Use ‘em, Don’t Lose ‘em

Are you getting the most out of your membership? Sure, we advocate for the entire handcrafted soap and cosmetic industry and we offer some pretty killer insurance to professional US and Canadian members as well as a not-to-be-missed yearly conference. But if you’re just here for the conferences or the insurance, you’re missing out on so much more. As we head through the season of holiday madness and into the end of the year, it’s the perfect time to take stock of your business and plan for the new year.

Family Heirloom

With that in mind, check out some of the perks for *all* members (including vendors, private labelers, and handcrafters just starting out)

Reminder: To get to all of these goodies, make sure you log in on the website before you get click-happy (otherwise, these links take you nowhere and nobody likes to be in a sad corner of the internet).

>>Save on your supplies with ongoing and special monthly deals from our Vendor members.

>>Save on printing, office supplies and much more by registering for a Power Purchasing account.

>>Expose your products to the world with HSCG’s Beauty Box Program.

>>Learn how to start your business with the HSCG Small Business Start-up Toolkit.

And check out some of the perks for all *pro* members (this is our most common category of membership – for all the peeps who make and sell goods to the public).

>>Help consumers find your company by filling out (or updating!) your online listing.

>>Let consumers know where you’re selling by listing your stores, wholesale accounts, craft shows and farmers’ markets on the HSCG Store Locator.

>>Learn how to wholesale your products with the HSCG Wholesale Toolkit.

>>Get yourself in the news with HSCG’s Public Relations Toolkit.

You can get to the full list of benefits right here and of course, get in touch with us online or in the office if you need help accessing any of your benefits.

Here’s to a phenomenal fourth quarter and a great start to your 2015 business planning!

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Behind the Scenes: Constructing HSCG’s Library

If you follow us here on the blog (or Facebook or Twitter, you faithful stalker, you) or were lucky enough to join us in Tucson earlier this year for our 17th annual conference, then you may remember hearing about a project we’ve been working on for the soap and cosmetic-making community.

One super important part of the Guild’s mission is to foster the handcrafted soap and cosmetic industry. To that end, we’ve been working on an online library to house all sorts of resources for members and the community at large. There you’ll find everything from instructional videos to the various toolkits we released earlier this year to helpful links and articles covering all aspects of your indie business.

Wondering what this content will look like? (Yes, we couldn’t wait, either.) While we are oh-so-impatiently waiting for this library to be built, we couldn’t resist sharing one of the first instructional videos, taught by bath don’t-call-it-a-bomb master Holly Port. In this video, filmed by Monster Productions, Holly, owner of Lotion Bar Café, teaches you how to make (what else?!) fail-proof bath fizzies.

And, if you really want a glimpse behind the scenes (and a newfound appreciation for what it takes to translate instructions to film), check out the blooper reel.

 

We can’t wait to bring you an entire library full of content like this. Members, keep an eye on your e-news to get the latest and greatest scoop.

Thank you, Holly, for sharing your expertise and your bloopers! What are *you* hoping to see in the HSCG Library?

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Have You Got The Merch?

Did you know the Guild has a store? Yup, it’s not just at conferences where you can get your fix of HSCG goods. The HSCG online store carries general educational material as well as select HSCG-branded items. Order as much or as little as you like for one flat shipping rate (and pssst, you can get a 25% discount on books. How sweet is that?). Take a peek at some of the goods now lining our online shelves:

HSCG acrylic member sign

Announce your membership or  certified soapmaker status with pride. Perfect for display in your shop or at shows, we have newly printed 5″ x 7″ (roughly 13 x 18 cm) acrylic signs for both HSCG members and certified soapmakers available in the store.

grow your handmade business book

Books abound. Stock up on popular business titles, like Keri Chapin’s Growing Your Handmade Business and Marie Gale’s  Good Manufacturing Practices for Soap & Cosmetic Handcrafters. Expand your repertoire with Holly Port’s new release, Make It Fizz: A Guide to Making Bathtub Treats. Keep it legal with Marie Gale’s classic, Soap & Cosmetic Labeling or just kick back with tales like Jenna Woginrich’s Made From Scratch. Whatever titles you cozy up to, you’ll get an extra discount on the list price (how’s that for treating yourself?).

HSCG soap necklace

Finally, did you catch the new jewelry at this year’s conference? We’re excited to have these hot sellers now available in the store. You’ll find necklaces and earrings with dangling bars of handcrafted soap (made out of clay, not soap, FYI, although boy would that come in handy!) in scores of colors. Both are conversation starters, and perfect for announcing your not-so-secret obsession to the world.

Browse the store for the full selection, including aprons, shirts, gift certificates, marketing materials, and more.

How do you show Guild pride?

