The Soapmaker’s Guide to Online Marketing was first published in 2013. I’ve taken the time to update and expand this helpful book for those of you who are selling [or thinking about selling] bath and body products online. Back in 2004, I opened up my store, EverythingShea.com. I started off knowing very little about how to get people to visit my little website. I’m sharing what I’ve learned with anyone who wishes to get more customers.
Best of all, this book is still the same low price it was when it first was published in June 2013. However, one thing’s changed — there finally is a paperback edition!
Much of the information in this book is also helpful for those creative people who sell other types of arts and crafts online.
Soapmakers and crafters, learn how to grow your online presence! “The Soapmaker’s Guide to Online Marketing” is packed with detailed information on designing, building, and promoting your website. Learn how to write a press release. Get loads of free and low cost promotional ideas. Attract customers by blogging, making videos, and showing off enticing photos of your soaps and/or other bath and body products. Written by the author of “The Joy of Melt and Pour Soap Crafting” and more than a dozen other soap crafting books.
♦ Successful SEO tips ♦ Free online and offline website promotion tips ♦ Helpful photo guidelines ♦ Video ideas ♦ 100+ updated links ♦ Getting product reviews ♦ Set up your work/crafting area ♦ Wholesaling and labeling guidelines ♦ Avoiding online fraud ♦ Tips on creating your product line ♦ Basic soap recipes ♦ More than 30 resources
After writing and making the recipes for Kitchen Soap for Chefs: 4 Easy Melt & Pour Soap Recipes, I came up with yet another cool soap idea that I hadn’t published before. In fact, I used to sell it when I had my Everything Shea business, but it went by another name. I changed two of the ingredients, but it’s pretty similar and it’s now called Vanilla Bean soap. I have my almost year-long baking binge to thank for this recipe, too. So if you’re looking for a fun and easy soap recipe to make for the holidays or just because, here it is…
Vanilla Bean Melt & Pour Soap Recipe
Learn how easy it is to make this creamy melt and pour soap with natural vanilla beans. This type of soap is wonderful for all skin types and would make an excellent addition to any bath & body gift basket!
My newest eBook, Liquid African Black Soap Recipes for Skin and Hair has just been released this month and is free on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble NOOK, Kobo, iTunes, Scribd, Smashwords and on other online stores.
For the record, I’d like to state why an author of books on soap crafting and shampoo bars is actually writing about liquefying soap!
Why Liquid African Black Soap?
As I’ve written about shampoo bars and soap, it may seem unusual for me to write about liquefying soap. However, African black soap isn’t your ordinary bar soap. It’s the softest soap I’ve ever used. In fact, I’ve formed it into soap balls. However, by liquefying it you’ll find that it’s simpler to use as either a shampoo and/or a facial/body soap. You can apply the soap with a washcloth, bath pouf, sponge, sock, soap bag or loofah, depending on how much of a scrubby surface you want. I’ve found that a simple $1 bath pouf increases the lather of the liquefied soap and doubles as an effective skin exfoliator. While solid African black soap can work in a bath pouf, it’s easier and more economical to use it in liquid form. In the following recipes, I give approximate amounts for each 2-ounce size. The more African black soap you add, the less water, the thicker the resulting liquid soap.
I also like to change my shampoo bars for liquid African black soap every few weeks.
Here’s the official blurb:
Make your own liquid African black soap in minutes! Includes five easy recipes using natural ingredients. You also receive information about essential oils and where to buy links for African black soap and other healthy additives. “Liquid African Black Soap Recipes for Skin and Hair” makes a great companion book to “Nilotica [East African] Shea Body Butter Recipes [The Whipped Shea Butter Series], Book 1” and “How to Make Handmade Shampoo Bars.”
Available at the following online stores. This eBook is FREE.
This is my favorite soap to make as it’s so good for one’s skin and is gentle enough to use for a facial soap. the following recipe is from my eBook, THE JOY OF MELT AND POUR SOAP CRAFTING.
Oatmeal + Honey + Goat’s Milk Soap
16 ounces white soap base 1/4 cup ground oatmeal [rolled oats, not instant oatmeal] 1 teaspoon organic honey 1 teaspoon powdered goat’s milk 1 teaspoon vanilla fragrance
OR oatmeal, milk & honey fragrance [optional]
4 four-ounce molds
Slice up soap base into small cubes and melt. If not using goat’s milk base, add the powdered goat’s milk. Just before it’s fully melted add oatmeal and honey. Stir well. Add fragrance and remove from heat. When soap is just starting to form a layer, pour into molds. Spritz away any bubbles with rubbing alcohol. Allow soap to harden in fridge, freezer, or remain at room temperature. Remove from molds. Make sure soap is at room temperature before wrapping. Wrap in cling wrap and label.
