It's not the most exciting part of soap making, but it is important. Early in my soap making efforts, I gave a bar of soap to my brother-in-law, Todd. To my absolute delight, he really liked the soap and placed an order to get some more exactly like the bar I'd given him. I was elated . . . right up until the moment I realized that I had no idea what was in the bar I had given him. I didn't even remember the shape of the bar, let alone the formulation or fragrance oil used. I was mortified and embarrassed I couldn't successfully fill his order.
The "moral of the story" . . . gift recipients today may be customers tomorrow. Make sure that you keep track of who gets your soap gifts and what soaps they receive. To assist you in that endeavor, I have attached files (at the bottom of this page) that you can download, at no charge. These files contain a sample soap recipe card, a sample gift record and a sample customer record. Obviously, you don't have to use these exact cards and are welcome to make up cards of your own. However, these will make a good reference should you decide to do so.
The card samples I've provided are in a 5" x 8" format to allow for maximum space. I also recommend that you keep a photographic record of your soap creations. Get 5" x 8" index cards and put a thin line of gluestick glue around the sides and bottom of the index card. DO NOT PUT GLUE ON THE TOP. Glue the index card to the back of your soap recipe card, making a small pouch. This is a handy place to store a picture of your soap creation.
The forms I've included for you are as follows:
You'll note that there is a place (in the sample recipe card above) for you to specify any "COLLECTION". This may be a collection you've put together for a specific holiday or occasion; for a specific customer or may be used to indicate the recipe was conceived during a specific calendar year. After "COLLECTION", there is space for you to name your soap creation. You can make it any name you choose, this is your creation. I do recommend making it descriptive and a name that you will immediately associate with the specific soap. The remaining space is fairly clearly defined.
Gift records, typically, are used for friends and family members to whom you regularly present gifts. If you are hoping to develop your soap making business, I recommend expanding that circle to include neighbors, your child's teacher, practically anyone that you give a soap . . . because they might become a customer later on. There is, as you can see, also a column to designate whether you are attaching a photo. The other benefit to photographs is that they can sometimes fill in blanks you might have accidentally left on the recipe card. Clearly, a photo is not going to help with something like identifying fragrance oil, but you will hopefully have that information on the recipe card.
The customer record is where you want to be. Naturally, if you are running a full-fledged soap making business, you'll likely have this kind of information on your computer. However, sometimes when you are selling soaps at flea markets and craft fairs, it's not feasible or practical to have a computer on-site. In those instances, a small card file is compact and portable. Even if the customers are "one-hit wonders", you can always ask them if they want to be put on a mailing list for new soap lines you might develop or to be advised of where you will be set up for soap selling. If they are reluctant to provide contact information, refer them to your soap label which, as will be covered on the following page, should have YOUR contact information as well as information regarding which soap they have purchased. If you don't have business cards printed up to hand out with each purchase, your soap label can do that marketing for you, so don't negate its importance.
Even if you are dissatisfied with the record keeping cards I have provided, I cannot more strongly encourage you to keep similar records of your own design. Should your soap making business take off (as I hope that it will) or just to insure you're able to fulfill requests from family members, you'll refer to them again and again. The downloadable files are located below and are provided in two formats: the file on the left is in a WORD format and the file on the right is a PDF file.