 

 

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Now Serving You: Meet Tanya

Tanya Rasley has been serving the Guild for over a year. Starting as a volunteer on the Social Media Committee in 2013, you may have seen her running around the Loews Ventana this May as a ground crew volunteer during the 2014 HSCG conference or up at the podium during the Annual Meeting as a Board of Directors candidate. When Board of Directors member Benjamin Aaron had to step down, Tanya was the natural choice to fill the remainder of his term.

Tanya headshot

Based in the southern Oregon coastal town of Coos Bay, Tanya runs Canard Labs, an artisan soap company offering retail, private label, and wholesale bath and body care products, which grew out of Baby Duck Soap Co (and no, no ducks were harmed in the manufacture of soap for Baby Duck Soap Co – and yes, that is a question that popped up from time to time).

Words we may have inserted in her mouth: take naps instead of watching television. As Tanya let us know, “You burn more calories sleeping than you do watching TV. So…naps are good!” We’ll happily take that little known fact as motivation to get through this crazy holiday season.

Tanya schooling Adam on the fine art of colorants at the 2014 conference

We’re excited to have Tanya apply her talents to the Board and continue her record of excellence in service to the association. You can get in touch with her, find out her plans for the Guild, and just send a friendly “hello” via tanyar@soapguild.org. Find other contact details for Guild staff and administration here. We are here to serve you!

Welcome to the Board, Tanya!

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2015 Conference: Soap Highlights

Happy (nearly) Halloween! Have you inserted pumpkin into your product lines? Are you ingesting pumpkin, spices, and all things orange for the season? Are you layering chai lip balm over your pumpkin seed oil-based sugar scrub and pumpkin body butter? How about registering for the 2015 HSCG conference? [cue record scratch and music coming to a screeching halt] Just like carved pumpkins are being thrown out post-Halloween festivities, early-early bird discounts fly out the window October 31st at 1pm Pacific and 4pm Eastern time.

With that out of the way, we wanted to let you in on some of the soap-related sessions in store for you at the 2015 annual Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetic Guild conference. This is, after all, a soap and cosmetic guild, so we couldn’t leave soap classes off the menu.

Arianne Arsenault, owner of La Fille de la Mer , will show you how to take it to the next level in Melt and Pour Like a Pro. Master layering and embedding in large batches as well as prepping all that soap for retail.

Arianne Arsenault

Erica Pence, founder and CEO of Bath Alchemy Lab, will be teaching all the basic soap swirls in Swirling Made Easy and building on it with a discussion of tools, soap consistency, and techniques like the hidden feathers, nonpareils, peacocks, butterflies, and zebra stripes in Advanced Swirling Made Easy.

Erica Pence

Sharon Czekala, founder and owner of The Great Lakes Natural Soap Company, will help you understand why combining soap methods can take your soap to the next level – and help you overcome process limitations in Hybrid Soaps: The Best of Both Worlds.

Sharon Czekala

In Soaping for the Specialized Customer, Soaping101.com’s Catherine McGinnis will teach you how to tap into new markets by serving customers with allergies and ingredient sensitivities, as well as those who are socially and economically conscious.

Catherine McGinnis

Topic not yet announced, but Guild soap whisperer and Hampden-Sydney College Elliott Professor of Chemistry Dr. Kevin Dunn never disappoints. Past topics include investigations on milk and silk in soap, dreaded orange spots, gelling, partial saponification, water discounts, and effects of time and temperature on soapmaking.

Kevin Dunn

Check out the newly released schedule as well as all of the speakers and topics planned for this conference from the embedded links or from the 2015 conference pages on the HSCG website.

Can’t wait to get our soap on with you next year in Indy! Calling all soapers, did you learn something new about soapmaking this year?

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2015 Conference: Extra Learning

Conference not enough for you? Add on one of our four half day seminars the day before the conference starts. This year, we’re covering social media, branding, product photography, and a hands-on soapmaking class.

We think you’ll learn plenty at conference, but these seminars offer an additional learning opportunity, particularly useful if you don’t have access to local classes or don’t usually get to take the time off for them. Each seminar takes place from 10am to 3pm on Friday, April 17, the day before conference starts and includes lunch. Don’t wait until the last moment to register – each seminar is capped at just 30 attendees to maximize the personal attention you’ll receive. Should you decide to arrive the night before these seminars, you’ll still be able to check in to the Westin at the special discounted conference attendee room rate. So, wondering what seminars are in store for you this year?

Catherine McGinnis, the guru behind www.Soaping101.com, is back with her wildly popular Cold Process Soapmaking Intensive Class. Learn all about soapmaking and dive into making your own batch. This is great preparation for the Basic Cold Process Certification exam.

Catherine McGinnis

Adam Grogin, Monster Productions owner and the hardworking man behind the camera at past conferences, is introducing Product Photography: Perfecting the Shot. Not only will he share the nitty-gritty of what you need, how to set up your studio and how to process your shots, you’ll get to practice with your own camera. Whether you’re sporting a smartphone or a fancy-schmancy DSLR, Adam will help you learn how to get a drool-worthy shot with experience born of years of exposure to the handcrafted cosmetic industry.

