2020 Conference - Attendee Info

COVID-19 Notice

It is with great regret that we must confirm that the HSCG 2020 Conference in Hartford, CT has been cancelled.

For more information, please see our full COVID-19 Statement


On behalf of the Board of Directors and the Conference Staff, I would like to welcome you to the 2020 Annual Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetic Guild Conference taking place in Hartford, CT. We hope that you will take away important useful information, meet new friends, talk with some of the largest suppliers in the handcrafted soap and cosmetic industry and really enjoy the time you spend with us.

The following information will familiarize you with the various activities that will take place at the conference, help you arrange your travel, pack appropriately and take advantage of all of the opportunities that the conference has to offer.

Important action items are shown in this style.

If you have any questions please contact me at conference@soapguild.org, I look forward to seeing you in Hartford, CT, so please introduce yourself!

Leigh O'Donnell
HSCG Executive Director
HSCG Conference Director

Going Green

The HSCG Conference is a paperless conference, we accomplish this by providing all of the teacher handouts in electronic format only. This means that you can access all speaker materials, not just the handouts from the sessions you attended! In a further commitment to our goal of reducing waste, the Conference Program Book will now be avaible exclusively in digital format. You'll be able to view the Program Book whenever you like, without having to worry about losing your copy! A black and white printed schedule will be given to you at registration to use as a handy quick reference.

Bring a laptop, tablet, notebook or smart phone to access materials and handouts. 

You will be able to access the electronic files on the HSCG website (login required) and the Whova app. From there you will be able to view or download all of the materials. You will also be able to access the schedule, teacher bios, topic titles and other on-the-ground conference details in a mobile-friendly format. The materials will be available from the start of the conference and will remain available until August 31st, 2020.

The Conference Program Book is available to each attendee digitally and contains vital information about the event, including the schedule, session topics and more. Because of the digital format, you'll be able to directly click links for your favorite vendors, and access the Program Book long after the conference has concluded. We will provide a black and white copy of the schedule for you to use as a quick reference!

In addition, we are expanding our mission to make environmentally mindful decisions. This year, you'll notice that HSCG goodies are packaged in reusable bags instead of one-time use containers. We strongly encourage attendees to use their conference goodie bag or another reusable bag for shopping with the vendors; at the HSCG Merchandise table, we will have additional reusable totes available for purchase, or plastic bags will be available for a five cent fee. 

Required Paperwork

This year, we are requiring each attendee to sign a liability release form in addition to the photo release you will sign on site. If you signed up for your conference registration through our website, you would have read both releases before checking out. If you're unsure of whether you signed a release, you can reach out to mbrservices@soapguild.org or call the HSCG office during normal business hours for assistance at 866-900-7627.

If you haven't yet filled out these releases, you can save some time at registration by completing the liability release ahead of time and either scanning and emailing it to us, mailing it to us, or bringing it along with you to the conference. Click here to view and download the release form.

Whova, the HSCG Annual Conference App

We're excited to once again bring Whova, our wildly popular conference app, back again for the 2020 Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetic Guild Annual Conference in Hartford. This is a free app that can be downloaded from Google Play, the App Store, and other device-specific application stores.

  • View the event agenda and plan your schedule
  • Post and read messages in the event bulletin board
  • Plan ahead whom to meet at the event by browsing attendee profiles in advance
  • Send in-app messages and exchange contact info
  • Receive real time event updates from organizers
  • Access maps, hotel info and parking directions
  • Get presentation handouts from Speakers 
  • Participate in Contests and win awards
Get our official event app
For Blackberry or Windows Phone, Click here

If you did not receive an email with the invitation code, please email conference@soapguild.org and we will be happy to send it to you!

You can watch this short tutorial to get the most out of the WHOVA app! Video Tutorial


The 2020 Annual HSCG Conference will be taking place at the beautiful Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, CT. The HSCG has arranged for a room block at the adjacent Hartford Marriott Downtown; the hotel contact information is:

Hartford Marriott Downtown

200 Columbus Blvd

Hartford, CT 06103

Phone:  860-249-8000

The HSCG has arranged for a block of rooms at a special rates for HSCG Conference attendees. Once the rooms in our block are filled, availability will depend on what other rooms are available in the hotel.

Book your hotel room.

In order to get this special rate, you must use the direct link to our discount page in the Hartford Marriott reservation system. Reservations must be made before March 12, 2020, or until the room block is filled, whichever comes first.

The discounted rates are available for room nights from April 17th - April 27th, so you can take a few days in the area before and/or after and still get the discounted rates.

