Business In a Box

Have you ever wanted it to just be easier? For someone to pick out all the stuff you needed and point you to the correct resources so all you needed to do was create safe products and sell? That’s what we’ve done with our Business in a Box kit. It is literally everything you need to get started making 100 pounds (roughly 375/545 bars) of soap, learn the basics of safe soapmaking, get an overview on starting a craft business and even includes label templates that are designed with correct INCI labeling. These kits are unique in that they include our most popular Quick Mix oils. You don’t need to worry about designing a recipe that works. We’ve done the work for you (though, full disclosure, soapmaking is addicting and we’re betting that you’ll want to do more research in the future and create your personal idea of a ‘perfect’ recipe). All you need to do to start is read up on business and soapmaking to get the basics under your belt, get your state and city business license, explore insurance, make the soap using our easy and safe recipes, add your address to the labels, cure your soap and get out there and sell! When you buy this kit, even with all the start up costs of the molds, equipment etc… included, the soap comes out to just under $1.39 per bar (without your overhead costs like rent, energy and labor worked in).

Business in a Box

We’ve included lots of instructional resources to ensure you’re successful:

ITP Swirl with Label

And finally, a compilation of EVERY business blog post ever written on this blog by me. And, in theory, with a Masters Degree in Business Administration and a few cool business awards under my belt, I should be a reliable source to take advice from.

This Business in a Box kit also includes fully tested, reliable (!!) fragrance oils and essential oils for even the newbiest of beginners:

You’ll have a little bit of fragrance or essential oil left over but we figured that it was better to leave you with a little bit than it was for the alternative. Some blending hints for your essential oils? Patchouli blends beautifully with Lavender and Lemongrass is lovely on its own. Lavender also blends wonderfully with Energy fragrance. Remember, Vanilla Select discolors brown so keep that in mind when you’re working on your fantastic designs.

A bit about our Quick Mix Oils – We’ve designed three wonderful recipes (with a fourth to come!) Basic, Lots of Lather and Swirling. The Basic recipe is just that; it’s a nice basic recipe that is hard, creates dense bubbles and rinses away cleanly. The Lots of Lather has bigger bubbles than the Basic and also rinses away extremely nicely. The Swirling base is designed to give you the maximum time for maximum swirl effect. Because of this, it is the most moisturizing of the bunch with the lowest lather and also the shortest shelf life in the shower.

The kit also includes 3 molds we love to work with and we find the easiest for beginners to work with:

And Quick Mix Oils, enough to make soap that will fill those molds quite a few times:

LabColor Ombre with Labels

All the colorants have been thoughtfully chosen to provide maximum value and color with a minimum of fuss (and of course, matchability with the fragrances and essential oils):

Finally, all you need to provide are the spoons, the mixing containers, gloves, apron and of course, all the cardboard or newspaper to cover your soaping surface for any spills because, we’ve included most everything else you need for perfect mixing:

The kit sells for $759.00 – which makes each bar, even with all these start up costs (!!) as low as $1.39 per bar. When all you’re doing is refilling the kit with Quick Mix Oils, Lye, fragrance and color, your price per bar can be as low as $0.85 for the materials only (your overhead will vary based on where you soap and your other expenses). Now THAT’S a business with margins I can get excited about!

Edited on 2/22/2013 to add: “Many of the comments below are concerned that you might buy this kit and think that you can short cut the hard work of learning to make soap or run a business. This kit does not magically turn you into an expert. What it does is save you the time to pick out your starter ingredients, wade through all the possible books to buy and give you an excellent starting point (far more than I started out with or any of the soapers in the comments below). You still will need to learn how to make soap, license and insure your business, and do the hard work of selling your soap.”

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131 Comments

  1. Valda says

    Hi Ann Marie, I am new to the soap making business and i just tried my first batch (hope it does not change brown etc..). this kit looks great but as a new soap maker that is too expensive to buy as i go thru my trial and failure stage. I think there should be a less expensive kit (besides the new beginners kit) to help beginners. A kit without the supplies but with oils, lye, EO, FO and colors. And once I have mastered the art and ready to sell then I can buy the business in a box kit. Thanks

    • says

      Hi Valda!

      I totally understand, this is a more expensive kit, and may not be the best choice for a beginner soaper. If you are looking for another kit to get started, you have lots of options! :)

      We do have the Soap Guild Cold Process Kit, which comes with 2 fragrance oils, several clays for colorant, quick mix and two molds. This might be a great option for you! Keep in mind this kit does not come with lye or soaping equipment.

      Soap Guild Cold Process Kit:
      http://www.brambleberry.com/Soap-Guild-Cold-Process-Kit-P5627.aspx

      You may also like the Cold Process Soap Kit, which comes with enough soaping materials to make 40 bars of soap, 2 fragrances and 1 colorant.

      Cold Process Soap Kit:
      http://www.brambleberry.com/Cold-Process-Soap-Kit-P3294.aspx

      Another option is to look through all the great projects that have been featured on the blog, and buy the kit for that particular project! Included in these kits are everything you need to complete that particular project, and you often end up with ingredients to complete more than one batch. These kits also come with lye :)

      Soap Queen Cold Process Kits:
      http://www.brambleberry.com/Soap-Queen-Cold-Process-Kits-C337.aspx

      I hope this gives you some ideas :)!

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

  2. says

    Wow – so much ignorance in the comments here. I will not be purchasing the kit as I tend to buy my craft supplies on a need-induced basis (and I’m currently testing and formulating a few simpler scrub recipes at the moment) but I can see why it would be beneficial to someone starting out in serious soap making with an eye to starting a business.

    Like another poster said, this kit only has the materials already listed on the BB site, and it makes no claims concerning the effectiveness of the individual in a business environment. What it does is gathers all of the necessary resources in one place. As for cheapening the community, I say that you must not have much confidence in the supposed “uniqueness” of your own recipe to believe that it can be duplicated by a beginner with only these materials and no experience. Also, I believe that the beginner who stopped at only the included recipes would have to be a complete imbecile to believe that they can succeed in the industry without formulating their own recipes. Imbeciles tend not to do so well in small business. So where’s the threat? How can arming someone with easily accessible knowledge be a bad thing?

    I for one applaud the effort and if I had the space to make CP soap and the funds to buy the kit without worrying, I most certainly would. At the very least it makes me happy to see BB promoting a safe love of soaping in a way that’s accessible for a wider array of business owners to be.

  3. says

    This kit seems like a marvelous idea! I know its a few months after the original post, but I wanted to lend my support to the idea.

    The books included are EXCELLENT! I have read most of them. They provide alot along the lines of troubleshooting and safety guidelines and have superb recipes and ideas. The FOs, EOs, colorants and equipment provided are great starter tools too. I started making CP soap a year ago after 4 months of research and have 15 or so successful batches to my name, plus I have taught 20+ people how to craft soap as well. I could not have done that without doing truckloads of research on my own. I do wish I had a comprehensive resource like this when I had started out, even if only to provide ideas on colorants, fragrances, reference books, etc.

    It is a non sequitur to say the kit will encourage bad business- Brambleberry and other companies can only lead consumers to knowledge. We have to decide whether to use it or not. I sure hope anyone starting a business would do more than buy a ‘quick start kit’ of any kind and assume they shall succeed.

    Kudos to Brambleberry for making it a *little* less stressful to start soaping. Actually making the soap is a cake walk compared to wading through the mounds of legal paperwork and wrangling the local market. Brickbats to anyone who practices poor product testing and business practices- you make the rest of us look very bad.

  4. Karen says

    Can this kit be customized? I would like to learn how to make soap…and it would be nice to have everything I could possibly need on hand. I am not overly fond of lavender and might not want two jugs of it. And Maybe split the patchouli up with something else?
    Also, can you explain the quick mix oils? Do the 76 pounds of oils come in batch size containers so I can be sure I blended them all properly?
    I thought I read somewhere you would have some moisturizing quick mix oils. Maybe you can sell me separate oils that will make great moisturizing bars, instead of that quick mix…or just add it onto the kit (might as well go all in, right??)

    I want to experiment and think it would be nicer to have separate oils. Plus then I can use them for other things as well.

    • says

      Hi Karen!

      Unfortunately, this kit itself cannot be customized, but we can help you out with purchasing all the materials you’d need to start a business a la carte (including individual oils for your own recipes, fragrances of your choice and molds), if you e-mail customer service at info(at)brambleberry(dot)com or call them toll-free at 1.877.627.7883.

      The Quick Mix Oils are something that we have created at Bramble Berry to make it easier to for our customers to create larger batches of their favorite classic Soap Queen recipes. The 76 lbs of the oils would actually come in buckets that you can melt down and make into smaller batches. Something we’ve seen our customers do is melt the entire batch down and then pour it into containers that are the right size for them to work with. Another great things we’ve done with the quick mix oils is include a mini-lye calculator on each individual mix page so that you can make a batch of any size with them.

      Lots of Lather Quick Mix: http://www.brambleberry.com/Lots-of-Lather-Quick-Mix-P5524.aspx

      If you are looking for a super moisturizing quick mix, I’d suggest trying out either the Swirl Recipe Quick Mix or the Lots of Lather Quick Mix (found in the Business in a Box Kit). Either of them are full of skin-loving ingredients that would be great for a batch of soap.

      If you want to have separate oils to experiment with, I’d definitely suggest calling customer service so they can help get you set up a la carte style. I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions. :)

      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  5. Melissa says

    I know this is an older post, so I apologize for my late comment. It’s been a while since I’ve visited this blog. Thank you so much for this amazing kit! I’m not really looking to sell but I love trying new hobbies. When I do, I usually go all in. I want to learn as much as I can and do as much as I can. I love kits like this so I can do that without getting to overwhelmed by trying to figure out what to buy. I definitely plan on buying this when I move to a bigger place. I bought a lotion from scratch kit a few years ago from Brambleberry when I wanted to try it out. My grandmother still raves about that lotion. So again thank you for this!

