This week continues our summary of what happened during the 17th annual Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetic Guild conference, held this year at the Loews Ventana Canyon in Tucson, Arizona. Catch recaps of day 0 here and day 1 here. Today, we cover Day 2 of the conference.
A full day of conference demands a hearty breakfast, so that’s exactly where we started Wednesday morning, with another buffet out on the pool terrace. During breakfast, intrepid soapers had another chance to take certification exams (and over 50 of them did!) and newly certified soapmakers had a chance to have their picture taken. Meanwhile, furious rounds of sniffing and serious evaluating was taking place at the Soapers’ Showcase, sponsored by long time supporter Shay & Company.
Soap whisperer, Scientific Soapmaking author and Elliot Professor of Chemistry Kevin Dunn kicked off the morning with a riveting presentation of his investigation into Protein in Handcrafted Soap, enlightening all of us as to the reactions of goat milk and silks with lye during the manufacture of soap. Finally, inquiring minds have a goat milk saponification value!
After a break with hot coffee and tea, attendees chose between two Nova Studio teacher sessions. For those not lucky enough to make the half-day seminar, Joan McCoy presented a jam-packed, concentrated version of Packaging Your Bath and Body Products, leaving everyone armed to make one of the most important choices in their businesses. The Nova Studio founder and co-owner Lori Nova taught Making Natural Perfume & Cologne 101, elucidating the fundamentals of essential oil blending as well both oil and alcohol-based perfume/colognes.
Lunch time provided an opportunity for the Guild to hold an Annual Meeting for all members in attendance (and open to all members able to make it, regardless of attendance at the rest of the conference). The annual meeting was action-packed, covering elections for expiring Board of Director terms and voting on bylaw amendments. President Feleciai Favroth reviewed the launch of the beauty box program, teacher enews, Member of the Year, our new eCommerce solution partnership, as well as plans for the learning library and the Guild website. Executive Director Leigh O’Donnell covered changes in the organization, including our growth, the transition from a volunteer to employee work force, insurance price decreases, and an update on the current US legislative landscape. We capped off lunch with a presentation from Amanda Griffin and Benjamin Aaron on the Lovin’ Soap Project.
We followed that whirlwind lunch with an assortment of popcorn and other snacks along with a quick chance to visit vendors prior to launching into our final breakout sessions of the day, repeating a series of three classes twice for attendees.
Multi-company founder and 16th generation soapmaker Kerri Mixon taught attendees how to make any soap naturally transparent using simple materials in Making Transparent Cold/Hot Process Soap as well as some of the all-important benefits of doing so.
In Testing Natural Colors in Your Cold Process Soap, Nova Studio teacher and co-owner Ruth Esteves shared her techniques for testing all types of natural colorants. Attendees walked away learning how to get the color from jar to bar successfully.
Liquid Soapmaking author Jackie Thompson continues to blaze new soapmaking trails, showing attendees both how to make thick soap gels and jellies without thickeners and taking the fear out of accurately neutralizing liquid soap in her Advanced Liquid Soapmaking sessions.
Finally, there was time for a quick dinner break before a pool party networking session generously sponsored by Essential Depot. We gnoshed on hearty appetizers and desserts while relaxing under the stars and catching up with new friends, before heading off to get a little rest before the final day of festivities!
We’ve nearly covered our conference adventures – stay tuned for a recap of #soapconf14 day 3 (and if you missed out this year, 2015 registration is open now)