Register for the 2018 Canada Conference

2018 Canada Conference Speakers

The HSCG takes pride in selecting a industry-leading speakers with a wide range of topics! Speakers are chosen based on their expertise, their relevance and your feedback. Toronto will bring a full schedule of incredible expert speakers who will help your business to thrive!

Tia Alkazaz

2018 Conference Speaker, Tia Alkazaz
Tia Alkazaz

Tia Alkazaz is currently the Marketing Manager at Active Micro Technologies. Fueled by her interest in cosmetic microbiology, Tia focuses on the study of innovative peptide technology and other alternative antimicrobial materials that are effective, safe and stable to both chemists and consumers. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry from the University of Mount Union and a Master of Science degree in Pharmaceutical Science with a Concentration in Cosmetic Science from the University of Cincinnati.

Tia Alkazaz will be speaking on Fighting Bac! Keys for Successful Product Preservation: Aqueous Cosmetics.

Ariane Castonguay Arsenault

2018 Conference Speaker, Ariane Castonguay Arsenault
Ariane Castonguay Arsenault

Soaping since 2003, Ariane C Arsenault is established in the Magdalen Islands, Canada. Born on an island and raised on a sailboat, Ariane’s product lines are inspired by the seaside. Always in search of new designs and colour combinations her soaps are both stunning and stylish!

Ariane has specialized in both Cold Processed and Melt & Pour soaps as well as other cosmetics. Making soap is part of her daily job and she always seeks to gain more knowledge.

In Canada, she is known as a leader in the industry, she was an occasional writer for the Handmade Magasine as a Cold process author, she was published in the collective “Naturally Saponified, An International Gallery of Artisan Soaps”, she is a contributor with Modern Soapmaking and the Lovin Soap blogs. She is very active on social media and soaping forums.

Selected by YouTube NextUp, Class of 2017 to take part in a full week of training at the YouTube Space New-York, her YouTube channel is ranked among the top in the soapmaking community. Both her channel and her Facebook page are places where soapmakers go for inspiration. 

Ariane Castonguay Arsenault will be speaking on Melt & Pour? Yesss!.

Sharon Czekala

2018 Conference Speaker, Sharon Czekala
Sharon Czekala

Sharon Czekala founded The Great Lakes Natural Soap Company in 2004 as a primarily Michigan-focused wholesale business, and quickly grew to selling to stores and boutiques throughout the state.  Her unique Michigan-themed soaps are popular in gift shops, hotels, and tourist destinations as well as a natural grocery chain and a major retail chain of stores.

In 2012, Sharon began teaching a full slate of soapmaking and cosmetics classes. She is a certified advanced level Soapmaker and Teacher, specializing in Cold Process, Melt and Pour and Hybrid Soaps.

Inspired by her own travels, in 2016 Sharon launched a new brand of soaps, Places, which appeals to customers beyond the Great Lakes region.

Sharon has taught soapmaking at HSCG conferences for three years running and serves as a member of the Board of Directors.


Sharon Czekala will be speaking on A Match Made in Heaven.

Barb DeLosSantos

2018 Conference Speaker, Barb DeLosSantos
Barb DeLosSantos

Barb is the owner of Barb’s Homemade Soap and More out of Adrian, MI. She started making soap in 1999, and joined the HSCG in 2007. In 2008, after 22 years, she sold her fitness center and tanning salon, and in 2012 she closed her catering company. Though she still enjoys doing massage therapy, her main focus is making soap and teaching new soapmakers.

Like many others, Barb realized early in her life that she preferred being the boss and was the president of every club she ever started! Being a small business owner gives her the control and freedom to do more for her family and community.

Barb is an active grandmother of seven young people ranging in age from 3 to 24 years! For the last 10 years, she has been coaching her brother’s Special Olympic Volleyball team and serving on the fundraising and service committee for Special Olympics Area 29. Every summer, she takes the team to the three-day Summer Olympic Games where they have earned seven gold medals.

Barb is currently serving on the HSCG Board as Vice President, and serves as the Speaker Support Coordinator at the Annual Conference. Certified as an Advanced CP/HP Soapmaker, Barb also holds the distinction of being a Certified Teacher. She divides her teaching time between group and private classes, and offers not-for-profit demos and classes for the lost arts groups in her area.

Barb DeLosSantos will be speaking on Streamline to Make Time.

Kevin Dunn

2018 Conference Speaker, Kevin Dunn
Kevin Dunn

Kevin Dunn is the Elliott Professor of Chemistry at Hampden-Sydney College. His first book, Caveman Chemistry, brought him to the attention of handcrafted soapmakers. His second book, Scientific Soapmaking, explores the chemistry of soap at a deep, but accessible level. Professor Dunn’s ongoing research continues to uncover fascinating details of the behavior of fats, oils, soaps, scents, and synthetic detergents.

Kevin Dunn will be speaking on Secrets of Superfatting.

Rebekah Epstein

2018 Conference Speaker, Rebekah Epstein
Rebekah Epstein

Rebekah Epstein is founder of fifteen media. Her boutique PR firm draws from her experience working on both sides of the industry. Having worked for national magazines NYLON & Vogue and the fashion PR firm People’s Revolution, she has a keen sense for strategies to cement a company's favor with the media.

Rebekah founded fifteen media in 2010. Fifteen media works with clients ranging from small business needing media placements to large PR firms seeking her specialty in media relations.

Her clients have been featured in Forbes, Health, Refinery29, Everyday Health, Men’s Health, and many highly targeted publications.

Rebekah Epstein will be speaking on Learn How to Be Your Own Publicist.

