So after 3 years of already making soaps for myself and my family I decided to look at taking things to the next level and started my own business. Selling soaps in the UK/EU can be a complicated affair and is not the easiest thing to get started on....or the cheapest! However, the reasons behind this are to ensure that what you are selling is not only made correctly and safely but also to ensure you have used approved ingredients and used the correct and safe percentages. This means that the public can be reassured that they are buying products that are well made and perfectly safe to use.
Before any product can be sold legally in the UK or EU you first need to have Cosmetic Product Safety Reports (Certification) which is a legal requirement regulation 1223/2009.
Mine were undertaken by Scott Grainger MSc BSc (Hons) CSci CChem MRSC FRSPH, who has 20+ years experience in chemical and product safety and 7+ years in small scale manufacturing and development of cosmetics.
It can take a long time to practice,experiment and decide what your final recipe will be and what the soap design will look like but once decided you can then send that off to be assessed. This experimental stage is the fun part and does involve bombarding your friends and family with lots of soap to get their feedback! Thankfully I had lots of willing participants who were happy to help.....even my children were amazing at helping me test soaps and test out different fragrances etc.
The assessments will test for such things as physical and chemical properties, stability and reactivity, microbiological purity and so on. Once the soap passes, it then has been shown to have been made safely,correctly,with improved ingredients and will be approved for use by the general public. Then all the information regarding your recipes, soap details, business details and so on are then uploaded onto the CPNP (Cosmetic Product Notification Portal). The CPNP is not accessible to all the general public but to those who make and sell cosmetic products and for use by anyone who made need to know any details regarding your product. The Portal can be the bane of all cosmetic makers and requires a strong coffee or 4 before getting started on it! I am so glad I have completed this part for now.
We also have some very strict rules and regulations to follow regarding how we label our products.Thankfully we have our Cosmetic Assessors on hand if we need help with this. The labels will show the full ingredient list in the product in what is known as their INCI names. This stands for 'International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients'. The label will also list a weight,batch number,company details,allergens and a PAO. The PAO is the Period After Opening and will give you a date that the product is good for once opened.
As a Soap Maker I also keep a PIF (Product Information Files). These will include all my Safety Data Sheets for all ingredients used, my batch records for all soaps made, my manufacturing process, my suppliers information and so on. It can be time consuming keeping on top of all the record keeping but its an important part of the business.
Insurance is important too, not only to protect your customers but also your company. Sapphire Soaps has full Product & Public Liability Insurance.
And then lastly, there is the selling. I designed my website myself so its not perfect by an means and I do admit to not being too clued up when it comes to design or technology. However, I gave it my best shot and hopefully it did not turn out too bad for now. Over the last few months I have been happy to receive many orders and also had many repeat customers. One thing I do aim to do with Sapphire Soaps is ensure customers are happy and do enjoy their products.
I love what I do and have a great passion for making soap and I shall look forward to thinking up new designs and products in the future. Although we do have a lot of rules and regulations in the UK to adhere to and its quite costly to keep having any new products assessed before we can sell them, I do think its great to know we are ensuring the products are safe to use.
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed just a little snippet of whats involved in the whole process.