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.
Benjamin Aaron started his entrepreneurial path in the handcrafted soapmaking industry at the age of 24 and grew his family company into the established retail marketplace through successfully selling soap and body care products to nationally recognized chain retail outlets across the country. His first business, Prairie Soap Company, LLC, handcrafted, sold and taught soapmaking classes from a brick and mortar store in a vibrant retail shopping center located in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. His educational endeavors through classes and workshops led him to connecting with the growing number of soap and body care handcrafters who are looking to take their kitchen hobby to the next level.
In 2014, Benjamin launched a new men’s grooming line, The Imperial Drifter, which he grew, nurtured and then sold in 2016. With an intense focus on the true values of branding to men (and women), Benjamin exposed the immensely high profit-potential of the handcrafted men’s grooming market.
Benjamin will be speaking on The Booming Men's Grooming Market.
Amanda Aaron 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. Her online soapmaking Facebook Group has over 20K members.
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 books & eBooks on the topic of soapmaking and has written for industry publications such as Handmade Magazine, Making Soap and Soap Collaborative.
In 2013 after a heart-moving trip to Haiti to teach a group of women who lived in a tent camp how to make soap, she decided that she would use her love of teaching to help as many women as possible in similar situations. She created a not-for-profit whose aim was to teach women in developing nations the craft and the business of soapmaking, tackling two of poverty’s biggest issues — lack of access to hygiene and lack of economic opportunity for women. The Lovin’ Soap Project is a registered 501(c)(3) and is currently working in Haiti, Uganda, Senegal, China and India and will continue to expand to other areas where women need opportunity.
Amanda will be speaking on Fun With Solid Bubble Bath (Bubble Bars) & Bubble Scoops.
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 will be speaking on Fighting Bac! Keys for Successful Product Preservation: Aqueous Cosmetics.
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. (https://www.youtube.com/user/AudreeSoluna) Both her channel and her Facebook page are places where soapmakers go for inspiration. (https://www.facebook.com/LaFilledelaMerSavonnerieArtisanale)
Ariane will be speaking on Stunning Melt & Pour Designs.
Susan Barclay Nichols is better known as SwiftCraftyMonkey, author of the blog, Point of Interest, and a number of e-books and e-zines, including 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 this life changing discovery 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.
She shares her passion for researching, formulating, and instructing by writing a monthly column for Handmade Magazine and by teaching wildly popular skin and hair care workshops at Voyageur Soap & Candle and Windy Point Soap that are often full before they’re announced! Although Susan claims to love all her ingredients equally, she admits to having a soft spot for cold process emulsifiers, conditioners, and surfactants.
In her spare time, she runs a series of free youth programs with her husband, Raymond, in her hometown of Chilliwack, B.C.
Lela Barker has a unique perspective on entrepreneurship because she sits on both sides of the table. She’s a successful maker with 15 years of experience building a creative business. Since launching her bootstrapped apothecary brand in 2003, Lela has guided Bella Lucce’s growth to include 1500+ wholesale accounts in 27 countries, generating more than $12million 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 the privilege of helping hundreds of creative entrepreneurs navigate product pricing, brand development, and wholesale strategy.
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 0 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 The Secrets to Seducing Store Buyers.
Essential Validation Services (EVS) is a third-party independent laboratory specializing in affordable quality assurance testing of essential and absolute oils, creating transparency throughout the supply chain and ensuring integrity within the essential oil industry. They are located out of Gainesville, Fl where they work in partnership with the University of Florida’s Mass Spectroscopy laboratory. Started in 2016, they have worked with many of the biggest essential oil companies in the United States in order to implement quality control standards and ensure that consumers and companies are getting what they pay for. Staffed by experienced chemists and pushed forward by the energy of their young CEO, EVS is set to change the way that testing and product management is done in the essential oil industry.
Adam will be speaking on The Chemistry of Essential Oil Adulteration- How, Why, and What You Need to Know.
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 will be speaking on Secrets of Superfatting.
For nearly 20 years, David Fisher has been fascinated and delighted by soap making’s mix of science, senses, cooking, art, and creativity. What started as just a hobby grew into a soap business, and then, in 2005, his work transitioned from making and selling soap to making and teaching about soap as the Guide to Candle and Soap Making for About.com (now thespruce.com). The hundreds of articles, tips and projects on the site teach a myriad of aspects of soap and candle making through step-by-step tutorials, recipes, videos, and more. Hundreds of thousands of readers visit the site monthly from all over the globe.
More than a decade of blogging, writing, teaching and experimenting with soap culminated this past year in the publication of an encyclopedic how-to-make-soap book entitled “The Complete Photo Guide to Soap Making” which was published by Quarto Publishing International. He was also featured this year in 4 segments on soap making for the PBS series “Creative Living with Sheryl Borden”.
David still teaches soap making in person and onlineœ at makemoresoap.com. He has presented at previous HSCG Conferences, the Lone Star Soap & Toiletries Conference, and the Alabama Soap Meeting.
