View Full Version : The Cost of Soap
06-28-2006, 06:22 PM
After reading the Mama Bear soap threads, I have started to wonder why some of the "brand name" shave emporiums charge so much for their shave soaps. Take, for example, Trumper's. A bowl of any of their soaps will cost approximately $30, whereas a bowl of Mama Bear's will cost approximately $7.
Now, I understand that with Trumper's you are paying for the wooden bowl (though St. Charles offers a wooden bowl and the cost is still significantly cheaper) as well as the marketing (which is infinitely larger than that of QED, St. Charles, or Mama Bear's and undoubtedly a substantial portion of the final cost) behind the name. Still, there is a big difference between $7 and $30.
Does Trumper's use only EOs? Is the soap made differently that makes it more expensive to produce?
06-28-2006, 06:34 PM
Trumpers charges what it does because they can. They are hardmilled soaps but hardly worth what they charge. Floris does the same thing.
06-28-2006, 07:54 PM
There are numerous factors that enter in to the price of products. I am sure that (amply?) factored into the Trumper soap price, is the cost of doing business with the minions of "FREE" samplers that demand samples of this cologne, that cream , and the other skin food. No apology intended for Geo. F. and company, but it is a fact of business life.
06-28-2006, 08:07 PM
I agree there is a significant cost associated with their sampling practice. I think a huge part of it is image of exclusivity. They're simply priced out of the range of a lot of people so as to be exclusive. They're very good products, some of the best but some cheaper priced products are just as good.
06-28-2006, 08:28 PM
Well, T&H soap is only $11-$12 in refill form (I think Harris is similarly priced) so the bowl is adding quite a bit to the price. And these two soaps last a *long* time (~6 months if used daily), so I'm afraid I can't get particularly worked up about the price.
06-28-2006, 09:14 PM
I'm afraid I have to agree. After all to spend $15-$20 per year on soap? Is that just so hard to handle? We waste that in one weekend going to a movie with our girl.
I have an assortment of shaving soaps including Trumper's, D R Harris, Art of Shaving, QED, and others (waiting on Mama Bear's soap, should be here tomorrow), and I don't really quibble at the price. The brands I mentioned above are all top-notch, and I know I'm getting good quality. If I stopped buying soaps right now I'd have enough to shave till I'm 40.
My suggestion would be to look on the bright side and know you're getting a quality soap that will, like mparker said, last 6 months, on up to a year if used properly.
Happy Shaving All,
06-29-2006, 05:33 AM
I fully comprehend the business practices behind the elevated cost. The exclusivity mentioned earlier by Chris certainly cannot be overlooked. I believe that is one of the principal reasons for the higher price. Consider T&H shave creams; it is very rare to see them offered under $21 a jar. I have no doubt they strongly influence the price that vendors can offer.
I have heard that the Trumper/T&H/etc soaps will last a lot longer than those offered by QED/St Charles/etc. I am not at all familiar with soap making, could someone explain why they last longer? What does it mean to say a soap is hardmilled? I assume this is a more complicated process and may add to the price?
07-02-2006, 08:44 PM
Hard soaps are made from fat, lye, and water. Glycerin is removed from the soap during the manufacturing process. The soap is then dried and milled two or three times, scented, and pressed into shape.
Although originally glycerin was extracted for use in explosives manufacture, it can also be used as a soap in its own right. Glycerin can be purchased in bulk by the hobbyist, and since it melts at low temperatures and can be easily scented and poured into a mould, it is commonly used by small "boutique" soapmakers. Hard soap can be remanufactured and scented as well, but this is much trickier than for glycerin soap.
Common glycerin soaps include Neutrogena soap, as well as Classic Shaving and Col Conk shaving soaps. Hard soaps included Dove and Ivory hand soap, as well as Truefitt & Hill and D. R. Harris shaving soaps. Hard soaps tend to last much longer than glycerin soaps, unless they have been "whipped" (like Ivory).
Hard shaving soaps tend to have more fat in them than hand or face soap, and may include other ingredients like bentonite as well (Some glycerin soaps like Classic Shaving also have bentonite).
Hard shaving soap has many more manufacturing steps which tend to increase the cost, however they are also much longer lasting than glycerin soaps of the same weight, thus partially offsetting the cost.
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