NOTE: You'll need a credit or debit card to make your reservation. Your card will not be charged unless you cancel your reservation after 6:00 PM hotel time on 04/23/2020, in which case the forfeiture amount is 1 night stay.

Enter to win your entire hotel stay (up to 4 nights)!

Book your room in the Marriott Hartford Downtown and be entered into a drawing to win your entire stay (up to 4 nights).  You must be booked by March 12th to qualify and winners will be announced on the opening day of the conference.  Room and tax for up to 4 nights will be automatically deducted from your bill.

Food and Drink

Plan on plenty of food while you are at the Conference! Breakfast, morning beverages and afternoon snacks are included every day. Lunch on Thursday and Friday and the Awards Dinner on Saturday evening are also included in your Conference registration fee.

If you ordered special meals (vegetarian, vegan or gluten free) you will receive a ticket at Registration to place by your plate during meals; this will help your server identify your preferences. If you have dietary restrictions that do not fall into the available categories, please reach out to the the Connecticut Convention Center in advance to discuss options.

In addition to the food and beverages provided as part of your conference registration, there are an abundance of restaurants close to both the Marriott Hartford Downtown and the Connecticut Convention Center.

Click here to see the list of restaurants closeby.



We are offering six all day, intensive seminars on the morning and afternoon of Wednesday, April 22nd. These seminars are optional; their cost is not included in your registration price. The six different seminars run concurrently, which means you will only be able to attend one. All seminar attendees are required to sign a waiver prior to taking the class.

The price for each seminar is $89, which includes lunch. The sessions are very limited and it's best to register ASAP, as they do tend to sell out quickly. This year, we are also offering Safety Equipment Packages for an additional $20 fee if purchased before the conference (kits will be $30 onsite). These Safety Equipment Packages contain gloves, safety glasses, and an apron. You absolutely must have gloves and safety glasses in order to participate in any hands-on demo seminars. Your safety is a priority for us, which is why we require the proper safety gear before participation. If you've purchased a Safety Equipment Package, it will be available to you when you check in for your seminar. If not, please make sure to present your gloves and glasses during registration to be admitted.

Register now for your Intensive Seminar.

If you have registered for an intensive seminar, be sure to book your flight so you arrive on April 21st and are ready for class on the morning of April 22nd. Registration begins at 9:00 am.

NOTE:  Class is ALL DAY, there are two parts:  part one is 10:00-12:00 and part two is 1:00-3:00.  Be sure to show up before 10:00 to register and get ready for class.  If you show up only for part two, you will have missed half of the class.


Session Track System

Our popular Track System is back for 2020! With easy to follow track topics, you can tailor your conference experience to fit your individual goals and needs. 

Business Track: This track is for those who are seeking to further their business knowledge and will contain topics to help you grow as a small business owner. 

Maker Track: This track is for beginner and intermediate level makers who would like to learn how to formulate new products.

Advanced Track: Designed for makers who have been making products for at least five years. This track will feature both maker and business topics at an advanced level.

Not sure what sessions to choose? You are not required to sign up for sessions during the conference, or stay in the same track the whole time. Switch things up for the best experience!

Soapers Showcase

Each registered conference attendee* may submit up to three soaps in nine categories. You must sign up and deliver your soaps by April 23rd, at 12:00 noon; any soap delivered after that will not be admitted into the showcase. To prepare in advance, download the entry form and have it ready when you arrive.

Click here for complete rules and guidelines.

The Soapers' Showcase categories are:

  • Best Melt & Pour Soap
  • Best Cold/Hot Process Soap
  • Best Hybrid Soap
  • Best Pet Soap
  • Best Scent
  • Best Packaging
  • Best Conference-Themed Soap
  • Something Different (all)
  • PLUS - The Ugliest, Stinkiest most horrible soap that is entered into the Ugly Soap Contest will win a very special gift.

Voting for the Soapers Showcase will take place exclusively through Whova; make sure to download the app (it's free) so you can vote!

All soaps in the Soapers Showcase will be donated to a local shelter, unless other arrangements are made. Any attendee, whether participating in the Soapers Showcase or not, is encouraged to bring additional soaps to donate.

NEW: HSCG Soapers Showcase Hall of Fame

The Soapers Showcase has become a beloved event during each Annual Conference, with many attendees choosing to participate in this very positive, peer judged contest. Among the participants have been a select few who have won multiple times within a single category.

To honor participants who have won in a category two times consecutively, the HSCG has created the Soapers Showcase Hall of Fame. Any 2020 participants who win in a category in which they have also won in 2019 will be inducted into the Soapers Showcase Hall of Fame. Hall of Fame inductees are welcome to continue to participate in the Soapers Showcase, but will not be eligible to compete in the category in which they have been inducted for. This will help us keep the competition fresh each year!

