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Is Craftybase the Inventory Management Answer for Soapmakers in Business?

It’s no secret that Kenna loves Soapmaker 3. She’s been using it for years. But, we hear from a lot of soapmakers that they struggle with the interface and learning curve. Or the software won’t run on their operating systems. Good news! There’s a web-based application taking the maker crowd by storm. It’s called Craftybase.

I’ve used Craftybase at Southern Girl Soapery for several years. So, I volunteered to dish on how the program works for my business. As a soapmaker running good manufacturing practices (GMP) compliant company, I’m a big fan. And here’s why…

Soap Inventory Software for Starting a Business

Getting Familiar with Craftybase

Straight from the Craftybase webpage, the software, “manages your materials and product inventory, watches your incomings and outgoings, and keeps track of your pricing: all in one tidy, cost-effective package.”

Sounds good, right?!

Craftybase is geared toward micro and small craft businesses. It is a cloud-based alternative to Soapmaker Pro 3. So, it’s a viable option for die-hard Mac lovers. And, it’s great those who need to access inventory info from their mobile devices while on the go.

The overview screen will feel familiar to those who have experience managing a web page, blog, or online store. The dashboard gives a snapshot of orders, expenses, stock levels, and profitability. Also, a series of tabs allows you to navigate to specific sections to input new activity or access info.

Craftybase dashboard for soap business
Account Dashboard in Craftybase

What I Love About Craftybase

The intuitive and easy-to-use design gets a big thumbs up from me. The graphic interface is great for those of us who best process information visually. In addition, fun icons, color-coded stock levels, and user-added product photos convey information at a glance. If your eyes glaze over when presented with unrelenting rows and columns of text, Craftybase’s graphic interface was built with you in mind.

Craftybase inventory software cost of goods sold
Product Page & Pricing Guidance in Craftybase

But, make no mistake, some seriously powerful number crunching is going on behind the scenes. And you will be thankful for the granular sale tracking. Knowing your best seller for the last quarter is just a few clicks away. Or, do you have the materials on hand to complete your next batch? And, just how much cash you will net for a particular wholesale order?

Soap business order tracking and cost of goods
Order Tracking and Schedule C Tax Form (USA) Guidance in Craftybase

And you won’t be going it alone. Craftybase offers a searchable knowledge base and bite-sized introductory training. Also, they have rockstar customer support. The Craftybase team must have gotten sick of my daily (sometimes hourly) questions after I signed on! But, they never even hinted at that in their responses. A+ for customer service!

Is Craftybase the Best Inventory Software for Your Business

But nothing works for everyone. And Craftybase has a few drawbacks.

Initial setup is time-consuming, as one would expect from an inventory tracking system. Users who have been tracking inventory via spreadsheet catch a break. You can upload .CSV files, which shaves hours off the onboarding process. But, learning and fully implementing the software is going to take some work on your part.

As more soap and cosmetic makers have signed on with Craftybase, industry-specific functionality has come a long way. Higher pricing tiers now offer lot number tracking for raw materials, for example. That said, there are no in-program formulating features, so you will have to look elsewhere for your lye calculator.

The lowest priced plan offers materials and product tracking only. Higher tiers offer order and invoice management. And, as you add sales channels or need access for more members of your team, you’ll need to level up. Pricing ranges from $9 to $34.99 (at the time this article is being written) monthly. Yes, that’s a recurring fee, folks. In contrast, Soapmaker Pro is a one-time purchase.

Craftybase Features*

  • robust inventory tracking for raw materials, masterbatches, and finished product
  • COGS tracking (including labor)
  • pricing guidance and calculators.
  • saved recipes
  • traceability for GMP compliance (including raw material lot numbers and product batch numbers)
  • order management
  • expense tracking
  • easy-to-pull reports and exports
  • interfaces with popular e-commerce solutions (including Etsy, Shopify, Square, WooCommerce, and Paypal)
  • tracks products out on consignment by location
  • ability to be used on the go with multiple devices by multiple users
  • has an intuitive, modern, and attractive user interface
  • supported by responsive and helpful customer service
  • tailored to micro/small businesses
  • affiliate program

*Features vary according to tier.

