Getting Busy…Certified

It’s true. Members were getting busy at this year’s annual conference in Tucson, Arizona….obtaining certifications, of course (what were you thinking, eh hem??). This year, 53 soapers achieved 58 soapmaking certifications ranging from Basic Melt & Pour to Advanced Cold Process/Hot Process.

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Without further ado, our latest and greatest certified soapmakers are:

Basic Cold Process/Hot Process Soapmakers 
Alicia Villacorta Jessica Eveleigh
Amy Bryce Jodi Chen
April Cardona John S. Ykinionty
Audra Weisenberger Joyce Smith
Brenda Kasztelan Karen Harvey
Christina Wheeler Kiyoko Puyaoan
Cynthia Carrasco Kirsten Nagashima
Debbie Deupree Kristina Nanninga
Deborah Bruijn Leanne Laboy
Denise Jackson-Gunter Marilyn Plummer
Ester Bautro Omitade Adediran
Francis Cullen Patricia Monk
Gates Councilor Philip Olive
Heather Folks-Lambart Priscilla Dufilho
Heidi Warren Raymond Martin
Heidi Jaynes Regina Bauscher
Holly Mackley Sam Swerdlen
Jane Leebeck Sherry Matranga
Janet Tietz Sue Robertson
Janet Vallego Susanne Gamble
Jeanette Marquis Theresa Novoa
Jennifer Chaloux Vivian Salas
Jennifer Katehos Yvonne Bernard
Basic Melt & Pour Soapmakers  Advanced Cold Process/Hot Process Soapmakers
Maria Rios Heidi Jaynes
Holley Mackley Ester Bautro
Janet Vallego Karen Harvey
Heidi Warren Jennifer Hofmann
Starla Ledbetter
Tricia Samundsen
Deborah Bruijn
Reginia Bauscher

Of course, members aren’t restricted to taking certification exams at an annual conference (log in for information on proctored exams), but it’s a darn convenient place to take them, as long as you didn’t karaoke too much the night prior to the exam or overwhelm your brain from the first full day of conference activities (always a danger). The two testing slots offered this year kept our Certification Chair Barb De Los Santos and her judging committee busily grading exams and soaps.

Members, we’ll let you know once your certification information is available online. Also look forward to your pictures soon, for those of you who took them.

We will offer certification testing slots again next year in Indianapolis at the 2015 Annual Conference (pssst, don’t forget, you have until the end of the month – a scant 12 or so days – to score the lowest registration rates), so if you were pondering it at this past conference, sign up now!

Congratulations again to all of our newly certified soapmakers. You guys rock!

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Soapers’ Showcase Winners

Drumroll, please….it’s time to announce the 2014 Annual Conference Soapers’ Showcase Winners.

soaper showcase table

If you were with us in Tucson at this year’s conference, you had a chance to ogle all the entries in person, along with boxes and boxes of soaps and personal care products donated by many, many generous conference attendees for donation to local non-profit Sister Jose Women’s Shelter.

Categories for competition this year included Best Scent in both melt and pour and cold/hot process soaps, Best Appearance in both melt and pour and  cold/hot process soaps, Best Packaging, the always intriguing free-for-all category of “Something Different”, and Best In Show.

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Beyond the usual fierce competition for each of the seven categories, soapers continue to defy categorization, creating their own transparent bases, mixing cold process with melt and pour, and mixing cold, hot and rebatch techniques to spectacular ends. Needless to say, our judges (aka attendees) had a tough job ahead of them.

The winners, as determined by attendee vote and announced at the 2014 Annual Awards Dinner were:

JoAnne Somers from Dirty Face Soap Company for Best Scent in Melt and Pour

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Dawn Cabral-Quimby from Horsin’ Around Soap for Best Scent in Cold/Hot Process

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Shonna Mangeris from The Soap Shop for Best Appearance in Melt and Pour

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Emily Shieh from Shieh Design Studio for Best Appearance in Cold/Hot Process

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Janey Davies from Scrubology Soap for Best Packaging

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Chris Port from Lotion Bar Cafe for Something Different

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Jennifer Chaloux from Three Crows Soap and Bodyworks for Best In Show

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Congratulations to JoAnne, Dawn, Shonna, Emily, Janey, Chris, and Jennifer for sharing your spectacular winning specimens with us! Thank you to everybody who entered for making this, as usual, an impossible decision and thank you to entrants and attendees for donating loads and loads and loads of soap for Sr. Jose’s. We can’t wait to see what you cook up for #soapconf15 in Indianapolis!

