Need ideas for selling natural soaps I've made : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I make handmade soaps, and need some ideas for selling. It seems many folks do not understand why store bought soaps are bad, and don't see the need for naturally made, chemical fragrance free, detergent free soaps. Does anyone have any suggestions for who I can sell to? I've noticed many soapmakers call their soaps "natural" but they use shortening, or fragrance oils, or colorants that I wouldn't consider natural. How can I market my soaps? Thanks for the help, Mary

-- Mary Fraley (, November 28, 2001


been trying to do that fro awhile now,, soap,,and beeswax candles,, try ebay,, try family and freinds,, health food stores,, craft stores

-- stan (, November 28, 2001.

I am not sure myself what the word natural means. I make soap with Olive, Coconut, Palm oils & cocoa butter, I use only essential oils but people do not care they like to open and smell and haven't the foggies idea as to why essential oils are better and don't clog the pours and on and on. By the way their are oxides that they say are "natural" I use a few. I sell to a few stores , I do not sell on ebay because they give the soap away there. Marketing is hard but when people start to use your soap. You get repeats. I am now just starting to make "some" money off the soap and I been doing it for years.

-- Debbie (, November 28, 2001.

Probably the best thing to do is be honest and upfront about listing your ingredients, but if you're selling to the public you have to avoid health claims, or the FDA can come after you.

Also, you will want to look into liability insurance for your business, because no product is idiot-proof, and if someone can injure themselves with it (say you just listed "fragrance" and they happened to be allergic to one of the components of the fragrance, which might not be what you immediately smell....) and sue you, they will.

-- GT (, November 28, 2001.

Mary, I once bought soap from a vendor at the local flea market, her sign read " GOOD SOAP " It wasn't good, it was excellent! My family loved it, the bars lasted forever (it was dried properly) and when I went back for another batch......she was gone. Do as suggested and get your product out there..give sample bars to friends, businesses like Real Estate Offices (lots of traffic), most important, put your NAME and NUMBER with your "Good Soap"

-- Kathy (, November 28, 2001.

Mary, Not sure on your location, but around here they have a produce selling day- held at a local church. Thats where I get my homemade soap... it is rather pricy, though. A friend of mine in Maine, she was living (and still is) on a small island, marketed her soap to friends and friends friends and soon had hundreds of orders to fill- not sure how they got the soap to its destiation, perhaps they delivered as the island wasnt that big and only had 2 towns on it. You might also think knick nack stores that are local and not corperate run, Coffee shops, and farm produce stands. I went to a goat show and saw a woman selling goats milk soap with decent sales despite the high price tags. Make sure you have nice looking wrappers- this alone will sell the soap. Forget online... nothing seems to sell here in my experience! And, BEST OF LUCK!!

-- Kevin in NC (, November 28, 2001.

i would buy some soap from my country side freinds. can you mail it so i dont have to mess with ups their a pain in the u no what. let me know how much. i will probly try a bar form several people to start with. maybe it will help me with skin problems. Bob se,ks.

-- Bobco (, November 28, 2001.

Hi folks just had a thought i will traveling from springfield to West Plains and on this week end. plan to spend sat.eve and sunday morning with my new great grand baby in west plains and come home sunday after church. enyone close enough i could pick up some soap? Bob se,ks.

-- Bobco (, November 28, 2001.

What is unnatural about shortening?

Is it that you are trying to be at every part of the production cycle? Cause natural to me might not be natural to you. Is natural scent perfume grade or food grade? Is it even an issue?

Market your products to the other people that think like you. Sometimes that is a small majority.

-- Anne (, November 28, 2001.

I have sold mine through a small local gift shop. But have had the best luck selling to friends who want homemade soap to use and give as gifts but would never make it themselves. I usually scent my soaps with essential oils, but sometimes make oatmeal soap (my personal favorite) with added blenderized oats in it. It is great.

-- Jenny (, November 29, 2001.

Anne, I don't use shortening because it contains preservatives, and is hydrogenated. I won't eat the stuff, and consider it bad for the body, so I don't use it. Thanks for all the suggestions everyone. So far, I'm slowly building up selling to friends and family. Mary

-- Mary Fraley (, November 29, 2001.

You cant even find homemade soap around here......

-- Doc (, November 29, 2001.

Mary, As someone said the outside package is almost as important as the produck itself. I have seen homemade soap wrapped in calico fabric and tied with ribbon but that could get expensive . Look in a art supply catalog and see if they have some paper that would be impressive. Try Sax Art Supply or Dick Blick Art Supply I think they are both on line. I love homemade soap and get mine from family that are associated with Homestead Farms Christian Group in Elm Mott Texas. Sally

-- (, November 29, 2001.