Craftybase Downsides

  • lacks robust accounting features (You’ll likely need bookkeeping software as a companion to Craftybase.)
  • subscription software means a monthly payment (instead of a one-time software fee)
  • requires internet connection to access your data
  • lacks formulating features specific to soap and cosmetics makers (no built-in lye calculator, for example)
  • limited e-commerce platform integration (If you use Big Commerce, Volusion, Wix, Weebly, etc., plan to manually input orders.)
  • no banking integrations, so expenses require manual input
  • if you sell a lot of bundled products, like gift sets, tracking them is cumbersome

Is Craftybase right for you?

Whether or not Craftybase is a good value depends on your goals. If you are looking for a single program to take you from formulation to end-of-the-year tax-ready accounting, Craftybase isn’t that program. (I’m not convinced that program exists, y’all!)

However, soapmakers who want to track their inventory, get a firm grip of their cost of goods, access pricing guidance, get granular sales reports and broad stroke accounting reports, and track GMP will certainly benefit from using Craftybase. It’s certainly made a huge difference in my biz!

Try Craftybase out yourself & get your first 2 weeks free!

If you want to try Craftybase out, they currently two-week, free trial. If you’d like to sign up, please use our affiliate link.

When you use our affiliate link to purchase Craftybase, Modern Soapmaking earns a small commission. But, it doesn’t cost you any extra. And, we never recommend anything to you we wouldn’t use for ourselves.

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24 Responses

    1. Thanks, Heather. Hope she finds it helpful. Always glad to see someone from the ARWB group. (I wish I could claim the whole blog, but I’m actually guest posting.) 🙂

  1. Hello, I have a candle and soap business, the soap that I do make is M & P, my question is, is Craftybase going to help the soap part of my business?

    1. Hi, Michael,
      If you need help keeping up with inventory, labor, COG, and pricing for the soap part of your business, Craftybase can certainly help you do that. It can also do the same for your candle half of the business, seamlessly. If you are wondering if it will do something specific, ask, and I will try to answer. 🙂

  2. I chose to use CB because I liked the cloud based data and I use a Mac laptop. I have spent a lot of time entering in all my materials via my expenses. I do not see any support for taking into account the specific gravity of any of the oils that I order by volume. Even reviewing the sample CB recipe – it is a pure shea butter soap that would be measured in grams anyway. Many of my base oils are ordered by volume. I don’t see how any of my inventory information would remain accurate if I weren’t able to account for the weight of the oils being used. Alternatively, I can convert each product at the time of entering but that seems extremely time consuming and leaves me vulnerable to calculation errors. Is there a better way to to this in CB??
    I have sent a request to CB also about this concern. Thanks.

    1. Kimberly,
      I suspect that CB has gotten back to you by now, but I’ll give my two cents, just in case.

      I would handle this by making my purchase unit a volume unit and my tracking unit a weight unit. When you add a new material, you will have to tell the system that , for example, 1 fl oz = .95 oz (net weight). For specifics, review the in-software help video “How does the Purchase to Tracking Unit Conversion work?”

      I honestly haven’t run into this as all my base oils are sold by weight, but I believe that will work for you. You could also, of course, see if your supplier offers alternate net contents data. Hope that helps!

      1. Thanks Stephanie,
        Yes, CB replied to my query and their website leaves the converting up to the user. I have since cancelled my subscription and have moved (reentered) all of my data on Soapmaker Pro. I like how specific I can be with my ingredients. I like how I can enter the lot numbers of each of the ingredients. I wish it were web-based!! That would be a perfect scenario.
        Thanks for your help. I will review the suggested video also.

        1. Crawford Woodman, the SM3 developer, has just sent out a survey to his customers asking what we would like. Cloud was discussed, as well as porting to Mac and many other things. He’s got plans that I think are going to make many happy! I will always prefer owning the software and hosting it on my own computer (I have a reliable backup system), but the ability to access that data via the cloud could come in handy, I can see.

