2019 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!

Keynote: Mirror, Mirror On the Wall...

Presented by Joe Schwarcz

Who is the fairest of them all?  The one who sports the most alluring make-up!  And of course cosmetics companies all vie to make that claim.  But are there really significant differences between inexpensive and pricey brands?  Can creams retard aging?  What about allegations that some cosmetics contain untested and potentially harmful ingredients?  The scientific story of cosmetics, stripped of hype, hope and fear-mongering, makes for a fascinating account.

Creating Scent Synergies in Cold Process Soap

Maker Track  Presented by Kathy Davenport

Can soap be scented without fragrance oils or essential oils? Yes! Multiple additives in different forms, such as oil infusion, decoction (water infusion), sugars, fruit and veggie purees, when used together will create an effect similar to building essential oil blends with top, middle, and base perfumery notes. Learn how to do hot and cold oil infusions, decoctions in lye water, make plant-based milks, and how to use purees, dried botanicals, and spices. Six soap recipes are included, using ingredients such as frankincense resin, dried chamomile and rosemary, honey, molasses, and much more.

Creating a Personal Care Line with 5 Amazing New Products

Maker Track  Presented by Cheryl Mitchell

5 new recipes for an amazing personal care line or addition to your already great product offering. The products are the following: Odor Neutralizing Body Wash/Soap, Deodorant lotion, Mechanics scrub / emulsified sugar/salt scrub with Odor Neutralizer, Shoe Fresheners, and Poo Spray (naturally based without silicone). Learn the recipes, why and how to market them, also, how you can incorporate some of your own recipes using the Odor Neutralizer ingredient. Learn how to stand out in a sea of markets, shows and stores.

Creative Soapmaking, Big Time!

Maker Track  Presented by Zahida Map

Zahida's sessions on Creative Soapmaking, Big Time! will explore the creative process and how it relates to soapmaking. She will discuss common creative blocks that many of us experience and provide techniques to assist in overcoming them. She will share ideas for finding inspiration and motivation in this often self-directed business. In addition to sharing some tips, tricks and techniques, Zahida will also be demonstrating her signature swirls using a 25 lb slab mold...everything is bigger in Texas!

Demystifying DIY Makeup

Maker Track  Presented by Marie Rayma

Have you ever wanted to make your own handmade makeup, but you're not sure where to start to create products that work? Join Marie Rayma, author of Make it Up: The Essential Guide to DIY Makeup & Skin Care to learn about the different ingredients we use to create handmade cosmetics and how to begin to formulate your own.

Developing Innovation- Pushing the Limits of Soap Making

Maker Track  Presented by Clyde Yoshida

Innovative design of any sort is more than the colors you use and the swirl techniques that are employed. Have you ever noticed how fad techniques influence the soaps that are made and shared online? Unique ideas and designs are born out of imagination, creativity and taking risks. This presentation is devoted to guide participants in ways to spark their own innovative spirit.

Making Natural Candles

Maker Track  Presented by Cindy Novack

Are you already selling or considering adding natural candles to your product line? Come learn about the different natural wax choices, how to select wicks, conduct test burns and how to safely use fragrance oils and essential oils in your candles.

Studio Makeover: Setting Up Your Soap and Cosmetic Studio for Efficiency and Safety

Maker Track  Presented by Susan Kennedy

Whether you are working out of your kitchen, garage, or a separate and dedicated facility, proper arrangement of equipment and materials can increase your efficiency, reduce wasted product, decrease work-place injuries, and help you comply with good manufacturing procedures. The session will teach ergonomics and safety in the studio space; how to examine your work flow and space potential, and how to apply the apply the concepts to your own space and processes.

Trends, Ingredients and Claims for the Advanced Soap Maker

Maker Track  Presented by Paul Pickering

Shining a light on the ingredients used, the similarities and the differences between techniques. What the labels don’t tell you about what is sometimes included and why they're needed and what regulations effect these ingredients. We will discuss how this relates to popular trends and claims within the global market and how you can capitalise on these in your local market.