Thanks Mary. That makes sense. I prefer olive, coconut, and peanut oils too.

Have you thought about approaching gift shops in your area that make up baskets? Maybe they could place an order with you. That way you sell many bars at once.

-- Anne (, November 29, 2001.

I sell lots of soap! I just give small bars out to people I meet and 80% of the time they will call back and purchase some. I let them know that I really enjoy making soap and that I am willing to work with their skin type even if I make a small batch just for them. We had a garage sale last month and I had out lots of my soap, even the weird ones and I sold most of what I had and have lots of orders for more. Every-one that came to the garage sale went home with a small free soap. 2 people came back to the garage sale the next day just to buy more soap! Giving someone something for free is so much fun. You can really see it makes people happy. I would give out samples to everyone here on this forum but the shipping would kill my pocket book!! Have a great day everyone. Shari

-- miller (, November 29, 2001.

I make soaps as well, and am thinking of having a more serious go at it now that I have experimented on my family for about 2 years. I am thinking about having a "soap party" so to speak at my house, by invitation kind of like tupperware or a make-up party. Then you can explain more clearly what is in the soaps and match to skin types. Maybe you have a friend or two that can host parties for you in exchange for a nice soap basket?? Best of Luck!

-- Terri in NS (, November 29, 2001.

Take it to the health food stores in your area and sell it on commission. Try little gift stores like Hallmark, if the soap is wrapped nicely. I would appeal more to the novelty and luxury of the handmade product rather than the healthfullness. Many folks still don't care whether or not the food they eat is GE or chemically grown, do you think they will be concious of whether their saop is natural? You could try selling some at health oriented places besides health food stores, such as midwife offices, acupuncturist's health spas, chiropractors, and so on, but be sure to leave a complete list of ingredients.

For what it's worth, I use only shortening in my soap. I am not eating it, so it doesn't matter if it's hydrogenated. If I was rich, maybe I could make it with organic oils and fats, but it'd be hard to get a price that would allow for any profit. My customers are allergic to olive, palm, and coconut oils, which all the other handmade soaps in the area contain, and it is animal free which is also an issue with some of the customers.

-- Rebekah (, November 29, 2001.


I would love to buy some homemade, unscented soap. I hate using the store bought stuff! I especially love oatmeal soap and lavender soap. If one of you here makes goats milk soap, please write me privately. I absolutely adore that soap, but no one around here makes it so I haven't had any since last summer when I found some up in the mountains and bought it. I think homemade soap that doesn't have all that deoderant (sp?) and loaded with synthetic perfumes is the best.


-- Cindy (, November 29, 2001.

You've all given me some great ideas! Anne, does the peanut oil cause the soap to smell peanutty? What does it do, i.e. is it moisturizing? I'd like to try peanut oil - it's another good idea. Mary

-- Mary Fraley (, November 29, 2001.

The peanut oil makes it a bit light yellow/cream in color, a hard soap-not as hard as olive oil, and not a lot of bubbles. Coconut oil adds some bubbles that peanut oil is missing.

I have never run into anyone who was allergic to olive oil. I would certainly choose vegetable shortening any day over lard. I just cannot stand the odor lard leaves behind in the soap. Rebekah-have you used castor oil or vt. E oil? I guess almond and aprikot kernal might be an option too. You'd definitely have to buy in bulk to make that affordable for soap.

-- Anne (, November 30, 2001.

I had a friend who emphatically told me her children were allergic to olive oil, so I made a batch of completely organic olive oil soap. It was very expensive, but what a lovely bar! I only have three left, and I treat them as gold! Her children are not allergic to this bar, so it was the pesticides in the non-organic oil, I assume, that were bothering her children. Now, I don't use all-organic oil for all my soaps, I'd have to ask $8 a bar if I did! But, it's something you all can consider if you come across someone who insists they are allergic to some oil, especially olive. I use castor oil for my shampoo bar. It makes a good tight lather. I also use lard in a couple of recipes, not too many because it is a lot of work, but if you render your own, and render it twice, there will be no smell in the soap, and it makes a good hard bar. Also, our pigs don't get a lot of junk, so the fat is clean and chemical free. Mary

-- Mary Fraley (, November 30, 2001.

I, too, would love to purchase homemade soap without perfumes, etc. from fellow countrysiders. I live in IL so please e-mail me.

Thank you,

-- Cordy (, November 30, 2001.

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