  3. Hi Stephanie & Kenna,
    I have been looking at Crafty Base as an alternative to SM3. I find SM3 to be tedious and I feel micro managed, especially in the entry of my sales. My sales are currently automatically synced into Quickbooks but having to manually enter these into Soapmaker is so time consuming. I wish there was an easier method, i.e. importing sales data. 🙂

    I am concerned about switching to Crafty Base due to it lacking some of the industry specifics which Soapmaker has. All of my sales are online as of now via Etsy & Shopify… soon.

    Here are my questions:
    Can you track inventory in Crafty Base and does it sync with online sales channels to avoid overselling, etc.?

    Does it link to Ship Station?

    Thanks
    Clairissa

    1. I don’t use any of the sales channels or shipping that you do, but I do know CB connects with several channels. Whether it pulls or fully syncs is a question I’d encourage you to check in with their team about since they will have more knowledge about that aspect.

  4. Does this give you the ability to track each time you make a soap batch so you can record lot #, etc for each ingredient used?

    I honestly don’t want to spend time setting it up to see it can’t do one of the things I need it to.

    1. You can track each time you make a batch. You can preload a recipe for every product you make, which saves time, and edit as needed. Used materials are deducted and new product inventory is added. Each batch/manufacture is assigned a trackable lot/batch number, however raw materials can currently only have a lot number assigned in notes. So, you cannot, say, select a lot when you add an ingredient to a batch, but you can type the lot number in the notes and be able to perform a search that will bring up all batches with that ingredient lot number. I believe an upgrade is on their radar, but I don’t know a roll out date. Definitely a tipping point for many makers!

  5. Hi, Im just starting out and don’t know anything about pricing. I started the free trial on Craftybase and loved the pricing feature. It does all the work as far as cog’s. I’m using a Mac so Soapmaker was not an option for me. I also despise Excel spreadsheets and I like the visual aspect of CB. So far, so good!

    1. Yea! Combining Craftybase’s pricing features with with the smart pricing philosophy here at modernsoapmaking.com has me feeling more on track than ever. Glad it’s working for you, too. And, yes, love how visually appealing CB is!

  6. I have really enjoyed crafty base. Just the ease of putting in recipes and cogs was alone worth it to me. There was a bit of learning curve as with any new program but after a couple of weeks, I found my way and so glad I did. I wasn’t really planning on using it as an accounting software as I am a QB girl but as I said alone having the visual means of seeing and inputting recipes and cogs alone is worth it to me. They are extremely quick to answer any questions which are pretty impressive. I have to admit since they speak and explain in “crafty base” terms it took me a bit to understand what they were saying but then I would “get it” or find a way to make it work a bit more personally for me. There is not a huge layout of cash for software and paying a small bit monthly works for me. Overall…very happy with it.

  7. How would you feel if i told you to give your personal and business records to me?

    I guess my thoughts are what kind of business person would keep their records out in the center of town for anyone they don’t know to see? The cloud concept is just that. They can say all they want about its safety, but in reality who owns the cloud? How many countries does the storage of data transport through and leave info in?

    I have had long time friends who worked in cyber security for years, and have had an inside view of this kind of thing for years. It amazes me how many people are willing to give their info blindly to a whole list of strangers from various countries trustingly. I think it would be safe to say that private business info would be safer kept in books in the center of town or city. People would be too into their phones to pay attention anyway. 😛

    1. Both SM3 and Craftybase have accounting features, but dedicated accounting software has more robust features: “books”/journal transactions and reconciliation ability, reports that help you keep your cash flow in check day-to-day and make record keeping easier, custom categorization to make tax time easier, etc.

      Honestly, it’s a bit like trying to tighten a screw with a butter knife vs. a drill. Better tools are worth the frustration and energy they save.

      And, if you outsource bookkeeping, most accountants/CPAs are used to working with Xero, Quickbooks, or similar. And that familiarity means they clock fewer hours hunting for info in an unfamiliar program.

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