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.
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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.
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.
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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.
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 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.
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.
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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.
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Excellent 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 about soap making business or attend soap making training in Kenya.