Did you have a favorite soap this year? New categories you wish we’d create? Feel free to sound off here!

 

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Show Us Your Heroes

Soapmakers, Cosmetic makers, and Guild members, let’s gather around the fire or air conditioners, as the weather may currently dictate, and have a mushy moment. It may not be that traditionally “thankful” time of year, but we are feeling pretty darn grateful right now. Why? Because you guys rock. Week after week, month after month, stories roll in from near and far of the quiet generosity of soapmakers to other soapmakers, within their communities, and far beyond. Here at Guild headquarters, we don’t hear about all of the unsung heroes, but we can darn well start trying. And that, my friends, is where you come in.

Magnifying Glass - Brooklyn Flea

We are excited to announce the Member of the Year program, aka “Show Us Your Heroes”. Anybody can nominate an HSCG member to be Member of the Year. Why might you nominate someone? Besides just being generally awesome, a Member of the Year candidate may have:

-        advanced human rights through their soapmaking expertise
-        found a new way to make their operations and other makers’ operations eco-friendly
-        tackled a local social issue
-        or maybe even led the charge to advance cosmetic making methods in their local communities

Our precious Earth.

So just how will you show us your heroes? So glad you asked. Nomination forms are going live on the website soon. You’ll have until the end of the year to nominate a member for Member of the Year. Once nominations close, a special selection committee will have the thankless task of narrowing down the nominations and presenting a final slate of candidates to members. Here’s where it gets awesome. We will share each nominee’s story to HSCG members, and you get to decide on the winner, who will be announced at the annual HSCG conference. All of the candidates who make it to the final slate will win a free registration for the 2015 conference (because, hey, you gotta be there to find out if you’re the big winner!) and the final winner wins a trip to the 2016 conference.

We are beyond excited to find out what good soapmakers are up to in your hood and to share more of those stories. Get your nominations ready!!

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Roll That Tape!

Were you lucky enough to join us last week in Tucson, Arizona for the 17th annual HSCG conference? Yes, there was an awful lot of demonstration last week (this desert spa-inspired six layer exfoliant soap by Charlene Simon  was an excellent case in point), but that’s not the only thing we were up to.

char exfoliant vid set up

Oh yes, there was the perfect bath fizzy (those are Holly Port’s hands and her amazing technique),

HSCG_2014-1 fizzy perfection

there were fearless batch-splitting into impressionist-worthy multiple colors (as calmly and very cleanly demonstrated by Erica Pence),

HSCG_2014-4 multicolor pour

and there was even some mica on mica swirling action (as demonstrated here by a safely gloved Tanya Rasley).

HSCG_2014-10 tanya mica swirl

But despite all these lovely demos happening, you may not have seen all of these things if you attended HSCG’s Annual Conference last week.

Wondering why? Here’s a hint, courtesy of Marla Bosworth and a jammin’ Lisa Frank-esque tidal wave soap:

marla and finished soap

Not helping much? How about this?

erica and soap

Getting warmer??

mcginnis behind the scenes (2)

Wonder what we were up to last week? That’s right, we were shooting video (witness rare behind-the-scenes shot above of producer Adam Grogin of Monster Productions). Holly Port of Lotion Bar Cafe, Catherine McGinnis of Soaping101, Erica Pence of Bath Alchemy Lab and The Bonnie Bath Co., Tanya Rasley of Baby Duck Soap Co. and Canard Labs, Charlene Simon of Bathhouse Soapery & Caldarium, and Marla Bosworth of Back Porch Soap Co. all donated their time and mad cosmetic-making skills to film tutorial videos that will eventually land in HSCG’s Learning Library. The Learning Library will be a vetted source of tips, tricks, techniques and creative inspiration for members…and it will be free.

Thanks to these amazing ladies and a killer production and behind-the-scenes crew (can’t forget the dish washers!), we’ll have tutorials on how to layer your soaps, use exfoliants, combine swirling techniques, make amazing bath fizzies, utilize spoons and condiment bottles in your swirling technique, and more. We are still collecting and producing content for the Learning Library, so stay tuned. We will keep you posted on Learning Library progress – we just couldn’t resist sharing these early behind-the-scenes shots! (And while you are oh-so-patiently waiting, allow us to distract you with kittens a time-lapse video of the hard-working conference crew setting up for registration last week.)

