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Success Stories
Interview With Soap Maker
By Alyice Edrich 
Email dabblingmum@yahoo.com
Jan 30, 2006, 17:48

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You've been making soap for eight years, but just put your business online this year, why did you wait so long? At different craft shows folks would ask us if we had a website and offer to do a site for a small fee, but we always turned them down. Having a website seemed too overwhelming and very confusing. But the more we thought about it, the more we became intrigued with the idea of selling our soaps online nationwide.

We started by designing our own website, but found it too overwhelming. While trying to place our website on the search engines, we came across, Alyice and voila! She rescued us from the mess we were in and turned it into the wonderful site but then she went on to do other things and we had to hire a new web person, thus the website you see today.

What about soap making intrigue you enough to turn it into a real business?

A friend and I wanted to avoid using chemicals and preservatives in products we openly gave to our family, so we began researching the art of soap making. After a few years of experimenting, we finally had bars of soap that we were proud of. That's when my brother came into the picture and started helping with the soap. We would often give soap away as gifts to family and friends who would share them with their friends or someone who would complain of certain skin troubles. Soon, people were asking if we would sell them a bar!

At "Alley Walk" an outdoor craft show 2 years later - my brother said lets try it! The booth fee was $50.00! Whew - we were not sure if we wanted to invest quite that much money. But, we took a couple of deep breaths and did it. My brother came up with Handcrafted Country Soaps for a business name and we used burlap sacks and old chicken and fruit crates to display our soaps.

We made over $600 in that short day and thought, "Wow! How exciting!" We just could not believe it. People really liked our soaps and wanted to buy more... that's when we knew this business could succeed.

Once you decided to start selling soap, what was your next step?
Word of mouth advertising was my first step handing out bars to friends and family. I always give away samples of my soaps and attend several craft shows a year.

Since you make and sell the soaps from your home, were there any special licenses you had to get?
No special licenses were needed. Just a business license from the county.

Is there really that big of a difference between homemade soaps and store-bought soaps?
Yes, there is! Handmade soaps are one of the true luxuries in life. Handmade soaps are rich and soothing filled with natural glycerin that attracts and holds moisture in the skin. My handcrafted country soaps are made using the cold process method which is more costly to make, but the rewards on your skin are so worth it! Cold process soap making requires expensive essential oils to help produce the natural glycerin.

Store bought soaps contain very little, if any moisturizing oils because the commercial soap companies drain the glycerin that naturally occurs in the soap making process to create a new and profitable line of lotions. Which means you'll need both their soaps and their lotions to maintain healthy looking skin. But after using my handmade soaps for a few months, you'll find you need that lotion less and less! That's because I keep those natural moisturizes in my soap which actually nourishes your skin.

What is the cold process?
Cold processing is a term used by soap makers to make quality, handmade soaps. During the saponification process, the pure oils, fats, and butters are heated to a melting temperature and no higher. This procedure helps produce a natural glycerin. Soap made by the cold process method requires a three to six week curing time to ensure a hard, moisturizing bar of soap.

How does this waiting time affect your business and sales?
I am constantly making soap to keep a stocked inventory as well as wide variety of soaps. If I run out and someone wants a bar that is not yet cured, I simply let them know when the soap will be ready. They can buy the bar and wait for it to cure, or pick another kind of soap with over 100 different kinds of soaps, we're sure to have a great substitute should they decide to purchase another bar.

What kinds of start up costs are involved in owning a soap making business?
The initial start-up would be around $500 for equipment and supplies. The essential oils are the most expensive, ranging from $16 to several hundred dollars for a few ounces.

Many people wanting to cut corners, would simply use cheaper ingredients. Why don't you cut corners?
Cutting corners means hand producing a less than great product... We feel good when we do something good for ourselves and something as simple as a luxurious bar of soap can really lift our spirits on a gloomy day... why would we want to take that away from someone by producing less than the best?

You have some awesome testimonies on your site; from clearing up acne, to healing dry, chapped skin. Why do you think your handcrafted soaps have been able to show such improvements in one's skin?
The oils we use in our handcrafted soaps are reputed to have healing qualities. Commercially made soaps are made with petroleum base (cheaper) ingredients that will clean you, but don't do much for your skin.

Before we say good bye, what thoughts would you like to leave our readers with?
I always tell people, "This soap will help you cleanse your skin, but it cannot wash away your sin." The most important decision you will ever make is the decision to believe in JESUS CHRIST.

Thank you so much for your time!
Thank you Alyice

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Alyice Edrich is a freelance writer specializing in helping families save money on their target="_blank">cell phone bills. Visit her website,
http://edrichcommunications.com, to learn how you can get a free cell phone.


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