If this year’s conference is your first, have no fear. Here are some tips and tricks to make sure your first experience is a good one:
Rest up prior to the conference. Trust us – you’ll thank us for this Sunday morning. We will keep your brain and body busy from sunup to sundown. You’ll want extra energy to enjoy the nighttime entertainment and to take full advantage of having hundreds of fellow enthusiasts and experts all in one building and excited to talk about soap and cosmetics.
Get technical. You’re definitely going to want to thoroughly document your experience (and go for the gold in our social media contest, of course). A laptop, tablet, phablet (whatever floats your boat in the tech department) will help you catch every last word, store loads of pictures, and keep you from attempting to transcribe your notes three months later (yup, been there).
Travel smart. Whether you checked bags or carried them on, bring an extra bag to help you get your goodies home. Heck, you may find it cheaper to ship your suitcases to and from the hotel. If you find you’ve won more than you can carry home, UPS will be on-site with all the necessary supplies to help you get it all home. If you shipped stuff TO the conference, you can re-use your box (eco-friendly and efficient, score!).
Be comfy and dress for frigid indoor weather. There’s no dress code, so whether you rock stilettos or sneakers, you’ll fit right in. If you want to make wardrobe changes from day to evening, go for it. Even in hot, hot, hot Miami at the 2011 conference, several hours in a classroom was enough to freeze, freeze, freeze attendees. You’ll be thankful you remembered to bring some extra layers to chase away the inevitable chill.
Bring samples and business cards. You never know when you are going to want to share something with a fellow attendee (or maybe even get some help troubleshooting a batch gone awry). Conference is an *excellent* time to ask questions of vendors, speakers, and fellow attendees. You can even go the super eco-friendly route and use an app like bump to exchange contact information (also an awesome way to transfer smartphone pics to your laptop in a flash).
Collect autographs. Soap-lebrities (that’s an official term) will be in the house. Don’t be shy – if you have any of the speakers’ books, bring them for autographs.
Save up for the raffle. The raffle is ah-MAZING. Last year’s raffle included a lye tank, full ride to the conference, custom box printings, custom consulting, and loads of books, ingredients, and packaging prizes. Raffle proceeds go right back into the keeping your non-profit trade association running, so feel good about supporting the HSCG while you angle for top prizes donated by our very generous suppliers.
Bring your shopping list. Vendors will be running some incredible specials, both AT the conference and afterwards. Make sure you thoroughly examine your goodie bags and all the material you receive throughout the conference so that you know exactly what all the deals and steals are and be ready to take advantage!
Do you have a genius tip for conference attendees?