More topic descriptions will be added as they become available.
Also see Half Day Seminars for descriptions of the optional half-day seminars being offered on the day before the conference (May 19th).
Art, Science + Money:
Finding Balance and Beauty
Presented by Anne-Marie Faiola
What got you into making your own products was a love of the craft, the desire to create something new, and the need to control your own ingredients. Perhaps you were looking to start a business then but whatever got you into this industry, you’re definitely looking to take it to the next level.
This talk by entrepreneur Anne-Marie Faiola will leave you with 10 concrete tips that you can take away to decrease your stress, increase your profitability and create a sustainable, quality business. Business skills can be taught – and you absolutely can create a business that meets whatever needs and goals you have for it.
Protein in Handcrafted Soap
Presented by Kevin Dunn
Proteins are added to some handcrafted soaps, most often in the form of either milk or protein fibers such as silk. This year's presentation will explore the fate of proteins used in soapmaking and the properties they bring to handcrafted soaps. Do the proteins survive intact, or are they changed by the harshly alkaline conditions of the soap pot? Do all proteins have the same effect, or do specific proteins provide specific properties? These questions, and more, will be answered in the continuing saga of Scientific Soapmaking.
Making Sustainability a Key Part
of Your Brand Story
Presented by Funlayo Alabi
Having an authentic brand story is important to building brand loyalty. Customers want to know more about where ingredients come from and how products are made. Does your key ingredient come from a locally owned farm or from the rainforests of Brazil? The more you know about your key ingredient the more you can educate your customer on the story behind the story. Funlayo will share some of the ways her brand was able to create a meaningful connection between her companies’ ingredient sources and her customers to foster long term loyalty.
Create Amazing Scenery in your Soaps
Presented by Erica Pence
Create amazing scenery in your soaps, from sunsets and oceans to city skylines and seasonal designs. Erica will show you how to find inspiration, plan your strategy, and create a scene in your soap using various intermediate and advanced techniques, including layering, embedding, sculpting, and swirling. Besides the planning and implementing of designs, learn about tools, tips and tricks, troubleshooting and selling scenic soaps. You’ll leave inspired with many ideas and instructions and empowered with the knowledge to create scenes in soap. This class is suited for both cold process and melt and pour soapmakers.
Testing Natural Colors in Your CP Soap
Presented by Ruth Esteves
While there are many natural ingredients that can be used to color soap, not all of them should be used. Many can't stand up to the high pH environment of the soapmaking process. What you see in the jar is not always what you get in the bar. And very often what you get is some unattractive shade of brown! To avoid wasting precious ingredients and time, it pays to know how to test natural ingredients before throwing them into a full-sized batch of soap.
In this presentation, Ruth Esteves will share her proven techniques for testing all types of natural colors like spices, clays, and herbs in cold process soap. Save time and money when you learn how to find the optimum method for incorporating these ingredients in your cold process soap before you scale up to a big batch.
Nailing New Trends: An Intro to Handmade Nail Polish
Presented by Christina Rose
Move over lipstick, nail polish is the new go to beauty item. From basic colors to elaborate art, a woman's nails are fast becoming a staple in the fashion industry. Spawned by the age of the internet, where photos can be instantly shared, communities of like-minded fashionistas have created the handmade polish movement, offering polishes full of chunky glitters and crazy colors not found in traditional commercial lines. Indie Nail Polish is one of the fastest growing sections of the handmade beauty industry and nail polish itself is now a runway staple.
Handmade cosmetic companies are on the forefront of this movement. Christy from KBShimmer, will go over the basics of Indie Nail polish for anyone thinking of starting a line. Key terms and industry slang will be covered, along with general safety, testing how to, and shipping regulations. Christy will show you how to blend some basic polishes and offer some tips to get you started.
Packaging Your Bath and Body Products
Presented by Joan McCoy
Darn that packaging! That’s the cry I hear from so many bath and body product makers. Why is there so much focus on packaging? What your packaged product looks like is one of the most important decisions you will make as a bath and body product maker. Your package needs to be visually appealing so that a potential customer will make that purchase. Your package must also contain enough information so your customer will feel confident with their decision to purchase your product.
We will look at containers, closures, wrappings, bags, labels, branding, eco-friendly/green packaging, do's and don'ts, and trends by examining several bath and body product makers' products. We will examine their packaging philosophies, and their trials and triumphs along their packaging journey.
