About the HSCG

Originally created as The Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild, the association was formed in 1998 when a small group of enterprising soapmakers who were looking for a way to connect, network and jointly promote the handcrafted soap industry met at the Woodspirits Farm in Ohio. The first annual conference was held in Brainerd, Minnesota the following year.

Since its formation, the association has steadily grown in terms of both numbers of members and outreach into the community and now has over 3,600 members located in nearly every US state and territory, and many other countries.

While many handcrafted soapmakers make, in addition to soap, handcrafted cosmetics including lotions, creams, salt or sugar scrubs, bath fizzies, perfumes and other similar products, membership in the association was initially restricted to those who made handcrafted soap or provided products or services for soapmakers. In February, 2013, the membership voted to expand the scope of the association to include those who make only handcrafted cosmetics, but not handcrafted soap, and to change the name of the association to The Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetic Guild.

The HSCG is registered as a non-profit 501(c)(6) trade association serving the industry of handcrafted soap and cosmetics which includes those individuals who make handcrafted soap and cosmetics, the vendors and suppliers who serve them, the private label companies that sell handcrafted soap under their own label but do not manufacture it and the general public as consumers of handcrafted soap and cosmetic products.


Membership is open to those who make any type of handcrafted soap or cosmetics, the vendors who provide products and/or services to them and businesses which private label handcrafted soap and/or cosmetics.

To serve these different participants in the industry, the HSCG offers several different types of membership:

  • Handcrafter: for those who make handcrafted soap and/or cosmetics. There are 3 different types of Handcrafter memberships:
    • Professional: For those who make and sell handcrafted soap and/or cosmetics. Insurance is included for members within United States, and is and optional benefit for those in Canada (except Quebec).
    • Novice: For those who make handcrafted soap and/or cosmetics, but do not yet sell to the public.
    • Retired: For those who were members but no longer sell handcrafted soap or cosmetics, yet wish to maintiain a connection with the industry.
  • Vendor: For those who sell products and/or services to those who make handcrafted soap and/or cosmetics.
  • Private Label Distributor: For those who purchase handcrafted soap and/or cosmetics and market those products under the private label distributor's own label(s)

Benefactor levels are also offered to members who wish to provide a higher level of support to the association.

Mission Statement

1. To promote and educate the public about the handcrafted soap and cosmetic industry.

Away from marketing hype and advertising slogans, consumers can discover factual information about handcrafted soap and cosmetics. How is soap made? What ingredients are used? The Soap Gallery and the Cosmetic Gallery show examples of beautiful, artisanal products. Finally, the Store Locator and Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetic Directory provide ways to locate handcrafted soap or cosmetics available to purchase.

2. To act as a center of communication among, and to circulate information beneficial to, members of the handcrafted soap and cosmetic industry.

The HSCG works to provide important information to everyone in the handcrafted soap and cosmetic industry through the HSCG website, Local Chapters, and on social media, especially our Facebook page. In addition, any person may Register on the site to receive any of our eNewsletters.

3. To foster the handcrafted soap and cosmetic industry through education and training.

Education and training for all members of the handcrafted soap and cosmetic industry is of major importance to the HSCG. Soap and cosmetic making classes are listed on the HSCG website. The Annual Conference is open to both members and non-members and provides 3 days of classes and sessions at all levels on many subjects of interest. The How-To Library offers year-round access to articles and videos on a variety of topics and is adding new subject matter regularly.

For members, the HSCG offers a Certification Program with four levels (Basic, Advanced, Expert and Master) along three tracks (Cold/Hot Process Soapmaking, Melt & Pour Soapmaking and Cosmetic Making).

4. To represent the handcrafted soap and cosmetic industry in matters concerning legislation and regulations affecting the industry.

New legislation at both the Federal and State levels is a major concern for the handcrafted soap and cosmetic industry. The HSCG has been involved with Legislative Advocacy for over 10 years, representing the industry in many meetings each year with Members of Congress and others in Washington DC.


The many activities of the HSCG are funded by membership dues and donations. The operations of the association are overseen by an elected Board of Directors who serve in a volunteer capacity and manage in accordance with the Corporate Bylaws. The HSCG has four full-time staff and one part-time staff who take care of the day-to-day activities of the association.


The HSCG maintains an Administrative Office in Saratoga Springs, NY, but most of the business and communications of the organization are carried out through this website which includes a Members Only section. You may contact us by phone, fax or email.


The HSCG is based in the United States and uses English as our primary language. At present we do not have the resources to offer our services in other languages. If you need to access our website in another language, we recommend using the Google translator, which can be accessed in the Chrome browser by right-clicking the web page and selecting the option to translate the page.

Code of Ethics

All members agree to abide by a Code of Ethics. Members, vendors, suppliers and consumers may file a complaint with the Ethics Committee if they feel a member has violated the HSCG Code of Ethics.