We strive to provide a wide selection of speakers and topics during each conference and from conference to conference. These are the speakers scheduled for the next conference ... so far! Check back to see what additional speakers you can look forward to.
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 on the Board of Directors for the Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetic Guild.
Leigh is the current Executive Director of the HSCG and works in the headquarters in Saratoga Springs. She has worked for the HSCG since 2005 in different roles. One of her proudest accomplishments is turning the HSCG Conference from an event with less than 100 attendees to one with over 600 attendees that has sold out every year since 2010. She also takes great pride and values the importance of her work with federal advocacy for the handcrafted soap and cosmetic industry, meeting with Members of Congress and working with the HSCG Lobbyist for the past 7 years. During her career she has worked as a manager, department head, entrepreneur, advisor and executive, applying her education and experience to every role. Leigh loves to travel, sail, dive, snorkel, swim and practice martial arts. She graduated from NY Maritime College in the Bronx with a BS in Meteorology and Oceanography and a USCG License as a Third Mate, Oceangoing, Any Gross Tons.
Charlene Simon will be speaking on The Yin and Yang of Customer Service.
Susan Barclay Nichols is better known as SwiftCraftyMonkey, author of the blog Point of Interest, and author of five eBooks-Lotion Making 101, Formulating Lotions & Creams, Hair Care, Facial Products, and Back to Basics (anhydrous products). A failed batch of bath bombs during a youth group led to the life changing discovery of an amazing forum where she fell in love with chemistry and making products at home. Not content to keep this information to herself, in 2009 Susan started her blog.
Her passion for researching, formulating and instructing has led to a monthly column at Handmade Magazine and teaching seven wildly popular skin and hair care workshops at Voyageur Soap & Candle that are often full before they're announced! Although Susan claims to love all her products equally, she admits to having a soft spot for cold process emulsifiers and surfactants.
In her spare time, she runs a series of free youth programs with her husband in her hometown of Chilliwack, B.C.
Susan will be speaking on Facial Moisturizers 101.
Lela Barker sits on both sides of the table: she's a successful maker with 14 years of experience building a creative business. Lela began bootstrapping her apothecary brand, Bella Lucce, in 2003 and has since cultivated 1400+ wholesale accounts in 27 countries, generating more than $10 million in revenue.
Lela is also a business strategist who's wildly passionate about helping creative entrepreneurs bring their products into the marketplace. She's parlayed her time in the entrepreneurial trenches into a series of innovative entrepreneurial teaching programs and a robust private consulting practice. Through Lucky Break Consulting, Lela has had the privilege of helping hundreds of creative entrepreneurs with product pricing, brand development and wholesale strategy.
And while these facets of business are what many naturally shy away from, Lela knows that these pieces of the entrepreneurial puzzle are that fine line between running yourself ragged and building a sustainable empire.
Lela's products and personal story have been featured in more than 100 publications worldwide and her flagship teaching programs - LBU for wholesale strategy and Brick House Branding for brand development - consistently sell out within days each time registration opens. She teaches and speaks regularly, from conference rooms in Austria to cruise ships in the Caribbean and "almost" everywhere in between.
When not arming makers with tactical business approaches, you'll find her collecting passport stamps, perfecting the ultimate lemon meringue pie recipe and clinging tightly to her sanity while raising four children.
Lela will be speaking on Battling Brand Schizophrenia.
Regina Bauscher's passion for natural skin care began with the complete reversal of her husband's skin condition using the products she created. Regina's early professional career was spent in analytical laboratories doing Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy, testing materials for heavy metals such as lead, arsenic, and mercury. Working in refinery laboratories, she learned the value of gas chromatography in identifying other compounds. Her business administration degree led her to a second career as an Investor Relations Professional for a Fortune 500 chemical company, where she worked with Wall Street investors. In addition to holding an Advanced Certification in soapmaking from the HSCG, she is also a Certified Aromatherapsist by the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy. She is a current student in the Advanced Formulae Botanica program, and an active member of the American Society of Quality. Leaving the corporate world to drive Honey Sweetie Acres full-time, Regina and her husband Steve also breed & raise champion registered Nigerian Dwarf Dairy goats. Honey Sweetie Acres was awarded overall "Best of Show" at the American Dairy Goat Association's National Bath & Body Care Competition in 2015, winning both the goat milk Essential Oil Soap and Essential Oil Lotion categories.