Making Natural Perfume & Cologne 101
Presented by Lori Nova Endres
Have you ever wondered what it takes to make your own 100% Natural Perfumes or Colognes? It’s so easy and fun to create personalized natural fragrances, you’ll never buy generic synthetic scents again. In this session, Lori Nova Endres will show you how plant essences (essential oils & absolutes) are used to create Alcohol-Based Spray Perfumes/Colognes and Oil-Based Roll-Ons. She’ll cover terminology, equipment, scent notes, drop-by-drop recipes, suppliers and more. Attendees will make & take home a mini perfume, based on one of Lori’s pre-constructed blends.
Even if you’re not into wearing or making perfume, this session will serve as "Essential Oil Blending 101." Handouts include blends & tips to get EOs to "stick" in CP & HP soap. Once you learn the basics of blending, the sky is the limit for making addictive scents that will keep people coming back for more!
Mastering the Bath Bomb
Presented by Holly Port
bombs, or bath fizzies (as Holly Port prefers to call them), can make a person cry, scream, pull their hair out and even want to punch a puppy*. If you’ve delved into the world of bath fizzies…you know what we’re talking about. You find that perfect recipe online; you diligently mix together the ingredients, you press your bath fizzies together firmly and with purpose and you carefully line them up on a tray to dry. Pat yourself on the back…you’ve done good. You’ve made a bath fizzy! You leave the room to watch a little tv or maybe run an errand, and upon your return you view a most horrific site. Your beautiful and perfect bath fizzies have cracked, crumbled, slumped or even worse…started fizzing or warting! Crumble those babies into a jar and label it fizzing fairy dust. But you still want to make a good bath fizzy!
Well let’s do it. Holly Port, the Bath Fizzy Queen, has developed a method that works for creating the perfect bath fizzy every single time. Now Holly makes over 2,000 bath bombs/fizzies in a day wholesaling them to stores around the country! Quit wasting ingredients and for goodness sake…don’t punch any puppies!
Holly is going to talk about the ingredients to use in your bath fizzies including oils, butters, colorants, scents and additives. You’ll learn her standard ratios of wet to dry ingredients. And then she’s going to share with your her super successful process for making them. She’ll go over the equipment she uses and also go over molding and packaging techniques.
*No puppies were ever harmed in the making of bath bombs.
Advanced Liquid Soapmaking – Soap Gels and Jellies
Presented by Jackie Thompson
The most common complaint of natural liquid soap is its water thin consistency. Jackie Thompson will demonstrate a simple process she has developed for making naturally thick and luxurious shower gels and bath jellies without the use of added thickeners. Previous liquid soapmaking experience is highly recommended, this is an advanced liquid soapmaking class.
Advanced Liquid Soapmaking – Neutralizing Liquid Soap
Presented by Jackie Thompson
What keeps most soapmakers away from the liquid soapmaking pot is the perception that the end results are often unreliable. It doesn't have to be that way. The key to making beautiful liquid soaps easily the first time and every time lies in learning how to create a neutral soap free from excess alkali or fatty acids. Something most soapmaking tutorials fail to adequately address.
In this demonstration, Jackie Thompson will take the guess work out of neutralizing liquid soaps by walking you through the process step by step and answering your questions along the way. Beginning to advanced soapmakers should find this information extremely useful.
Formulating Fantastic Body Scrubs & Whipped Butters
Presented by Marla Bosworth
Struggling to achieve the perfect body scrub or whipped butter recipe? Frustrated with body butters melting during shipment? Would you like to increase sales of both products? Marla Bosworth takes a look at how to ramp up your sales and quality of these two products in this fun workshop.
She shares formulation tips and recipes that you’re sure to love. Marla also guides you through scaling your production and offers troubleshooting tricks. This workshop covers costs and markups for these two moneymakers that can be stars in your product lineup. Your customers will love scrubs and butters and so will your business' bottom line.
Getting Started With Your Record-Keeping and GMP
Presented by Marie Gale
Of all the possible records that you could keep and GMP guidelines you could follow, where do you START? Assuming that you can't do everything all at once (and most of us can't), then what are the most important things to keep track of? What can be put off until later?
In this presentation, Marie will show you where to start with your record-keeping and GMP, so you can easily expand the scope as you are able. With practical advice based on experience and an understanding of the GMP guidelines, Marie will help you get started off on the right track.
