What specific steps are needed to form a UK-based artisanal soap making company that adheres to organic certification?

Starting your own company is an exciting endeavour, especially when it revolves around a passion such as artisanal soap making. There's something satisfying in transforming natural ingredients into a beautiful and functional product. If you're planning to establish a soap making business in the UK, there's a lot to consider. From the legalities of business registration to the intricacies of product creation, it's a journey that requires careful planning and execution. The challenge becomes even more complex if you want your soaps to be organically certified.

1. Business Planning and Registration

Before you start mixing oils and lye, the first step in creating your soap making business is planning. This process will include determining what types of products you want to offer, who your target market is, and how you'll reach them. It's also crucial to prepare a business plan, a document that outlines your business objectives, strategies, sales, marketing and financial forecast.

Next is the legal aspect of starting a business. You need to register your business with Companies House, the UK's registrar of companies. The process can be completed online and involves choosing a company name, preparing certain legal documents, and paying a small fee.

2. Understanding Cosmetic Safety Regulations

In the UK, all cosmetic products, including soaps, are regulated under EU Cosmetic Products Regulation (CPR). Even though the UK is no longer a part of the EU, they still follow these regulations.

Under the CPR, it's required that a safety assessment is carried out on each product. This assessment, also known as a Cosmetic Product Safety Report (CPSR), is a document that attests to the safety of the product for human health when used under normal and reasonably foreseeable conditions.

Additionally, you will need to create a Product Information File (PIF) that includes detailed information about the product, including its formulation, safety assessment, method of manufacture, and proof of the effect claimed (if applicable).

3. Sourcing Organic Ingredients

If you want your soaps to be certified organic, you need to source ingredients that are certified organic. These ingredients include oils, butters, essential oils, and botanicals, among others.

You'll need to carefully select your suppliers and ensure that they have valid organic certification from a recognized body. In the UK, the Soil Association is the largest organic certification body, and they provide rigorous standards for organic production.

4. Making Organic Soap

Making soap is both an art and a science. It involves a process called saponification, in which oils react with an alkali (usually lye, or sodium hydroxide) to form soap.

When making organic soap, you'll need to ensure that your method adheres to organic standards. This means avoiding synthetic fragrances and colorants and instead using natural alternatives like essential oils and botanicals.

5. Obtaining Organic Certification

The final step in creating your organic soap business is obtaining organic certification. This involves applying to an organic certification body, such as the Soil Association, and undergoing an inspection to ensure that your products and practices meet organic standards.

Certification can be a lengthy and challenging process, but it's crucial if you want to market your soaps as organic. It gives your products legitimacy and can help attract customers who value natural, sustainable goods.

Starting a soap making business is a journey filled with opportunities for creativity and growth. Ensuring that your products adhere to organic certification is an extra step that can set your soaps apart in the market. It requires careful planning, meticulous sourcing of ingredients, and compliance with regulations, but the end result is a product that you can be proud of and that customers will love.

6. Formulating Unique Soap Recipes

A significant allure of artisanal soap is the uniqueness of each product. Differentiating your soap products from what's already in the market is pivotal to your success. This uniqueness is accomplished by formulating your own soap recipes.

A soap recipe refers to the specific combination of essential oils, butters, carrier oils, and other ingredients that create a particular soap. As you experiment with different combinations, remember to keep the principles of cold process soap making in mind. Cold process soap making is a method that involves mixing oils and lye without external heat. It's a favoured method among soap makers as it allows for complete control over the ingredients.

Don't forget the importance of melt pour soap bases, especially if you're new to soap making. These ready-made soap bases can be easily melted down, customized with your chosen ingredients, and poured into molds. They're a great way to start experimenting with soap making before moving on to more complex methods like cold process.

When creating your soap recipes, consider your target market's preferences. If you're targeting consumers who value organic products, consider using ingredients like palm oil-free soap base, sustainably-sourced essential oils, and natural colorants.

As you develop your soap recipes, remember to document each one. This will help you maintain consistency in your soap production and will be essential in your Product Information File (PIF), as required by UK's Cosmetic Safety Regulations.

7. Marketing and Selling Online

Once you've crafted your unique, organic soaps, the next step is to get them in the hands of consumers. In today's digital age, one of the most effective ways to do this is by selling online.

Setting up an online shop allows you to reach a wide audience, not just in the UK but globally. There are various platforms where you can set up your shop, such as Etsy, Amazon, or even your own website. In choosing a platform, consider where your target market is likely to shop and which platform aligns with your branding.

Your online presence should consistently communicate your brand's values and what sets your soaps apart. Highlight the organic nature of your products and how they're made. Use high-quality photos and engaging descriptions to showcase each product. Don't forget to include details about the ingredients you use, particularly the essential oils and the benefits they offer. This can be a great selling point for customers interested in natural soap.

Promote your soaps through various digital marketing strategies. This could include search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, email marketing, or even content marketing. Whichever strategies you choose, remember to target them towards your ideal customer for the best results.


Starting a UK-based artisanal soap making company that adheres to organic certification involves several steps. From careful business planning and understanding UK cosmetic safety regulations, to sourcing certified organic ingredients and formulating unique soap recipes, each step requires careful thought and execution.

With the world moving towards more sustainable and organic products, your soap making business has the potential to thrive in this growing market. Remember, obtaining organic certification is not just about adhering to regulations, but also about gaining trust and building a strong brand.

Selling online opens up a world of opportunities, allowing you to reach a global market. With a strong online presence and strategic marketing, you can build a successful soap making business that caters to the increasing demand for organic, artisanal products.

Embarking on this journey may seem challenging, but the rewards can be immensely fulfilling, especially when you see your hard work transformed into beautiful soaps that customers love. So, be patient, be persistent, and let your passion for soap making guide you in this exciting venture.