Making B&B Quality Soap
by Maureen Greer
(New Orlans, LA)
Is it more cost effective for me to make personalized soap for our new B&B in Mexico, or to buy it? I am very interested in making soap, but not sure about the cost factor. I might just make it for gifts.
That's a pretty hard question to answer!!
I'm going to assume you want to compare buying handmade soaps and making handmade soaps that are of the same quality and are not referring to buying 'hotel soap'.
There are a ton of factors that must be taken into consideration to determine the cost of making handmade soap.
Lets talk ingredients first.
Some ingredients used in soap making are more expensive than others. Lard is cheap...mango butter is not. You will need to determine what type of ingredients you want to use in your soap making.
If you purchase your ingredients in small amounts, your initial cost will be little....BUT the cost of each bar of soap you make will be more than if you purchase your ingredients in bulk.
Buying bulk ingredients is great if you plan on making lots of soap. If you only want to make a few bars here and there, then bulk ingredients wouldn't be the best choice. Soap making oils have a shelf life and you need to be able to use up those oils before they go rancid.
Will you be making fancy, decorative looking soaps or will you be making soaps that are more organic in design?
Obviously a plain look is cheaper to make since decorative soaps require more ingredients in terms of colour and additives. Decorative soaps also take up much more of your time to create...again, making them more expensive to make.
Other possible cost factors can include packaging, labeling, equipment, somewhere to make it/store it, insurance if you plan on selling it...the list really depends on what you want to do with your soap making.
If you only want to make a few bars here and there and aren't really interested in making a hobby or business of soap making, then I think it would be cheaper to purchase your soaps from someone who buys their ingrients in bulk and sells quite a large volume.
If however, you're interested in making more than the occational bar and you want to tailor the soaps to your liking...it's most often cheaper to make it yourself.