Oatmeal Note: The above method will create a soap bar with oatmeal on one side only. To make Oatmeal+Honey+Goat’s Milk with the oatmeal suspended throughout the soap, you must stir in the oatmeal, turn off the crock pot OR double boiler, and stir occasionally for approximately 5-10 minutes while the soap mixture thickens.
I’m happy to introduce Emily Davis, the founder of Emily’s Handmade Soaps. Emily has a fun story to tell of how she began making handmade soap. She makes and sells her natural soap and lotion bars in Des Moines, Washington. [Click images to enlarge].
What prompted you to start making soap and/or bath & body products?
Funny story! I was binge watching Orange is the New Black on Netflix. There’s a scene in one of the first few episodes that shows the main character and her BFF making soap and lotion in her kitchen. As bizarre as it sounds, it had never even occurred to me that you could make soap! I headed to my local Michael’s craft store to buy a melt & pour soap making kit. The project was a lot of fun, but I really wanted to formulate my own recipes. After much research, I started making cold process soap, and the rest is history!
What types of soap do you craft? What types of bath & body products do you craft?
I specialize in cold process soaps, although I occasionally do hot process as well. I also make bath bombs, lotion bars, bath tea, and cuticle oil. I’m always testing new product recipes!
When did you decide to sell your product[s]?
After I’d been making soap for the better part of a year, my soap stock began to really pile up. I had over 100 bars of soap in my house, and had been giving them away to family and friends when my husband suggested selling them. Sales were much better than anticipated in the beginning, so I’ve been in expansion mode ever since.
Do you sell your products at crafts fairs/markets, bed & breakfasts, stores, etc.?
I sell my soaps and bath products at my local farmers market, the Des Moines Waterfront Farmers Market here in Des Moines, Washington. I also have several wholesale accounts in Washington (and one in Oregon!) which include lovely gifts, nurseries, and coffee shops.
Do you sell online? If so, what are the advantages or disadvantages?
I do sell online on Etsy. It’s wonderful to have a gallery of items to point customers to, and it’s nice for keeping track of inventory and being able to take credit card sales. I would say that the majority of my sales are made either in person or on a wholesale basis. I’ve had a few sales from Etsy, but there are just so many sellers on the site that it can be difficult to get noticed.
What is your favorite fragrance or essential oil? What are your most popular scents?
Lavender essential oil is wonderful because it can be combined with so many other scents. Lavender is always very popular with my customers. Anything with Lemongrass in it also sells well, and I’ve found that that essential oil is another winner for blending. I have a Lemongrass Litsea soap that sells like hotcakes! One of my personal favorites is my Beer soap. It’s a really lovely soap that uses real beer, and it’s always a conversation starter. Don’t worry, you can’t actually smell the beer in the finished product.
What soap and/or other bath & body crafting books have you read and been inspired by?
Smart Soapmaking by Anne L. Watson was a great source of information in the beginning. Caveman Chemistry and Scientific Soapmaking, both by Kevin Dunn, were also helpful.
What soap and/or other bath & body videos have inspired you?
Anne Marie Faiola of Brambleberry and Soap Queen does some amazing soap making videos. I think she was the one who showed me how to combine oil and lye! There is also a series on YouTube called Soaping 101 that has been really helpful for learning new design techniques.
Where do you get your packaging ideas?
I like to take various design elements from products that I’ve seen and been inspired by, and then apply parts of those designs to my own packaging. Packaging has been quite a work in progress, and I’ve found along the way that some ideas are more difficult and/or expensive to implement than others. In the end, I settled on a design that was simple, but elegant.
What advice would you give to newbies?
Learn by doing. Your first attempts might be ugly, or even unusable, but the knowledge that you gain from the experience of having attempted it is priceless.
Do you have any funny anecdotes about unusual customers?
None of my customers really strike me as unusual, but I will say that many of my first customers were family and friends that I am endlessly grateful to. Without their support, there is no way I would have been able to expand my business!
How did you come up with your company’s name?
I tried to come up with a cutesy, trendy name for my company, but in the end I felt that every name I was coming up with just sounded trite. I ended up with ‘Emily’s Handmade Soaps’ because I felt that it was authentic and fitting to my craft.