Accounting “50.5”: Making Sense of Your Business’s Financial Information

Business Track  Presented by Dave Yoshida

Not even “Accounting 101.” Learn the most basic information about accounting: How do we keep track of our business finances? What do the financials tell us and how do we use this information to make business decisions? In this workshop, we’ll walk through the process from start to finish, with the opportunity to practice using real samples. Properly stated and understood financials are the backbone of a successful business.

Elevate Your Online Presence: Web Design Trends to Push Sales

Business Track  Presented by Gates Councilor

Take your online store to the next level! We'll explore web design for online sellers and talk about trends, tips, and tweaks to help your page (and you) look and feel more professional. After covering the basics of finding the right host, we will explore how online stores are different from other websites & what that means. We'll talk about technical issues like plugins, responsive themes and touch briefly on SEO. The meat of the session will cover menu layout, vital pages, captivating copy, and effective product & lifestyle photography to help capture prospective customers attention.

Graphic Design & Photography for Makers: An Introduction

Business Track  Presented by Marie Rayma

You make beautiful products. Your branding should be beautiful, too.

Good graphic design and photography are essential parts of any handcrafted business; they distinguish you from the dabbler, and help you compete with the big guys. They tell your story, and let your products shine.

Learn the basics of design and photography to separate yourself from the competition, appeal to customers, and build a brand that can grow with you rather than holding you back.

How to Leverage Live Streaming & Chatbots in your Business

Business Track  Presented by Zakia Ringgold

Live streaming is growing in popularity as it allows new and potential customers to get to know you as a small business owner. This session will teach you best practices for effortless live streaming, equipment needed to broadcast hands free and how to leverage the content after the broadcast. You will also learn how to integrate chatbots to automatically interact with your customers for sales support and general inquiries. With the combination of Live streaming and chatbots you can engage your existing customers and find new customers while letting technology do the heavy lifting.


How to Sell Your Products if You are Not a Salesperson

Business Track  Presented by Cindy Novack

Do you make beautiful products but are either afraid to sell them or do not know where or how to start selling your items? Are you confused with pricing, labeling, or just selling in general? You can do it! Come discover your sales style, where to start, how to price your inventory. There are people out there that want and need your products!

Unique Packaging & Labeling Made Easy

Business Track  Presented by Janae Tyars & Lisa Lauze

Shining a light on the small changes that have a huge effect on your sales. Join Lisa, owner of Unique Packaging, and Janae, graphic artist, and learn how the right packaging for your products will boost your sales and your prices. Lisa and Janae will also explain how to use recycled materials to create eye-catching, affordable packaging. Come discover how the seemingly subtle details can have a profound impact on your sales!

Web Sites - Behind the Scenes

Business Track  Presented by John Mikrut

Having a successful website means understanding what is going on behind the scenes. This is as important as how it looks. Whether you create a website yourself, hire a professional or use a plug-n-play site like Shopify knowing the jargon and how a website functions is important in making informed decisions. We’ll cover programming languages, e-Commerce, shipping, security, privacy policy, SEO, loading speed, mobile ready and explain terms such as SSL, Mobile First, and GDPR.

Advanced Formulating Techniques to Optimize Natural Ingredients

Advanced Track  Presented by Tammy Lisi

This session will explore how formulators optimize the power of natural ingredients to create different textures and sensory experiences.


Formulators are often frustrated by the limitations of natural ingredients. Creating clear and stable systems, fast breaking emulsions, and silicone replacements are often mysterious chemical masterpieces that seem elusive. Demand from consumers is forcing investigation and transformation of raw materials, pushing the limits of what was once considered natural type formulating.


In this session, attendees will gain insight into how natural ingredients are evolving to give formulators new tools for creating innovative products that can compete well with synthetic type formulations.


Attendees of this session should have a basic understanding of formulating emulsions and anhydrous systems. Manufacturing techniques, multi-functional ingredients, and how to determine if these ingredients are right for your brand will be discussed. Formulation cards and raw materials will be presented for attendees to experience.

