Soap Studio: The need for space

January 29, 2018 Kari

I make soap, a lot of soap, and other bath and body related items.  This requires a lot of bulk supplies and space for them.  Some time last year it became very clear that my home-based business was slowly taking over our home.  And I do mean taking over the house.  It is starting to look like a hoarders paradise with boxes of supplies everywhere and paths leading to what little living space is left.

Well maybe not quite that bad, but it is starting to feel like it.

I began looking at purchasing one of the DIY storage buildings to convert into a studio.  This quickly became cost prohibitive when I started factoring in all of the associated costs: site preparation,  new electrical, water/sewer, the cost of converting the building – my calculator was smoking.  Scratch that idea for now.

I also looked into a couple of existing vacant buildings in our community. They are both in great locations but sadly the money they wanted for them made me think they were trying to rent me gold rich land in Alaska.  Scratch.

I looked and I schemed, I even suggested to my husband that we move to another house so I could still soap.  Or I could convert his shed to a studio…I am not sure that I want to ever see that look again.  He then suggested that I move it all upstairs and use that space.

And the seed was planted.  For month’s now I have been staring at my supplies and starting conversations with “What if…” stopping and following that darn squirrel out of the room to stare at my stuff some more.  Guests, where will they sleep?  Where will I move all the upstairs stuff to when I take over?  And then I remembered that I follow some great soap-makers who have or have had small spaces and they have done alright.  Why not?  If Ariane, Katie, and Holly can work in small spaces, so can I!

I began re-thinking the upstairs with a clean slate.  List the issues:  lugging heavy oil, butter, and wax container up the steps; heat rises; sink for washing dishes; storage vs work space; on and on.  Now that squirrel was leading me upstairs to stare at the rooms trying to make it all work.   Large bedroom (guest room), small bedroom-Keep the guest room use parts of it for storing the stuff from the small room, measure, sketch, down the steps, measure, stare, back up the steps, repeat.  This could work.  Make the soap in the kitchen, take it upstairs once it is cut and finish the process there.  Up and down, up and down, up and down.  After about 50 or so trips I had the single best a-ha moment ever.  I realized I was thinking of the upstairs as just 2 bedrooms.  I had totally forgotten about the unfinished, fully plumbed and wired bathroom.  Current state – storage.

Problem solved.  Turn the bathroom into the soap studio’s kitchen and use the small room as packaging, drying, and storage.  Woohoo!  A tiny 6’3″ x 8’9″ soap studio.

The supplies needed for the remodel would be flooring, wall covering, sink, counters and shelving.  A much cheaper alternative than my previous ideas.  I have set a budget goal of $1,000 or less to finish this project.

I hope to inspire you as my fellow soap-makers have inspired me.  Please follow us as we turn this space into my dream soap studio.

Let the build begin!





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