What would you love to see in your own personal soap and cosmetic reference library?

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Need Low-Cost Advertising? Read This!

Do you make a great line of products that are professionally packaged? Know that people will fall in love them, if only you could get them in front of more potential customers? How would you like to accomplish just that at very low cost?

You can! The HSCG, offering another benefit to its members, has found beauty bloggers who will review your products and post their thoughts to their readers! The only cost is to you is sending your products for review.

Surprise

We have lined up beauty bloggers from all around the US, with one in Canada and one in the UK (and don’t you worry, the Public Relations committee is still out expanding the contact list), who would be thrilled to accept, test and write about three of your products.

Interested? Here is what you have to do:

1. Check out the list of bloggers and choose one whose audience reflects your market (vegan, young women, etc.)

2. Email the blogger to arrange the review regarding the types and numbers of products.

3. Choose full-sized products that are labeled legally and packaged nicely.

4. In your package to your blogger, include: A letter of introduction to explain you and your product. This could include the ingredients you use, which niche you reach, your backstory, and so on. Keep it to one page. You could also send a brochure. Be sure to include contact information, such as your website address, etc., although we do suggest that you not include your personal phone number. This letter should be carefully written, proofread and printed on high-quality paper. This could be a brochure, if you prefer. Keep in mind that these bloggers receive mostly commercial products that are researched and packaged by large corporations, so it’s imperative that yours be well done, also. Include a few business cards. Get good digital photos of your products.

5. Send your products, letter, links to photos and cards to your blogger in the agreed upon time frame.

 

fly

Note that the HSCG serves merely as a facilitator and educator in this program. The Guild is neither responsible for the blogger’s actions nor your results. Some bloggers do not test products if they are not up to standard, or they may point out what they don’t like. Each blogger has her own policies that you must research before you contact the blogger. All results are between you and your blogger.

Log in and find all the details on the website right here.

Members, go forth and publicize!

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Stretch those Pinning-Tweeting-Selfie-Taking Muscles…it’s Conference Contest Time

Are you joining us at the annual HSCG conference next week? Get ready for a boatload of awesome contests. We’ve already mentioned Soapers’ Showcase and raffle prizes. Today, we want to clue you into the social media contest.

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Guild conference attendees always enthusiastically share their experiences – why not reward you for doing so? There’s nothing better than sharing your insights and getting some real-time feedback from other attendees. Better yet, when you share online, you have a live, searchable log of key insights and funny moments to remember (because there are always shenanigans at conference).

Ready for the rules? They’re simple. Wherever you are sharing information online, tag it #soapconf14. You can post anywhere: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Vine, you name it. As long as we can find your #soapconf14 tag, you’re entered in the contest! The social media committee will collate and judge all entries, announcing 2 winners at the Annual Awards Dinner. The two best posts will score $75 gift certificates to the Guild store (usable for books, conference registration, professionally printed copies of the ‘Why Handcrafted Soap?’ brochure, certification exam fees, and of course, your annual renewal).

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Let’s recap:

When: 10am, Monday May 19th through 5pm Thursday, May 22nd aka from the start of the half-day sessions through the last session prior to the Awards Dinner

How: tag posts and pictures with #soapconf14

Who: every conference attendee is eligible, member or not!

Why: claim social media victory and a $75 prize plus the love or eternal scorn of your fellow soap and cosmetic makers

This year, as we move towards going paperless and more of us have smartphones, tablets, laptops, phablets (and lablets and who knows what other technological contraptions), engaging online should be easier than ever. When you tag your posts with #soapconf14, not only can you find them more easily, every attendee (and everyone who can’t be with us in Tucson) can follow along (or just get really confused when they’re not around to share in the session jokes!).

Remember, you can share pictures and status updates. Check out last year’s winners and some of our favorite updates for inspiration and get your tweeting, Facebooking, picture-taking thumbs ready!

Are you ready for Tucson? We will see some of you in less than a week!!

