I’ve been asked a couple times now how I got into making soap so I thought I’d write a blog post on it!
It all started because I was doing research for an article I was writing on the cleanliness of people in the 1800s and part of that was research on how they made soap (if you want to read the article go HERE). I honestly had no interest what so ever in making my own soap at this point–it had never crossed my mind as even a remote possibility as something that might be fun to do. As I was doing my research I came across a class Old Sturbridge Village (www.osv.org –> The most amazing living history museum…my favorite place ever, or close to it!) was offering. It was an all day class on soap making. I thought hmmm this might be interesting. If nothing else I could talk with the instructor (who worked at the village) about how they made soap in the 1800s. So I signed up.
That was September 2009 (about a year and a half ago). If you had asked me then if I ever imagined I’d be where I am today I’d have told you no way. I arrived at the class with my notebook in hand and an article on my mind. As the instructor started to explain about the process of soap making my interest was peaked. I found the process interesting (not so interesting that I thought it was worth the effort of making my own soap though). We made four different batches of soap that day. I learned a lot in eight hours, but I still wasn’t rushing home excited to start making my own soaps and planning out how I could afford to get the basic start up materials together.
It wasn’t until the next morning when I checked on my soaps that the “soap making spark” was ignited in me. I went and checked on my soaps when I got up and they’d started to solidify! And that’s when I went WOW! I did that. Then a few days later when I went to unmold my soaps I was completely pulled in. I started requesting soap books from the library, reading more and going back to the handouts I’d received from the class. I visited the sites she recommended for buying supplies and made my first purchase.
I was a nervous wreck the first time I tried my own soap. I chose a simple recipe with only a couple ingredients and went at it. The first recipe “worked” (technically). But I used food coloring (big no-no). And the soap when I tried to use it wasn’t a very nice soap. I ditched that recipe and tried a new one, this time with the proper coloring agent in hand to use. That soap worked beautifully! And that was the beginning of the end.
Everyone got soap for Christmas from me that year :D. I continued to make soap, enough for me, friends and family. Then an online friend saw pictures of my soap and asked to order some from me. I said sure and made her some soap. She came back for more she loved it so much and that’s when I thought maybe I could sell them. It took me almost 9 months to really say YES I’m going to sell my soaps. And in January of this year I start my Facebook page, put together a basic (free) webpage to start with, and started looking into craft fairs and other ways to sell my soap.
It’s been a learning experience, but so much fun. I’ve had countless failed batches of soap, but I’ve learned from them. I’ve been experiencing with new recipes and I’ve got a growing list of recipes now and each one gives me a different soap with different qualities, so I can offer more variety to people. I love making soap and I love sharing the experience with all of you! I’m excited to see how this grows.