2018 US Conference Speakers
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.
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 Aaron will be speaking on Fun With Solid Bubble Bath (Bubble Bars) & Bubble Scoops.
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 Aaron will be speaking on The Booming Men's Grooming Market.
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.
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.
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 Castonguay Arsenault will be speaking on Stunning Melt & Pour Designs.
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 Christensen will be speaking on The Chemistry of Essential Oil Adulteration- How, Why, and What You Need to Know.
Gates Councilor will be speaking on Charisma + Drive + Focus = POWER.
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.
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 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 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.
Feleciai Favroth started Skincare by Feleciai, a company specializing in luxury small batch soaps, creams, and butters in 2009 after a career in real estate, corporate America and cosmetology-but her passion for beauty started as a little girl from Fremont, CA.
Feleciai always wanted to do something fun in the beauty industry since reading the pages of Essence and Seventeen magazine as a child. She decided to follow her love of beauty products after several years in Brand Management at consumer package companies including Pepsi Cola, RJ Reynolds Tobacco and Brown Forman Beverages. She obtained her cosmetology license in 1999 from the Vidal Sassoon Academy and recently achieved her esthetician license from the Aveda Institute in San Francisco. Her goal has always been to learn from the best to provide the highest quality service and products to her customers.
Along her recent journey in the beauty industry, she found the Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetic Guild, and most recently served as it’s President from 2013 to 2017.
Feleciai Favroth will be speaking on The Power, Passion and Profits of Finding Your Niche.
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 Fisher will be speaking on Blending Passion with Profit (and How to Keep Them Both Alive).
Marie Gale has amassed nearly 20 nears in the handcrafted soap and cosmetic industry. During this time she has had her own soap and cosmetic business selling her products retail, wholesale and private label; served on the Board of Directors and as President of the Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetic Guiild, and written three books for makers in the industry. Her preeminent book, Soap and Cosmetic Labeling, has become an indespensible mainstay for soap and cosmetic handcrafters who want to comply with US labeling requirements.
In addition to speaking engagements addressing soap and cosmetic labeling, her website (www.mariegale.com) provides a wealth of information about labeling and legislation. Marie works remotely as the Webmaster for the HSCG while she and her husband travel the US in their vintage RV with their Doberman, Duke, and their orange-tabby cat, George. In her spare time, Marie is researching her family tree.
Marie Gale will be speaking on Creating the Perfect Label; It's Not Just the Regulations, and Label Logistics; Past the Regulations.
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 Ghanem 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 Hight will be speaking on How Thinking About Behavioral Economics Can Help Your Business.
Long immersed in the world of handcrafted soap and scent, Andee has the DIY gene that keeps her nights short, her days long, and her craft closet full to the brim. After spending the majority of her life sniffing all the wonderful sniffs to be sniffed, Andee discovered that she has quite the hoard of fragrances that she enjoys. Just don't ask how old some of those fragrance are! When she is at work at Majestic Mountain sage, you can find her helping customers, getting messy in the testing lab, or working on projects for the blog, Adventures with The Sage. Andee even helps write some of the hilarious descriptions found in the Majestic Mountain Sage catalog. In her personal ife, Andee loves cooking, dogs, photography, writing, and hunting for mushrooms in a province far-far away.
Andee Howard will be speaking on Making Magic Happen with Scent Blending.
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.
Zahida Map will be speaking on Creative Soapmaking with Zahida Map.
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.
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 Mikrut 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 Mitchell 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 Novack 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 Rhoades 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 Rose 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 Saitz will be speaking on Turning Business Cards Into Valuable Connections.
Jackie Thompson 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 White 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 Yoshida 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 Yoshida 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 US 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.