  6. says

    Thank God i found this. Phew. Hi Ann, i have been wondering how i can get my hands on such a kit.Am from Africa Kenya and i must say after combing through most stores here,i cant even find most oils in their natural form let alone lye.I know soap making is a craft i really want to learn and later sell on my all natural face book page but i cant even get a book here. i dont know how you ca help me out here. I especially want to know how to make soap that suits my very oily extra sensitive skin and goat milk rose petal soap. For now i use african black soap which i made liquid and added kalonji oil ans sweet almond oil randomly(dint know how the right measurements as i dint find any such recipe). If possible kindly email me how much it would cost for the kit plus scale and shipping to Mombasa, Kenya, and any additional helpful information. I can get shea butter and extra virgin coconut oil here so that wont be necessary Thanks alot and God bless

  7. Marilyna says

    It’s almost like some of the veteran soapmakers online think a newbie needs their permission and blessing to open a soap business. It’s almost a socialist mindset as opposed to a free-enterprise mindset. Ie: we need permission from the “soap government” to proceed.

    Some of their warnings are good and it would be wise to heed them. However, making soap is not that big a deal and the likelihood of harming someone is low.

    Since I started soaping in ’99, and went online in 2000, I’ve heard soapers warning how the FDA was going to “crack down on all of us” if somebody didn’t label their soap properly. After being away from soaping for the past 6 years and coming back recently, it’s funny that the same warning is still being given.

    I certainly jumped into the soap business without knowing much. Fortunately, I didn’t hurt anyone and I didn’t do untold damage to the “image of handcrafted soap” and ruin it for everyone, or bring down the wrath of the FDA on the heads of all of us! LOL

    I think the kit is a wonderful idea and it would have helped the quality of my initial soap offerings immeasurably.

    Keep up the great ideas and don’t let the naysayers make you feel bad!

  8. mokie says

    Not all dissent is meanie negativity, or jealousness, or a knee-jerk response to ‘the threat of competition’, and dismissing it as such doesn’t help either side of the discussion. I don’t think competition is an issue, because there are already a ton of people out there making soap, doing it very well, and doing it because they love it. What seems to me to be the issue is the marketing of this kit.

    Like jewelry-making nowadays, and house-flipping a few years ago, some very misinformed people have gotten the idea that soap-making is a get-rich-quick business, with easy profit for minimal effort. They think all you need is a recipe and a storefront and you’ll start raking in the big bucks, and they’re not interested in talk of taking the time to learn the ins and outs of soap-making, because what ins and outs? Lye + oil = profit, right? And they openly harass soap-makers who offer tips or demonstrations but not recipes (because it’s logical to assume someone looking up swirling already knows basic soaping), because the recipe is where these folks think the money is.

    They don’t value the information the soap-makers offer, or the efforts put into formulating that recipe. To these folks, it’s no different than selling Tupperware or Scentsy, or buying cheap Hobby Lobby glycerine soap and pouring it into bars to resell for $5 a pop, and why shouldn’t miss fancy pants Youtube soap lady just tell us how much Crisco to buy so we can make and sell her bars too? They wouldn’t value the information in this kind of kit, because they’re looking for that golden ticket–skimming past all this art of soap-making stuff and onto the part where they make money.

    Sure, it’s their $700+ to blow. And don’t they jump in all the time without a kit? Absolutely. (Though I imagine they’re more annoying to the glycerin soapers, since so many assume that’s an easy route and don’t realize the artistry involved.) And don’t they give up when they realize that, whether lye or rebatch or glycerin, it’s not the instant profit they’d hoped for? Yep! But does this kit sound tailor-made for them? From the sales pitch, yes. I understand the kit is based on BB’s customer support and feedback, and the kit is structured to walk folks through the learning process before sales, but the marketing makes it feel made for those folks.

    TL;DR:
    – A kit for getting started in soap-making, soaping class in a box, is brilliant. No argument there.
    – Pre-mixed oils and a comprehensive supply kit so folks don’t have to track multiple orders or supply sites is brilliant. It’s like letting someone else handle the masterbatching.
    – A kit for getting started in the business of soap-making is brilliant. Gads, help with the tax info alone is priceless.
    – All three in one box? At worst, it feels like chumming the waters. At best, like putting the restaurant in the restroom to save time.

  9. says

    I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating.

    I have found amazing support in the online soaping community for new soapers, including me, right up until someone declares they’re interested in making it a real business. Then the big guns all come out, and bar none so far (pun intended), people get told they aren’t ready. That they’re incompetent or worse.

    I have never seen a person declare that they want to make soaping a real business get a positive reaction online. Never.

    I personally believe this response is primarily motivated by soapers’ reactions to a new competitor, not out of primary concern for consumers or the industry. It’s a natural, unconscious, reaction.

    I think this same reaction is powering the negative responses to a business in a box product.

    I don’t mention to others online that I’m going to turn my hobby into a business. Or actually, that I’ve gotten my business license, insurance, etc. I don’t need to be discouraged. It takes enough work to build a business without being torn down for even suggesting it.

    When I’ve said the above in posts before, I always get private PMs from people saying, “OMG, I don’t admit I’m building a business when I’m online either. I love the veterans and don’t want to piss them off…” My point being that I’m not alone in seeing this lack of support for newbies to the business.

    In terms of the actual product, I think it’s missing the most important tool I should have bought sooner- a multi-bar cutter. I also think it’s a slight disservice to sell an ‘interested in a business’ customer quick mix oils. It only took about a month for me to realize that a diversified product line would be important – if only so I could create more than a couple product listings while I waited for more soap to cure – and that most of the ingredients were already on my shelves for many other products (lip balms et al). Every physical book in the kit, I’ve purchased already in this process. Some of the ebooks. I’ve definitely purchased many many more FOs and colorants. I’m not sure why labcolors are in the kit. I’m only now looking at them for hard to reach colors like pink & red. I don’t know any commercial soapers that primarily use labcolors. Perhaps I’m just clueless on this aspect.

    What would be much better for people serious about making soap a business, albeit much more expensive, would be a week long intensive course where you had lecture then made soap every day for 4-6 hours. Something like one of the week long cooking courses at the Culinary Institute of America. You learn about grilling in lecture starting at 8 a.m., then you go grill for 4 hours then come back into lecture to revisit the entire cooking method + special topics. Next day, 2 new cooking methods. Special guests that cover topics like packaging (in food, it was topics like plate presentation strategy & trends, wine selection, etc). You could do something similar for serious/business soapers. The cost of a week long culinary class is $2K+, not including airfare and hotel. You spend 8+ hours a day working in a professional kitchen learning professional methods. If someone offered this for soap, I’d be all over it.

    • Bobbie says

      Robert – I do believe your first few paragraphs have NAILED IT!

      I don’t usually revisit an issue, but I did this time and I hope some of the nay-sayers to “Business in a Box” come back and read through this and give it some thought and potentially ease up some on their point of view. Not all new soapers are the devil out to steal their customers, nor are they incompetent. Truth be told, in general, a basic soap is NOT that hard to make. Maybe not totally unique, but also not a challenge like I am reading it played out to be by so many.

      To me…I’m just saying here…to ME it seems as though there are 2 very distinct groups of “soap sellers and makers”. A) Those who make lovely wonderful soaps and B) those who also make lovely wonderful soaps AND FARM and include their products from said farm in these soaps. Let me tell you – the group B folks are MUCH more encouraging with others looking to start a business!

      For real now – I saw the blog post here about ADGA convention and I know for a fact that one of your winners told a relatively new soaper AND goat farmer and I quote as I was standing there while she had her on speaker phone “Sell your soap honey”…..this came after my friend called me to come over in tears and read through how she had been bashed in PM’s through a forum for wanting to start selling soap. She called one of your ADGA soapers and WINNERS who is local to us and was told not to worry and give it a go.

      What so so so so many of the group A no farm to run types do NOT realize is that for many people with small homesteads things like milk soap are the ONLY way to LEGALLY sell your milk! There are quite a few aspiring soapers coming from small homesteads looking to add a few dollars back in their pockets through multiple income streams and soap is one of them. We don’t have to have fancy recipes, fancy bars of soap, or a product line as long as our arms on paper to be happy and feel like our herds are producing for us. Just a few dollars in sales often makes our day – my little line is in the local feed store. Nothing prestigious, but it allows me often to leave the feed store with less money out of pocket on feed and it helps a lot more than I ever thought it would! I get emails and such and repeat customers…and it’s nice…it’s a help. It doesn’t pay all my bills all by itself, but my soaps carry the cost of my beloved goats and if I can see one more homesteader find a way like I have I will encourage it every time!

      It saddens me to see the first few paragraphs written above by Robert here and their honesty – but it’s true. For some reason the average suburban soaper is most often against anyone going into business for themselves while the average soaping homesteader/farmer is of the opposite view point and encouraging. I suppose though it is 2 different worlds – one is out to make a product and sell it, the other already HAS a product and they are trying to REmake it into something else to sell – necessity is the mother of invention and also soap making on MANY small homesteads and farms!

      Let me pose this question now and put a few things into context for people that claim the business in a box is nigh on the devil: Do you who make milk soaps, but do not raise your own dairy animals, truly believe that your soaps are equal to mine? I who started with nothing, bottle raised dairy goats for 6 months, fed and cared for them for another 6 months, arranged their first breeding, waited on their first kidding, and with my own 2 hands then delivered their first kids and THEN milked them for the first time after watching them give birth and THEN I created a goat milk soap only once I had my OWN GOATS MILK FROM MY OWN BACKYARD. Are my milk soaps more ‘authentic’ or somehow better? I mean, really now…if you don’t even know HOW to milk a GOAT how can you make goat milk soap right???? Well, guess what I DO THINK YOUR SOAPS ARE EQUAL TO MINE. Yes, you read it right – even if you can’t find your way around an udder or tell a teat from a tail, your milk soaps are just as real and authentic as mine! But I suppose, if I take the nay sayers approach here, my goat milk soaps SHOULD be better than yours just based on where that milk came from right? No? You who BUY goat milk rather than raise goats don’t agree? Good, neither do I, Soooo….then look at it in THIS new light in regards to a business in a box…

      If my milk soaps are not better than yours, who truly is to say that the soap of someone who has made soap for a year is not as grand or perfect as that from someone who had made it for 20 years besides their customers I suppose. It’s about technique, recipe, scent, ingredients…and just as some people are horrid cooks and no amount of Food Network or cook books can teach them to be as good as Paula Dean, well, some are going to be horrid soapers…but some people also pick it up and learn it fast and blow me away with how great they become at it for, to them, it is an art, even if it is a form of art new to them! I’m not going to lie, I have only ONCE EVER in my life made soap with WATER instead of milk…yes ONCE and it is the ONE batch that went totally wrong on me from start to finish. I learned how to soap with milk NOT water for my lye mix, it’s what I do and I guess since I skipped a step in the learning process I am not as good as some others. I also tried all of 6 recipes before I found one that works for me – it’s simple, easy, I like it. No fancy rare oils or butters…just my milk as the ‘luxury’ ingredient. Am I less qualified to sell soap? Or equal now, since I have the know how with the goats but not the fancy soap recipe? Does making the same exact batch 20 times first make me better than someone who makes the same exact batch 10 ten times first? No, I don’t think so…

      I don’t participate in much – forums and such that is – but when I see this kind of negativity I have to jump in. To Robert – you are right, they are scared. They are scared that their hours of time and effort can be “trumped” by small, simple people with small simple goals. They do not seem to respect that for many of us, our day begins by first spending several hours tending to the farm, then the family, then back to the farm – with only a few meager bits of time to craft and shop for craft supplies and formulate recipes. We often work outside jobs as well and have many projects going on to provide for our dream homesteads – but we signed up for it and CHEERFULLY we soap on, finding ways to use and sell our milk LEGALLY even though we are not grade A raw dairies and people are not drinking it but instead SHOWERING with it!