Maker to Manufacturer: Using Tips & Tricks Learned on the Factory Floor

Advanced Track  Presented by Kate Jakubus

Run your studio like the big companies do. Large-scale manufacturers use a set of specialized methods (called Lean Manufacturing) to streamline operations and make more money. Now you can use the same methods in your own business to make product better and faster, even if you’re producing by yourself at home. Get your space in order, manage materials, and plan production smarter so you can deliver more product in less time.

Making Stone Salt Bar Soaps

Advanced Track  Presented by Kathy Davenport

Using a bakery silicone 3D mold, there are an infinite number of types of stones, including some gem stones, that can be produced to make soap that looks like highly realistic stones. After making more than 20 batches with this unusual mold, I have learned a few tricks to make them easier to use and to produce several different stones: malachite, turquoise, tiger eye, granite, and pearl druzy. Three recipes are included, one without salt, with several variations of colorants used to produce different stones.

Objective Comparison of Shampoo Bars, Natural and Synthetic

Advanced Track  Presented by Kerri Mixon

Shampoo bars and synthetic shampoos have different effects on hair. Learn which ingredients are commonly added to cold process soap to make shampoo bars. Understand the chemical and physical effects of natural and synthetic shampoos, how the effects vary by ethnic hair structure, and the added benefits of using a conditioner. This presentation focuses on hard scientific facts, not subjective perspectives or opinions. Briefly review shampoo labeling laws, including the recent change to Proposition 65.

Packaging Redefined: How Sustainable Choices Can Work for Brands and Bottom Lines

Advanced Track  Presented by Cari Phelps

Evaluate packaging solutions, environmental impacts and be a change agent by helping  customers understand the value provided by “smart” packaging decisions.


This discussion evaluates packaging solutions and their environmental impacts (and a nifty chart to help guide your decision that reflects business values). Leverage decisions for packaging as a valuable benefit to customers and build brand authenticity. Join this talk to discover how packaging sustainability is trending and how it benefits business and your customers.

Shea Butter: How it's Made / Impact on Family & Community

Advanced Track  Presented by Wayne Dunn & Gifty Serbeh-Dunn

Learn about unrefined, hand-crafted shea butter. Using photos, videos and the presenter's show where it comes from, its history, how it's made, its impact on families, communities and environment. The presenters bring decades of hands-on living and business experience with shea butter. Gifty grew up in Ghana, using, making and living with shea butter all her life and has 15+ years making shea butter products. Wayne has built a successful shea butter business based on product quality and a just and impactful supply chain. He is a recognized global thought and practice leader on social responsibility and sustainability.

Surfactant Showcase

Advanced Track  Presented by Kevin Dunn

Soap has been the dominant surfactant in the handcrafted industry, but there are good reasons for us to be familiar with non-soap surfactants. MP soap bases frequently contain detergents other than soap. Handcrafted cosmetics also use surfactants to blend oil and water emulsions. And it is important that even die-hard soap fanatics be familiar with surfactants used in competing products. This presentation will compare and contrast the properties of soap and its synthetic rivals.

The Chemistry of Essential Oils

Advanced Track  Presented by Regina Bauscher

Essential Oils are mother nature’s chemicals. Increasing your understanding of the chemical makeup of an essential oil empowers you to make better choices regarding skin safety. The differences in distillation types, hydrosols, concrete, and absolutes will be covered. The most common essential oil constituents and their properties will be discussed. The knowledge of constituents helps us understand what properties an essential oil may possess. 

The Science and Regulation of Hemp CBD in Topical Applications

Advanced Track  Presented by Kayla Fioravanti

Kayla Fioravanti will address the science behind topical application, best methods of application and usage levels from the perspectives of a cosmetic formulator and supplier of hemp CBD. Kayla will give insight from studies run by Ology Essentials, up-to-date information about regulations, pitfalls, and benefits of using Hemp CBD in your product line. Kayla is known for research-driven talks that can sometimes feel like you just encountered a firehose of information—so bring a good writing pen!

