It has recently come up to me: “How come this soap is so much more expensive than soaps like The Perfect Man?” The soap is question was smaller and lighter, and certainly would lead someone to wonder how come it carries a higher price per ounce than soaps made with the cold process method.
Let’s take flip flop soaps as an example. Flip flop soaps weigh in at a hefty 5.75 ounces and sell for $10.00 each. In contrast, The Perfect Man weighs in at a smooth 5 ounces but costs two dollars less per bar. It all comes down to ingredients and labor.
This soap base costs more per ounce than an even larger quantity of oil or lye. Because of the limitations of moulds and the amount of soap I can make per batch, I could make three soaps, start to wrapped, in 12 hours; there is a lot of wait time in there in which my mould is tied up, unusable. On top of that, it takes about ten minutes to make, wrap, and label each bar of soap with those fabulous layers, not including the wait time, which I spend doing other things. By contrast, I can make 33 bars of soap in 40 minutes (with another 15-20 for wrapping/labeling). The soaps do have to sit for weeks to saponify and cure, but there it is: 33 bars in one hour versus 6 bars in one hour.
Here’s another of my melt & pour creations…
This little gem took a full 20 minutes to make. Yes. TWENTY minutes. A full third of an hour. And that doesn’t include wrapping and labeling.
While making these soaps can be enjoyable every now and then – it’s fun to watch a bar develop, layer by layer – they simply aren’t cost-effective to make for sale. That pelican was a diminutive 3-3.5 ounces but retailed at $12.00. Sure, he’s cute, but as fabulous as my soaps are, I don’t expect my customers to pony up $12.00 to look at a bar of soap.
Instead, I would much rather play with cold processed soap, experimenting with swirls and colors, playing with scents and sometimes, being completely WOWed at what’s revealed when we slice up the slab or the log of soap. Even though I might use the same colors and techniques between batches, because of the very nature of the creation, no two will ever be the same, and that’s exciting to us.
As our business has evolved and continues to evolve, expect to see much fewer novelty soaps and a greater number of artfully designed soaps using the cold process method. We enjoy having so much control over both the ingredients and the design, and, frankly, we don’t have 10 minutes or 20 minutes to spend making one bar of soap. We do, after all, want to clock out at some point during the day!