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Handmade Soap Business: 4 Things to Consider



Kopi Tubruk Soap Bar - upcycling used coffee grounds into soap bar


I started making soap in 2018. Awal bikin sabun sendiri karena kebutuhan untuk pakai sabun natural, tanpa SLS atau SLES yang ekonomis. Di pasaran ada banyak sabun natural yang dibuat para artisan, tapi harganya lumayan mahal untuk pemakai sabun yang boros seperti saya. Harga sabun natural bikinan para artisan ini biasanya dikisaran 40-50ribu per bar dan for me, it lasted only maximum for a week. Bahkan ada sabun natural yang habis dalam waktu 3 hari aja. Boros banget kan?


Jadi, I started with making coffee soap – kenapa sabun kopi? Simply because I love coffee. Period. Dalam satu batch, I would have 12 bars of soap – yang setelah diukur pakai penggaris, kemudian dipotong ala kadarnya dengan pisau dapur yang kemudian dedicated jadi pisau sabun. Karena punya 12 bars, I shared it with friends who turned out love them. A bestie told me to sell the soap and I was so reluctant – kan sabunnya dipotong ga sesuai standard kecakepan sabun natural di pasaran, ga pede deh jualnya.

Sampai akhirnya, setelah punya silicone mold lucu bentuk coffee bean dan berhasil bikin berbagai varian sabun kopi, saya bawa deh sabun ini ke bazaar-bazaar sebagai pelengkap produk olahan ampas kopi yang lain. Sabun ini dipasang di booth as a gimmick agar orang datang ke booth. Ketika orang passing by our booth/table, mereka akan nengok dan melihat sabun kopi dengan bentuk yang cute. Jadi deh mereka mampir dan usually bought one or two or more. But then, ternyata more and more people bought this soap than our core products. Tujuan utama soap bar jadi gimmick untuk bisa jualan core products gagal. Malah soap bar jadi best seller di mana-mana.

But I have never planned to have a soap business. I never wanted to run a soap business. I’m hooked on company of one idea, introverted solopreneur dan minimalism, jadi running a DIY soap making business is not in my agenda. However, I keep making soap as part of my simple life, less waste practice dan saya juga suka share tentang DIY, termasuk bikin sabun, di kelas-kelas pengelolaan ampas kopi. Salah satu pertanyaan yang sering muncul dari peserta kelas pemanfaatan ampas kopi adalah: how to start a soap business. From my relatively short experience, I would like to share things to consider to start a soap business:



Target market

Everyone needs a soap – semua orang pasti mandi kan? But “everyone” is not your target market. Start identify your target market, those who will love to buy your soap. Find your niche – alias segmen pasar specific yang profitable. Your niche will be related to your uniqueness


My first niche adalah coffee lovers, para pemadat kopi yang ga sekedar minum kopi tapi juga willing to use any coffee personal care product. Kemudian my niche berkembang ke those who are eco conscious yang excited dengan konsep circular economy – penggunaan ulang ampas kopi dan produk tanpa kemasan.



Uniqueness

Making soap is easy – it is just blending of oils and alkali that can be produced in the kitchen, using simple utensils. It doesn’t require a lot of capital to start a soap business – no wonder many are making and doing soap business. So that you need to define your very own product uniqueness yang related to your niche.

Soap uniqueness can be defined from many things, mulai dari formulasinya, bahan utamanya, additive yang dipakai, scent, essential oils blend, swirl, colours, sampai bentuknya. Ada soap maker yang focus di bling-bling and fun stuff yang pastinya sabunnya akan warna warni dengan swirl yang cantik. Ada soap maker yang focus dengan transparent soap. Atau bisa juga pilih untuk focus di traditional, organic soap – unscented, no palm oil, vegan. Pilihan lain adalah bermain dengan ingredients tertentu, such as: goat milk atau honey. Some are happy to pick unique shapes and form, bermain dengan cetakan yang lucu-lucu or those with signature scents.

I, once, focused on repurposing “sampah”, mulai dari ampas kopi, expired milk, expired dried spices, kulit jeruk, yang kemudian berkembang ke bahan-bahan yang edible: tea, honey, fruits, spirulina, beer, wine, etc. Apakah saya masih akan bertahan di uniqueness factors yang sama? Depends on where the wind blows – alias ke mana saya pengen explore. Mind you, I make soap for fun and hobby.




Pricing

Calculate COGS (cost of goods sold - aka HPP, Harga Pokok Penjualan) carefully, dan jangan lupa memasukkan biaya overhead dan ongkos kerja kita. Some are surprised dengan fakta bahwa biaya fragrance dan additive adalah komponen biaya yang besar dalam pembuatan sabun – apalagi kalau pakai essential oils. Perhitungan harga berdasar biaya yang paling mudah dan umum diterapkan: minimum retail price adalah COGS x 3. But you also need to check the market price dan willingness to buy of your niche.

When you make soap for business, buy all ingredients in bulk from trusted suppliers. Beli in bulk akan mengefisiensikan biaya bahan. Don’t forget to optimize ongkos kirim – maksimalkan order sesuai dengan ongkos kirim, terutama karena kita beli in bulk. Rajin-rajin to keep shop around to find suppliers with best quality and best price!


Regulation

Pada dasarnya, semua produk perawatan kulit, termasuk sabun, harus memiliki ijin edar dari BPOM. This one is always I mention in every single kelas pemanfaatan ampas kopi. Making simple handmade skincare products such as soap, salve, deodorant, balm sebenarnya gampang. But if you are making soap for business (and not for hobby, yang stock nya tergantung mood kita), to sell it professionally, you have to comply to the regulation. You need to apply for ijin edar dari BPOM. It means you need a factory yang sesuai dengan ketentuan BPOM atau you can think of contract manufacturing alias maklon.



Selamat berbisnis sabun! Kalau kamu punya soap business, please comment




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About Me

This blog is written by an introvert. It is all about creating a road map of having a simple life, business and travel for fellow introvert. I write my blog while sipping my daily intake of sanity and you can enjoy my blog while sipping your coffee, too

 

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Disclaimer

I am not a chemist, pharmacist, nutritionist, dietician or skincare expert. This blog is intended to share information. It should not be used as medical advice. DIY and recipes in this blog are based on my personal experiences. Those shared recipes haven't been tested in a lab. Please use information provided in this blog wisely.

 

 

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