small business. But, it also requires a great deal of supplies to keep the soap coming and a great deal of promotion to get the word out about the soaps.
Find out what type of license you need in your area. In most areas, a call to the local courthouse will get you the information you need. There may be a small fee for a business license. Expect to pay yearly to keep the license renewed.
Get insurance for your business. This will usually have to be separate from your homeowners’ insurance.
Make sure you have a constant source of soap ingredients. They must be inexpensive enough that you can make soap in bulk quantities and make a profit from the sale of each bar. Try to buy directly from the manufacturer for the best deal. If the manufacturer won’t sell the ingredients directly, look for a distributor or buy bulk quantities through eBay. If you are making glycerine soap, keep glycerine soap base on hand. If not, keep your soap ingredients that will fit a variety of soap recipes. For most types of soap recipes you will need at least one type of oil, such as coconut oil, a butter such as Shea butter and soap colours and fragrances. You may also want to use herbs or essential oils to give the soap a more personal touch.
Try different recipes to find the best soaps to suit your business. You might specialise in highly fragrant soaps, soaps in interesting shapes or some other type that will set your soaps apart from the rest.
Market your business. You will have to get your soaps out in front of the public in order to make sales. You can do this online, in person or a combination of both.
Put your soaps online on Etsy and eBay (see Resources). Both sites have extensive soap categories and have eager buyers looking for interesting handmade soaps. Take good pictures of your soaps to entice potential buyers. If you have the technical skills, set up your own soap store online.
Go to craft fairs, flea markets and through home parties in your own home. Make enough to give buyers a large variety to choose from. If you can make large quantities of soap, ask locally-owned gift shops if they will carry your soaps.