Want to take your soap making hobby to the next level and start selling your soap?
Then you’ve probably wondered what steps you should take to start cashing in.
And, you would prefer to start out right while learning from other’s mistakes and trials, unless you are one of “those” people who like to learn the painful way. (If you aren’t one, I bet you know one!)
My guess is you want to avoid some pain and fast-track yourself to success without wasting a ton of money and shed tears. You want to make sure you are following regulations, laws and rules.
Most importantly, when you sell your soap, you want to be working towards healthy profits and not pricing yourself out of business before you get anywhere.
One of the most inexpensive and thorough ways to learn is to invest in some good books.
They are much cheaper than college or hiring a professional and can get you started on the right foot several steps ahead in your soap venture.
There are loads of books to choose from, and if you’re like me, you have run across your share of duds. Authors who over promise and under deliver. Some books are nice, but they never address what you are itching to know.
You know… the delicious details and best kept secrets of the industry.
Of all the books I have purchased to better learn about soap making and selling handmade soap, here are the 4 best soap making books for small business soap makers.
They are detailed, they are delicious and most importantly, they deliver!
Just so you know, this post contains affiliate links. Meaning I may receive a small commission when you purchase from my links, at no additional cost to you… which helps me spoil my adorable rescue rabbits.
#1 The Soapmaker’s Companion by Susan Miller Cavitch
What I love about this book is the wide range of instruction and knowledge it provides. It’s perfect for beginner soap makers and has enough detailed and specialty information to make it a go-to resource for even the most experienced soap maker. It has basic, exotic and advanced recipes.
There is a section on making liquid soap and it even has a detailed process for making your own transparent soap. It also goes over oils, natural colorants and scents and includes information diagnosing soap making problems.
It truly is a comprehensive guide that no soap maker should be without.
#2 Good Manufacturing Practices by Marie Gale
This book will save you so much sanity and trouble by helping you ensure quality, consistent batches, and good records to reference so you can fine-tune your process, while also ensuring customer safety.
As a manufacturer, there are lots of steps involved and having your own system to follow will greatly reduce stress, improve efficiency and help you manage your time and your inventory.
There are probably lots of things you haven’t thought of and Good Manufacturing Practices will help you organize your production and pull it all together into a smooth operation.
Inside you will find checklist and log templates, filing and recording instructions, storage and inventory, keeping batch samples, tracking lot numbers and more. It even breaks apart standards between the US and Canada while looking at international standards.
If you sell on Etsy, at craft shows, wholesale or through your own store, this is a must have that can save you thousands of dollars in mistakes.
#3 Pricing Handmade Soap for Profit by Benjamin D. Aaron
Probably the number one question every soap maker has when starting to sell their soap is, “What price should I sell my soap for?” There are several approaches to pricing and a soap maker can use one or a combination of them to choose what price to put on a bar of soap.
As an accounting major and business professional, I know first hand how many variables can go into deciding on a price. The more accurate you are with your costs and formulas, the more competitive and profitable you can be.
While you don’t have to understand some of the more complex accounting language and formulas to price your soap, Pricing Handmade Soap for Profit will give you an in-depth look at the true cost of producing a bar of soap. It explains what variables you will want to look out for depending on your situation and what your goals are.
Pricing your soap is one of the most important parts of being profitable in business. If you don’t take into consideration your true costs when pricing, you can easily price yourself out of business long before you can even start to get traction.
Many small soap business owners ran their business at a net loss for years without even realizing it.
If you want to have success and growth you have to get the prices right, my Bob Barker fans.
#4 Soap & Cosmetic Labeling by Marie Gale
Believe it or not, after insurance, labeling is one of the most critical parts of you operation. It kind of goes like this: insurance, labeling, GMP, then the actual soap making.
If you want to stay on top of regulations with labeling, this book is the BEST authority on the topic in print today. It will help demystify what is required on the label when you sell your soap, what you can and can’t claim, and keep you from getting in trouble with the label police.
It answers questions like, “Is my soap considered a drug, cosmetic or regular soap?” And, “What weight do I list on my label and how much can it be off before I risk getting into trouble?”
What’s cool is there is much more than labeling for soap. It also talks about a lot of common handmade beauty products that small handmade businesses usually sell in addition to soap, like lotion, bath salts and body sprays.
Soap & Cosmetic Labeling will help you adjust your labeling BEFORE you invest in lots of custom printed labels and cigar bands, saving you a lot of time, headache and money. Just make sure you get the most current version, or you will be wasting your money!
How to Wholesale Your Handcrafted Soap by Benjamin D. Aaron
Alright, I know I promised 4 books, but I’d feel like a jerk for not telling you about this one. You can just think of it as some bonus info. 🙂 It’s one of my absolute favorite soap making business books! Even if you don’t plan on selling wholesale, this is definitely worth reading.
It will help you understand the exact steps to being successful gaining wholesale accounts with step by step checklists, example letters, paperwork needed, and how to work with buyers using their language.
The author even explains how doing some wholesaling can make your retail selling efforts much more profitable. It’s really worth reading if you are considering upgrading your soaping hobby to a business, because it may open your eyes to possibilities you haven’t yet considered.
Depending on what type of customer you prefer to work with, you may find wholesaling more to your liking.
I can see how the information in this book is worth 10-100 times more than the cost of the book if even some of it is implemented.
So there you have it straight from my bookshelf… 4 of the best soap making books for small business soap makers.
Got a favorite book for soap making? Let me know in a comment below.
Thanks for the suggested books
I need help bringing together good quality bath bar soaps using two or more of the following oils
Palm kernel oil,palm oil,soybean oil,peanuts oil,cocoa butter, shear butter.
It is difficult to get olive oil, castor oils
I like the recipe to use the above oils only.
Mr Babatunde Olafusi.
Hi! You could try this recipe below. The palm kernel oil will give you more lather than palm oil, and you will need something that produces more lather since you didn’t list coconut oil.
I have not worked with peanut oil, so you could try the recipe below…
17.5 ounces soybean oil
10.5 ounces shea butter
12 ounces of palm kernel oil
5.45 ounces of lye (Uses a 5% superfat)
9.36 ounces of distilled water
It should give you a pretty good bar of soap. You could replace the shea butter with cocoa butter, for a slightly harder bar that has a little more lather. The down side is it will be slightly less moisturizing. Just make sure you CHANGE THE LYE AMOUNT if you use cocoa butter in the place of shea butter. If you do that, your lye amount for the modified recipe would be: 5.54 ounces of lye.
Your blog is impressive! Thank you for putting together all this great info=)
Thanks, Nathan! I’m glad you found it helpful!