Comprehensive Color and Scent for Soap and Cosmetics
Presented by Kerri Mixon
In this broad-spectrum presentation, learn the difference between mineral pigment powders, FD&C colors, lake colors, neon colors, block colors, liquid colors, dyes, and micas. Explore their uses and learn which colorants are best for specific applications, which are water or oil soluble, which migrate to blur crisp lines in products, and which colorants are safe for use in lip or eye products. View an essential oil steam distillation unit in operation during the lecture to learn how essential oils are extracted from plants. Discover the circumstances under which essential oils are preferred over synthetic fragrance oils and visa versa. Unveil effective methods for extending scent life in products. Bring your questions, leave enlightened.
Making Transparent Cold/Hot Process Soap
Presented by Kerri Mixon
In this demonstration, observe as common opaque cold/hot process soap becomes transparent through a few simple steps. Learn to safely make hard transparent bar soaps that are clear and are made with the cold and hot process soapmaking methods. Understand why transparent soap is preferred over CP soap as facial bars and how transparent bars rinse cleaner than CP soap. Explore a new dimension of soapmaking and experiment with embedding small CP soaps, loofahs, or toys into handmade clear soap. This demonstration uses whole vegetable oils and sodium hydroxide; it is not a melt-and-pour demo.
Why Being a Social Soapmaker is Important
Presented by Jamie Bentley
Stephenson Personal Care has been bringing creative soap making chemistry to the market since 1856 and is now the largest speciality soap base manufacturer in the World. Having passed through five generations of soap making the time had come to embrace Social Media, so around two years ago they became a "social soap supplier". Jamie will talk through what Stephenson is doing, what they've learned, where they're going and how you, by using Social Strategy, can support the long term value in your brand and business.
Trademarks and Branding – Make your Mark!
Presented by Dave Purdue
A good trademark is the cornerstone of a great brand. This break-out session will cover fundamental trademark principles including how to select a strong trademark, why trademark clearance searching is a must, why you should be thinking about registering your mark, and what you need to know about trademark enforcement. The program will conclude with case studies of some successful and some not so successful branding campaigns. Establishing a trademark is a crucial step in the process of building a brand – make sure that you get off on the right foot.
Decoding the Mystery: A Practical Guide to Product Pricing
Presented by Lela Barker
You may create abundantly lathering soaps with the prettiest swirls this side of the Mississippi, but if you don't understand your product expenses and price those soaps accordingly, then you're going to spin yourself silly on a hamster wheel of frustration.
Accurate product pricing is the cornerstone of success and soapmakers can't afford to "guess" at these critical numbers. In this workshop, I’ll reveal my system for calculating the true costs of bringing a product to market (materials + labor + overhead, oh my!), and teach you how to price products for distribution via retail, wholesale, sales reps and export. These strategies have been developed during my decade in business and I've successfully used them to sell more than a million units of product to 1,200+ spas and boutiques from Los Angeles to Dubai
I bet lunch and a pedicure that you didn’t know pricing could be this easy (or this fun!).
Exfoliants in Soap:
A "coarse" in using everyday and exotic ingredients to create "a-peeling" soaps.
Presented by Charlene Simon
This is one class you can slough off in and be itching for more when you leave! You know soapmaking has taken over your life when you begin to look at things in nature, at the grocery store, or in the pantry as ingredients to make soap with. The fever starts when you just can't scratch the thought of crushing up say - a cactus - to swirl into your thickly, lush soap batter. It's gotten really bad when your fever turns to soapy madness as the cactus idea becomes overwhelming to the point that you pull over to the side of the road, on your way to Tucson, and dig that live saguaro cactus up by hand, even though it is highly illegal, just so you can pulverize it into your next scrubby soap concoction. If your soap passion has escalated to an abrasive relationship with funky ingredients then you are going to have a blast at the Exfoliants in Soap "coarse".
Charlene Simon is no stranger to this soapmaking madness. As owner of Bathhouse Soapery and Fat Bottomed Girl's Cupcakes, working with ingredients that are trendy and traditional make her world go round. In Exfoliants in Soap she will demonstrate how adding scrub-a-licious ingredients into cold/hot process, melt & pour, and whipped soaps will change your soap's look, feel, and marketability to polished perfection. This "coarse" will have you scratching off ingredients like adzuki beans from your soapmaking bucket list!