How to Start a Soap Business: Supplies, Planning, Marketing

by / ⠀Entrepreneurship / August 4, 2022
soap business

Soap-making is a great way to start your own business. It’s a rapidly growing industry, expected to reach $55.29 billion by 2027 from $34.09 billion in 2019.

If you’re interested in launching your own soap brand, there are a few supplies that you’ll need to get started.

We’ve put together a list of the necessary items and some practical tips on how to plan your soap-making venture for the best results. Ready to get started? Let’s dive right in!

What’s Your Target Market?

Making soap is a hobby that can be turned into a business. But before you can do that, you need to know your target market.

Soap is both a necessity and luxury item, depending on who you’re selling to. And since we’re talking about handmade soap, they’re definitely going to be luxury items.

Now that you know the type of people who’ll be buying your soap decide who’ll be your ideal customer.

Once you are 100% sure about your target market, you can start planning your business accordingly. Consider the following:

  • Is your soap for babies, teenagers, or adults?
  • Is it going to be a liquid or bar soap?
  • Are you making soap for the hands, face, or body?
  • Is it for health-conscious people or for beauty purposes?
  • Are you going to make a fragrance-rich or fragrance-free soap?

Answer these questions, and you’ll be able to develop a customer avatar that you need to sell to.

Research Competition and Find Your USP

Starting a soap business can be a rewarding experience. But it’s important to do your research first and make sure you’re competing at least on the same level as your rivals. Having a USP that makes your soap stand out from the crowd is also important.

Some ideas for USPs include:

  • Soap with natural ingredients that relieve skin ailments
  • Transparent soap with a chunk of fruit or flower of its flavor viewable inside
  • Mix and match different ingredients like honey and goat milk to form new kinds of soaps.

I am just spitballing here to give you a few ideas; you can brainstorm and build on these further.

Cost of Starting a Soap-Making Business

Starting a soap business can be a rewarding experience, but it can cost you a bit of money. Typically, you can start a soap business with as little as $1,000 to $5,000 depending on how much soap you want to make.

The initial cost (at least half of the total investment) will be divided into three areas; soap ingredients, soap-making equipment, and soap-making safety equipment. The former is a variable cost, while the latter two are going to be fixed costs.

The remaining half of the investment will go towards business development like registering your LLC, branding, making a website, marketing your soap, and other expenses.

That said, here are the soap-making ingredients:

  • 100% pure lye
  • Essential oils for fragrance
  • Distilled water
  • Colors (optional)
  • Dried flowers or herbs (Optional)
  • Oil of the flower or herb as soap’s main flavor like coconut, olive, lemon, orange, etc.

Remember, these are just the ingredients that formulate soap. You will also need some equipment to make the soap. These include:

  • Measurement container for lye
  • Mixing container for water and lye
  • Slow cooker
  • Silicone spatulas used for soap-making
  • Candy thermometer
  • Digital kitchen scale
  • Immersion blender
  • Soap cutter
  • Silicone loaf mold

Moreover, you’ll make soap in the kitchen, which involves melting things and mixing hot ingredients and some raw chemicals. So you also need some safety equipment which includes:

  • Latex or rubber gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Oven mitts
  • Apron
  • Long-sleeved shirt
  • Work area with good ventilation

Once you have the necessary supplies in hand, it’s time to plan how many batches of soap you’re willing to produce per month. This will help you determine the amount of soap-making ingredients you’ll need. And that’s how you can determine how much cost you’ll incur on getting soap-making supplies.

Research the Soap Industry

The soap industry is lucrative and can provide your business with years of consistent profits. To ensure success, it is important to do your research first. You need to know the different types of soap and what type would be best for your business. Once you have this information, the planning process can commence!

In addition, it’s important to gather sufficient data on the soap industry as a whole – from market trends to competitors’ pricing and manufacturing processes. This will help you make informed decisions regarding product pricing and ingredients selection.

Find Suppliers

Starting a soap business can be a great way to make a living and create beautiful, natural products. However, gathering the necessary supplies is important before you start. This includes ingredients, packaging materials, soap-making supplies, safety materials, and so on.

Once you understand what you need, you need to find a supplier who will offer you quality products and good prices.

If you’re looking for soap-making ingredients from around the world, remember to review policies and procedures to make sure you’re fully aware of how the process works.

Set Up Your LLC or Corporation

Setting up an LLC or corporation is crucial in starting your soap business. Not only will it offer you legal protection, but it also gives you the ability to operate under a business name that accurately reflects your business.

Additionally, this protective layer will help shield your business from personal financial liabilities.

Crunch Some Numbers

Now that you understand the soap industry and what it takes to start a business in this field, it’s time to crunch some numbers! To begin with, you need to get the costs of all the items and supplies required for this business and add them up.

Then you’ll need to calculate your operating expenses, including advertising, shipping supplies, and other overhead costs associated with running your business. It’s important to be realistic when compiling these figures since many variables can affect costs.

Finally, add them all up and you should get your total initial investment. By doing this, you’ll be able to create a budget that outlines exactly how much money you will need in order to start making sales.

Choose a Business Name and Tagline

Choosing a business name is essential for making your branding stand out. It needs to be catchy and reflect the brand values of your company.

A tagline can also play a critical role in helping people remember what you do. Make sure you have all rights cleared before you start selling soap!

Design the Packaging

Starting a soap business can be a rewarding experience. It’s essential to plan everything meticulously, from the packaging you choose to the ingredients used in your soap.

To get started, create custom labels and packaging for each bar of soap sold. This way, customers can easily identify the product and know what benefits it provides.

Choosing a design that will reflect your brand and message is also important. For example, if you’re selling soap that is meant to be therapeutic, you might want to go with a design that features soothing colors and patterns.

Where Will You Start Selling Your Soap?

You will need a place to sell your soap, and you’ll need to be prepared to market and promote your product.

You can start selling at farmer’s markets, boutiques, craft fairs, spas, and hotels.

Alternatively, you can start selling on Amazon, Etsy, and other platforms supporting the online sale of handmade items.

Make a Website

You can also create a website, put your products up for sale, and directly market them online via Google Ads and Facebook.

This should be a beautiful and user-friendly platform that showcases your business well.

Make sure to choose a domain name and logo representing your business well, and include product information, pricing, and shipping information on your website.

You’ll also want to include social media links to stay connected with your customers.

Create a Marketing Strategy

Developing an effective marketing strategy is essential for any business – and soapmakers are no exception. Your goal should be to get as many customers as possible by targeting the right audience with the right message.

Bear in mind that not all potential customers will actually buy your products, but a strong approach can help you build relationships with those who purchase your soap!

Additionally, you should consider which channels (digital/traditional) will work best for your business and target audience. Since handmade soap is a luxury item, try targeting lifestyle influencers while also running ad campaigns on social media.

Ready to Bubble Up Your Soapy Business Empire?

Soap-making is an exciting and rewarding business, but it’s important to plan everything meticulously. So have the right business plan in place with all the numbers and marketing strategy done from day 1.

This will give you a good idea of how much investment you need and what the realistic timeline is for starting your business and gaining profits.

About The Author


Taha Khan is a professional content writer by trade. He is a business administration graduate with a focus and interest in marketing and entrepreneurship. Khan has been working as a content writer for several years and has collaborated with 100+ businesses on their content marketing projects. When not writing, he is probably reading – mostly going through psychology and philosophy books. And when Khan is not reading, he is gaming on his PC – another hobby mostly associated with introverts.