Regina will be speaking on Essential Oils-Their Purpose, Their Power and Their Precautions.
Beth Byrne has been creating cosmetics longer than she cares to admit, beginning with herbs she grew in her garden. Her family suffered...er, benefitted from her early herbal creations, from bath herbs to facial steams and herbal remedies. Her first lotions were the beeswax/borax as emulsifier type, so she was delighted to discover ewax, and she continues to enjoy formulating.
A teacher by profession, possessing a degree in education, Beth loves sharing what she has learned with community groups and students. She is also a writer and Managing Editor of Making Soap, Cosmetics & Candles Magazine and secretary for the HSCG Board of Directors. Her business is Soap and Garden, manufacturing and selling skin products for gardeners.
Mother of six, Beth resides in upstate New York with her husband, daughter and two spoiled dogs. She is the much-too-young (in her mind, at least) grandmother of twelve. When weather allows, Beth spends as much time as possible outside gardening and making garden-related crafts. She can often be found posting on Facebook and Instagram about her garden of weedin'.
Not suprisingly, she is still creating products using herbs she grows, even the pervasive, unintentional herbs such as dandelions.
Beth will be speaking on Lotion Magic-Creating Extraordinary Emulsions.
Angela Carillo decided to take her career in chemistry in a new direction after the kids left home. Through a journey that led her from library research to classes, conferences and communities of other soap makers, Alegna Soap began as a business in 2010. Her products are now in local bed & breakfasts, specialty shops and available online.
Angela teaches classes in soap making to adults in NYC and on Long Island, and skin care classes to elementary students. She has written for The Soap Collaborative, and Making Soap, Cosmetics & Candles (previously known as Saponifier). She reached an even wider audience when she was invited to show host Kevin Pereira how to make soap on TV's Hack My Life.
Donating her time and products to help others in need is also important to Angela. She was one of a group of soap makers who travleled to Haiti to teach women in tent camps how to make soap and perfume as a way to support themselves. Through her initiative, "Soap for Soup", Angela regularly makes a special batch of soap products from which the proceeds go directly to a Bethpage, NY food pantry because of their generous help for a friend of hers years ago.
Angela will be speaking on From Trash to Cash.
Lori Chandler is a soapmaker, educator, speaker and business owner of Ashgrove Soaps and Sundries, LLC, located in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area. Ashgrove products are in retail and wholesale markets.
She hosts and organizes the annual Pittsburgh Soapmakers Gathering and provides creative maker classes throughout the year. Combining a Master's Degree in Education with 30 years of teaching experience and being an HSCG Certified Soapmaker and HSCG Certified Soapmaking Teacher, she teaches and demonstrates a range of soapmaking skills and techniques.
Lori will be speaking on Capture Creative Swirls Using Natural Colorants.
After owning and operating two successful soap companies, Kenna created Modern Soapmaking, a proverbial online playground for soapmakers, supported & written by soapmakers. With over 10 years of soapmaking experience, she passes on her knowledge through articles, resources, digital workbooks, and other publications. She continues to nurture soapmakers through mentorship programs & workships, both online and in person. In her "spare" time, she indulges in photography, MMORPGs (video games!), & her amazingly supportive family of four littles and husband.
Kenna will be speaking on Secrets to Soap Business Success.
After working in the corporate world, in Human Resources, for 15 years, and following the birth of my son, I knew it was time to pursue a home-based business so I could focus on family. I had several requirements for what that business would be; I wanted a product that everyone uses, a consumable product, and a product that I could make from home without any legal issues.
Being an avid cook and gardener, I looked first to those skill sets. At that time, I maintained an herb garden with over 100 different varieties of herbs, so I began making herbal products like sachets, infused honeys and vinegars, and herbal bath and body items. After selling at local shows and farmers markets, I couldn’t keep up with demand and realized that I needed to focus my product line. I chose bath and body and so began The Great Lakes Natural Soap Company.
At the very beginning, I knew I needed to find a niche for my products, and I chose to focus on the state of Michigan. I used Michigan scents, photography and packaging, then sold to gift shops in tourist areas of the state. The company grew quickly, and our product line expanded to include cold process and liquid soaps as well as skin care and home fragrance. In 2016, we launched a new brand, PLACES, to expand our line beyond Michigan and continue our upward growth. I have always loved to teach, so I now teach a full slate of soapmaking class in Michigan, and I am so excited to be back at the conference to share my knowledge and experience with fellow Soapmakers.
