Frequently Asked Questions
MasterCard, VISA, or Discover. Prepayment by check or money order. Net 15 credit terms possible after a successful credit search. Custom orders usually require a 50% down payment.
Heat, humidity, air and ultraviolet light are the enemies of all natural stuff. Store in a cool, dry place; seal master cases between restocking. Keep stock rotated and fresh. Bar soaps and sprays will last 1 year or more. Liquid soaps and gels should last 3 years or more under proper storage conditions. Various essential oils will also extend shelf life. Freezing will extend shelf life indefinitely, but is not recommended for liquid or gel products.
We will quickly give you the answers to questions concerning products, product benefits, displays, pricing, etc. You can rely on our expertise to help your business succeed. We make it – you sell it!
Vermont Soap is insured for product liability. If our stuff hurts someone, we are covered. You can obtain added protection for any potential harm caused by Vermont soap products by asking to be named as Additional Insured on our policy. This costs $55/year. You should always carry your own business insurance as well.
Natural products have very slight variations in color, aroma and/or texture from batch to batch. Settling and separation can and will occur. We recommend “shake lightly before use” instructions on all privately labeled bottled products. We always recommend using opaque bottles rather than transparent ones.
- There is an inverse relationship between lather and moisture. Increase moisture and you decrease lather. Handmade soaps have a lot of moisture by their nature. Lather is not their strongest point – mildness is. Castile Liquid Soaps and Gels are less moisturizing, and have more lather, than handmade bar soaps.
- Some water is harder (minerals) than others. Hard water gives poor lather (this is part of why detergents dominate mass market).
- Soap lathers best in warm/hot water and less in cold.
- Hairy people make more lather! Smooth skinned people (and more women than men) often use a loofah or bath puff to enhance lather.
- Handmade soap cured LONGER will lather better, due to the decreased moisture content. The older the bar, the better it lathers (but the scent lessens over time). Different batches will have slightly different lather qualities due to atmospheric irregularities. Soaps made during a high pressure system lather a bit better than those made in low pressure. Humidity will effect how quickly a bar cures, which effects lathering ability.
- Soaps with mud, clay, honey, or lots of chunky stuff are harder to work into a lather. Aloe vera makes a creamy, small bubbled lather. Milk proteins are similar, but with larger, looser bubbles. Citrus oils enhance lather slightly.
- Soap formulas that are high in coconut oil lather better, but the more coconut oil you use, the harsher the soap.
Handmade bar soaps are the mildest form of soap that can be made. Raising their free oil content by using added cocoa, shea, mango avocado, or other vegetable butters, hemp, black seed or other light oils at 1% to 3%, will enhance the “hand lotion in soap effect”. Be sure to use extra rosemary extract to preserve free oils. Aloe vera, comfrey, milk proteins, oatmeal, beta-glucans, proteins etc. contain natural anti-inflammatory ingredients that help soothe irritated skin. Essential oils have varying degrees of astringency. Lavender tends to relax pores (better for dry skin), peppermint closes pores (oily skin), while the citrus family runs in the middle (combination skin). Our Castile LIQUID soap base is milder than the competition, but our Castile GEL base is significantly milder than the liquid version, due to the extra glycerine it contains. Our mildest bars are the Butter Bar, Unscented, and Oatmeal Lavender, in that order.
All soaps are alkaline by their nature. The higher pH of soaps discourages microbes. That is why we only need to preserve with rosemary extract (for rancidity). Handmade bar soaps are 10.01. Castile Liquids are 9.7-9.8. Castile Gels run 9.5-9.6.
Not at all! It is Free Alkali, NOT the normal pH of good soap, that dries out your skin (formula and process will also effect skin dryness). Do not believe marketers who tell you skin care products must be pH neutral or acidic.