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So, You’re Heading to Conference

Heading to this year’s 17th Annual HSCG Conference in Tucson, Arizona? Have you started packing yet? We’ve covered the topic before, but we think it bears repeating. After all, if you’re going to the trouble of getting patted down by TSA for carrying on 10 pounds of national security-threatening soap, you shouldn’t have to suffer packing regrets once you get to Tucson. You know all the normal gear to pack, but how about all those little extras? Don’t let these major packing regrets happen to you:

Packing

Forgetting to bring your laptop/ipad/other internet-accessing device with keyboard. How else will you take notes, get online, check in on your business, compete in the social media contest, and access all of this year’s presenter materials? We love paper like the best of ‘em, but you will want to make out with yourself if you remember to bring an electronic device. Truly. Check the attendee booklet for more information on the data we’re providing electronically this year.

Forgetting to bring chargers. Electronics are all well and good…until they die. You, too, will be kicking yourself if you bring the electronics without their requisite chargers. Don’t let this tragedy happen to you!

Forgetting to bring soap. Yes, this is a soap & cosmetic conference. Yes, the hotel will have *ahem* commercial soap (somebody hurry up and infiltrate all hotels, mmmkay?). Not only will you want premium soap to bathe with (unless you prefer to remind yourself why you make soap?), you’ll want extra to donate (can we donate a ton this year??) and possibly to gift other conference attendees (warn them before you start chucking soap – no #soapbombs, okay?).

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Forgetting your meds. Whether it’s surprise PMS, killer headaches, or something that impedes your ability to move about the building and stay up all hours, forgetting the medications that allow you to maintain some semblance of humanity is an express train to a ruined day.

Forgetting extra money. The conference will attempt to stuff you with the meals and snacks that are included in your conference registration, but you will want some cash to pay for extra meals, those meds you forgot, your ride from the airport to the hotel, HSCG store orders, conference orders from vendors, raffle tickets and shipping that enormous thing you won in the raffle home, of course!

Forgetting to bring extra clothing. Yes, we are meeting in a desert. Yes, it will be a million degrees outside. However, you will be indoors most of the time and conference rooms are notorious for setting the thermostat to “stun” or “refrigerator” level cold. Bring yourself a jacket, pants, and closed shoes too and you’ll have the last laugh at hotel attempts to freeze you alive.

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Forgetting networking goodies. Whether or not networking is a dirty word to you, it will happen at conference. You may meet a cosmetic or soapmaker you fall in love with and want to be your best friend forever. There will be tears and gnashing of teeth all around when you forget to bring business cards to exchange with them. Also, get ready to meet lots of soap-lebrities. Pro-tip: If you’re nice, they may just autograph your personal copies of their publications.

Forgetting certification exam supplies. Attempting to calculate lye quantities by hand without a calculator…yep, not a fun time. Even worse, not being able to scrounge up a pencil to do all that long division by hand. You’ve gone to all the trouble of signing up for a certification exam – don’t forget all the paperwork, required samples, and that most basic of supplies: calculator and pen or pencil.

This is certainly not everything you could forget, but it covers the highlights. Also, look to Kenna Cote’s (one of this year’s seminar teachers) excellent recent article on The Soap Bar blog for more ideas on what to pack and we hope to see you, well-prepared and regret-free in Tucson this May!

What have you kicked yourself for forgetting to pack?

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Going Way Back: The Journal

Bummed that you’re missing out on conference (just about 19 days and counting, you guys!!)? Looking for some best known methods? Wish you had some soapmaking tips and tricks up your sleeves? Just looking for a way to kill some extra time (try not to snort when you read that one)?

Have a look at the archived Journals. From 2000 through 2011, the HSCG (then the HSMG) published a journal approximately twice a year. With the rise of social media forums and our member access to email, publishing a journal was no longer the best way to get information out to the membership. Those of us who love to read shed a tear for its passing, but there’s good news – the Journal lives online for members (and not in that creepy zombie way, okay?!).

Archived Journals are your secret pot of gold

The Guild uploaded every single issue, as well as providing a linked list of all articles arranged by author (so you can find all your favorite experts) and by title (great for general browsing). Every link opens up the entire issue, so get ready to dive on in and learn tips and tricks while you also locate the article you’re interested in. Each file is a PDF, ready for reading online, saving to your hard drive, or printing to read offline. To access, navigate to Member Resources –> Journal Back Issues under the Members tab. Once you log in, you’ll have the option to open an archived issue directly, or browse by article title or author.

