This Homeschool Side Hustle Makes Money Creating and Selling Handmade Soap

You may wonder, "What's a homeschool side hustle?" This is a side business you have as a family that brings in income for the family and at the same time is teaching your homeschoolers BUSINESS 101.

Each month we are going to be sharing different ideas that we or other homeschool families have done to make a few bucks, teach their teen how to run a business AND tips to help you see how you can too!

*There may be affiliate links in this post and on this page - for more info. By shopping through our links, it doesn't cost you anything, but it help support LIFE 101 PRO and we are so thankful. :)

It all started as a science experiment

It was the first year homeschooling both kids and we had moved to a tiny town where we were the only homeschoolers.  We were looking for some ideas that would be fun to do when school was done each day and we saw an ad on craigslist of a family that was selling all their soap making inventory - and it was in our price range! 

We didn't really know what we were getting, but it sounded fun, so, we bought it that day and quickly realized we didn't just find something fun to do, we got a a super fun science experiment to do with the kiddos.

We measured, we poured, we colored, we scented, we tested and we created a few loafs of soap, just for fun for us and our friends! :)

Then the local festival was coming up and someone asked if we would be interested in selling at the event.  We thought, "why not?" and Back Home Soap Co was born.

Sure, we had been to festivals with vendors before, but we didn't put much thought into our display and just had soap arranged on the tables for people to choose from.  We had a good time, sold most of our soaps (about 60 bars - for CHEAP) and made back our vendor fee + $30. 

We came home tired, sunburned and worn out, but we had a good time.

A week later we sat the kids down and asked if they would like to make creating soap and selling it craft shows part of their school.  They said sure.

Turning the hobby into a business

At this time the kids were young - like 13 and 10, so the business decisions were done between Luke and I, but the kids could sit with us while we talked if they wanted to. 

We realized that if we bought in bulk, changed up the recipe a bit and cut our soaps just a little different, we could make our money go farther. Then we had to get brave and raise the prices too.

We decided to invest $500 in this Back Home Soap Co idea, but from then on it was on its own.

Create the product

I welcomed the kids to continue helping me make the soaps, but instead, they hung out with dad in the evenings and it gave me some much needed me time.  We had a easy recipe that felt great on the skin and we used for most batches.  What changed was the colors and scents

 Plan out the craft show booth

First impressions matter at a craft show and they completely judge your product by how your booth looks - so we upped our game A LOT!

Hannah and I came up with the ideas and the guys created anything we needed. We actually created our own "backdrop" from old fence panels to give it a farmhouse kind of vibe.  You can see the boys creating it in the picture. (You should have seen my minivan with those strapped to the top!) ;)

Hannah and I had our list of items needed and spent a few weeks going to garage sales and thrift stores to find them.  (example: 2 old ladders)

I created an excel sheet that kept track of expenses and because the budget was so tight, we could only sign up for one craft show at a time at first.  That wasn't a bad thing though.  We grew slow, started local (like within a 2 hour drive) and it helped us get use to being gone for the weekend as a family.

Time for the show

When it was time for the craft show we all had our jobs. 

SET UP:

Luke, my husband, was the muscle for setting up.

I was to tell him where it all went.

The kids took samples of soaps to the other vendors just to say hello and wish them a great show.

DURING THE SHOW:

Mateo was our #1 sales guy!  He loved the soaps and LOVED telling everyone about it. 

Hannah was also great at helping customers find just the right soap for their needs.

I finished the sales and helped as needed.

Luke chilled and did coffee runs or took a kiddo on a walk around the show if they needed a break. 

TEAR DOWN:

Hannah and Mateo helped me pack up soaps while Luke began taking down the larger things.  Once we were done, we would join him and do whatever he needed us to do.

So, did our little soap company make money?

As long as we didn't go crazy on a lot of new scents or spend too much on a booth with 5 other soap vendors (yeah that happened!) , our little soap business not only kept us busy on 1 weekend a month, it was covering all our expenses plus a little extra to pay each of for our time. 

It was a lot of fun - for about 2 years.  At that point, school and life demands began to change and pretty much our family outgrew our little soap business the way we were doing it and I didn't have time to pursue the digital option.  So, we closed the doors.  The goal had really been for us to bond as a family and help the kids begin to see what it is like to have your own business.  It had done it's job and it was ok to let it go.

The top things my kids learned from Back Home Soap Co:

  1. Never let the lye water touch your skin, it burns! *TRUTH*
  2. It was their first time selling anything and Mateo learned he loves selling.
  3. Taking the time create a nice booth brought more people to our booth.
  4. Work = Money

Time for a new season

At this same time, we had been growing a little Christmas light installation business and it was doing well and we were making good money at that - like $5,000 PROFIT a year! So, never fear, we still found ways to bond as a family and make a little money. We just took the stress of it. ;) 

I will be sharing that business with y'all next month.

I still make soap when I need some good me-time and sell some to our friends, but mostly we just see the Back Home Soap Co sign hung on the garage wall and smile.

Good memories. :)

Would you recommend a family do this to make money for their homeschool side hustle?

Well, for CERTAIN, if your kids love experiments, I can't recommend soap making enough as a class or dedicated science experiment!  It is a really neat process and teaches a great skill your kids may want to use someday. As well, it makes beautiful and much appreciated Christmas gifts! ;) Just a heads up, it takes 6 weeks from the time you create them to be ready to use them. 

Want a quick guide to get you started?

As for the handmade soap business:  Sure, but do it smarter than us.  Build your email list and create a tribe for your brand on social media.  They will love you and your family and your soaps, I PROMISE! :)  

You can sell at craft shows, but the handmade soap market is getting a little saturated, if you are going to do craft shows - first I would go to a local one and count how many soap booths there are and make sure you are comfortable with that idea.

You can also create an Etsy account OR just utilize Facebook's ability to spread the word for you about your soaps.  Share pictures and prices and have people DM you to buy the soap.  I love this option as you take out a HUGE EXPENSE of the craft shows. 

 Any last thoughts?

We loved the shows for the bonding time, but if we were to do it again, we would only do 2 shows a year (ones that we always get good sales at) and the rest of the year I would sell online to our tribe. :)

Hope this helps!  Make sure to grab our Quick Guide to Creating Soaps if interested.

On the journey with you,

-melissa :)

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