how it all began…

by simplysoap

I’ve made soap for a good couple of years now. It’s something that l’ll never give up, because once you’ve tried handmade soap, you can never, ever go back to the supermarket variety. (well, l guess you can, but l certainly don’t want to!) I was drawn into a world of wonderful ingredients, soap designs, different techniques and recipes, and l couldn’t stop now if l tried. Quite simply, l really love soap. I love dreaming up different ideas, love buying little bits and bobs to put in my soaps, and especially love knowing exactly what l’m putting into each bar and that it isn’t full of chemicals or preservatives.

Why did l decide to start a soapmaking business? Well, it was simple really, my fragrance oil collection started to get terribly out of hand. ;-) This was a small portion of it late last December, and now it seems to have multiplied out of control. I swear those bottles breed in the dark!

Ha ha, seriously, l had lots of friends and family asking to buy my soap, and because of the size of the recipes and the frequency l was soaping, it just seemed to make sense. I’ve always been the kind of person who likes to make things, and l love the idea of sharing my soapmaking passion with other people.

It took me a long time to commit to going ahead with the business though. l already have one business, and l know how much hard work it is working for yourself and trying to keep track of everything. I’m a terrible procrastinator, and book keeping is also another of life’s challenges that was sent to try me. I decided that before l went ahead with a new venture, that l had to have my first business in order. Which took a few good months, because l was 2 years behind in administration.

However finally l got my head above water, and with the support of my wonderful friend John, decided to go for it. He’s been amazing. Before meeting me, he knew nothing about soap except that it comes in a box from the supermarket. He’s had quite an education in the last few months, and is just as proud of every single bar as l am. He has helped me set up my soapmaking room, built shelves, arranged rows of bars, and even corners visitors when they come over to make them come and look at the soap room.

First up, while making soap, we decided to start on the website. l had a very clear idea of what l wanted it to look like in my head, above is the first ‘storyboard’ l created for my little business. It didn’t change much from the original idea. I also had a couple of names floating round in my head, but l kept coming back to Simply Soap. To me it embodies everything l love about handmade soap, and it’s also a good reminder for me – to try and keep things simple.

My first batch of soap – Honey & Oatmeal. Even though l’ve made hundreds of batches and tried loads of different recipes, l was so nervous before actually starting. I put off the actual soapmaking for a good couple of days while l talked myself into doing it.

Luckily, it didn’t take long for the creative urge to kick in, and l started soaping every day.

Raspberry Ripple – first ever batch

Some beer soap!

one of my favourite pretties – Coconut Pearl.

I was just a tiny bit proud of the swirls so had to take a photo.

and months later (today, actually) l’ve started on labelling and taking product photos. It’s been a very long process to date, and l am so grateful to John for all his enthusiasm & help.

I’m not 100% sure when the website will open yet, l’m still waiting for soaps to cure and testing some of the batches, but it will hopefully be soon. You can follow Simply Soap on Facebook to be kept up to date.

18 Responses to “how it all began…”

  1. Good on you for taking it a notch up :)! Your soaps look really lovely! Is that pink Mica in the Raspberry Ripple? Your photos are very very good too! Oh and is that oilcloth you use for lining your molds? How do you find it?

  2. The cloth l found only a few weeks ago on a trip to ikea! It was in their fabric section and $14.95 per metre (australian dollars). It’s plastic backed, l think like an outdoor tablecloth sort of fabric. l just trimmed it to the length of my moulds, and left some to hang over each side. Before that l was using baking paper, but now l can peel it off the soap log, rinse the fabric and hang it on the washing line and it’s great. It came in yellow, red or blue with big white spots, l bought the yellow one because l was worried about the colour transferring to the soap, but so far nothing has happened. At the ends of the log l use square pieces of laminated plastic cut from a laminated sheet, l just cut them to size at a tight fit, and they slide in the ends of the mould.

    The pink colour l used – l’m not sure of the exact manufacturers of the colour, but it’s from Aussie Soap Supplies, Brites for CP pink.

    For the mid pink l used the pink colour straight out of the bottle, and then darkened it with a bit of liquid red colour to get the darker pink.

    Hope this helps! :-)

  3. Wow! how clever the plastic cloth, and you can wash and reuse! Fantastic! your soap tops are gorgeouuuusss!!!!!
    ooh, you’re making me want to make some… first… First Quarter BAS, then Soap for the fete, then I can make something for me….. I mean, soap for the family! hehehe.

  4. Ooooh! I love the coconut pearls! Did you make those from melt and pour?

  5. How do you get your name on the side of soap it look FANTATSIC.i am so just about start making my first batch can you advise me what are some of ingre i will need. Ilove all your soap but vanilla must is my fav 。 ღ˛ °♥ ˚ thanks for your blog.

  6. Though i try for my first time making soap.I will try Caster oil or Olive oil soap. my goddaughter just had a baby Macen Denis he is 4 days old.

  7. I really love your soaps – they are fantastic. I enjoy soaping too, and started out in a similar fashion, just because I wanted something natural for the family and that was interesting to do.
    Thanks for your blog, I’ve only just found it, and will come back to read more interesting bits.

  8. Wow!!! I started soaping a little under 2 years now. I’m curious, how does one make those cute curly embeds? how do u get them to stay straight? I’m sorry, no way as gifted as you to figure this out; other than you pour a small batch at thick trace, set those curls in there and then pour. Ah man, I’m truly guessing here! Thank you so much for sharing.

  9. Oh, the obvious question: how do you make the curls? LOL

  10. absolutely beautiful.your very talented.where did you egt your mould from.do you make one or two kilo soaps in these moulds? can you also tell me where you bought the soap planer for making those soap curls. keep it up.thanks for sharing. whats the name of the black soap-the second soap photograph with pink flowers on it? it looks so beautiful.

  11. Your soaps are beautiful! I’ve only just come across your site and was pleased to read about you starting your business. I’m a relative newbie to soapmaking only having made my first ever loaf of soap over Easter this year. I’m currently in the process of making lots of soap for Christmas gifts for the family. I figured this was a good way to product test (oblivious guines pigs!) with the aim of starting my own soap business in the near future. Like you I’m a terrible procrastinator and have to think everything to death! I’d like to chime in on dona’s question about your soap mould. I’m looking to buy a wooden mould but am unsure of what size they come in and how to line them. I’m enjoying your great photographs also – lovely stuff!

    • Thanks for the comments! I bought my first wooden mould on ebay l think, or it may have been from here, although mine hold 1kg and 2kg, this one states 1.5kg. Once l had one mould, we just duplicated them as needed – making the 1kg twice as long, and now l have a 3kg mould as well which is square.

  12. Your soaps are stunning and I love your textured tops. I’ve just started making soap and am really struggling with soda ash. How do you stop this from happening on your gorgeous soaps?

    • simplysoap says:

      Monica, l wish l had an answer but l don’t – l’ve only ever had problems with ash a couple of times. I did read somewhere that it can have something to do with letting your soap cool down too fast after insulating it…but l have no idea if this is true or not. I don’t seem to have a system for how fast they cool down, but l guess they do stay covered for quite a while when l think about it. It could also possibly be your recipe – what oils are you using?

  13. Thanks for the speedy respons. I leave them covered for a minimum of 12 hours and the soap is quite cool when I uncover it. This recipe is equal parts olive, palm and coconut, with a dash of castor oil. It’s really frustrating. I spritz with isocol as well to try and stop it but it doesn’t seem to help.

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