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 accesible level. Professor Dunn's ongoing research continues to uncover fascinating details of the behavior of fats, oils, soaps, and synthetic detergent.
Kevin will be speaking on Secrets of Saponification Values.
Anne-Marie Faiola is a serial entrepreneur who started her second business breeding Russian Dwarf Hamsters at the age of 16. She currently runs multiple companies in the craft, lifestyle and hobby space (www.brambleberry.com, www.otion.com, www.bestdayever.com, www.coalitionofhandcraftedentrepreneurs.com) and supervises a headcount of over 60 employees. Along the way, she picked up some fun hobbies like scuba diving, running, excessive written word consumption, and chasing two small toddlers. Anne-Marie holds a Master Certification in CP/HP Soapmaking through the HSCG. She also has an MBA and Nutritional Therapy Degree, and has been named one of the best bosses in America, one of the top 50 entrepreneurs in the United States and the best businesswoman in Washington State.
Anne-Marie will be speaking on How to Have Your Best Day Ever, Every Day.
Amanda Gail has built her career around providing education in her craft, soapmaking. She has taught all over the United States in various classrooms and presents annually at conferences and seminars put on by the handcrafted soap industry’s top guilds and organizations.
After learning the craft of soapmaking, Amanda started an educational blog at LovinSoap.com, which features step-by-step full color photographic tutorials, articles, troubleshooting advice and general information about soapmaking. She publishes eZines (online magazines) and eBooks on the topic of soapmaking and has written for industry publications such as Handmade Magazine, Saponifier and Soap Collaborative.
Amanda will be speaking on Know Your Fatty Acid Profiles: The Road to Better Soap Formulation.
Marie is a soapmaker, long-time supporter of the HSCG and the author of four books, including Soap and Cosmetic Labeling and Good Manufacturing Practices for Soap and Cosmetic Handcrafters. She is a passionate supporter of the handcrafted soap and cosmetic industry, and has been actively working to promote and protect the industry and its participants. Marie served on the Board of the HSCG in 2003 and as President from 2004 - 2009, and is currently the HSCG Webmaster. Her books (published after she retired from the board) were intended to fill a need in the industry; to help handcrafters understand and follow the regulations.
Marie speaks regularly about both soap and cosmetic labeling and GMP, posts current information and articles on both labeling and GMP on her blog, and does label reviews and answers email questions about the regulations. She is currently traveling the country in her computer-equipped RV with her husband Jere, her Doberman Pinscher Duke, and orange tabby cat George.
She was awarded an Honorary Lifetime membership in the HSCG in 2009.
Marie will be speaking on Marketing Your Soaps and Cosmetics...Legally.
Lori Ann Gum is a Visual Merchandiser and the proud owner of Visual Solutions & Display; a business she has built through hard work and repeat clients. She is now serving 14 malls in the Chicago land area, helping many tenants of in-line stores and kiosk/retail merchandising units with brand identity as well as overall display and product presentation. Retail floor and space planning as well as creative merchandising options are among her many strengths.
She is an accomplished Visual Merchandiser (VM) with over 30 years in the retail industry. Working as a VM for JCPenney and Marshall Fields department stores in the Chicago land area helped frame her success in this industry. Creating eye catching store window displays and department visuals were a part of her daily responsibilities.
Pier 1 Imports hired her to be their Regional VM for the Chicago South region, where she was instrumental in developing new innovative merchandising techniques used throughout the company. She traveled the region training managers and their staff on creating promotional displays that helped to support their weekly sales flyers and create a sales driven atmosphere whereby customers were enticed by well thought out and executed displays throughout the store. While at Pier 1, she was able to assist and lead in several remodels and new store openings.
Over the years, Visual Solutions & Display has evolved, offering visual merchandising tips and retail training seminars to local villages and small business owners.
Lori Ann is a confident, outgoing, personable entrepreneur with a passion to make every space beautiful and functional for her clients. She is ready to help you increase your visibility and bottom line.
Lori Ann will be speaking on Visual Solutions for Busy Retailers.
