How to start a homemade soap business

Written by lydia stephens
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How to start a homemade soap business
Sell your handmade soap for profit online. (handmade soap image by Alison Bowden from Fotolia.com)

With some patience and persistent marketing, you can turn your soap-making hobby into a home-based business, covering the cost of your supplies and making some extra spending money on the side. The simplest platform for setting up a handmade soap business is via the Internet. For a minimal fee, sites such as Etsy and ArtFire make selling your handmade creations simple.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Camera

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Brainstorm a list of names for your soap business. Write down words that describe your soap. Include descriptive words as well as words that relate to how the smell of the soap makes you feel. Ask your friends and family for ideas. Do an Internet search for your top five name ideas to ensure that they are not already being used. From the available names, select the one you like best.

  2. 2

    Register your new soap business with an online marketplace. Both Etsy and ArtFire specialise in handmade items, while eBay and Amazon sell a variety of goods. These sites have easy interfaces for selling and usually charge a small fee for their services.

  3. 3

    Register for a federal tax identification number and/or vendor's license at your local tax office. Depending on your location, you may have to do this at the state and local levels. Remember that you will be required to charge sales tax for purchases made within your state.

  4. 4

    Take high-quality, close-up photos of your soap. Get pictures from various angles in a well-lit area, and use your camera's micro setting to get crisp, close-up detail. Buyers rely on photographs to make their purchasing decisions. Consider including unique ingredients in the picture along with your soap, such as lavender sprigs or fruit to further suggest the scent to your buyers.

  5. 5

    Spell out your business policies on your marketplace site. Mention shipping and return policies, location, your PayPal information and any other relevant information.

  6. 6

    Price your soaps. Take into consideration the cost of your soap base, moulds and other ingredients as well as the time it takes you to prepare and package each piece of soap. Include your website marketplace fees, labelling materials, packaging and shipping costs in your pricing.

  7. 7

    Describe your soaps in as much detail as possible on your site. Tell your customers what they smell and feel like. Include a list of ingredients in each soap and how much soap comes with each purchase. Include several photographs with each description. Update your inventory regularly to keep at the top of search engine lists.

  8. 8

    Familiarise yourself with the Food and Drug Administration's definition of "soap" and its policies on cosmetics labelling and make sure you comply.

  9. 9

    Keep track of sales on your website and ship items out according to your shop policies. Be sure to chose packing materials that will protect your soap from heat and the wear and tear of shipping.

Tips and warnings

  • Create soaps that you may not necessarily like, as others may be looking for just that.
  • You can print shipping labels and pay for shipping directly through your PayPal account.
  • Use social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to promote your business and meet others in the industry.

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