2014 Conference Recap: Day 0 (Pre-Conference)

Were you at #soapconf14? Wanted to go but didn’t snag a ticket in time? The industry has done a great job of capturing what happened, but if you’ve missed any of their posts, we’ll be recapping each day’s activities right here. Today, we cover Day 0, also known as “technically the day before the conference officially starts”.

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Why Day 0, you ask? Well, Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetic Guild conferences have added a unique twist in the past few years. Each year, we arrange several different intensive, partial-day sessions for conference attendees who want an in-depth look at topics. These intensive seminars are generally capped at 30 attendees, run for 6 hours, and include lunch. These optional sessions carry an additional cost and are a great way to take a class, particularly for conference attendees who don’t normally have access to teachers locally.

This year, our Day 0 kicked off with the 4 seminar sessions: Taking Your Empire to the Next Level: Sales Reps + Trade Shows, Cold Process Soapmaking Intensive Class, Scaling Production & Masterbatching, and Packaging Your Bath & Body Products.

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Lucky Break President Lela Barker taught Taking Your Empire to the Next Level: Sales Reps + Trade Shows, a killer business class covering the fundamentals of finding and using sales reps and all of the ins and outs of trade shows, including how to decide if you’re ready for one, what to pack, how to design a compelling booth, and all the other tips that build street cred for your brand. (Additional blog coverage on this session here.)

Soaping101.com owner Catherine McGinnis taught a hands on Cold Process Soapmaking Intensive Class. Aside from making their own batches of soap, attendees learned about the history and chemistry of soapmaking, how to select various ingredients and tools, ingredient safety, design fundamentals, how to store and cure soap, and all the basics in preparation for the basic cold process certification test.

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Modern Soapmaking founder Kenna Cote shared all her tips for growth in Scaling Production & Masterbatching. Attendees learned various methods to scale production, the challenges and frustrations possible when doing so, and tips to maintain their sanity and their bank accounts while taking their business to new heights.

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The Nova Studio teacher Joan McCoy brought her wildly popular Packaging Your Bath & Body Products class to the conference, sharing packaging considerations and tips for massage oils, herbs, tub teas, body scrubs, bath bombs, bath salts, lotions, creams, body butters, MP/CP/HP soaps, and perfumes of all stripes. Attendees not only learned market trends in how to wrap it all up, store it, and ship it, but left with loads of reference materials to help pick the right containers, closures, and suppliers.

In between seminars, our teachers and other experts whipped up batches of bath bombs, soap, and more to film the first educational films that will stock our upcoming learning library.

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Later in the day, we opened general registration and held a first round of certification exams. After the last certification exams were handed in, all 5 HSCG Board of Director candidates introduced themselves and their passions and mingled with the crowd at an informal opening reception held just outside the check-in area.

Conference staff and current Board of Directors were also on-hand to welcome conference attendees and chat all things soap, cosmetic, business, and HSCG-related. We gnoshed on appetizers (you could call them appetizers, but I called them dinner), dessert, and drinks, while relaxing under the high desert evening sky and recuperating from long car rides and cramped airplane seats. This opening reception is quickly becoming a Guild favorite event and we look forward to continuing the tradition for future conferences!

Stay tuned for summaries of the remainder of conference (and don’t forget, registration for the 2015 Conference in Indianapolis is open now).

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