Jordan has been making soap since 2000. Motivated by skin rashes and irritation, after trying countless commercial products, he decided to make an olive oil-only soap. Of course, we all know what the result was, the rashes and irritation vanished in a couple of days! Hooked by soap making chemistry, he stared making all his own formulations, many of which are sold by his company Soap Alchemy still today. Jordan has been testing out laundry soap formulations for the last three years, studying their various ingredients and combinations. He will talk about his journey during his session, Laundry Soap: the Formulation and Crafting Of.
Jordan will be speaking on Laundry Soap: The Formulation and Crafting Of.
Dieshawn L. Holmes is a passionate Christian, wife, mom and owner of Angelic Soaps and Gifts based in Flint, Michigan.
In 2001, Dieshawn attended an enrichment class offered by a local school district, where she learned how to craft herbal bath products and soaps. Her passion for soap making evolved and Dieshawn opened the doors to Angelic Soaps and Gifts in 2002.
Dieshawn had high hopes and wanted to see her handmade gifts offered for sale in local shops and boutiques in her area; initially, she was turned down and told "we are not interested". She had to find a way to market her products to customers, and that's when Dieshawn came up with a unique idea; she would offer her gifts for sale from a mobile boutique! Hitting the streets in 2014 with her transformed mobile gift boutique, she offered private shopping and girl's night out parties to her customers.
Dieshawn is the author of "Entrepreneurs Guide to Launching a Mobile Retail Boutique on a Shoe String Budget", and she also assists entrepreneurs with advice on how to take their businesses mobile.
Connect with Dieshawn at www.angleicsoapsandgifts.com, and on Facebook as Mobile Retail Boutique.
Dieshawn will be speaking on How to Start a Mobile Gift Boutique.
Robert Lippman is a Principal with the law firm of Lemery Greisler LLC, with offices in Albany and Saratoga Springs, New York. For over 28 years, he has been specializing in the resolution of business disputes, with a focus on the protection of intellectual property, contract negotiation and general commercial litigation. He handles a wide variety of matters, specializing in the needs of small companies, including trademarks, trade dress, product configuration, unfair competition, trade secrets, copyrights, false advertising, and internet related intellectual property issues.
Robert will be speaking on Protecting Your Business Brand.
Handmade soap can transform your skin, but it can also trasnform 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 proprieter 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 will be speaking on Design Outside the Lines.
Margaret has been a soapmaker for over 20 years. She was making soap long before stick blenders were available in every store. She would make a batch of soap, stirring by hand for as long as three hours! Margaret started experimenting and using lots of different methods and ingredients. When her house was exploding with soap, she decided to start selling it. Thus began Nature's Touch Soaps, LLC in a rural area outside Clifton, Ohio. She recently stopped doing most shows and is concentrating on private label soaps, wholesale accounts and retail sales on her website. www.naturestouchsoaps.com.
Margaret is a graduate of Central State University, Cal State Bakersfield and received her Master's Degree from the University of Dayton. She retired after 32 years as a Special Education teacher. As a teacher at heart, she continues to teach soaping classes in her studio. She has met the most amazing people through her classes.
Margaret and her husband Nolan have five children, 13 grandchildren (12 girls) and two gret-grandchildren over 7 states. Her free time is spent being a CASA volunteer, a child advocate for neglected and/or abused children in the juvenlie court system.
Margaret will be speaking on Some Like it Hot!.
Teaching Speech during grad school was Lori's first "real" experience teaching, and she was hooked. In 2001, Lori started offering DIY classes in her tiny kitchen. In 2002, she opened "The Lavender Room," in Berkeley, CA, and taught weekend classes. Then, she took the leap and made teaching her full-time career by opening "The Nova Studio," located in Point Richmond, CA from 2003-2015. It was the longest running storefront with a focus on bath & body products, dedicated to sharing knowledge & teaching classes. They were well known for multi-day soap & product-making "Boot Camps"- which Lori created after relentless requests from students travelling by plane to learn.
In 2013, she partnered with Cassie Durant & Ruth Esteves to form The Nova Studio, LLC. Today, their focus is online learning opportunities as they continue their mission by connecting students from around the world with the best teachers in our industry. They offer live & recorded eClasses, Q+As, class handouts, consulting sessions, free resources for makers, & more.
Lori lives in Louisiana with her husband Mike & their 4-year-old Sammy, who loves garbage trucks & fire trucks as much as she loves soap & natural perfume. Connect with Lori at www.TheNovaStudio.com.
Lori will be speaking on Make Money Teaching Classes.
