Remember When? A Request of the Experienced

Remember back to the days when you first began to make soap or candles.  For some of you, it’s a distant memory.  For others, it’s easily recaptured.  Regardless of the time and path traveled from then until now, try to remember how “green” you were– maybe far enough back that “green” only meant the color or that you were new to the craft!  Are you remembering how confusing everything was, how many terms you had to learn, how to procure the equipment and supplies?  Remember carefully studying the safety tips others gave you?  I want you to put yourself in that place again for a moment.



Why?  I have a couple of reasons in mind;  one of them is empathy.  If you can remember how much there was to learn and the trepidation that you felt at the beginning, you can feel empathy for the newbies you run across.  Yes, it may feel as if you’ve answered a certain question a hundred times and yes, it might seem obvious what the answer is to another.  Nevertheless, you can answer that question or help the person figure out the answer, paying back what has been given to you.


I don’t have to tell you that soap and candlemaking have been serious industries and crafts for centuries, their secrets closely protected and passed on to future generations.  Just as in the past, this vital information must be passed on to others now, so the crafts will be preserved for the future, which is my second reason for asking you to think about where you began.  I personally remember many teachers I had–Rita Scheu of  TLC Soaps and many others I “met” online who taught and encouraged me along the way.  Indeed, I’m not finished learning.  Just a few days ago, I asked a question which other soap makers helped me with, and that knowledge will make me a better soapmaker.


Potential and beginning soap and candle makers these days face a different challenge than many of us faced.  Before the explosion of the internet,  instruction was difficult to find.  Today, they are barraged with information, much of it inaccurate at best, and dangerous at worst.  If you can lend some encouragement along the way and show newbies where they can find good information (Saponifier), you’ll be doing them, the craft, and you, a world of good!

Until next time, bubbles up!


Beth Byrne


3 Responses to “Remember When? A Request of the Experienced”
  1. Dawn Jones says:

    Remember when…… I remember learning about making soap. Most of the learning was from reading books. Some was from the internet. No one I knew made soap any longer; however, my mother made soap when she was a child. She even had the lye scar on her forehead to prove it. LOL I bought all of my supplies locally and not on the internet. I started with only lard for oils and I purchased most of it from an Amish community not far away. I used a small amount of red food coloring and made my soap pink. I purchased small containers of fragrance from a local hobby shop. My molds were cardboard boxes and lined with a wet flour sack tea towels. At this time I didn’t know about placing plastic on the top of the mixture as it set up, in order to keep the ash from forming. I also learned how to render fat for soap making using scraps from a local meat shop. This did not make for a pleasant smelling home and I was forbid by my husband to continue this method for obtaining fats. We were not using stick blenders to make soap yet, so I set my paint bucket in the tub surrounded by cold water and stirred for what seamed like hours to get the soap to come to trace. I made soap for just my family and friends at this time. It is wonderful to have other soap makers to learn from. The internet is so useful for ordering supplies to make your soap and it is more cost effective than purchasing locally. If you join a group on line, you should be able to glean a lot of useful information. It all takes a little time and practice to gain the skills and information, but I am proud to sell and give gifts of handmade natural soap with skin enriching ingredients and with added bling.

  2. SavonTalk says:

    Thanks for relating your story, Dawn! I agree that soapmaking during the internet age is a pleasure!

  3. I agree there is a lot of misinformation out there when it comes to soap making. My wife and I recently started making soap and selling it. We started by reading a few of the well know soap making books because of all the conflicting information on the internet. Now that we have a solid base of information we can usually spot inconsistencies or inaccurate information. The internet and social media is wonderful for generating ideas. I think most soap makers agree and really enjoy that aspect. The business side is really the hard part. I’d like to get your thoughts on how new soap makers can get their products noticed on a very small or non-existent budget. We have what I’d like to think is a nice website and shopping experience. We try using social media as well but so far with lackluster results. I’d like to hear what others have done to grow their business and if they are facing the same challenges.

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