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How to Start a Soap Making Business in Kenya

Daisy Neema
Daisy Neema Business Ideas

The soap making business is increasingly becoming popular in Kenya. It is simple and it requires little capital to start. Kenyans are turning to handmade soaps made with natural ingredients to avoid using commercial soaps that contain harsh chemicals. You can learn the skill and start making beautiful, sweet-smelling handmade soaps. The following steps will get you started on the soap making business.

Also read: How to start a retail shop in Kenya

How to Start a Soap Business 

Customers love to purchase high-quality products. You will need to learn the soap making process if you don't know how to do it. 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 ad 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. You need to decide on the ingredients, colors and scents to use for your soap. 

Hand made soap bars

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 custsomers increase. 

Also Read: How to start a laundry business in Kenya

How To Succeed in the Soap Making Business 

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 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.

Register the Business and Get the Necessary Permits and Licenses

You will need to register your business, business name and get the necessary certification. 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. 

Read more: Business permits and licences needed to operate a business in Kenya

Acquire Equipment, Supplies and Suppliers

Soap makers will need equipment like a simple thermometer, weighing scale, blenders, mixing kettles, wrappers, labelers, molds, and microwaves. You can purchase any equipment that best works for you, depending on your budget.

Once you start making soap consistently, it is best 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.

Start Making Soaps

Get all the necessary ingredients you need to start soap production. Your production rate will depend on the size of your target market and their purchasing rate. If you target your neighbors, it is best to produce soap in small quantities. If you are supplying to large businesses such as hospitals, restaurants, or schools, you might need to do mass production of soaps. The niche type soaps you can produce include coconut milk soaps, organic ingredient soaps, only essential oils soaps, and olive oil soaps.

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 most businesses produce say 600g and 700g bar soaps, you can make smaller bars and lower your prices so that even the low-income earners can afford it. Once you have decided on this, you can promote your brand on social media platforms.

Another great way to promote and market your business is to offer free products once in a while. 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.


Having soap making ideas will help you produce bar soaps that are appealing to customers. You will 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 on soap making business or attend soap making training in Kenya.  

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