2014 US Conference Topics

The HSCG chooses speakers and topics to cater to most business levels and individual skills. You'll learn about business techniques, regulations, formulation-all the things you need to make the most out of your conference experience!

Advanced Liquid Soapmaking: Soap Gels and Jellies

General Session  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

General Session  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.

Cold Process Soapmaking Intensive Class

General Session  Presented by Catherine McGinnis

What you will learn:

  • A brief history on soapmaking
  • The basic chemistry of soapmaking
  • Mold choices and preparation
  • Soapmaking tools
  • Oil properties as they contribute to soap
  • Soap colorants (natural vs. man-made)
  • Scenting your soap (natural vs. man-made)
  • Simple design techniques
  • Lye safety and preparation
  • Preparing oils and butters
  • Mixing soap
  • Cut, cure and storage

This is a hands on lab. You will make your own batch of soap to take home with you. This class will prepare you to test for the HSCG Basic Cold Process Certification, which will be available for all members in the evening following the class. 

Comprehensive Color and Scent for Soap and Cosmetics

General Session  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 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.

Create Amazing Scenery in your Soaps

General Session  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.

Decoding the Mystery: A Practical Guide to Product Pricing

General Session  Presented by Lela Barker

You may createabundantly 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, so 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

General Session  Presented by Charlene Simon

A 'coarse' in using everyday and  exotic ingredients to create 'a-peeling'soaps.

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 thick, 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'll 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 both trendy and traditional makes 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!

Formulating Fantastic Body Scrubs & Whipped Butters

General Session  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 the 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 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 your scrubs and butters and so will your business’ bottom line.

From Gel Phase to Sell Phase

General Session  Presented by Charlene Simon

You're either on your way or have arrived at creating the best bath and body products imaginable, but now what? Whether it's time to take your hobby to the market or blow the roof off of sales in your current business, Charlene's session will take you from soapmakin' to money takin'!

In under 6 years, Charlene Simon has successfully brought to life 3 retail storefronts: Bathhouse Soapery, Fat Bottomed Girl's Cupcake Shoppe (as seen on Food Network's "Cupcake Wars"!), and evilO Oils & Vinegars. She can't wait to share her experiences on how she turns her much loved hobbies into income producers. Her session will inspire you with ideas on how to take your hobby or business to the next level and beyond.

Getting Started With Your Record-Keeping and GMP

General Session  Presented by Marie Gale

Of all the possible records that you could keep and Good Manufacturing Practices 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.

Making Natural Perfume & Cologne 101

General Session  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 and 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, as well as tips for getting 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!

Making Sustainability a Key Part of Your Brand Story

General Session  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 rain forests 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.

Making Transparent Cold/Hot Process

General Session  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.

Mastering the Bath Bomb

General Session  Presented by Holly Port

Bath bombs, or bath fizzies (as Holly Port prefers to call them), can make a person cry, scream, pull her 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, diligently mix together the ingredients, press your bath fizzies together firmly and with purpose and carefully line them up on a tray to dry. You 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 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 still, you 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. She now makes over 2,000 bath bombs/fizzies in a day, wholesaling them to stores around the country. Quit wasting ingredients!

Learn which ingredients to use in your bath fizzies including oils, butters, colorants, scents and additives and her standard ratios of wet to dry ingredients. Finally, learn Holly's super-successful process for making them and the equipment she uses, as well as molding and packaging techniques.

Nailing New Trends: An Intro to Handmade Nail Polish

General Session  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 internet, where photos are 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 present 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 tips to get you started.

Nature's Gift to Soap and Cosmetics

General Session  Presented by Prof. Dr. Vijai K. S. Shukla

Keynote address!

Packaging Your Bath & Body Products (Seminar)

General Session  Presented by Joan McCoy

You make wonderful handmade products and give them as gifts and/or sell them. What does your current product packaging say about your products? Not only is packaging the first impression of your product, but in many cases the decision to buy or use a product is made entirely on the packaging. Great packaging will attract consumers to your products and will also influence the decision to purchase your product again (based on how the product holds up in the chosen container, how good the label looks after it’s been in the bathroom for a few months, etc.). How much time have you spent considering how to package your high-quality bath & body formulations?

This seminar will cover packaging for the following products:

  • Soap (Melt & Pour, Cold Process & Hot Process)
  • Lotions, Creams & Body Butters
  • Lip Balm, Bath Melts & Solid Salt Scrubs
  • Fizzy Bath Bombs, Tub Tea
  • Herbal Bath Salts, Salt & Sugar Body Scrubs
  • Perfumes (Roll-Ons, Solids, and Sprays)
  • Massage Oils
  • Botanical/Herbal Products

We will cover choosing the appropriate containers, wrappings, and bags for your products, as well as doing your homework, choosing a packaging supplier, eco-friendly/green packaging, and market trends. Finally, using other bath & body product makers as examples, we will examine their packaging philosophies, and their trials and triumphs.

You will leave this class with a packaging considerations worksheet, packaging container reference spreadsheet, supplier list, catalogs, and samples.

Packaging Your Bath and Body Products

General Session  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? It’s because 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 that your customer will feel confident with their decision to purchase.

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.

Protein in Handcrafted Soap

General Session  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.

Scaling Production & Masterbatching

General Session  Presented by Kendra Cote

Every soap and cosmetic maker experiences growing pains, but does it need to be so difficult? It's time to focus on the fun and excitement rather than the, sometimes, financially and physically crippling affects of growth. An expanding business is something to be proud of!

In this seminar, Kenna will discuss the various methods of scaling production and masterbatching that are employed by many indie soap and cosmetic makers worldwide to help you find your path to mastering production and growth. She'll talk about the challenges and celebrations of her own business evolution, as well as her experience with helping other soap and cosmetic makers who have struggled through similar experiences. Plus, Kenna is pulling tips and tricks from her personal arsenal to saving your sanity during the chaos. After all, what good is growth if you don’t make it through to the other side?

Taking Your Empire to the Next Level: Sales Reps + Trade Shows

General Session  Presented by Lela Barker

You've got a good thing going and Lela wants to help you up your game! This comprehensive seminar is designed for personal care brands who are serious about success. Together, we’ll explore two important avenues for growing your business:

Sales Reps

  • How sales reps can help move more product while you focus on business tasks you actually enjoy
  • Where to look for experienced sales reps
  • The hallmarks of a successful rep (and how to know if a rep is right for your brand)
  • How to structure sales rep agreements to encourage longevity and ensure success
  • The expected commission rates for sales reps in this

Trade Shows

  • The real value in trade shows (hint: it's not simply about writing orders!)
  • How to determine if you're ready for your first show
  • How to find trade shows which fit your budget and attract your audience
  • Lela's insanely accurate method for developing a budget (and how NOT to break the bank)
  • Why the most critical work of a trade show happens before and after the actual show
  • How to design a compelling trade show booth that attrats buyers like bees to honey
  • What to pack, what to hand out, what to say and how to build street cred for your brand

This seminar features curriculum developed for Lela's sold-out "LBU: Secrets to Wholesale Success" program and includes more than 20 pages of templates, worksheets and resource lists.

Testing Natural Colors in Your CP Soap

General Session  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.

Trademarks and Branding: Make your Mark

General Session  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.

Why Being a Social Soapmaker is Important

General Session  Presented by Jamie Bentley

Stephenson Personal Care has been bringing creative soap making chemistry to the market since 1856 and is now the largest specialty 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.