Most cosmetics are colored with FD&C colors or Lake colors (same thing only Lake colors are non FDA inspected). These are made from coal tar dyes, which in turn are made from the residue of making “coke”, the fuel that turns iron into steel. Converting coal to coke for the steel industry results in millions of pounds of coal tar residues, a major pollutant. Coal tars contain benzene and phenols – cancer causing chemicals that would not be allowed loose on the American public if coal tar colors were not “grandfathered” in, due to irregularities in the FDA regulations. Many companies label their FD&C colored children’s products as “Non-Toxic”. Some consider this disingenuous. Mineral colors offer a safer, though by no means organic alternative. These are iron oxide derivatives – relatives to rust. Mineral colors are considered much safer and somewhat more natural. We use them in a few of our natural soaps, but they are not allowed for use in Organically Certified products. High end “natural color lines” (blushes etc) are made from mineral colors as a more natural alternative. To make mineral colors, dissolve scrap iron in sulfuric acid and neutralize with Potassium Hydroxide (KOH). Add trace metals to change the resulting colors.
You will have to decide for yourself whether mineral pigments are “natural” or not, as no legal definition of natural exists to date. Certainly, they are not organic. We believe they are safer than FD&C colors. When in doubt – go with USDA Certified Organic. It is the best and safest definition of natural that we have.
We can fill any of our stock liquid products (no changes aside from adding your label) with a 500 piece minimum order. Customized blends, or other changes to the product (such as changing bottles, caps, etc) require a minimum order of 1,400 units, or 50 gallons of product; whichever is LARGER. For example if you wanted us to bottle three custom scents of organic castile soap in 8oz bottles, that would require a minimum run of 1,400 each or 4,200 bottles total plus or minus. In the case where your bottles are smaller (for example 1oz) you’d need to purchase a minimum of 50 gallons of each custom scent, and this would result in 6400 1oz bottles of each scent.
Shipping, Returns & Packaging Questions
All orders are shipped by your choice of USPS or FedEx. We can ship via UPS on your account if you wish. Shipping costs are not included in our prices and are based on total weight and destination of your order. The more you buy – the lower the shipping.
Sorry, no free shipping. We ship UPS, FexEx and common carrier. Our Shipping Department will help you to get the best price for your situation.
All wholesale orders ship within 2-3 business days. For custom blends/co-pack: it depends on what you want and how much. Bar soaps require a 30 day cure time, so ordering 6 weeks in advance is recommended. Liquid and Gel bulk orders usually ship within two weeks. If we are bottling or packaging for you add an extra week to ten days.
Yes, just supply us with the complete ship to address, zip code & phone number. (And UPS or Freight Forwarders account number if available).
Yes, but there will be an extra charge. Please call for a quote.
Bars that are sent back to us clean, fresh, undamaged, and in marketable condition will be credited back to you. Substandard (non-marketable product) receives no credit. You must pay the shipping back to us, but if you do not want to be in the handmade soap selling business, we will reimburse you within 2 weeks of receipt of returned product.
Custom products cannot be typically be returned for credit.
We are not printers, nor graphic artists. We are very good soapmakers! Send us your labels or cartons (we have a network of printers and artists you can tap into), and we will do the rest. We often have various unprinted soap cartons that you can add a label to.
Yes we can. You can send us your blend, or we can mix it here. We always recommend the use of natural essential oils over artificial fragrances for skin care. Minimums for this is one batch of soap for bars, or 50 gallons of Castile or Organic Shower Gel.
Yes. Everything is available this way except the bar soaps, which need to be made from scratch at our factory in Middlebury, Vermont.
Bar soaps are made in 200 lb batches- about 800 3.5 oz bars. Plus there will be batch seconds, as well as trimmings which make good free samples. Scenting Gels and Liquid Soaps require a 50 gallon per scent minimum purchase.
We can make any 90 degree shape. Your soap is made from 70lb blocks that we cut down. Any square or rectangle shape can be made.
We can do this. Click here to download our confidentiality agreement.
Not at all. That is your proprietary information, unless the product is to be certified as organic.
We like our base formulas! They have been painstakingly developed over the past 20+ years.
OK – Yes sometimes, but the minimums are higher. Small changes are no problem, but a major formula change requires time and volume. 600 gal minimum for liquids and gels, A substantial commitment for a major bar soap base formula change. We charge a $500 experiment fee to develop a new formula.