      To all the nay sayers my comment is this: Put yourself in the shoes of others, take a moment to see how a few soap sales during the holidays can make a dairy farmers day, and relax in your vigilante-ism of the soaping community. It doesn’t endanger you any to have some competition and, if it should be poor competition, well, than it should make your life easier. Just because the Yugo sucked, and Toyota had an issue with their vehicles and tires were blowing up on others did NOT make everyone in the world stop driving and a few crummy soapers with bad soap won’t run off all your customers either! Poor competitors won’t be around long usually. Quite a few of us ‘country types’ are selling soap based on our goats not the oils we use or fancy clays from Brazil anyways…so we aren’t really competition or in the same league are we now?…and we make up a HUGE portion of ‘new soap businesses’ popping up here and there and yes, sometimes, failing. But many people try, and a business in a box is a good way to give it a go.

      Also, a thing to think about…when people come to me, the farmer, for ‘goat milk soaps’…I find they care less about my fancy designs and recipes than my goats and the fact that I make real milk soaps from real goats I actually milked. Seriously, fancy ingredients be damned…they just want “milk soap” and from the mouth of one fellow “It’s nice that it smells good but is there MILK in it?” The milk often sells the soap, and a good recipe is just a nice bonus. Sometimes, a VERY basic recipe with milk and a little scent will do the trick and THIS is where I see the jealousy come into play. My simple soap sells itself – the same recipe I started with ages ago and have stuck to and know now, and gives me pleasure in the making of it as well…and I don’t have to try very hard to have fancy ingredients or the most amazing cupcake type of tops and designs…

      Per the words of one of the ADGA conference soap contest winners I say again “Sell your soap honey” and if that means getting the business in a box to get a jump start on it go for it! Not all of us need a “one of a kind recipe” to sell a soap when it already has one of a kind farm products added to it. I guess maybe some people could learn a few things from my goats…relax, chill out, and chew your cud for a while. It’s gonna be okay ya’ll!

  10. Jen says

    I’ve been soaping for two years, and I learned everything about this business on my own. Even if this kit was available then, I would not has bought it. This is what business is about. You have to dedicate time, money, and patience to hone on your skills.
    This kit is a short-cut to all that.
    I view Business in a Box as just another way of making company profits.

    • Anne-Marie says

      Business is a long road for sure.

      If you’re into reading and still on the business exploration journey, I’m reading a really great business book that you might like – the new Daniel Pink book on selling. I think it’s a must-read for small businesses (well, at least so far; I’m only half way through thus far) =)

      Thanks for being a reader – and a soaper.

  11. Meg says

    I would have liked this kit when I just got started. It could have saved me a lot of money in the beginning… I think I spent 5k the first year just because lack of focus. I have to disagree with the others who are offended by this. When you are passionate about your work it shows. I think they just don’t like the idea of someone getting their feet wet with this kit, becoming passionate about soapmaking, and having a more successful business than them. Someone buying the box, hoping all the work is done for them, wont sell at more than one show before they lose interest. Everyone has to find their own way. The only thing dangerous that can happen with soap is its lye heavy and anybody can swiftly learn quality control for that. PH testing is not complicated at all and soap is a safe product.

    I’m offended that these people are offended, because them being offended insinuates that “newbies” are idiots/careless and would bathe people in straight up lye. Lol.

    • Anne-Marie says

      I totally feel your pain. In my first year soaping (again, back in the dark ages with only AOL internet and only one soap book), I didn’t spend $5000 but that’s only because there were no Bramble Berry type vendors around back then! =) I was stuck rendering my own tallow and using store bought Olive Oil and Canola Oil for the most part and using shoe boxes for molds. But, it would have been so easy to spend that much with all the choices that abound right now in the soaping industry.

      Thank you for your opinion about quality control and pH testing. =)

  12. Mrs B says

    I had to read through the kit description a few times to make sure I did not miss anything, but it looks like you did. I do not see a weight scale listed in the kit contents.

    Something I wish everyone posting recipes would do is leave out the lye and water amounts, this would force the person making the soap to figure out these amounts themselves and they would learn right from the start to use a soap calculator.

        • CarrieG says

          Do you really expect someone with no soaping experience at all would know where to find a soap calculator or that the lye needs to be precisely measured? You assume people will search the internet on their own for something they don’t even know exists! I played with craft store M&P for over a year not knowing how bad it was. I never knew there was such as thing as CP until I won an online auction for fragrance oils that had a Brambleberry scent in it that I loved, so I went to the website to order more. I also never knew you had to measure fragrance oils – I just tossed in what I wanted to because that’s what the cheap kits I had said to do. I was delighted with the amount of resources available through all of Anne-Marie’s hard work and astounded by how much variety existed in the world of soap. Her site encouraged me to learn and invest in quality supplies. After almost 3 years I still don’t feel comfortable with selling but I do know that what I make for my friends and family is safe to use.

          People who want to make a quick buck will use cheap kits like you can get at a craft store that have terrible ingredients and decide they can sell it. People like that have no idea that a quality supplier like Brambleberry exists and wouldn’t dream of ordering “expensive” stuff from them. People who have a genuine interest in perfecting their abilities will turn to something like this kit as a full-on resource. After all the research that went into this kit I am sure that Anne-Marie and her team felt this was the safest way to encourage new soapers to follow the rules and produce a good product.

    • Anne-Marie says

      You’re right – I should add one. I kept thinking people might have one but if we’re including the stick blender, we should do the scale too. It adds $20 to the cost but one can never have too many scales, right? =)

  13. Susan says

    I have to agree with those who argue that featuring this collection of goods as a BUSINESS in a box is a poor idea. While this may be a solution to BB getting a lot of phone calls from people “wanting to start a business” or from “people buying multiple kits” to get a business going, it is not the way to promote experience and education in the field.

    While BB’s *intent* is that it will be a starting point, look at your product description:
    100 pounds of soap – what is someone going to do with 100 lbs of soap? They are going to sell it.

    Correct INCI labeling – why bother to learn about ingredients or what goes on a label or why? No need to read the FDA guidelines – apparently that is already done too! They can just go ahead and sell.

    No need to design a recipe that works – what are they going to do when they spill some oil? How are they going to know what to add to remedy it and why? Or worse yet, they’ll go ahead and make the soap anyway because they won’t know what to do and won’t want to throw it away. How will they know if they make a lye heavy bar?

    Get out there and sell! – Really? Do you honestly think that a person buying this kit will really be ready to sell so quickly? They will have no depth, no knowledge of the why of the craft and worse, they will think that they don’t need to know it.

    Easy and safe – what is safe about someone just blindly following directions and not really understanding the ingredients?

    It’s one thing to teach, which is a great advantage of a kit, but it is another to promote a BUSINESS in a box.

    I am not saying that aiding a small business interest is a bad thing, I am not saying that just because it was hard for me it needs to be hard for you, but I am saying that you are seriously underestimating how this BUSINESS in a box kit could undermine good practice, good understanding and the creation of knowledgeable soapers in the field.

    It may be your *intent* that this BUSINESS in a box kit be just a starting point, but how comfortable are you knowing that someone who has never made a bar of soap in their life will actually “get out there and sell!” as soon as they’ve made a batch or two from this kit? This will happen, it cannot be prevented and in fact, it is promoted.

    • MaryKaye Tolle says

      I came back to the blog post just to see how comments were progressing and was sad to see that the hits keep rolling in. I think people are really, really scared which means, I guess you have a good idea with this kit.

      As for many of the points above, tell me what most soapers do to “research INCI?” They go to their vendor’s site and copy the INCI there. Or they buy the Marie Gale book (which comes with the kit). How is including properly formatted labels somehow a bad thing? I look at it like including a pint-sized graphic designer in your box.

      As for “understanding the ingredients,” what exactly do you think people will do with the books they get? Use them as a door stop? And really, how unsafe is Coconut oil or Shea butter? The genius about home soap making is that you do not have to be a rocket scientist to make soap. Quit trying to make it so our successful soaping community is pulling the ladder of success and knowledge up after us. Help others. If you don’t like this way, do it another way but just help, instead of harp.

    • Anne-Marie says

      Hi Susan, Thank you for your well thought out comment.

      While I disagree that this kit promotes selling unsafe product, I can understand your fear and concern having not seen the kit in person. The starter guide that comes with it is like having a personal instructor in front of you (“Read these 10 pages from this book, watch this video, now switch books and read this chapter, review this concept, try one batch of soap, stop and watch this video, read this chapter, etc…).

      I, too, came up through the school of hard knocks with soapmaking. I learned the difficult way about all the possible failures that could be done. I wasted a lot of time, a lot of money and made a lot of unsafe product. Ultimately, I am amazed I continued my soapmaking journey with all the failures that happened. If I can help prevent this with a new soaper that is interested in the craft and is curious about starting a business with it, I think it will be a positive for handcrafted soap industry.

      If you have some suggestions on things that you think need to be in the kit, please let me know. I would love to hear how you think the kit could be a better, safer, more complete and positive experience for all.

