A Few of My Favorite Things
Or, Let Me Help You Spend Your Money
For someone just starting out in soap making, the first hurdle is often where to get the stuff to make it.
We are talking about cold process or hot process here: most of us who are curious about the craft usually become very familiar with what our local Michael's carries in melt and pour.
If we haven't been scared off by the crazy prices we find locally, (or maybe, if we HAVE), we will turn to the internet and wonder what we can find there.
This is just what I did. And today I want to share a few of my favorite places. These are by no means the only places to shop online; I do know of others that I will most likely frequent in the future ;-) These are the places I started with, and I've found them to all be very good in what they do, although everyone seems to have an opinion on who is the best. My list here will include names that you'll hear and see pop up all over soap boards on the web.
Let me start with the place that I first bought soap supplies from. That would be Bramble Berry, a company based in Bellingham, WA. Bramble Berry sells everything imaginable for melt and pour, cold- and hot-process soap making, plus bath bombs, lotions, nail polish, you name it. If it's a bath or beauty product you want to make, likely you'll find what you need here.
In the picture above, I'm showing just a few of the ingredients that I've purchased from Bramble Berry, from a 10 pound block of shea butter, to fragrance oils and colorants. I also currently buy my lye from them, although I'll be looking for a more cost-effective place once my current supply runs low. Speaking of price, I've compared BB's costs ounce-for-ounce to other online suppliers, and they're very competitive. They do, however, charge more shipping than other websites. This is a drawback, but I've come to the conclusion that for me, it's worth it for some things, such as consistency of quality.
Here are some of the non-consumable supplies I've also bought from Bramble Berry:
Shrink wrap bands, loaf molds, plastic pitchers with long spouts for pouring your soap batter, goggles, and the long thing at the bottom of the photo is a silicone star mold. I also have several other molds of sizes ranging from a few ounces to 5 pounds! (A mold's size is based off of how much the oils weigh before adding your lye and other ingredients).
Bramble Berry also has awesome customer service! I had an order once that arrived missing one of my items; they shipped it the very next day and I received it a few days later. Yes, I had to wait, but mistakes always happen, and it's nice when they're resolved quickly and without hassle.
Another big contender you'll hear about is Wholesale Supplies Plus. Based in Broadview Heights, OH, this is another one-stop-shop for all your soap and bath product making needs. One real plus with them is free shipping when you spend over $40, which once you start buying in bulk, won't be hard! And, if you have any plans on selling your soap, you'll want to buy bulk, because the savings are truly substantial.
Wholesale Supplies Plus own brand is Crafter's Choice, so you'll see that on their labels. I like to get my bulk oils and melt and pour bases from them because they have so many different bases to choose from, and of course, the free shipping. Their fragrance oil list is HUGE! Good luck only buying one or two....you'll be tempted to get many more!
Next up is Nurture Soap. They haven't been around quite as long as the two above, but they are catching up in the molds and colorant department, especially! They boast they have the largest selection of micas for soap of anywhere else, and I believe them! Plus, they put some honest-to-goodness science into their supplies, and as a result have come up with some truly beautiful colors and also scents. Currently, they have the best true, vibrant red you'll find for color process soap, anywhere. I've not ordered as much from them as the other two, since they're not really a one-stop-shop, but now that I'm honing in on what I'm wanting to make, I forsee more money being spent there in the future!
I bought my 4-pound slab mold from them, (and don't tell them, but I think they underprice their stuff!) It's a beautiful, heavy mold, with a thick silicone liner that I'm pretty sure isn't going to rip or tear any time in the near future. The wood sides pull off for easier unmolding. I've only used a couple of their scents and colors, but so far, they're amazing too. All this, and they're a vegan and cruelty-free company!
Finally, the last place I'll talk about today is Nature's Garden. They are located in Wellington, OH. I have only ordered from them once before, but I can say that they have amazing customer service! Like I often do, I forgot to add something to my order! So, I called them, the next day, and there was my order, already on the dock to go out, but they pulled it so I could add my forgotten item! All that, and it still showed up in a timely manner.
What they have more than anyone else are unique scents that you can't quite find anywhere else. One of my favorite scents is Sweet Orange Chili Pepper. And I really, really want to try Monkey Farts, because......monkey farts!
Thanks for reading this far! I hope you'll find some useful information here. I know there are many other soap supply companies out there, and it's not my intention to slight any of them in any way. These mentioned here are the ones I can personally speak of. I'll list a few others below that I've checked out, but I've not ordered anything from any of them so I can't speak as to their products. If my experience so far is an indication, however, I think they will all be worth investigating and giving a shot.
Mountain Rose Herbs for containers and essential oils
and, of course, Amazon is good for many things ranging from really inexpensive molds to packaging, oils, and butters. I'd be careful of the sources, and sometimes the cost can be more than it would if you were to buy it from one of these others I mentioned in bulk, but if you're just wanting to try out soap making and not interested yet in investing in high quality, it's always worth a browse!
Grace and Peace,