David will be speaking on Blending Passion with Profit (and How to Keep Them Both Alive).
Maggie Ghanem, President of Formulator Sample Shop based in Lincolnton, NC, is an active member of the HSCG, American Chemical Society and Society of Cosmetic Chemists. Maggie has been providing her expertise and product offerings to the cosmetic, personal care and soap making industries worldwide for more than 15 years. Her passion for the cosmetic industry began as a child, growing up in the Middle East with no resources for raw material ingredients. The first ingredient she was able to get her hands on was Dead Sea mud and she developed her first mud mask. Since then, her passion was to help handcrafters embark on their cosmetic business venture of providing raw materials within the industry in addition to helping people start their own cosmetic businesses and offering formulation guidance. Maggie strives to remain on the cutting edge of the industry every day as exhibited by her relentless desire for finding and providing top quality, natural ingredients as well as alternatives to synthetic materials to the marketplace.
Maggie will be speaking on Fighting Bac! Part 2: Keys for Successful Product Preservation: Anhydrous Products.
Marc Hight is an Elliott Professor of Philosophy at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia. He achieved international fame last May when it was revealed at the HSCG conference in Las Vegas that he is also in fact Kevin Dunn’s roadie. Marc has spent most of his professional career educating young minds and doing research in abstruse fields like metaphysics and the philosophy of religion (he published Idea and Ontology with Penn State University Press in 2007 and The Correspondence of George Berkeley with Cambridge University Press in 2013). In the past few years, however, he has been working in the philosophy of economics and business, and is currently a Research Scholar in the Center of Entrepreneurship at Hampden-Sydney College. He has presented his work in the philosophy of economics at conferences in Europe, ranging from Ireland to Estonia. In his spare tie he plays the bagpipes, sings in an Irish band, engages in deep thinking about games (which he also plays), and works hard at avoiding adulthood.
Marc will be speaking on How Thinking About Behavioral Economics Can Help Your Business.
Dr. John Mikrut’s expertise in physics pairs well with his joy of teaching and mentoring others in the artistic science of soapmaking. A scientist at PhotoMetrics, Inc., a materials analysis lab, John has been making soap since 1998.
In January 2012 John became the organizer of The Soap Collective, a MeetUp.com group. John restructured the group and transformed it from a casual social circle to monthly instructional labs where soapmakers of all skill levels are coached in various soapmaking techniques.
John has hosted over 175 soapmaking meetups and The Soap Collective membership has increased from 103 to over 900 members. Several members who first joined John’s group as novice soapmakers have gone on to start their own soap businesses.
John remodeled his home to accommodate the growing number of instructional soap labs offered each month. He also included a woodshop where he makes custom soap molds. Along with his comical sidekick, Bruno the African Grey parrot, John makes his own soap products under the brand of Bruno’s Beach House.
John is a graduate of Northwestern University with a doctorate in physics from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He is a post-doctoral scholar in physics and molecular biology.
John will be speaking on How to Make Detergent-Free Melt & Pour Soap from Scratch, and Transparent Melt & Pour Soap Creation Lab.
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 will be speaking on How to Make Odor Neutralizing Sprays (From Body to Home).
Cindy Novack is the owner of Candles and Supplies.com, Inc. located in Quakertown, PA. She has been successfully making candles and soap since 1998. Cindy started out creating in her home while still working full-time; selling through fundraisers, online, and craft shows. Candles and Supplies has since evolved into an operation with a large warehouse, a huge selection of products and ongoing candle and soap making classes. Candles and Supplies also includes a retail showroom that provides a creative and inspirational atmosphere to make your candle and soap making dreams come true!
Cindy has an Advanced Soap Making Certification through HSCG and has been teaching classes in her own store, art schools, trade shows and seminars for over a decade. She is passionate about helping others to create and be successful while having fun doing it. In her spare time Cindy likes to read, horseback ride, garden, hike and enjoy the outdoors. She also loves to distill hydrosols and essential oils from the plants in her garden or pack up the stills and go on wildcrafting adventures.
Cindy will be speaking on How to Distill Your Own Hydrosols and Essential Oils.
Michelle is the owner of two businesses, Mossy Creek Soap which was founded in 2009 and Mossy Creek Natural founded in 2015.She has been interviewed for the Handmade Magazine, Indie Business Network, the Soap Collaborative and various blogging sites. She is a published author for the Saponifier Magazine (Making Soap Magazine). Michelle’s professional career has blossomed since she began teaching, which led the way for her success as both a soap maker and as an instructor. Her use of color and visually stimulating photography has earned the recognition of both the foodnetwork.com and The Holiday Edition of Southern Living Magazine. Her products have been featured in DaySpa Magazine, Georgia Family Magazine, Foodnetwork.com and Southern Living.
Her accolades include being a speaker at the HSCG Annual Conference (2013 & 2015), the Alabama Soap and Candle Conference (2012, 2014 & 2015) and the Tennessee Soap and Candle Meeting (2014 & 2015). She is also a certified soap making instructor by the Handcrafted Soap/Cosmetic Guild.