  14. Anna King says

    I think this is a fantastic idea!!!!! I’ve taken Cold Process soap making classes before and have experimented on my own a little bit, but all the soap making classes in the world won’t help me with my soap making business. This is like the missing link I’ve been looking for. Getting the basics on starting a business with a starting investment of only $700 is great (and yes, I know licensing and insurance will be more than that). I’ve spent thousands trying to start my own business but really didn’t know what I was doing. I would try one thing and then the other. This really compacts everything (just choosing the books for me is a huge help!) and seems like the perfect jump-start to a soap making business. I will totally be purchasing this kit. To me it seems like taking a business class only better because it is designed especially for crafters, where if one was to take a general business class they wouldn’t get that. Anyone can make soap, but marketing and starting a craft business takes a different kind of skill than basic biz classes will teach you. And I trust the soapmaking advice that this kit offers since Anne-Marie is such a successful business and soap woman, and how generous of her to share her insight with the rest of us. I see this kit as cutting down on a lot of mistakes I could have made and money wasted. All in all this kit is great, and I can’t wait for mine to arrive.
    P.S. The labels that come with the kit are really cute, LOVE the design.

    • Anne-Marie says

      I am so glad that you like the labels. I will tell Heather, who designed them. This will be sure to make her day tomorrow =)

      Thank you for chiming in with your opinion. I’m hoping that this kit saves money and helps people focus on the basics and not go a million directions as they learn the art, science and craft of soapmaking.

  15. Dawnia says

    I read throught this whole blog, in two sittings. I can see where each persons opinion may have some validity. But I think a dangerous loose-cannon person is just that, kit or no kit. If someone invests the time and money in this kit, they will get tried and true valuable information. I have only been making CP soap for about a year. Before I actually made a batch I checked every book out of the library and read all I could online. I Found a book at the library that was DANGEROUSLY WRONG!! It told you to add the water to the lye in a pitcher!!!! I am so glad I had been watching all the SoapQeen videos and reading all the recipes and blogs. It saved me from making a huge mistake!! I would feel better about someone getting the RIGHT SAFE information here or in the kit. I have recently started selling soap, and have never had a failed batch, and feel it is largely due to me learning from someone who has devoted their life and carrer to teaching this craft the correct, SAFE way. I surely would’ve ordered this kit a year ago!!! I would’ve saved a fortune on shipping alone, with all the orders I placed! I think before anyone judged this, it would be only fair to actually get a look at the kit. I bet it is extremely well organized and thought out, with safety at the top of the list!!

    • Anne-Marie says

      Hi Dawnia,

      Wow! That does not sound like a safe book for that mistake alone. I haven’t run across that one before and it scares me just to hear about it. I wonder how that one made it through proofing. I know with the book I’m working on, that I literally have 3 different editors who have gone through the book at least 3 times each … plus all my checking…. plus the upcoming reader proofs. Hopefully no glaring errors make it through with all that checking =)

      I am hoping that this kit saves people lots of shipping money. I can’t tell you the amount of people that call up, order everything they think they need, only to call again the next week to add 1 or 2 more things. I imagine we’ll continue refining the kit as we get feedback from those that have purchased it.

      Thank you for being a reader – and for your comment.

  16. Gina says

    I have been reading your blog, watching videos, etc. for a little while now–I have also been researching and reading most anything else I can find on the topic of soap making. It seems that your sites provide the most information and your products are high quality and widely promoted.

    I am NOT a soaper–YET, but when I mix my first batch I can assure you I will be well prepared and will have put in many many hours of research, reading, and study.

    Having owned a business, in a non-soap related field, I am fully aware of the WORK. There are no short cuts in success. Owning a successful and profitable business is not for the faint of heart or for anyone looking for a free ride.

    Statistics show that a person will think about something important to them for 6 months to a year before they actually act. With that said, I would wager the people to order Business in a Box have been thinking about and reading up on starting a business.

    Finally, I would like to comment that it seems after reading all the negative comments, the conclusion I have drawn is the ones most “concerned” this is a bad idea have the mentality of, “I did not get help when I started, so why should anyone else have help?!”

    I have wanted to be a soaper for years-one of those things on my bucket list. :) And when I finally start this adventure–I sincerely hope to learn from those ahead of me and possibly NOT make as many mistakes, oh I will make plenty of mistakes, but I will be able to diagnose and be more informed as to the why the mistake occurred. I was also a Science Major so have a natural bent towards soaping.

    This Kit is one of the most ingenious ideas out there! I for one am most interested in finding good reliable, proven information all in one place. Why do I need to waste endless hours of time, money and fuel when there is one place to get it all?

    Grateful for you and your experience that you want to share with others that share your love and passion.

    • Anne-Marie says

      Thank you for chiming in to let me know that you think the kit is a good idea. =) It’s brave of you to wade into the fray.

      I love that you have wanted to be a soaper for years. A bucket list! Awesome. I have one of those I made when I was 24. I should go hunt that down… I recall wanting to own a book store, a scuba diving store AND a knitting/yarn store on mine. I better get busy in the next 40 years! =) ha ha.

      Keep me posted on if there’s anything I can do to help you on your soapmaking journey. I’m here for you! =)

  17. Bobbie says

    I read about half way through and then gave up, so do forgive me if I am repeating something already voiced…BUT… I LOVE THIS IDEA! Seriously, sure, yeah, whatever…there’s always someone out there looking to make a quick buck with a clever idea and very little effort. Those people are there and it does NOT take a kit to spell disaster with them – they will find it any way they can! They are going to find it on their own kit or no kit. Bless your heart for politely responding to so much elitist negativity as kindly and patiently as you have. Honestly, for the homesteading farmer type, or even just avid hobbyist looking to expand this is a good thing!!!! When you have a full time job, be it in the outside world or at home running a small farm as I do, it is HARD AS HECK to sit down, or go shopping, and gather everything you need! Are there people who think they are going to turn a kit into 3 or 4 times it’s value with no skill at all and no practice out there? Why yes, they are – the saying about the silk purse and the sows ear ya know…it sometimes fits certain peoples expectations. But are plenty of other people out there looking to make milk based soaps or artistic hand created soaps who just don’t have time to gather it all together? Why yes, they exist too – perhaps the time has come to take their “one batch at a time” and invest a week in just soap, get geared up and ready for a craft fair and with this they could do that! I think those people will really benefit from something like this. I also wish it had been an option way back when I started. Instead of going to a zillion places and websites I could have had all my supplies at hand for experimenting through multiple batches in one place…boy did I spend hours and gallons of gas shopping online and out in the world just to get like 4 batches of soap LOL…seriously though, it’s nice to see options like this out there I can recommend to friends just starting out. I can say save your pennies, put it all here, and have enough to play with for ages until you have learned! Or for the busy farming friend I can direct them this way, where they can have it all at hand to customize with their farm products! How wonderful in so many ways and bless you again for being so cheerful about the feedback overall!

    • Anne-Marie says

      Thank you for reading through all the comments (including mine) and taking the time to share you opinion. I’m so glad that you like the kit – and understand the reason and the spirit behind why my team and I created the kit together.

      Making milk based soaps is so much fun! I really do notice a difference in the lather and the feel of the soap in the shower when using milk based soaps. It’s a great expansion for your farm.

      I appreciate the recommendation to your friends. That means a lot! =)

  18. Alex says

    I’ve never posted here before, though I read the blog frequently and order from Bramble Berry all the time, however, the 50+ comments this post had caught my eye so I read through them for once and I am honestly quite sad I did. It seems people have more of a problem with what this kit is called, rather than what it is, however it is no different whatever name they chose.
    Business in a box is about giving you the means to start a business, not telling you to start from nothing and go make a business, no one who has never any soaping is going to spend $800 to start a soap business out of the blue,, and invest their life in it on a whim. People who buy it will have most likely have soaped before, this will just give someone who has been making small batches for friends and maybe a fair or two, the means to turn a profit on their hobby.
    This kit provides a huge knowledge base to learn from with all the books that are listed, if you take the time to read them before you start trying to make soap en masse, which, if you spend $800 I hope you would. It may not give you the knowledge that years of experience brings, but it gives a great jumping point when a mistake is made in figuring out why, and how to correct it, such as, “hmmm, I seemed to get a rash when i used this soap, It tastes like a battery, it must be lye heavy”, not “hmm, I seemed to get a rash when I used this soap, I wonder if I’m allergic to the lavender i put in it?” Reading books is no true substitute for experience; however, if it did nothing, there would be no basis for going to college.
    People seem to be afraid that this will make things too easy, or so simple people will screw it up and be dangerous. If you want to make a cake for the first time, you follow a recipe, you don’t just wing it and start mixing things together in a bowl, you start with a working standard, then deviate from there to discover how certain changes affect the final good working product you have already made. It only takes one bar of soap to know what a lye heavy soap is like, it only takes one bar to discover mixing the oils and lye at a hotter temperature accelerates trace, but you have no baseline to work off, how can you know what a quick trace is? Besides, melt and pour is easy, if anything is cheating, it’s that.
    Giving someone the means to do something has nothing to do with how they do it. Providing someone with all the physical tools to create a business, has nothing to do with how they run that business, how they choose to make their product, what procedures they follow, what they make, or how they market it, this provides tools, knowledge, and a simple outline. What they do with it is up to them.
    I know when peoples livelihoods feel threatened they react negatively, but saying its bad that more people will be able to start their own business because it might threaten yours, is at a minimum, selfish, and a sign that your business strategy is weak. If your entire business depends on the fact that you have no competition, you are destined to fail. Anyone who thinks they can have a successful business by churning out the same product time and time again is being foolish. The beauty of capitalism is it forces people and corporations to adapt to changing environments, to create a better product to make sure people keep buying what they are selling. If you hear about someone starting a competing business and feel anything other than absolute confidence that your superior product, marketing, customer service, and price will steamroll them into oblivion, your business is weak, and you need to focus more on making it better, not complaining that there is new competition.