Custom Blends utilizing our bases require that the pre-batch experiment to be approved prior to production. There is a $100.00 experiment fee for this. This covers the cost of basic formulation experiments. We will produce bars or liquids to your scenting specifications so you’ll know exactly what the finished product will look like before we produce the full run.
Yes we can, click here to download our confidentiality agreement. Speak with one of our knowledgeable specialists for more information. Vermont Soap provides free label proofing to all of our co-pack customers. We are happy to help you verify that your ingredients and claims are up to date and accurate.
Private Label Questions
- Try our soap! You have to know and LOVE it to sell it.
- Study our website. There is a lot of information here for you to digest.
- Place a $298 opening order for a 120 Bar Crate. We will include a free display and free soap flavor strip.
- Try your first show! Most people sell through the display very quickly. It is common for the next order to be significantly larger – with resulting savings to you. The bigger your order – the lower your costs!
Farmer’s Markets, Craft Shows, Flea Markets, Holiday Shows, Local Co-ops and Natural Product Stores, Natural Gift Stores and Boutiques, Country Stores, Home Parties, Web Sites – to anyone, anywhere!
You can sell the bars for $5 direct to the consumer or whatever price is right for your situation.
As much or as little as you wish! You are your own independent business, buying Factory Direct and reselling in your area. You work as much as your schedule allows. Our only requirement is that you meet our $75 minimum for all wholesale orders. Free Shipping on most orders over $150 (cubes and other bulk items are excluded). There are no other minimums or requirements other than that we never ship on an open invoice.
You bet! Handmade soap makes a great addition to ANY craft, body care or folklore line you may currently be selling. If you are currently selling products, consider putting a less than 2 feet wide by 15 inches deep 120 Bar Crate into the mix!
You are welcome to purchase ANY of our products in bulk or packaged as per our wholesale pricing schedule. Your only requirement is to meet our $75 minimum on each order/reorder.
All businesses should carry their own Business Liability Insurance as part of their normal operations. Small operations might consider Crafter’s Insurance, a kind of limited liability policy for micro businesses.
Vermont Soap offers an Additionally Insured option to our customers. This service adds the customer to OUR liability insurance as additionally insured. This is NOT a substitute for actually buying a business liability policy, although Additionally Insured does add an extra level of coverage to the customer. Vermont Soap charges $55/yr for this service. Remember, our coverage guarantees the product, NOT what happens to it when it is in the customer’s care and keeping. Additionally we have also been told that if a customer does not have business liability insurance, the additionally insured coverage might be voided.
It is relatively painless to take a Vermont Soap product or a custom variation of one and have it certified to organic food standards by Vermont Organic farmers (VOF). It is important to remember that the product, the label and the filler (Vermont Soap) all have to be certified. If a private label customer wants us to ship them our organic soap so they can then add their own additional ingredients and then package it themselves they certainly can. But if they want to make an organic front panel claim it should be certified organic.
There are specific labeling requirements used on certified organic products. For example the USDA requires the words “Certified by VOF” or “Certified by Vermont Organic Farmers” (or the name of your certifier) to appear below the company’s contact information. This way the consumer knows who conducted the third-party organic verification.
Nearly all certified organic soap products are considered “Made With” products; as in “Made with Organic Oils” appears on the front panel. This is considered a weak organic claim and as such we are not allowed to put a USDA seal on the package. Oil based products such as deodorants and moisturizers, honey based, and organic ethanol based products can all bear the seal. These products can be called Organic on the front panel. Confusingly, organic soap cannot be called organic soap by name. It can only be called natural soap made with organic oils or certified to organic food standards by VOF.
Our unscented bases are often used by other companies in their organic formulas. In this instance have your certifier contact us and we will take care if the rest.
Vermont Soap charges a yearly $100 per SKU charge to file and maintain your organic certificate so you don’t have to think about it . All Vermont Soap products are available to be repackaged.