If you have lots of extra goat milk, and you’re tired of just feeding it to your pigs and chickens, what can you do with it that would also bring in a little extra income?
Most people immediately think of selling milk, ice cream, yogurt, or cheese, but those types of businesses require a big monetary investment in most states. In a few states, you can sell raw milk without any licensing or infrastructure investment, but that’s it. If you want to sell any value-added dairy products, you need a license, which usually requires a six-figure investment in infrastructure to create a commercial dairy.
Advantages of starting a soap business
This is why I usually suggest getting started with a soap business. It does not require a big financial investment, so if you decide that you don’t like doing it, it’s easy to walk away from it. If you make a six-figure investment in a dairy, you can’t just decide you don’t like making cheese daily after a few months.
It’s also easy to make soap on a very part-time basis. You have to freeze the milk for making soap anyway, which means you can make soap whenever it’s convenient for you. You don’t have to make it daily or almost daily like you would have to make fresh dairy products. It’s easy to scale up or down as your life dictates. We used to sell at craft shows and through websites, but as my children left home and I got busier with other projects, I only spend a few days per year making soap simply to meet the demand of repeat orders from existing customers.
Advertising and labeling claims
The main thing you have to remember when selling soap is that it is simply soap. You cannot make any medical claims or even hint at any medicinal effect, or the FDA will be asking you to show them your research because you have just jumped from soap to medicine. Even though plenty of people have had eczema or acne disappear after switching to a natural goat milk soap, you cannot mention those words in your advertising or labeling because those are medical conditions. You also should not mention any medicinal effects of any essential oils that you use to scent the soap.
As with any business, if you scale up, start wholesaling, build a separate facility to make your soap, or you start hiring employees, then you’ll need to look at additional legal requirements.
Equipment needed for your soap business
Most people will be able to get started making soap with less than $100 investment in equipment, assuming you already have a stove. To get a better understanding of what you need, I created this video.