    As long as it is made clear that people who are new to soap making should make frequent small experimental batches as they read the all the literature to discover the boundaries of soap making, and, those who already know how to create a consistent high quality soap should at a minimum read what is listed in your guide things should be fine.
    I also think it would also be helpful if this could have the option to buy sections of this kit at a time, such as A, B, and C, where is learning is equally split among them but part A is more focused on GMP and learning what a failed soap is, how it failed, how to make good soap, how to change your soap to have different properties, teaching you all the basic techniques and how everything effects everything else, that sort of thing. C is more labeling, marketing, cool advanced swirls, how to get a business license, the legality of everything in detail, that sort of business and endgame thing, with the main chunk of the oils for mass production. And B being a progression from introduction to sellable product, with a majority of the molds and tons of fragrances and colorants then it would be three $300 purchases months apart rather than one large upfront cost. It would also keep beginners from being able mass produce while teaching them everything they need to start with, provide a mold/fragrance/colorant kit for people looking to expand what they already have, and a business and production option for those who have been doing it a long time already and only really need to know the business/finance/legality/legitimacy aspect. Each would work as their own stand alone kit, with a smooth learning and material progression across all three.
    I also agree a word .doc with production history tables, ingredient check off sheets, good fragrance blends and the ratios that go with them, things of that nature, which could just be printed off and used repeatedly would be a good idea.
    Human civilization is seen standing on the shoulders of those before us, we would have nothing if there were not people who came before, and learned, and devoted their lives to the attainment of knowledge of their subject. Be glad AM is sharing this knowledge rather than keeping it to herself, not only that, but sorting through the garbage to find the best information and tools, and condense it down as much as possible so that you can buy the minimum and do the most possible with it.
    I am sorry if I was a little ranty, but reading through the comments honestly filled me with such annoyance that I just had to get all of this off my chest, I’ve read the soap queen blog for a long time now and have never bothered to post, until this. I hope I did not offend, and I did not mean harm, this was not directed at any individual, more the mindset.

    • Anne-Marie says

      First of all, wow! I had to read your comment multiple times because it is so information dense – and I really wanted to absorb some of your rather lyrical writing. I love this paragraph of yours:

      < If your entire business depends on the fact that you have no competition, you are destined to fail. Anyone who thinks they can have a successful business by churning out the same product time and time again is being foolish. The beauty of capitalism is it forces people and corporations to adapt to changing environments, to create a better product to make sure people keep buying what they are selling. >

      It rings extremely true to me and goes directly to the spirit of what I hope and trust this kit will be: a fantastic starting point for many new soap businesses.

      The great news about the soap industry is that the US has 313,914,040 people in it (as of 2012 count) and that number is growing daily. That’s at least 313,914,040 showers (give or take a few – there’s always the multiple-per-day shower people that go to the gym to make up for the every-other-day folks) which means that if you’re going through 1 bar per month of soap, holy wow, that is a lot of soap! There truly is enough for everyone – really and truly there is.

      Your suggestion of multiple kits really has my brain thinking. I love that idea of a progressive syllabus. I’m going to work on that idea more. Thank you for that – really constructive and helpful to me – and so much for me to think about with your entire comment.

      • Jessica says

        Wow!! I was so sad to see all these people put down this ideal and boy did you say it all…I love this comment. You said so many things i was thinking & a lot more!! I am new to soaping and I would not even have found Bramble Berry If I had not already been doing my own research and came across soapqueens you tube page. I had ordered the kit and e-book and been researching for a long while now and If i could I would get this Kit for sure. Not that I would not put my own creativeness and hard work in my soaps but this would be great for a beginner. Their is so much more than just putting a soap out their,this just helps. Their is so much more like the whole legal and tax part and your own branding and so on. Ann Marie has been so kind in all she has done and is vary talented and I love her and want to thank her for all she does and to Alex for the wonderful post. It was amazing!!

    • Teresa says

      Thank you Alex and Amen! You have stated everything (and more) that I have been thinking while reading all of the comments posted. It is so refreshing to see a well thought out post.

  19. ClaireG says

    I have to agree with the naysayers on this one. There are enough new soapers putting out a bad product because they read a few books and decided to open their own business based on their very limited knowledge. I see their poor-quality products all the time, and it makes me cringe. It gives the rest of us — those of us who have spent years learning and refining the craft — a bad name.

    • MaryKaye Tolle says

      I’ve read all the comments and it’s pretty clear that everyone, naysayers and kit fans, believe that there are people that read a couple books, make soap and then go out and sell soap that’s not safe (or at least not crafted very well!). So, if everyone agrees that these people are out there, what are we doing as a soapmaking community to prevent that? What are we doing to help guide them? Beating them soundly about the head seems to be the favored method of most soapmaking forums and that also seems to be the most inefficient way to inspire change. Giving resources (this blog and others around the interweb) seem like a good first step but it’s not enough. Maybe this kit is the next step? I don’t have the answer but I do know that I think it’s too soon to judge.

      • Anne-Marie says

        That’s a thoughtful way to look at it, MaryKaye. I hadn’t thought about it quite with that spin. We just created the kit because we know that so many of those people (“I want to start a business; please guide me through it”) are out there and we wanted to serve that subset of the market with tried’n’tested products and learning resources to give them the best possible chance for success with a sound, safe product and a good overview of business basics. Thank you for your input.

        • amisha says

          That is a really interesting point that gives me a lot to think about. What should be the role of the soapmaking community in this situation? It almost seems like the business in a box concept is making the best of a potentially bad situation– brand-new soapmaker who wants to go out and sell soap immediately– by giving them the good tools and quality supplies and resources that so many of us didn’t have when we started. On that point, I totally agree with where y’all are coming from– better to use this kit, and the smart resources you’ve put together, than just sell your first batch of soap from some random recipe! But at the same time, it seems that as a community, it is more responsible to slow the process down, to uncouple the “learning to make soap” and “having a business” parts of this equation and encourage new soapmakers to learn, learn, learn WAY before thinking about the business end.

          • Kathy says

            “But at the same time, it seems that as a community, it is more responsible to slow the process down, to uncouple the “learning to make soap” and “having a business” parts of this equation and encourage new soapmakers to learn, learn, learn WAY before thinking about the business end.”

            Exactly this.

    • Anne-Marie says

      I know what you mean. We have all seen them and I’m sure we all want to help them create better products (both for themselves but also to help the overall perception of our industry). We worked on this kit for over two years with the help of our entire customer service team. We started monitoring our customer service calls a few years back and keeping track of what people called for. And, it turned out that only 25% of people called to place a new order, check on the status of an order or report a missing/damaged item. The rest of the calls were all recipe, procedure, business or labeling questions (or any combination of anything you ever see on forums, this blog, or our FB page). We realized that many of those calls were coming from the same people and after 6 months, those people would change out to another group of very heavy users/callers. When we really started diving into it, we came up with a startling answer: these people called us the first time precisely because they wanted to start a soapmaking business. And then kept calling and trying more things as they progressed in their craft. What we also found out was that they were also failing at a portion of their recipes and batches as they tried products or recipes or procedures that haven’t been tested (the flip side to so many internet resources is that not all of them are fully tested and safe). We made a flow chart of what people tended to ask on their first, second, third, fourth and fifth (and subsequent) calls and then correlated that with what their sales were over time. We then made a flow chart to go over what would have saved them that second, third, fourth and fifth call and subsequent orders to get them what they needed the first time. And, then, we created the kit. I believe it will save time, money and frustration while increasing consumer and soapmaker safety. Thank you for your thoughts on it though. I am open to hearing anything you think would make it a better kit, or anything you want to ensure that we covered in the kit from a safety, procedural, ingredient knowledge (etc) standpoint. Thank you for chiming in =)

      • Barbara says

        This kit excites me (and kinda scares me – in a good way). My husband loves my soaps and tells me all the time I should “bottle the stuff”. I think I’m gonna do it. I’ll start really really small without any expectations and do it. It’s very admirable that your not afraid to share and contribute. You deserve every bit of your success!

      • says

        There is another point to consider too, which is the one I am in. I want to further learn and experiment, but money is tight as always. With this kit I feel a little more confident that while I might not make a huge profit, I will potentially be able to recoup some of my money. I can in turn, use that to be more ingredients and keep learning. I also have my husband constantly begging me to turn this into a business (I think he just wants me to put my efforts ‘to good use). I haven’t felt ready with my recipes yet, but I think this kit will help that problem.

        • Anne-Marie says

          And, remember, if you have a lot of the materials already (you probably have a stick blender, lye, molds etc…), you can pick and choose with the materials and just add them individually to your cart. The books might be really helpful to you.

          Also, Lucky Break Consulting and Indie Business Network both have extremely useful business classes, blogs, books, phone calls etc… that you might find very useful.

  20. Hazel says

    WHat I find most fascinating about these comments is that when I learned how to soap in the 60’s at a loose commune, we were making soap with true potash and doing the whole ‘floating egg’ thing to determine the strength of the lye solution. Yes, we sold this soap! This kit is infinitely safer than anything that was happening 20 years ago or heck, even 15 years ago in the soaping industry. Yes, we have come along way, baby and maybe this is just the next progression.

    • Anne-Marie says

      Whoah! You have actually done the egg method for lye water? I’ve read about it but have never talked to anyone that has tried it. It sounds like the wild west of soaping for sure =) I agree with you – this kit and soaping now with all that we have is better for the customer. You may have gotten the fun with the eggs but I started about 30 years later when we didn’t have lye calculators when I started soaping, just one book, no soapmaking forums, no blogs. It’s a good reminder that I didn’t really have it that hard =)

    • says

      LOLLLLLL I agree, this is a MILLION times safer than what I have seen! I have actually even used lye heavy soap, and while it was not something I was pleased with, I was fascinate by someone actually making it. I bought it from one of those reanissance places, I watched her making it. I bought it the same day. Now does that sound safe. NOOOOOOOOOO. but it got me interested. I never used that soap after that, but I kept it around awhile…it didn’t look so great. But I do consider this a stepping stone, and with lots of stepping stones we get somewhere. This kit just makes it easier safer and cheaper to do so.

  21. Becca says

    I think this is a fabulous idea for people who are getting into soaping and have decided that they want to start their own business. What a better way to get what you need then this? It comes from someone who is #1 in her industry and offers so much to her customers. I really see this as being the next biggest thing. Thanks Anne-Marie for offering this. =)

    • Anne-Marie says

      Aw, thanks for the support Becca. I’m so glad that you like the idea behind the kit. I hope that if you try it that you find that it saves you some time – and gives you a great foundation for moving forward with your soapmaking business.

    • says

      I agree Becca. I am so excited for this. It is a money saver and a safe way to get started. I am grateful she has this well-thought out and offered to us. I am looking forward to seeing more kits. How awesome if she niched them too, like a natural kit with clays and essential oils, and perfumery business kit, and so much I can see branching off from this. I am also still hoping for our soaping university and business classes! I am so excited for all of this and yes, she most definetly in my eyes is number one!