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Get a sneak peak of many of our 2014 conference speakers by checking out their past work in the Journal. Need some ideas? (Boy, are we glad you asked)

-        Acquaint yourself with Kevin Dunn’s work, from DOS to gel to an exploration of superfatting versus lye discounts, as you gear up for his conference session on the role of Protein in Handcrafted Soap.

-        Prepare for Lori Nova-Endres’ Natural Perfume and Cologne session with her classic article covering 10 essential oils for soap.

-        You’ll find loads of articles from Marie Gale, covering soap history, controversy, and practical advice. This year, she’ll be handing out loads more practical advice in her Getting Started With Your Record-Keeping and GMP conference session.

-        Get a taste of Kerri Mixon’s colorant knowledge in her early articles on natural micas and understanding colorants before attending her Comprehensive Color and Scent for Soap and Cosmetics session (or LACK of color, in Making Transparent Cold/Hot Process Soap).

-        Read Jackie Thompson’s primer on unsaponifiables as preparation for her Neutralizing Liquid Soap and Soap Gels and Jellies sessions.

Do you have fond memories of the Journal? What’s your favorite online reading these days?

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Showcase Your Soaps and Send Them to a Good Home!

When you show off your soaps and compete for victory at the Soapers’ Showcase during HSCG’s Annual Conferences, you’re also being altruistic. The Guild has a tradition of donating soap to a local non-profit women’s center in our conference host town and this year is no different.

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This year, we are collecting soap and toiletries for donation to Sister Jose Women’s Shelter, in Tucson, Arizona. This four year old shelter focuses on serving women in Tucson’s homeless corridor. Named for Franciscan nun Sr. Jose Hobday, a tireless crusader for the marginalized and close friend of Cesar Chavez and Dorothy Day, the Women’s Shelter is growing by leaps and bounds and already looking to expand into a new facility. By the end of 2013, the shelter had provided thousands of meals, clothing, showers, and personal care products to their clients. They are unique in maintaining an organic garden and having both day and seasonal night programs available (as well as a weekly spa day!). This year, we intend to supply enough personal care products to help this year be another record-breaking year in the shelter’s annals.

Attendees hard at work judging Soapers Showcase at conference

If you’re not already signed up, read all about Soapers’ Showcase and the categories in which you can compete here. Sign up now and make sure you deliver your soap entries to the Soapers’ Showcase table by noon on May 20th. The great news is that you don’t have to be competing in the Soapers’ Showcase to donate to the Women’s Shelter. Bring as much extra soap (and other toiletries) as you can carry – we’ll have a donation box near the Soapers’ Showcase area.

Last year, we donated 400 pounds of soap to the Women’s Center in Raleigh, North Carolina. Help us blow that record out of the water this year. Pack a few extra bars in your suitcase (handy side effect: it leaves room for some of the goodies you’ll be acquiring at conference!!) and we’ll see you there!

See you in Tucson next month – it’s almost here!!

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Member Spotlight: Sugarloaf Soaps

Sugarloaf Soaps, in Sugarloaf, Pennsylvania, is truly a wonderland. Wandering the shelves, you’ll find a plethora of bath, body and gift items, including glycerin soaps, lip balms, lotions, sugar scrubs, soaking bath crystals, bath bombs, shampoo (for humans and pets), tarts, candles, incense, friendship balls, wooden roses, and antiques. Owner Rose Cunfer credits Debbie May with sparking her interest in creating bath and body products. “A medical life event caused me to leave my long time administrative job in education. Looking for a complete 360 degree turn, I became interested in soap by watching Debbie May’s videos on Wholesales Supplies Plus website. Then in 2010 I joined HSCG and met so many amazing people!”

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While you’ll find plenty lining the shelves of the store to tempt you, Rose insists you try the sugar scrubs, which are most amazing and come in very unusual flavors. And of course, you still have time to pick up Easter-themed soaps and scrubs. If you aren’t close enough to stop by in person, keep in touch with  Sugarloaf Soaps on Facebook.

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“I am truly blessed”, Rose relates, “to have an opportunity to own my business, work in a brick and mortar shop next to my house, and travel to meet new friends and formulate new ides. The sky is the limit in this trade and everyone helps one another to be successful!”

Thank you, Rose, for that little shot of inspiration and thanks for giving us a sneak peek into Sugarloaf Soaps!

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