Folksy Ltd

Illegal soap ?!

(mollyandrewshandmadesoap) #1

Hello, my first post in the forum.
I have been making soap as a hobby for a while now and was going to set up a small business with my mum, but unfortunately she passed away in December 2014, so in memory of her I decided to go for it anyway.

My problem is this, I only make a 1kg loaf at a time, if this makes 10 bars and my costs were £30 for the ingredients, selling the bars at £3 each would cover my costs. (this is an example, some loaves cost more, some less).

I have just started to set up a folksy shop but now find that to legally sell soap in the EU each recipe/batch has to be assessed by a government approved chemist and a report made to confirm this. Prices seem to start at around £75.

So each bar of soap I sell will need to be approximately £10.50 per bar to cover my costs, and that’s before any profit ,postage or packaging is added.

How do other soapmakers get around this? Any thoughts would be very welcome as I feel like the wind has been kicked out of my sails and my “tribute” to my mum seems in jeopardy.
Thank you

Obeying the rules - Soap and Cosmetics
(Eileens Craft Studio) #2

I know I personally would never buy handmade soaps or any product that goes on my skin especially if it had not been tested.

I have to be careful what I use on my skin and I don’t use products that contain animals fats either.

I would need to know what the ingredients are in a product and I would hope to see some sort or certificate proving a product had been tested and safe to use.

I don’t know how you go about that process and I know there is more than one method for making soaps.

I think you also should have some kind of product liability insurance to sell this kind of product as well.

I do hope you can sort it out and other soap and body products sellers are able to help you.

(Donna) #3

Hi there,
I tend to wait until I have a whole load of recipes for testing and send them all off at once. You usually only have to pay once per batch.
If you go to your local trading standards office they will give you all the information you need and help you find a registered chemist in your area :slight_smile:

(mollyandrewshandmadesoap) #4

Thanks Donna for your information. When you say “a whole load of recipes” do you mean that they charge you one price for the bunch of recipes or do they charge per recipe? If it’s one price for a bunch of recipes that gives me a ray of hope.
Here’s a rude question so i will whisper it…who checks it and how much do they charge? Obviously if you would like to keep that a bit quiet and dont want to say, I understand. Or maybe could you email me although i dont really want to put my email on here.

PS had a look at your shop, some nice stuff there.

(Louise Foot) #5

I started with just 5 soaps (a package at £252), then 5 lip balms (package at about £139). All my safety assessments happen some months apart as they are expensive & you have a lengthy wait after submitting them sometimes. Putting info on the European Cosmetics Portal is a pain & time consuming too. Then there’s labelling!! I think I found it relatively easy to get my head round it because I started so small. More recently I’ve been submitting recipes that aren’t in a package as I find it too restrictive. My shop here isn’t very well managed or stocked but over on the side that should not be mentioned I’ll have about 60 items but in actuality I only have safety assessments for half that as the over half are different size / packaging / combinations.

As for checking, who knows. I wouldn’t want to risk it. I know many people sell without these - once you start absorbing all the information you’ll know what kind of ingredients are allowed & at what levels . Then you’ll see something for sale & know it can’t have been safety assessed as such & such an essential oil is not ok to use in lip balms for eg.

Best of luck! I may be able to give you a bit of advice if there is anything specific you want to know


(mollyandrewshandmadesoap) #6

Thanks Louise, very interesting. Yes I bet many soap sellers havent gone through the correct procedures. I seem to be plagued with bad luck so i dare not risk doing this “illegally”.

I mainly use coconut oil and sweet almond oil to make the soaps and scent is from essential oils. My parents owned a health shop for 27 years and were qualified aromatherapists so as you can imagine, over the years i have picked up quite a bit of knowledge. My mum was insured and licenced to blend all kinds of things so now that she has gone i am starting from scratch.

Have I grasped this correctly, if you sent off a recipe for say…lavender soap, the assessment you pay for means that you can make more of the same if you follow that exact recipe? or do you get charged every time you make a batch of lavender soap? ie is the assessment a one off thing PER RECIPE no matter how many times you follow that recipe?

Id be really interested to know where to send my recipes for assessment.

The labelling I think i have got my head round because I use so few ingredients, eg sodium cocoate,aqua,lavender oil,mica…and thats it, give or take some other bits and pieces like in my coffee soap, or eucalyptus/peppermint &sea kelp soap, geranium soap, orange and mint soap.

Thanks again for your reply.

(Louise Foot) #7

Yours soaps sound delightful. Its really nice to honour your mum in this way.

The soap assessments come with labelling instructions which is quite handy, some assessors are more complex than others. The Soap Kitchen might be a good place to start, I thinks its something like one product (eg soap) with up to 5 variants (colours, fragrance, herbals, additional oils / butters) but the base product needs to be the same.

(Louise Foot) #8

Sorry I forgot to answer your main question - once you have your assessment in place you can make as much soap to that recipe for the foreseeable future, there is no time limit (or shouldn’t be, avoid companies who say it needs renewing annually) :smile:

(Donna) #9

I have been trying to find the site I used when I first started out they were very good for a beginner, but it seems they have gone out of business :cry:
The soap kitchen offers the same service though. :slight_smile:

(mollyandrewshandmadesoap) #10

You guys are awesome. Thank you for the information. It’s a big help. I feel a bit happier now knowing that there is a glimmer of soap…er…hope that I have a way to proceed with this.
Thanks again.

(mollyandrewshandmadesoap) #11

This is brilliant news,thank you so much. I’m all fired up again now.
All the best

(Louise Foot) #12

You’re very welcome.