Christy Rose is the owner and creative director of KBShimmer Bath and Body. Christy earned her bachelor degree at the University of Minnesota and used those skills along with her love of color and beauty products to found KBShimmer in 2008. KBShimmer has flourished into a business that not only supports her, but the families of a small but dedicated team. KBShimmer currently offers nail polish, lotions and cuticle creams, scrubs and other hand care products, many of which Christy herself still makes by hand!
The KBShimmer nail polish line has been features in Nail It! Magazine, Life & Style, and People StyleWatch. Christy's products can be found on several major nail polish, lifestyle and fashion blogs including Refinery29.com and PopSugar.com. Her soap swirling has been features in the Saponifier, on BrambleBerry.com, and in her YouTube soap tutorials, which have been viewed over 30 million times.
When not covered in glitter from polish making, Christy spends time in her Indiana home with her husband and 12 year old daughter. She is an avid reader, loving books with a supernatural twist. Christy also enjoys traveling throughout the US, baking and biweekly pedicures with her daughter.
Christina will be speaking on Get Your Glitter On: Create Your Own Nail Polish and Pressed Eyeshadows.
Gay Timmons owns and operates Oh, Oh Organic, Inc., an organic and specialty ingredient distribution company founded in 2000. Oh, Oh is committed to the development and delivery of sustainable agricultural ingredients for the cosmetic and personal care industries.
Over the past 18 years she has supported the development and compliance needs of hundreds of organic and natural cosmetic brands and ingredient companies.
Her first career was as the first American woman to manage vessel operations, loading and unloading cargo on the Oakland and San Francisco docks, and international traffic management.
Since 1991, she has worked as a producer and marketer of organic ingredients and an advocate for regulatory clarity for organic and natural producers and consumers. Her introduction to the field began as a ten-year job co-managing an organic farm and production facility. She also supports ASCO (a USDA Accredited Certifier) and the California Department of Food and Agriculture as their internal ISO compliance consultant. She served as the Chair of the California Organic Products Advisory Committee, serving on that committee for eleven years and served as Secretary on the CCOF Board of Directors and Chair of the Processor Chapter for twelve years.
Gay graduated from UC Davis, has an MS in Physiology and lives in Point Richmond with an organic recording engineer and entrepreneur. She has two organic daughters in college.
Gay will be speaking on "Safety" in the Time of Bloggers.
Melinda Wolff-Foster, owner of Melinda's Naturals, is a practicing certified aromatherapist through the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy, an award winning cold process soap artisan, a holistic pet care educator, a professional pet stylist, and owner of The Pines Pet Pampering.
Melinda's interest in handcrafted products and subsequent studies of essential oils began as a result of her journey to recover from Chronic Lyme Disease. After many years of unsuccessful mainstream treatments, she finally went into remission as a result of holistic means. Even though she has several life lasting effects from her battle with Chronic Lyme, Melinda is grateful to be busy and able to live a full life again!
Melinda's Naturals was established in 2013 with focus on creating wholesome personal care products not just for people, but their pets too! Melinda's holistic pet care guidance has been featured in articles for Creative Groomer Quarterly, as well as her segments on the television show Natural Companions.
Melinda will be speaking on Making Safe Handcrafted Pet Products.
Clyde remembers a time in his childhood when his curiosity about soap began. He recalls dissolving a soap bar in liquid water, thinking that he could make a new bar if he evaporated the soapy water. His interest in painting eventually led to his bachelor of fine arts degree and teaching credential and eventually he earned his master of education degree at Harvard University.
“It is surprising,” he says, “that the excitement of making my first soap batch led to starting my own business. It is gratifying to apply skills that I’ve learned as an artist to designing soap, my company logo and editing YouTube videos. The bottom line is that I love to share creative ideas. I guess that once you’re a teacher, you’re always a teacher.”
In addition to soap making, Clyde continues to create his artwork. He occasionally participates in art shows and displays his paintings in several San Diego business offices. His color tutorial on his soap making videos have been popular to his viewers.
Clyde will be speaking on Vibrance! Color Theory for Soapmakers.
The 2017 Conference is sponsored in part by:
If you are interested in becoming a sponsor for the 2017 Conference, please email the Conference Sponsorship Coordinator at . The 2017 Sponsorship Brochure (.pdf file) is available and has detailed information about the available sponsorship and exhibitory opportunities.