  22. Anita says

    I think this business in a box is a great idea. It is just a stepping stone to get you started. I don’t know how it is the US but in my country you cannot get all the chemicals until u have attended at least 1 soap making class and only after that you can purchase the lye.
    So this kits just helps you starting off with all the necessary items you need and package and then sell. Once motivated, you can move on. Even with the kit, things go wrong, so only experience will count. Although with the kits will provide the same kind of soap, but you can personalized. And over time with experience you will eventually personalize it to suit you.
    (I run a beauty salon and have changed my packaging 3 times in 20 years.)
    In my experience, every time I go for a hobby class, be it jewelry, cake among or etc, if aim taken up by it, I always ask if the have a list of what I should have to start replicating, and they would provide me the list or better yet the starter kit, and that is how I see the business in a box.

    Well in my opinion, I think this is a GREAT kit.

  23. Jillian says

    I personally love the idea of this kit. I have spent hours agonizing over what to order, what books to start with and what fragrances might work or not in my soap. I don’t plan to short cut anything but saving the waste of throwing out batches with recipes that are not tested sounds like a great idea. Thank you for creating it. I can see a lot of thought went into designing it. I already own a few of the items on the list but am going to go and buy most of the items in the kit since I know they are what will work best for beginners. Thank you for the book suggestions as well.

  24. Kathy says

    I like the *idea* behind the kit.
    I like that it’s got all the information for both the soaping aspect and the business aspect.
    Personally I think those should be two separate kits though.
    The reason is because it’s unsafe to sell your soap if you’re an inexperienced soaper just starting out. Having a kit that is basically “everything you need to start selling soap” is downright scary. So the person looking to get the kit for the oils, recipes, molds etc should not also be getting the business stuff because they are simply too new to the process to safely sell their stuff.
    The experienced soapers with several batches under their belt, who understand how their soap performs and what happens to it as it ages etc, they just need the business stuff not the molds etc. So a kit built for them without the oils and lye etc would be best.
    As two separate kits they would be fabulous.
    Putting them together will increase the number of inexperienced soapers selling. I don’t think that’s a good thing.

    • Anne-Marie says

      That’s an interesting suggestion. We have found that many people call Bramble Berry who only want to start a business. They generally buy either 1 kit or multiples of the same kit with the intention of starting a business. Since we know this customer is out there, it’s important to me to put things together in the most safe, most comprehensive manner as possible. I feel like this kit is a significantly safer option than someone buying 10 of our Basic Kit and immediately selling that product. This kit has all the safety instructions in it, fully tested products and a large amount of experience and knowledge to back up the sale. If you have any suggestions on wording or products to put into it to make it a better kit, I would love to hear them.

      • Kathy says

        Marketing it as “Business in a Box” is what scares me.
        I think it would be important to say “This is every thing you need to start a soaping business EXCEPT EXPERIENCE” because Experience IS necessary and important in this industry. The risks are too great.

        I would parse them into two kits.

        I would even add a third one called “soap making school” where you have everything you need to make several different recipes a few times and a trouble shooting guide. Then you can say “If you work through this kit you’ll have a strong foundation for selling your soap.”
        Having the newbie kit and the business kit together encourages unsafe practices. Especially when they can just pull recipes from anywhere online and watch a few youtube videos and skip the reading materials altogether.

        • amisha says

          I completely agree with these comments. I started soaping 12 years ago and I had so many failed batches (or just weird batches) that I can’t even count them. There were no internet resources to turn to and I was reading super-old books from the library and doing my best. I started selling my soap only a couple of months ago, because I finally felt like I really understood the art and craft enough to share what I was making. I know that’s an unusually long time frame, but I do believe that it takes months and years to understand your oils, your process, your scents. It is not an overnight or weekend process.

          I would have LOVED to have these resources when I was first starting out. BUT– I think that the idea that you can work through this kit and make a business not only wrong, it cheapens (to use the word I see in some other comments) the many years of work and research that so many other soapmakers have done. I like the idea of calling this kit “soapmaking 101″ or “soapmaking school,” with maybe some more advanced kits as people progress. But the idea that you have everything you need for a business here? In 10 batches? Please, please, please re-think this. I understand that you get a lot of calls from people who have never made soap before but want to start a business selling soap. This makes no sense to me! If you’ve never baked a cake, why would you start a bakery?! How do you know if you even LIKE making soap, for starters? This product just encourages that thinking– hey, I’ve never done this before, but I can totally make a business doing it!– and devalues the work of all the soapmakers out there who have worked so hard at the craft. I really love your company, I’ve ordered a lot from you and I’ll continue to do so– but I truly truly hope you’ll reconsider this product, at least the “business” dimension.

  25. Jinx says

    If you had marketed this as a beginner soaping kit, that would have been one thing. Business in a box is quite another. It’s downright irresponsible. I love Brambleberry so please understand that it’s not easy for me to say these things.

    Hearing this comment – “I don’t think people will buy this kit and expect to spend a weekend making soap and head to a show to sell the next.” – is very unfortunately a laugh. Spend a couple of months on a soapmaking forum and you’ll find this happens constantly. People try to sell their first 5 batches of soap 2 or 3 weeks after they’re made. Forget curing time or superfat, forget the fact that it may not even be safe to use. They don’t know or care.

    I also agree with the above comment about this cheapening our unique industry. You have to remember that when people go buy something, their first experience is memorable. If they buy a terrible bar of handmade soap, they aren’t likely to buy another one, even from a different maker. This is why those who are brand new to making are GREATLY discouraged from selling any of their first batches. “We recommend a minimum of 10 successful batches”? Even 20 is not enough. Even 50 may not be enough. You just have not been through enough trial and error and mistakes to know that you could do so much better. My personal number behind this would be 50-100 batches and at least a year of soapmaking.

    I think this is potentially a great item for a new soaper to get started with. The business aspect you’ve tacked onto it is appalling. I’m so disappointed with the lack of forethought behind this. This is not a comment to bash this company, or an attempt at sheer negativity, it is real concern.

    • Anne-Marie says

      If people buy a bar of soap made with the Quick Mix oils in this kit, they definitely won’t be buying a poorly formulated bar of soap. The recipe in this kit is comprised of Coconut, Palm Oil, Canola Oil, Olive Oil and Castor Oil. Those are pretty standard oils to include in a soap recipe and are a great beginner recipe.

      This kit goes over safety, curing, superfatting, and everything you’d be getting in a 3 hour class (and way more). It’s like having seventeen forums strung together for you to save time, experimentation and money while keeping you and your consumer safe. It’s not designed to cheapen our awesome, amazing industry. It’s designed to help shelter and guide new people that might tempted to take shortcuts and sell a poorly formulated, or not fully cured bar of soap.

      Part of the reason that 10-20 soap batches might not be enough for a typical learning curve is precisely because a new soaper is trying to learn the ins and outs of designing a recipe – whereas here, they don’t have to. This cuts down on the experimentation time needed. Part of the reasons that trial and error are needed is because of the massive amounts of variables that go into soapmaking; only, with this kit, there are no variables that haven’t been tested, tested, tested and tested some more.

      The business aspect that we’ve added onto this kit is because we know that people are trying to start a soap business to make a living. Rather than buying the same kit over and over again (which they do), we’ve added in business resources (including where to get business licenses in all the states, business insurance, registering with city/county) and tried to think of all the basics for starting a business to save time and wheel spinning. It won’t take the place of the hard work of branding, thoughtful marketing, selling, accounting and production but it will save time to research all the basic steps.

      I truly believe that this kit will improve the quality and safety of our soapmaking industry if beginners choose to use it.

  26. sharon says

    I have been experimenting with soap making for two years. I have attended soap making classes and the soap intensive with Anne Marie. I buy small amounts of supplies as needed from Brambleberry. I now feel ready to start a soap making business. I would definitely buy this kit and think it is a fantastic idea. Although I do have a few of the items already in the kit. Could I buy the kit and make adjustments for the items I have?

    I don’t think people will buy this kit and expect to spend a weekend making soap and head to a show to sell the next. Instead they have all the necessary ingredients to start experimenting. Or they could be like me and need to invest in larger quantities to start making soap to sell. I have tried different soap recipes and always go back to recipes I learned from the classes or soap intensitive I took with Anne Marie. I love the idea of your quick oils. I can still decide how super fatted I want to make my bars.

    You can’t take a class with Anne Marie without seeing her passion for soap making and her desire to help others purse this wonderful craft. I applaud you Anne Marie for all you do for the world of soap makers. Soon as I can afford to purchase the kit I will be making my order!

    • Tegan says

      “I don’t think people will buy this kit and expect to spend a weekend making soap and head to a show to sell the next.”

      This is where I STRONGLY disagree. In the 7 years I’ve been making soap and on message boards I see people trying to do this MONTHLY. A kit like this just encourages that viewpoint.

      • Anne-Marie says

        We certainly hope people don’t do that – and in fact, the Guide that we include (in case people don’t end up wading all the way through the books, videos, downloads etc.. that are included in the kit) specifically says NOT to sell any future batches until you have 10 fully cured, successful batches under your belt. The last thing I want is a fly-by-nighter out there selling. What I do want is to prevent the very customers you’re concerned about from doing just that – buying a kit, slapping on a non-INCI label, making medical claims, and selling uncured soap at a market. If that small subset of the population is out there, perhaps this well-designed, safety-conscious program might help prevent exactly what you’re concerned about. That’s my sincere desire and hope.

      • Kayla says

        I’m sorry but as a new soaper wanting to start a business I think you and many here are way off. I’ve been making soap now for a year and have now eleven great batches under my belt I love this idea. I hope by this time next year I can possibly attend our local craft day. With this I can easily learn all that I need to know about labeling and experiment even more. I’d love to even buy this set just to experiment more without even selling. On the labeling itself is awesome because this looks like it can make it so much easier to learn. Basically to me its not really about a business start up kit but more as a class in a box. Only way you could get all that information and supplies is by taking a course on it. For me I don’t have access to all that info in one spot so thanks to these awesome people I can learn what I need to know to eventually start a business. Sorry for rambling but just had to say how Awesome it is you guys made this. Only thing to make it better is to have an all natural one. ;)

  27. says

    I would just like to also say, please dont pull this product out of your selection because of all the negativity. Being a somewhat veteran soapmaker I can see so much of the possibilities and help this kit can provide even for an established soapmaking business and plan to purchase soon.
    Keep up the good work. :)

    KeMira H.
    HeavenScentsDetroit.com

  28. Tracy/Aiya says

    OH MY GOSH

    Anne-Marie…just when I thought there is NO way you could make Brambleberry anybetter, it just has everything…NOPEEEEEEE you did it again! You continue to amaze me everyday! Thank you so much this is AWESOME!! Anychance you will come out with other recipes “quick mix” style? At least a palm-free one hehehe!