Michelle will be speaking on Bling It! Trade & Craft Show Table Design.
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 10 years ago. KBShimmer has flourished into a business that not only supports her, but the families of a small but dedicated team.
The KBShimmer nail polish line has been featured in Nail It! Magazine, Life & Style, and People StyleWatch. Christy’s products ca be found on several major nail polish, lifestyle and fashion blogs including Refinery29.com and PopSugar.com. KBShimmer currently offers nail polish, lotions and cuticle creams, scrubs and other hand care products for sale on Amazon, their website and through select online international retailers.
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, and has recently discovered a love for fluid painting. Christy also enjoys traveling throughout the US, baking and biweekly pedicures with her daughter.
Christina will be speaking on Employees 411: How to Save Your Sanity and Hire Help.
Growing up as a shy kid in New Jersey, Lori Saitz dreaded talking to people she didn’t know. After college her career path took her through a variety of jobs, including radio DJ, that required talking to strangers. But she never felt very good at it. In 2003, Lori launched Zen Rabbit Baking Company and introduced the world to The Gratitude Cookie. In order to build that company, she had to learn how to network effectively to find clients, referral sources, and vendors. Today, as an award-winning networking strategy coach and speaker, she helps business people who want to be better at networking and building relationships that support their business success. Drawing on her more than 25 years of experience in marketing and communications, she loves strategizing with clients on which events are worth going to and creating effective follow up systems so their efforts aren’t wasted. Lori has been interviewed by a variety of media and regularly speaks at conferences and events. She currently lives in northern Virginia with her husband and their two cats.
Lori will be speaking on Turning Business Cards Into Valuable Connections.
Jackie will be speaking on Own It! A How To Guide on Making Signature Glycerin Shaving Soaps, and Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble: A Liquid Soapmaking Adventure.
A love for all things handcrafted, a 10-year paralegal career, and a passion for research led Kathy White to study soap making and cosmetic formulation. With a focus on plant-based ingredients and anhydrous formulas, Kathy has built a product line for customers who want vegan, organic, “pure, clean and simple” skincare products. She divides her time between running her soap business, writing, speaking, and teaching soapmaking classes. She has written articles for a local gourmet, “foodie” print magazine, Edible Austin, Making Soap Magazine (formerly The Saponifier), and Soap Collaborative. Kathy also served as the editor of Soap Collaborative for 10 months. She has been a speaker four times at the Lone Star Soapmakers Seminar in Round Rock, Texas, and teaches soapmaking classes in the greater Houston and Galveston, Texas area.
Kathy will be speaking on Making Hair Care Products.
Clyde says, "Once a teacher, always a teacher," as he reflects on his Vibrant Soap YouTube videos. "I just wanted to create videos of me demonstrating my new passion of making soap. I retired from teaching in public schools, and realized that I was still teaching. This time the subject matter was soap making and color theory tutorials." Instead of the classroom, his new teaching venue is online on YouTube, participating in several soap groups on Facebook and sharing color inspiration on Instagram. He has presented at SoapCon 2016, 2017 HSCG Conference in Las Vegas and was interviewed in an HSCG Podcast.
The intrigue of creating art in the medium of soap led to starting his own soap business: Vibrant Soap. Life experiences prepared Clyde well for designing his soap and presenting about soap and color online. In adition to soap making, Clyde continues to create his artwork. He has shown his work locally in San Diego. "Follow your passions," he says. "That's how my childhood dream of being an artist has come true."
Note: Clyde's interest in painting led to his bachelor of fine arts degree and teaching credential. He earned his master of education degree at Harvard University.
Clyde will be speaking on Vibrance II: Developing Color Skill Without the Intimidation of Color Theory.
Dave Yoshida began his professional career as a trainer and coordinator in the world of nonprofit organizations. As a trainer, Dave made countless public presentations on a variety of topics. Probably the best skill he developed in his early career was the ability to break down complex topics and explain them in a way that is straightforward and easy to understand. A serendipitous career change catapulted Dave into the world of income taxes and accounting. Since opening up shop in 2006, Dave has grown as a presenter to diverse audiences on various tax and small business topics. Dave is an enrolled agent, licensed to represent taxpayers before all levels of the IRS. He serves approximately 700 clients each year with varying tax and business needs.
Dave became acquainted with the HSCG and the world of handcrafted soaps and had the tremendous fortune to attend the 2015 SoapCon in Mt Sterling, KY, and the 2016 HSCG annual conference in Las Vegas. On both occasions, Dave revealed the nature of his daily work and was quickly sought out with various tax and business questions. He is deeply grateful to be of service to a community that has truly welcomed him.
Dave will be speaking on Help & How To: Tax Tips for Small Business Owners.
The 2018 Conference is sponsored in part by:
If you are interested in becoming a sponsor for the 2018 Conference, please email the Conference Sponsorship Coordinator at . The 2018 Sponsorship Brochure (.pdf file) is available and has detailed information about the available sponsorship and exhibitory opportunities.