On in February, 2013, the membership voted to accept cosmetic handcrafters into the association. This change is effective immediately. As our webiste and materials are being gradually updated, please note that any reference to a "Soapmaker" member now also includes those who make cosmetics.
The following are the most frequently asked questions about HSMG Membership. Click any question to display the answer, or view all answers.
Who sets the prices for the different membership levels?
The prices are set by the HSMG Board of Directors (in accordance with the HSMG Bylaws).
How are the benefits for the memberships determined?
The Board of Directors determines the benefits for each of the different membership levels.
About Soapmaker Memberships
Why can't Associate Soapmaker Members have online listings?
By definition, Associate Soapmakers are not selling their soap to the public, so they should have no reason for an online listing.
Why can't Associate Soapmaker Members have a Soap Guild Store (Free Web Store)?
By definition, Associate Soapmakers are not selling their products to the public, so they should have no reason to have a webstore.
Can I upgrade my Associate Soapmaker Membership to a Professional Membership (with or without Insurance) if there is still time left on my membership?
Yes. We will offer you a pro-rated credit towards the upgrade to Professional Membership for the unused portion of your Associate Membership. This can only be done by calling the HSMG Office during normal business hours (Monday – Friday) 866-900-7627, you cannot upgrade your membership online.
If I sell my business can I transfer my membership to the new owner?
Yes. You can transfer the remainder of your membership to the new owner. You will need to call the HSMG Office to do so and both parties must be present for security purposes. (866-900-7627) Please note: You CANNOT transfer your Product Liability Insurance Policy, the new owner will need to purchase their own policy.
If I go out of business during the term of my membership, can I get a refund on my membership (and/or insurance)?
No. Per the HSMG Bylaws the Membership is non-refundable. The insurance payment is governed by the insurance broker and is also non-refundable (see the Insurance FAQ for additional information about your insurance.
I have a business partner, if I join will he/she also be a member and have access to the benefits?
No. Soapmaker Memberships are in the name of the individual and therefore all benefits are associated with the individual. Your business partner will receive a conference discount under your membership and will be covered under the Product Liability Insurance provided that you both work under the same legally recognized business name such as an LLC or a Corporation (but not a personal "Doing Business As" (DBA) business name).
To gain full rights as a member, your partner would have to join as a separate member. Note, however, that if the partner is covered by an existing insurance policy (yours or another), then the partner can join with insurance waived.
Is there any grace period if my membership lapses?
Yes. There is a 7 day grace period from the time your membership expires to when you are marked expired by our system.
For example, if your expiration date is January 1st, our system will not mark you expired until January 8th. If you have not renewed your membership by January 8th, you will lose your Online Listings, Gallery Image, Soapguild Store and any locations displayed in the Store Locator. Your Product Liability Insurance will have expired and coverage will have ceased.
If you renew within the next 90 days you will retain your current member number. If you do not and renew at a later time a new member number will be assigned to you.
If I renew before the term of my membership is up do I “lose days”?
No. If you renew early you will still be given full credit for your current term. Your new term will simply start on your renewal date for both your membership and insurance, if applicable.
Do memberships run for a calendar year (January 1 – December 31) or from the date that you join/renew?
Memberships in the HSMG run for 1 year from the day that you join/renew. For example, if you join on July 17th, your renewal date will be July 17th of the next year.
Why is an Associate Membership limited to five (5) years?
The HSMG is registered with the IRS as a "Professional Business Association" (also called a "Business League") as defined under Section 501(c)(6) of the IRS Code. The IRS says:
To be exempt, a business league's activities must be devoted to improving business conditions of one or more lines of business... The term "line of business" generally refers either to an entire industry...
The key here is business. In order to maintain tax-exempt, non-profit status, the HSMG must forward the business and industry of handcrafted soap and soapmaking.
Technically, Associate Memberships are for those who are in the process of becoming Professional Soapmakers (defined as actually selling/marketing handcrafted soap). Five years seemed like a reasonable time to make the transition.
What about hobbyist soapmakers, or people who make soap just for personal use?
Someone who is a hobbyist or personal-use-only soapmaker and never intends to actually sell handcrafted soap, technically doesn't qualify for membership in the HSMG.
About Vendor Memberships
Why is a Vendor Membership in the name of the Company (not an individual)?
While soapmakers are individual people who may have a businesses, vendors are businesses that generally have staff and employees. Rather than putting the membership in the name of one specific person, the vendor membership is in the name of the business and an individual is designated as the "Owner" or "Contact" for the membership. That way the business can appoint the appropriate person to manage their membership and the person so designated can be changed if needed when staff changes occur within the business.
Why is Vendor Membership broken into different Tiers?
Vendors can join at Tier 1, 2 or 3 levels; there are different benefits associated with each and each level has different dues. A Tier Level can be selected that meets the desired benefits level and fits within the budget. For more information or to discuss the different options and how they can be combined with our HSMG Conference Sponsorship Opportunities please call the HSMG Office at (866)-900-7627 (US toll free) or (518) 306-6934.