  29. says

    I just want to say, thank you so much Ann Marie and BB for creating this kit!
    Ive been in business for a little over a year and it was at least 8 months before that, I spent watching videos, reading books, downloading e-books and doing other research before making my first batch of soap to sell. Ive probably watched all of the soap queen videos 20 times each!
    I spent so much time looking for suppliers and a way to buy all of the ingredients I needed that i almost got discouraged and gave up on my dream of owning my own business.
    Having a very large portion of the tools needed and proper instruction all in one place for one price would have been a godsend when i was just starting out. Even tho ive been making soap for years as a hobby and have a thriving business for a bit over a year, this kit still is beneficial in many many ways.
    Theres no way this kit will replace, the experience, knowledge and hard work that comes with being a soapmaker ( and its obvious u guys didnt mean it too) but it will get someone well on their way.
    This country is built upon small business and no matter how large or thriving a business is, it was a small business once upon a time.

    Again, thank you so much for your great products and awesome customer service Anne Marie and all the people at BB.

    A loyal and grateful customer,

    KeMira
    HeavenScentsDetroit.com

    • Anne-Marie says

      Thanks for the really sweet note KeMira. I’m glad you think it’s a good idea and something that would have helped you when you were starting out. That’s the perspective I tried to keep in mind while putting this kit together.

  30. Cindy Traxinger says

    Anne-Marie, THANK YOU so much for taking the time to put this kit together! I cannot even begin to tell you how grateful I am. Others have commented on how they feel this is such a “bad idea” but I have to DISAGREE. While I can only speak for myself, I feel that it is safe to say that some of us do not have the luxury of time. Time to research the thousands of books that are available on the subject (I have purchased A LOT of them). Time to visit the hundreds of websites (suppliers, recipes, other soapmakers’ websites, video tutorials, etc.). I cannot even begin to tell you the number of hours I have spent researching and “experimenting” not to mention the money I have invested in the last 2 years. Did I mention ALL of it was research and practice? I have not sold a single bar of soap. However, THIS is what I have been waiting for and I will be placing my order in the next couple of hours! Again, Anne-Marie, THANK YOU! Thank you and your team for being such wonderful human beings and sharing your (PRICELESS) knowledge and expertise with us :)

    • Anne-Marie says

      Wow, thank you for such a kind note. I was hoping new and established soapmakers would feel the same as you. I know I would have loved to have this type of kit to learn from when I was a brand new soaper. When I think of all the time and money I wasted (sad face)… Thank you for support and taking the time to comment.

    • says

      YES I AGREE. This is exactly what I have been looking froward to as well, and I also have spent more than my fair share of time and money on books! I also think anyone who would be spending that much won’t be neglecting the practice. It is made clear this is a jumping off point, and I am sure Anne-Marie hasn’t cheapened or made it dangerous or whatever their concerns are. This is was a great idea, and since LYE is included in the kit, I am sure that they have to sign the waiver, and that alone would make anyone aware that there is some safety involved.

  31. Mima says

    I love the concept! I don’t think anyone spending $700 to start a business is going to neglect doing the research. Good Luck Bramble Berry! If you need assistance putting together a melt and pour package happy to tell you what my favorite molds and scents are!

  32. Shirin says

    I don’t see it as cheating, per se, but I think it’s a bad idea because it assumes that all businesses with exactly the same recipe, using exactly the same fragrance profile will be equally successful.

    Part of having a successful business is your unique branding — how does churning out a bunch of soaps made by a bunch of not-very-experienced soapmakers benefit anyone? Especially the naive soapmakers who expect to be able to make some money back on their 89 cent bars? (Did you forget to add in labor costs while pricing these bars? Overhead? Liability insurance? Business license fees? Packaging materials? Packaging labor?)

    But I guess there are people who are willing to buy kits to start up a business selling foreclosed homes with no previous real estate experience as well, judging by the commercials I see on TV late at night.

    • says

      Completely agree – all business takes extremely hard work and if 100 people are given the exact same recipe (for anything, cupcakes, soap, knitting, fabric dying) and resources, we’ll all end up with 100 different businesses in the end. And, a year later, not everyone will be in business because business is hard – and there are unpredictable factors involved with it always.

      I believe that what will happen with this kit is what happens with almost all our kits. People use them as a starter, as a foundation and then those that are truly curious and interested in differentiating themselves, pursuing the craft and taking their business to the next level will expand outwards, try new colors, new fragrances, new molds and new techniques to take their business to the next level.

  33. Jess says

    I completely agree with the comments about this being a bad idea. In my opinion, this idea cheapens our unique little industry. All these new little businesses that will be created by purchasers of this kit will be much too inexperienced to be selling soap. As soapmakers, we take pride in doing the legwork of testing our recipes and learning from our mistakes. Many of us have spent years perfecting our craft and are very proud of our unique products. We should be encouraging newbies to experiment and take the time needed before starting a business. I am very disappointed in Bramble Berry for creating this “Cheat Kit”.

    • says

      Hi Jess, Thanks for your note. This kit is not designed to be a ‘cheat kit.’ It’s designed to be a kit that saves time, money and frustration. Imagine if when you were a new soaper, you didn’t waste money on ingredients that didn’t work or processes that failed. Wouldn’t that have been nice?

      In this case, a soaper still has to learn how to make the soap, how to soap safely and actually produce great soap. The guide that comes with the kit has a large amount of review for safety and for science and has strong admonitions on how many batches to have safely made before selling etc…

      We have found that many people call Bramble Berry who only want to start a business. They generally buy either 1 kit or multiples of the same kit with the intention of starting a business. Since we know this customer is out there, it’s important to me to put things together in the most safe, most comprehensive manner as possible. I feel like this kit is a significantly safer option than someone buying 10 of our Basic Kit and immediately selling that product. This kit has all the safety instructions in it, fully tested products and a large amount of experience and knowledge to back up the sale. If you have any suggestions on wording or products to put into it to make it a better kit, I would love to hear them.

    • says

      I don’t understand all the negativity. This is all still that same products and ingredients Brambleberry offers, just put together as a kit. It is no different than any other kit she or other suppliers offer. As far as cheapening the soaping industry I really don’t see that happening either. Why? In my opinion what I have seen as some farmers markets have been far worse. I see people melting dove soap in a microwave, throwing it in a mold from a local crafts store and calling it natural handmade lye free soap! I don’t see this kit making us look bad in anyway… I think most people are just weary of the name “business in a box”. I am interested in this kit not for starting a business, but for ease of use as a beginner. Its a complete kit for a beginner. I also get where she is coming from as far as several orders. I started my soaping adventure in November of last year, have made several orders since, and still don’t have everything I would like to have. In December that was really frustrating because I made two orders and the shipping was slower due to the season. With this beginner kit she has assured us we can have all the knowledge and most of the tools needed. That is a relief for someone like me who is short on time and live out in the middle of no where lol.

  34. JCandleAttic says

    Since I don’t think my comment posted correctly I will reiterate what a bad idea I think this is: Here is my previous comment.

    I must say that I agree with Tegan. With this “kit” the person purchasing this “Business” doesn’t have to do ANY of their own research, meaning if something goes wrong (which at some point it probably and most likely WILL) they will have no idea how to correct, or even at the very least identify, what went wrong. What if while measuring the measured the lye wrong and then went on to SELL a whole batch of lye heavy soap – hurting someone. What if the person buying it didn’t know and used it on their child? So many unanswered “What-if’s” that as a supplier, I feel that this product is completely irresponsible and IMO should be pulled. Or modified as to not encourage “Bad Business” in a box.

    • says

      It posted =) But I’ll answer it here so it doesn’t get all mixed in with Tegan’s.

      I totally understand your concern. And in this case, I believe that anything going wrong would be dealt with in the same way as any new soaper – searching out the resources they have (in this case, if you bought the kit, you probably have more books and videos than many soapers do) or by calling us or searching chat forums. We all learn by doing – and this kit doesn’t short cut the ‘doing’ part. You still have to make the soap. We have many soapers that got one recipe from someone way-back-when that never have deviated from that recipe (ever). Does that make them less of a soaper than you or I?

      The chances of someone making a lye heavy batch with this kit are the same as someone making it with any batch. You’d have to make a mistake, physically mis-measure a product etc… Mistakes do happen when human beings are involved – and this kit won’t prevent or cause them any more than any other recipe or kit out there.

      We have so many customers calling up and saying, “I want to start a business making soap; where do I start!?” that we took the 8 orders it usually takes them and combined them. There was a logical progression to our thinking on this kit and it followed what happens when a new business customer calls us. We talked to our team about what questions they ask, what they order, and then followed quite a few customers through the process for the last two years (yes, this kit has been in the works for over two years now). Once we had a good handle on what we thought they needed and went through, coupled with my experience with learning how to make soap without any help from anyone and what I wish I had known and had, we thoughtfully designed this kit with the maximum amount of safety for the soapmaker and consumer in mind.

      The kit comes with a comprehensive guide that focuses on soapmaker safety and consumer safety before selling.

      I love this industry. I’m committed to it. I would never do anything that I thought would negatively impact it. It’s been my life for over 15 years. I truly think this is a better alternative than what I’ve seen happening over the last decade. If you have any thoughts on how to make the kit better, more safety oriented or anything, please let me know.

  35. TJ says

    I’m sorry, I have to agree that this just strikes me as irresponsible. Here is everything you need to make a quick buck EXCEPT the time and experience that goes into making a SAFE product. For only $800 you can make thousands! Seems like the stuff of smarmy infomercials, not a highly successful and respected businesswoman.

    I love Brambleberry, and I have always appreciated how generous you are with sharing tutorials, techniques, even recipes, but I really think this kit is encouraging exactly the wrong kind of business practices.

    • Anne-Marie says

      Totally understand the concerns listed here. And, as someone that came up through the soapmaking ranks with the school of super hard knocks (one book, only AOL chat rooms, no one to ask when my first 5 batches failed), I feel some wistfulness over how many resources new soapers have. What I wouldn’t have given ‘back in the day’ for a SoapQueen blog or for this forum or for some of the great books that are out right now.