Zahida Map

2018 Conference Speaker, Zahida Map
Zahida Map

Zahida Map is the founder and creative force behind Handmade in Florida, an artisan soap company known for its signature swirls, trend-setting designs and award winning soaps.

The concept of Handmade in Florida was born alongside her son in 2007. As a new mother and member of the corporate management team, she decided to trade in her fast paced, jet-setting career to enjoy motherhood and what some folks term, "the simple life". 

Zahida's journey has been anything but simple! What began as a creative outlet has blossomed into a globally recognized brand - nurturing creative freedom, while also quenching her thirst to run a world-class business.

Zahida will be presenting two sessions on Creative Soapmaking, where she will discuss the creative process, share ideas for finding inspiration and demonstrate her signature Butterfly Swirl.

You can find her work on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook.

Zahida Map will be speaking on Creative Soapmaking.

Catherine McGinnis

2018 Conference Speaker, Catherine McGinnis
Catherine McGinnis

 Handmade soap can transform your skin, but it can also transform a career. While in graduate school, Catherine made her first batch of cold process soap. Yes, it was ugly, but it cleaned; she was intrigued and wanted to learn more. After completing her MBA, she worked as a marketing executive by day, and a saponifier by night. It wasn't long before her love of soapmaking became the forefront of her career. A successful online soapery brought about a huge YouTube following and requests for more tutorials; thus, Soaping 101 was born!

Catherine's passion for helping soapmakers sharpen their skills led to the creation of the annual social gathering, SoapCon, which attracts speakers and soapers from around the globe. When not in front of the camera or classroom, Catherine is the proprietor of The Soap Deli, a trendy brick and mortar store in Kentucky. This year her store grew to include an additional storefront dedicated solely to the instruction of bath and body products; she aptly named this space The Tub. 

Catherine McGinnis will be speaking on Design Outside the Lines.

Cheryl Mitchell

2018 Conference Speaker, Cheryl Mitchell
Cheryl Mitchell

Cheryl Mitchell discovered her love for teaching three years ago while working with the local libraries giving free classes about aromatherapy, herbs, body care and natural cleaning. She has been formulating natural products since 2004 and is a certified Aromatherapist and Herbalist. Her education and love of all things natural has created successful retail stores in both Savannah and Weston, Missouri and an amazing online business. In 2012, she opened a hunting cover scent and attractant company which gave her the idea to make odor neutralizing body sprays. After a lot of formulating she realized that those sprays could be used in many facets of life, from the body to the home and beyond! Today she lives in a small town in northwest Missouri and lives for each day. If she isn’t working in her shop, she is teaching classes or hanging outdoors with her husband, Robert and her kids Morgan, Gaige and Emma, and her dog Aurora (and new kitten Calabar).

Cheryl Mitchell will be speaking on How to Make Odor Neutralizing Sprays (From Body to Home).

Caroline Payette

2018 Conference Speaker, Caroline Payette
Caroline Payette

Caroline Payette is a Senior Regulatory Policy and Risk Management Advisor in the Cosmetics Unit of the Consumer Product Safety Directorate at Health Canada. She has been working for the Government of Canada for 10 years. She started her career with the Natural Health Product Directorate, where she worked as an Assessment Officer for 5 years and then transitioned to the Cosmetics Unit in 2013, where she has been working for the last 5 years. Caroline holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology from Sherbrooke University and a Master’s degree in Nutrition from Laval University.

Caroline Payette will be speaking on Regulation of Cosmetics in Canada.

Joe Schwarcz

2018 Conference Speaker, Joe Schwarcz
Joe Schwarcz

Dr. Joe Schwarcz is Director of McGill University’s “Office for Science and Society” which is dedicated to demystifying science and separating sense from nonsense. He is well known for his informative and entertaining public lectures on topics ranging from the chemistry of love to the science of aging.  Professor Schwarcz has received numerous awards for teaching chemistry and for interpreting science for the public. He is the only non-American ever to win the American Chemical Society’s prestigious Grady-Stack Award for demystifying chemistry.  He hosts "The Dr. Joe Show" on Montreal radio, writes a weekly newspaper column entitled “The Right Chemistry,” has appeared hundreds of times on television and is the author of 16 best sellers.  Also an amateur conjurer, Dr. Joe often spices up his presentations with a little magic.

Joe Schwarcz will be speaking on Mirror, Mirror on the Wall....

Charlene Simon

2018 Conference Speaker, Charlene Simon
Charlene Simon

Charlene Simon is a soap, cosmetic and beauty addict. She’s been handcrafting soaps and cosmetics for 16 years and sharing 8 of them having her own retail boutiques. When you step inside one of her charm-filled apothecary boutiques you’ll experience an adventure in indulgence…sampling aromas and textures of gourmet, hand-blended bath treats and enjoying personalized service that’s so rarely seen today.

Charlene’s retail business portfolio is one of her greatest accomplishments. She opened her first retail soap boutique in Hot Springs, AR in 2008, her second in 2014 in Natchitoches, LA and third in St. Louis, MO in 2015. She’s super thrilled to soon announce a fourth location!! Her retail shop portfolio also includes Fat Bottomed Girl’s Cupcake Shoppe (featured on Food Network’s Cupcake Wars!)and Evilo Oils & Vinegars. She lives and is lucky to get to work with her husband Justin, along with their three children Mackenzie, Dude, and Farren!

She is beyond proud to also serve as the President of the Board of Directors for the Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetic Guild.

Charlene Simon will be speaking on Lost Art/Found Fortune.

Speakers will provide handouts that will be available digitally to attendees. If you have any questions about these topics, please send an email to

The 2018 Conference is sponsored in part by:

If you are interested in becoming a sponsor for the 2018 Canada Conference, please email the Conference Sponsorship Coordinator at .