Creative Entrepreneurism – 5 Essentials to Bring Your Business to Market in 2019

General Session  Presented by Anne-Marie Faiola

Being a creative entrepreneur is a dream for many. But what do you do when you achieve your dream and suddenly find yourself not doing what you love anymore but instead stuck in the rut of running your business. How do you keep your creativity while growing your business? And, is it true that what got you here isn’t what’s going to get you there? Anne-Marie will talk to you about following your passion while maintaining your passion and earning a meaningful living along the way.

Cosmetic Certification Intensive

General Session  Presented by Sharon Czekala

Are you interested in taking the Cosmetic Certification exam? Did you know that you need to submit three products that you made for evaluation? This seminar will take you through what's required to be successful. We will learn about, and then make samples of each of the required products, while learning formulating techniques and the exam documentation requirements. At the end of the day, you will be much better prepared to make the necessary products all on your own.

A release is required prior to attending this class.

Groovin' the Big Batch Swirl

General Session  Presented by Jackie Thompson & Catherine McGinnis

Has the thought of losing your swirl held you back from taking that next great step into large batch production?   Put your mind at ease with this hands-on intensive workshop. Participants will learn various swirling techniques adapted for vertical block mold production as they make and swirl over 200 lbs. of soap during this intensive workshop. Also covered in the presentation will be tips and techniques of big batch production.

A release is required prior to attending this class.

Let's Get Fizzy with Ariane & Lee!

General Session  Presented by Ariane Arsenault & Lee Choy

Hosted by the colourful Ariane Arsenault and the ingenious Lee Choy, this seminar is the starting point to the basic elements of creating successful rock-solid bath bombs and adding an artistic twist to it!

With the help of Lee & Ariane you will learn foolproof formulas and get your hands into the powdery mix to experience how fizzy bath bombs are made. You will be guided to choose the right ingredients, moisturizing oils, approved colorants, equipment and tools for your needs. We will cover how to press by hand as well as using The Bath Bomb Press. You will also be given tips and tricks on colouring, swirling and decorating bath bombs as well as working in different times of the year and climates.

A release is required prior to attending this class.

Marketing to (Other) Humans

General Session  Presented by Marc Hight

The aim of this presentation is to introduce the audience to recent work in what is called ‘behavioral economics’ – work that comes from economics, philosophy, and psychology. The idea is to better understand how humans think and make decisions – including buying decisions. By learning more about ourselves we can better position our businesses to more effectively market our products to other humans.

Retail: A Virtual Experience

General Session  Presented by Charlene Simon

Take a virtual tour, from the customer’s point of view, of a multi-million dollar handcrafted soap and cosmetic business.  Creating a leading customer experience to maximize revenue and increase customer loyalty.  Learn tactics that will work, from the moment they open the door to the close of the sale.  You can apply these principles to any form of commerce, whether it is a storefront, craft show, farmers market or trade show.

Salt of the Earth

General Session  Presented by Melanie Brown

Today’s fast paced lifestyle often has many in our society stressed beyond belief. As they seek ways to “de-stress”, some are turning to their bath’s solace, like the ancient Greeks and Romans did to achieve that Zen feeling.  The need for relaxation has resulted in an increased use of salts.    

Salts have so many naturally occurring and beneficial minerals.   Examples include, but are not limited to bath salts, salt scrubs, soaps and soap bars.   During our day together, we will discover a variety of different salts that are used in bath and body products as well as making Soleseife soap, bath salts, and scrubs.

A release is required prior to attending this class.

Sculpted Soap

General Session  Presented by John Mikrut

Learn to make colorful and intricate soaps using the sculpted soap technique. In this technique, made in a log mold, forms are used to sculpt a layer of soap before the next layer is poured. In this way interesting designs can be achieved that go through the entire bar of soap. In this hands on seminar, working in small groups, you will pick a design, make the forms, then use them to create a unique bar of soap.

A release is required prior to attending this class.