Adam Grogin

Lela Barker, empire-builder behind Lucky Break Consulting, is back with a seminar on Branding for Badasses. Learn why branding is the soul of your company and then let Lela guide you to your unique selling proposition, target audience, and figure out just what to say to be recognized for the badass company you are.

Lela Barker

Melissa Ward, managing parter at NewWard Development, is introducing The Social Media Sales Funnel. Social media should be more than a Bermuda triangle of time investment and a rabbit hole into cat videos. Social media marketing master Melissa will show you how to keep your brand on your customers’ minds and how to get your fans from your social media pages onto your website.

Melissa Ward

Whether you’re just starting out or looking to take your business to the next level, one of these seminars can help you out. Register today to make next year’s conference extra-intense. Your hardest choice just may be choosing one of the four!

P.S., early-early bird rates expire before trick or treating’s begun. Get thee to the registration page before October 31 to get the hottest deal on 2015’s conference!

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2015 Conference: Business Highlights

April 18, 2015: Where will you be? The Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetic Guild will be in Indianapolis, welcoming 450 lucky attendees to our annual conference. And what, pray tell, happens during this conference? Oh, we are so glad you asked…we’ll be packing nearly 2 dozen speaker sessions covering topics ranging from business to product-making, an exhibitor hall, a product showcase and competition, HSCG merchandise, networking lunches, lots of snacks, a killer raffle, nightly events, and opportunities to take certification exams into 3 days (plus a half, if you come early for optional seminars). Woot! If you’re not tired just reading that sentence, please send some of your energy our way, thank you very much.

We have a slew of speakers lined up for the 2015 annual conference who will be addressing all aspects of your business. Keep reading for a sneak peek of speakers who are going to help you rocket your business to the next level.

Bella Luce and Lucky Break Consulting founder Lela Barker will help you dissect what makes a brand successful and how to apply it to your brand regardless of your cash flow in The Anatomy of a Compelling Brand.

Lela Barker

About.com’s David Fisher will explain why your mission statement guides your business and help you draft one in What’s Your Plan? Creating a Working Mission Statement For Any Size Business.

David Fisher

Lovin’ Soap Project’s co-founder and co-director Amanda Griffin will explain different ways your business can give back and inspire you to philanthropic action in Cause Marketing, Empowered Consumerism and Why Doing Good is Good for Business.

Amanda Griffin

Dave Purdue, trademark attorney at Purdue Law Offices, is back to help you separate copyright fact from myth and register your claims without stepping on any legal toes with Copyright: Protect What’s Yours – Respect What’s Theirs.

Dave Purdue

Rising Tide Capital’s Community Business Academy teacher and Nyah owner La Shonda Tyree will show seasoned makers how to boost their bottom lines and capitalize on their knowledge in Monetize What You Know: Start Teaching for a Profit.

La Shonda Tyree

Learn all about The Psychology of Color, from choosing colors that sell to coordinating colors across your entire brand from Mossy Creek Soap Studio CEO and founder Michelle Rhoades.

Michelle Rhoades

Soapmaker and multi-book author Marie Gale is back with a two-session class covering the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act and the requirements from all the agencies with authority over soap and cosmetic labeling in Product Labeling: Regulations as of 2015.

Marie Gale

Packaging expert Jack Leitman of The Leitman Group is ready to show you both how to get a custom look with US-based stock packaging and how to affordably source custom molded packaging in Custom Packaging: Componetics May Be The Answer!

leitman-2015

Once you have a packaged, branded product, learn just what it takes to wholesale it in Prairie Soap Company and The Imperial Drifter owner Benjamin Aaron’s How to Wholesale: Selling Your Products to the Broader Marketplace.

Benjamin Aaron

From start up costs to leasing and employees, Bathhouse Soapery and multiple retail shop owner Charlene Simon is back covering all the bases with How to Open a Soap Shop: Everything You Need to be Retail Ready.

Charlene Simon

Social media marketer and web development thought leader Melissa Ward will teach you how to use your business’ culture, values, and individuality to market your business and stand out from the crowd in Naked Marketing: A Return to Intimacy in the Digital Age.

Melissa Ward

Quite the list of speakers, right? Check out the entire conference schedule here and register here.

If you’ve never attended an industry event, attending a conference feels like quite the investment, but this is one that we think will prove more than worth your while. Don’t forget, through the end of October, we offer early-early bird pricing for HSCG members. Sign up today and spread your conference payments over 6 months, interest-free through PayPal Credit.

185 days until Indy! What business classes do you wish you could take??

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Just (whole)sale it!

