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How to Start a Soap Making Business in Kenya

The soap making business is increasingly becoming popular in Kenya. It is simple and requires little startup capital. Kenyans are turning to handmade soaps with natural ingredients to avoid chemicals with side effects. You can learn the skill and start making beautiful, scented handmade soaps. To start this kind of business, you need to know how to make bar soap at home in Kenya.

You can easily get bar soap making training in Kenya from experts or learn vocational training. In this article, we are going to show you how to start bar soap and liquid soap making business in Kenya.

How to Start a Soap Business 

Customers like high-quality products. You need to learn how to make soap. You can attend soap making classes, training programs, workshops, learn from friends, read books, or use soap-making tutorials online. Go for what is best and convenient for you.

Methods used to Make Soap 

Method 1: The hot soap making process: In this process, oils and lye are combined through saponification, a process that requires heating. Heating is meant to speed up the saponification process before going into the mold. Ensure that your soap is half full in the Crock Pot. It is because the soap tends to expand during heating and it can overflow.  

Method 2: The Cold soap making process: It is the most common and easiest method used to make soap. The cold process involves mixing fats and oils with sodium hydroxide lye through saponification process. Decide on the ingredients, colors and scents to use for your soap. 

Also read: Profitable small business ideas in Kenya. 

Cost of Starting a Soap Making Business in Kenya

For a medium or large soap making business, soap making machine costs around Ksh 200,000. However, you can start small by making soap manually and you can get start with as low as Ksh 10,000. Grow your business and expand your business as your customers increase. 

How To Succeed in the Soap Making Business in Kenya

Identify Your Target Customers

To get customers for any business, the first step is to identify a gap in the market. Do market research and find out what types of soaps people need, but are not in supply. This can be tough since the market is already running with stiff competition. However, there is something for everyone with an eye for detail and creativity, even in a competitive space.

Develop a Niche

After learning how to make soap and identifying your target market, you will need to find a niche and develop your unique formula. You can create soaps using animal-by products only, natural ingredients only, or you can mix with ingredients. Being a competitive space, you will need to experiment with scents, moisturizers, and colors to stand out.

Write a Soap Making Business Plan

It is essential to develop a business plan for any business. State your target customers, the type of soap you intend to make, where your business location. You can run your business online or open a physical store. Additionally, include the raw materials and type of equipment you will be using, their costs. Also, indicate how you will raise the startup capital. A business plan should include short term and long term goals.

Read more: How to write a business plan.

Register the Business and Get the Necessary Permits and Licenses

You will need to register your business, business name and get the necessary business licenses and permits. Making soaps requires proper and safe handling of ingredients. It is essential to register your business to acquire legal certifications on the use of soap ingredients. Health officials will visit your premises and can make recommendations on the safety measures in soap making. 

Acquire Equipment, Supplies and Suppliers

You will need equipment like a simple thermometer, weighing scale, blenders, mixing kettles, wrappers, labelers, molds, and microwaves.

Once you start making soap consistently, you need to find suppliers for a steady supply of oils, fats, colors, wrappers, and scents. You can find suppliers in many towns in Kenya. Palm oil is available in Mombasa, while coconut oil is pressed by many companies in Malindi, Changamwe and Kilifi.

In Nairobi, you can buy caustic Soda at Kariobangi Light Industries, Tata Chemicals, or Chem Care. Suppliers of soap making machines in Kenya include Nyaweco Engineering Works Limited and on local classified ads websites like OLX.

Read also: How to start cereals produce business in Kenya.

Start Making Soaps

Get the ingredients you need to start soap production. The quantity of the production will depend on the size of your market. If you are targeting your neighbors as your customers, it is best to produce soap in small quantities.

If you are supplying to large entities like hospitals, restaurants, or schools, you will need to produce soap in large quantities. You can make coconut milk soap, organic ingredient soap, only essential oils soaps, or olive oil soap.

Promote and Market Your Soap Making Business

Since there is high competition, it is best to do something to help your business stand out. For example, if your competitors produce 600g bar soaps, you can make smaller bars and lower your prices so that even low-income earners can afford it. You can then start promoting your brand on social media.

Another great way to promote and market your business is by giving free soap from time to time to loyal customers. Alternatively, you can provide a free bar soap for every purchase made. Distributing brochures and newsletters will also help get the word around concerning your business.

Raw Material for Making Soap in Kenya

To know how to start a handmade soap business, you need to know the raw materials needed. You need the following raw materials that are locally available throughout the country to manufacture soap:

  • Silicate
  • Fatty palm oils
  • Palm oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Caustic
  • Soap dyes
  • Fragrances
  • Molds

Where to Buy Soap Making Ingredients in Kenya? 

if you are wondering where to buy chemicals for soap making in Kenya, you can find the nearest location here

Cost of Making Bar Soap in Kenya

The cost of making bar soap in Kenya ranges between Ksh 45 to Ksh 55 for 800g bar soap. Try as much as you can to source raw materials for making soap from cheap suppliers, but also ensure they are of high quality. A good bar soap should have a lot of foam and also last long. 

Is Soap Making Profitable in Kenya? 

Yes. Soap making is a profitable business in Kenya. You can sell each bar soap at Ksh 100 and you will have made Ksh 45 as profit. This is about 50% profit. This is a good profit margin to help your pay for overhead costs.

Read also: How to start a movie shop business in Kenya.

Summary of How to Start a Soap Making Business in Kenya

Excellent soap making ideas will help you produce bar soaps that are appealing to customers. Before starting a soap business, you need to learn to prepare a wide variety of soap formulas and employ excellent marketing strategies to succeed in this business. You can read books about soap making business or attend soap making training in Kenya.  

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