Reflections on profitability

When you first start soap-making, your early visions are of you selling tons of bars to a market that is ravenous to buy them. The more I’ve researched and experimented, the more certain I am that its not worth the time or money to make soap if your goal is to make a living. There are some who do make a living off of it, but its rare.

A while back, I made a conscious decision to not do the things I do not enjoy. It happened while I was skiing with some friends. It was freezing cold outside. I was wearing boots that, about a size too small, were cutting my shins to scraps. I kept riding up the lift, skiing down, and then riding back up. Then it clicked that actually I hate skiing and find it completely monotonous and inane.

Now that I’ve done about ten batches over a course of about three months, I’ve stepped back to really evaluate how I feel about soap. I am getting more comfortable with it. I’ve learned from my mistakes. I’m trying new things. And, surprisingly, its something I actually do enjoy. I have no knack for baking, but I understand it is probably similar in that you pour your heart into a finished product that is at least slightly a representation of your self, your learning and your talent.

I do not have any farfetched ideas of making any profit online. I do not believe I’ll be selling a thousand bars a week to local retailers. I think that I will fill a very, very small niche among friends and family. It is mostly something to involve my daughters in. To teach them industry. To give them something very unique that they can create and maybe learn how to sell. There is no bad lessons that will come of us making soap many times over for as long as the spirit fills us to do so.

I am content with that reality. I may continue exploring ways to make extra income at it, but I can already see how it takes a year+ to get even remotely good at the art. And by then you’ve dumped a few thousand into it. Good luck ever making that back, and then trying to turn a profit on top of that.

But my head will keep spinning ideas and plots. We’ll see what wicked things this way come.

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