So you’ve set up your online shingle and your soaps are flying off the shelves. Or you’re up every Wednesday at 4am slinging fancy facial creams from your booth at the local market. Maybe you have a raving group of fans who search you out from Renegade to the local high school show. Your branding is tight and your COGS are on lockdown. The only thing you’re missing now is seeing your product on the shelves of local stores (and heck, stores nationwide)). But how to make that leap to wholesaling?

We have just the toolkit to help make your entry into wholesaling smooth sailing. Whether you are a professional or private label member, log in and check out the Wholesale Toolkit we’ve put together.

look how happy you'll be after securing that wholesale deal!

There, you’ll find a checklist that includes:

-       Wholesale insurance considerations

-       For the US, links to IRS forms your wholesale accounts may need

-       Important UPC considerations and links to UPC issuers by country

-       A sample letter of introduction to spark your creative juices when pitching a retailer

-       How to fill out a vendor information form and why it’s a great first step to a contract

-       A sample wholesale agreement (hallelujah!)

-       A sample order form for those times you’re not hooked up to the web

-       Price sheet guidelines and all the three-letter acronyms you want on it: UPC, VIN, SRP, and more

-       Guidelines on producing a wholesale catalog

-       Why you should care about electronic funds transfer

Most importantly, keep breathing. You got this!! For more great advice on wholesale, check out some of our favorite posts from Lucky Break Consulting, Modern Soapmaking, and the Soap Queen, who have all generously shared loads of business advice.

Check out the HSCG website for links to all the sample documents. From the Guild home page, navigate to Members –> Wholesale Toolkit. The website will prompt you to log in if you aren’t already prior to taking you right to the goods. Getting into wholesale may entail a whole lot of paperwork, but it doesn’t have to be scary.

What do you wish you knew when you started wholesaling? Did we miss your favorite wholesale post?

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2015 Conference: Cosmetic Highlights

Are you joining us in Indy for the 18th Annual HSCG Conference in 2015? April 18 kicks off three very full days of classes, networking, soap competition, and special nighttime events in Indianapolis, Indiana, at the Westin Downtown Hotel (and psssst, members, the early-early bird rate expires at the end of the month, so don’t wait if you’re planning to go!).

If you’ve never attended a conference, we pack each day with activity (and food!). After all, if you’re taking time away from your business, we owe it to you to make that time as worthwhile as possible. The class schedule is legendarily packed, with classes often happen concurrently so that you can choose topics most relevant to your business. Today, we’re highlighting some of the speakers you’ll hear during the 2015 conference who are focused on cosmetic topics.

Beth Byrne, owner of Soap and Garden, managing editor of Saponifier, and member of the HSCG Board of Directors, will be presenting Marvelous Moisturizing: Making Basic Lotions and Creams from Scratch. If you already work with soap but are intimidated by lotions, let Beth lead you fearlessly into the moisturization arena. Beth will be demystifying the lotionmaking process, showing you how you can add a few ingredients and reuse tools you already possess to make lotions and creams. In addition, Beth will discuss good manufacturing practices, packaging, and formulation.

Beth Byrne

Kathleen Norris, Technical Marketer at Formulator Sample Shop’s sister company, Active Concepts, and newsletter editor of the Carolina Chapter of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists, will be presenting Transforming the Face of Preservation: Peptide Technology in the Personal Care Industry. Part of making a lotion or cream is effectively preserving it, and that’s where Kathleen’s expertise comes in. What’s a cosmetic maker to do when the most effective, efficient preservatives have been thoroughly demonized by the media and newer preservatives have not been thoroughly vetted? Kathleen will discuss where the industry is heading and the exciting new possibilities contained within antimicrobial peptides.

Kathleen Norris

Find out more about the 2015 conference here and register here. While conference is open to all, HSCG members receive the very best rates ($160 cheaper than the non-member rates while the early-early bird deal is running).

There are 199 days to conference and just 30 days left to take advantage of early-early bird pricing. We can’t wait to see you in Indy at #soapconf15!

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We’re Expanding: Meet Nicole!

Have you contacted headquarters lately? We’re excited to announce that we’re expanding our administrative support here at HSCG headquarters. Yes, it was just last year that we welcomed Lani Dake to the Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetic Guild team as Executive Assistant. One year and innumerable phone calls and emails later, Lani is now serving as HSCG Member Services Director. So who’s answering your queries now? It may just be our newest addition, Nicole Carte, who started part-time at headquarters September 15.

Nicole-Carte

Get in touch any time at 1-866-900-SOAP – both Lani and Nicole field phone calls to headquarters. Current HSCG office hours are Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm EDT. Nicole will be fielding emails sent to admin@soapguild.org while Lani will happily handle all of your membership questions through MemberServices@soapguild.org. Find more ways to contact us right here.

A big welcome to Nicole and virtual congratulations to Lani – thanks for keeping us running!

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