      I’ve been working on this kit for over two years with the help of our entire customer service team. We started monitoring our customer service calls a few years back and keeping track of what people called for. And, it turned out that only 25% of people called to place a new order, check on the status of an order or report a missing/damaged item. The rest of the calls were all recipe, procedure, business or labeling questions (or any combination of anything you ever see on this forum). We realized that many of those calls were coming from the same people and after 6 months, those people would change out to another group of very heavy users/callers. When we really started diving into it, we came up with a startling answer: these people called us the first time precisely because they wanted to start a soapmaking business. And then kept calling and trying more things as they progressed in their craft. What we also found out was that they were also failing a decent amount as they tried products or recipes or procedures that haven’t been tested (the flip side to so many internet resources is that not all of them are fully tested and safe). We made a flow chart of what people tended to ask on their first, second, third, fourth and fifth (and subsequent) calls and then correlated that with what their sales were. We then made a flow chart to go over what would have saved them that second, third, fourth and fifth call and subsequent order. And, then, we created the kit. I believe it will save time, money and frustration while increasing consumer and soapmaker safety.

      Ultimately, I believe this kit will function like any other kit we sell. It will be a fantastic foundation with all the resources in one place for a new soaper but it won’t save the hard work portion of things that happens when you start a business, it won’t save having to figure out a brand, having to deal with accounting, and having to create a consistent product that customers come back to time and time again. The guide that comes with the kit (just in case people don’t want to read through 8 books all in a row) highlights the essential chapters and pages that I think anyone and everyone should reads, and highlights safety issues for the soaper and for the consumer and yes, suggests never selling your product until you have a minimum of 10 successful batches under your belt. Most of the kits we sell act as starting off points for more learning, more growing and more safe experimentation. I expect this one will act just like that. Soapers will get tired of the prescription and venture out with the safety net of all the books, this forum, and all the internet resources out there. They’ll be further ahead since they understand the ins and outs of labeling (included in the kit), the business aspects of the business (included in the kit), have their business license (instructions for each state are included in the kit) and have insurance (resources and strong suggestion to buy included in the kit).

      I am extremely passionate about this industry. If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t spend the insane amounts of time on the Soap Queen blog, SoapQueen.TV or trying to constantly test and create new and exciting recipes to help further the industry along as we all grow together. I would never intentionally put something out that wasn’t fully tested, fully vetted and didn’t help the industry (in my opinion). In this case, I truly believe that it is a safer option than what many new soapers are doing right now and I believe it will help improve soaper and consumer safety.

      • Cassie says

        I am extremely excited for this kit because I have already ventured into soap making, and would like to sell it eventually, but get highly discouraged when trying to figure out what and how much to buy. There are thousands of options of oils, FOs, colorants, etc. Talk about overwhelming! I’ve already done the research, and the practice. This is finally my solution for making a purchase that will have everything organized for me. They aren’t marketing this to the population as a whole saying, “Hey, wanna make some money fast? Buy this!” Rather, they are thoughtfully packaging what you would need if you’re already thinking of going down this route. I am so, so excited about it. (Did I say that already?) :D

        • says

          Hi Cassie!

          We are so excited for you to get this kit too! We have packed it full of information and ingredients that will help you put together batches of soap. We can’t wait to hear what you think of the kit and see your super cute soaps. Keep us updated! =)

          -Becky with Bramble Berry

  36. Tegan says

    This has BAD IDEA stamped all over it. I love some of the things I currently get from your company, but as a business owner that took the time to do it the right way I can not support such an irresponsible “product” or the company that sells or markets it to the public. I will be taking my business elsewhere in the future. This is not about competition in the marketplace, this is about the safety of the general public. It encourages making a selling of product by people that are too lazy to do the research and learn how to make it properly and safely.

    • JCandleAttic says

      I must say that I agree with Tegan. With this “kit” the person purchasing this “Business” doesn’t have to do ANY of their own research, meaning if something goes wrong (which at some point it probably and most likely WILL) they will have no idea how to correct, or even at the very least identify, what went wrong. What if while measuring the measured the lye wrong and then went on to SELL a whole batch of lye heavy soap – hurting someone. What if the person buying it didn’t know and used it on their child? So many unanswered “What-if’s” that as a supplier, I feel that this product is completely irresponsible and IMO should be pulled. Or modified as to not encourage “Bad Business” in a box.

    • says

      Thanks for your opinion Tegan. What we’ve found over the 15 years of selling to soapmakers of all stages and interest levels is that there are an entire subset of the population that want to start a small business. They generally buy a kit, make soap, buy another kit and a book, make soap, buy another kit, make soap and then start the work of trying to figure out how to label and sell the products.

      With this kit, it comes with everything already packaged up so someone wouldn’t have to place 12 separate orders (“Oh darn, I should have gotten that too!”) and learn at their own pace with everything in front of them. You still have to learn how to make the soap and do the hard work of registering your business, selling and marketing. I look at it like someone choosing to go to school to learn a new craft versus slaving away on their own for weeks/years. Or, it’s like the continuum of baking – you can buy a kit, you can use your Grandma’s recipe and never deviate or you can go to a culinary institute. All three of those people could start a business and ultimately, it’s the consumer that decides if they like a baking kit cupcake versus a culinary trained institute cupcake.

      The kit comes with a large amount of reading material – and you can’t actually make the soap without going through a large portion of it. As a 20 year+ veteran soaper, safety is always foremost in my mind. Thank you for voicing your concerns. If you have any suggestions on how to make the kit better, I would love to hear them.

      • Shirin says

        Well, most restaurants and food business go out of business within the first year. Mostly because people who cook well in their own kitchen or who get compliments from friends assume that they would be able to open a catering shop.

        My husband went to the Culinary Institute of America, where *most* of what they learned was not how to make the best cupcake, but how to send a consistent product at large volume out of a professional kitchen. How to keep food costs down. How to manage the front of house. In fact, your analogy is flawed when you compare the homemade cupcake to the culinary school cupcake, as his baking instructor told the students that there was not point in perfecting the American moist cake recipe, since boxed mixes do it better than made from scratch (if you want the cake to hold up over time with repeated refrigeration, etc.)

        What people don’t know, who open a restaurant, is that it’s NOTHING like making dinner for your family or even putting on a fancy dinner party, and most of the people who want to start up a local restaurant should be told firmly and often that it’s a BAD idea to start up with a menu of 16 handcrafted items. Three sauces which can be used over 10 dishes is MUCH better.

        I think you’ve got a lot to offer by ways of business acumen, but I don’t think you are doing those customers who come to you looking to open a business any favors by telling them that all they need to do is start making soap and read a few books. There’s a different technique in creating a *consistent* product.

        Stepping off my soapbox…

        • says

          Go figure that all this time I’ve been (mostly) forcing myself to bake from scratch when I could have used a moist cake recipe. Thank you for saving me time! LOL! =)

          I agree – opening a business is extremely hard work (restaurant, retail store, soap company, house cleaning company, dog walking service etc…). That’s one of the reasons why the small business failure rate is so high.

          I encourage creativity and safe experimentation on this blog. I’m all about trying new things (safely) and I try to educate and instruct others on how to safely expand their craft. However, we all had to start somewhere. In my case, it was with 5 failed batches, in a small apartment, in Chehalis, WA. Thank goodness I’m tenacious and stubborn or else my soaping career would have ended right there! I think this kit is going to save many new soapers heartache of failed batches but it won’t save them the work that comes with producing products that consumers will buy. A business isn’t made with one sale; it’s made by repeated sale after sale after sale. And, the only way you get that is by having quality products, consistently, at a fair price with customer service before and after the sale. This kit gets you tried ‘n’ true recipes (similar to any of our CP soapmaking kits) but it doesn’t short cut the learning curve to learning how to soap safely, how to label, how to cure your soap and how to deal with insurance. The copious amounts of learning material that come with the kit cover all of that – and in case people want to short cut (it’s human nature), I’ve highlighted the important pages and passages in various books etc… that people need to read to ensure that all the high points are covered. I’ve tried to do everything with this kit to ensure that it is as safe for the soapmaker as it is for the consumer and I feel strongly that this is a much safer option than what I see with some new soapers in the industry. I’d welcome any suggestions to making it a better product though so please, definitely tell me what I could do to improve it if you have any ideas.

          • Shirin says

            A large section on troubleshooting failures.
            A description of why various fatty acid profiles create different attributes in soap (which you may never learn with a premixed base, but hey, I use a premixed base for a lot of my stuff too).

            Those are the first two things that come to mind.

            Also, something on blending fragrances so that everyone who buys this kit isn’t sending the same soap out the door as everyone else.

            A binder for BMP’s for every step of your manufacturing process.

            In house testing to assure quality control and standardization between batches.

            And some sort of countdown which says, “Don’t start selling until you’ve had X many failures and have figured out how to prevent them.”

          • Anne-Marie says

            Good news – the troubleshooting failures and the fatty acid profiles is in there. I think most people will eventually want to start creating their own ‘perfect’ recipe so all that science-y stuff is included in there. GMP information is in there (but no binder – that’s an interesting idea – literally the batch notes book for them … I like that idea). In-house testing and quality control information is in the kit. We suggest a minimum of 10 successful batches before selling. Do you think that’s too little? I was between 10 and 20 in my mind but then I thought back to how many of my batches failed in the beginning precisely because I was testing and trouble shooting so much and, anyone with this kit shouldn’t have that issue. What do you think?

    • Anne-Marie says

      Thanks Andrea, I’m glad you like the idea. I just know with all the options out there that I’d be overwhelmed as a new soaper so we’re hoping to help people save time and money =)

      • Delicia Ambrosino says

        I was lucky. I got it right the first time…but I studied, studied, and studied some more before I attempted it.I also had a mix of beef tallow with olive oil so that may have made a difference as plant oils are a bit more difficult to get a trace and easier to “curd”. I also used a good postal scale with a tare on it for measurements.Believe it or not my most famous soap was my Pine Tar soap which cleans EVERYTHING…hair and body {even pine tar itself} and leaves you squeaky clean, no residue, and yet moisturized. Leave the scent as is or add scent. I only sell local and of course there are always gifts to create.
        I love your site. You have a multitude of ideas and info that is really quite helpful to opening a soap makers mind to all sorts of possibilities as well as offering teaching methods which is, in my opinion, a must have for any soaper.
        Good luck on your future endeavors. ~D~

  37. Anita says

    This is a great idea. What if I have already have two of the books and the electrical items ommited because of the voltage in my country is not compatible,(220v) and the FedEx price for the kit? Please email, as I am so wanting it.
    Or I might have to ommitt the lye as well for shipping restrictions.

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