As I learn more about soap and all that it involves, I create documents to help me keep track of what is complete, the cure time, measurements, etc. Below are a few of these documents that I have created to help me in the process.
I keep a spreadsheet for all my orders and itemize them. It helps me visually see many things about my materials, recipes, and overall costs I incur.
1. I know how much I ordered and the cost per ounce
2. It helps me see where I ordered items from and how much they cost per ounce.
3. It is a helpful guide to know the suppliers' costs and the cost per item over time. Lately, we have been seeing an increase in materials cost and shipping costs and I can see this reflected on my spreadsheet.
4. I can also see over time the quantity of each item I have ordered over time. This helps me know if I need to increase how much I order at one time to reduce the overall cost per ounce.
Knowing these four tips helps me make decisions. 1. If I need to raise the price of the products to cover the increase in material cost. 2. Know the cost per ounce of material so when I am shopping for more material, I know what price bracket and stay below the current per ounce of materials price. 3. This spreadsheet also helps me reduce the overall cost of the soap to help reduce the price for my customers.
Sample of the Materials Cost Spreadsheet
I use a soap calculator every time I do a new recipe to make sure my numbers are correct. I tape it up on my wall and track what I put into the bowl and into the lye. As I progress into making more soap and experimenting more, I needed something a bit more. I created an excel document called Soap Worksheet Cost and Recipe Success Record that calculates how much material I am using, the cost of the material used to make the loaf, and any other variable that I am looking at. I still use the soap calculator then plug the information onto the spreadsheet. If a soap acts differently than expected, I can see immediately what I did and what I used.
As experienced soapers might notice, my oils are organized by solid and liquid for mixing and melting purposes. And by how much is used, making the labeling a bit easier when listing ingredients, thus why olive oil and Palm oil are on the top of the list as they are most often used in large quantities while butter and castor oil is used in small quantities and are lower in the list of oils.
Sample of the Soap Worksheet Cost and Recipe Success Record Page 1
The backside of my spreadsheet (page 2) helps me know how much to list the bar of soap. I also keep track of label and packaging costs, shipping costs, and the cost just to have a transaction. For example; Etsy charges for posting the item online then charge for every transaction. I need to put this into the calculation to cover these added costs.
I simply plug in how many bars I made in this batch and it auto-calculates my bar sale price. I can see the weight per bar and where I posted the product. I also record reviews for this particular product from customers. All this information is extremely helpful to know if I need to improve, continue or discontinue the product based on this information I collect. I also take note of which mold I used for the batch so that I can determine if it is the right mold for the recipe.
Sample of the Soap Worksheet Cost and Recipe Success Record Page 2
*Your numbers will be different than mine as shipping costs and supply companies may be different. I highly recommend making a spreadsheet to calculate your costs to get the numbers needed to know how much the loaf materials costs and plug it into the Soap Worksheet Cost and Recipe Success Record $/oz Cost. Do the same for shipping and materials for packaging and listing onto your selling platform. Please do not go by the numbers you see here, this is just an example.
When a loaf of soap is cut, depending on the recipe, it needs a cure time usually 4 to 6 weeks and some need up to 6 months or longer. I have created index cards that help me keep track of each bar when it is on the drying rack. The column on the left tracks the weight each week so I know when it is cured (the weight no longer decreases). The column on the right gives me the average weight of randomly selected bars from the same batch to get the average weight. This average weight is what I use for the label in the packaging process. These Index cards also help me keep track of each bar so that I don't get them mixed up. I keep the card with the batch it is measuring. I also complete a ph test after the bar is cured.
Sample of the 5 by 7-inch index cards
The excel spreadsheet- once filled out - is printed double-sided on 20-pound cardstock paper. The index card is also printed on 20-pound cardstock paper and cut to size as there are 4 per page. I find this helps just in case the paper gets wet in any part of the process. Once the bar is packaged and labeled, I keep a label sample on the excel spreadsheet and keep the excel spreadsheet in a binder for future reference. Notice the excel spreadsheet also has the bar weight as it cures and loaf bar average after cure. I simply copy the information and toss the index card in the recycle.
I hope by showing you my process that this might spark an idea for you to help keep track of materials, costs and processes making things easier for you. This is the process that works for me, I hope this inspires you to create something similar for your needs.
The documents are found here for purchase if you find they might help you.
Thank you for your support!