* NOTE: HSCG Staff, Board of Directors, Conference Volunteers, Conference Exhibitors and Conference Speakers are not eligible to participate in the Soapers' Showcase.


Airport / Airlines

The closest airport is Bradley International Airport (BDL). A complete list of airlines who fly into DFW can be found here

Information about Ground Transportation and Parking at the hotel can be found on the "Transportation" page of the conference website.


HSCG members may take certification exams at the conference. There will be two testing periods offered:

  • April 22nd at 6:00pm
  • April 23rd at 6:00pm

At the conference, check in at the Certification table to complete your registration and schedule your exam. Members may take multiple exams (for example, Basic MP and CP/HP Exams or Basic and Advanced MP Exams). When taking two exams on the same track the first exam must be passed before taking the next exam. Bring a calculator (no smartphone allowed) and pencils or pens with you to the exam as they will not be provided.

For those planning on taking Advanced or Expert Level Certification exams, sample soap bars are required (see Advanced Certification overview or Expert Certification overview). Soaps submitted for Advanced Certification must be turned in to the Certification table, with paperwork, by noon on the first day (May 17th).

Register in advance for your Certificaton Exam(s).

The cost of registration at the conference will include an additional $10 administrative fee.

Experts Panels

Even if you aren't attending one of the Intensive Seminars on April 22nd, you are welcome (and encouraged) to attend one of the Experts Panels taking place that evening! There will be three panels to choose from:

Business Panel: At this panel, experts will answer questions relating to business practices. Experts: Zakia Ringgold, Charlene Simon, Marla Bosworth & Marc Hight

Maker Panel: At this panel, experts will answer questions regarding formulation, products and more. Experts: Kerri Mixon, Marie Rayma, Ariane Arsenault & Jo Haslauer

Advanced Panel: Experts at this panel will discuss a mixture of business and maker topics; to get the most out of this panel, we recommend attending if you have been a maker for 5 or more years. Experts: Jackie Thompson, Kevin Dunn, Marie Gale & Kayla Fioravanti.

We'd love to see you at these panels! You can submit questions for consideration through the 2020 US Conference Experts Panel page. 


Annual Meeting

The Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetic Guild Annual Meeting for 2020 will be held during lunch on Friday, April 24th. The meeting is limited to members only. A separate lunch will be provided for non-members. Members must attend the Annual Meeting Lunch and will not be able to attend the non-Members lunch. If you are attending the conference with a guest who is not a Member, you are welcome to bring them to the Annual Meeting; only the current Member will be given a voting spatula. Please make sure to have your badge on and visible to be admitted to the Annual Meeting Lunch.

If possible, members should review the Election Procedures, and Review of Parliamentary Procedure.

Attending members will also receive information packets at registration with materials to review before the meeting.

The Annual Meeting Agenda will be posted within the coming weeks; please check this page again soon for a link.

Any member may introduce business at the Annual Meeting and/or may request an item be placed on the agenda. To place an item on the agenda, contact the HSCG Secretary at secretary@soapguild.org.

Silent Auction

This year, the HSCG will host a silent auction at the HSCG Merchandise Table. Attendees are welcome to stop by and bid on the fabulous items donated by Vendors and the HSCG! Come bid on equipment, supplies and more and support HSCG Advocacy. 

If you have any questions or would like to inquire about donating to the Silent Auction, please reach out to mbrservices@soapguild.org. We appreciate your support!

Conference Events

There are many opportunities throughout the conference to network with fellow attendees and of course, have a little fun!

Networking Lunch

The Networking Lunch is the first social event of the conference and takes place on April 23rd. When you enter the Networking Lunch, a conference volunteer will hand you a random number that corresponds with a table. You'll get to sit with attendees you might not have met yet and make a few connections! To break the ice, we'll provide questions to get the conversation started. This is a great opportunity for you to share business ideas and formulation techniques.

Evening Events

Vendor Town Street Fair - April 23rd

Come join the HSCG and all of your favorite exhibitors in the Exhibitor Hall for the first ever Vendor Town Street Fair! The vendors will transform their booths to show you where they're from so you can get to know them better. Take a stroll, meet new people and enjoy food and good company during this fun, casual event.

Essential Depot Event - April 24th

More information coming soon about this amazing event!


Dress for the conference is comfortable and casual. Make sure that you wear comfortable shoes that are good for walking; you'll be buzzing between the sessions and the Exhibitor Hall all day every day! 

Hartford is a great place to explore on foot - New England can be changeable in April, so be sure to pack a light coat!


NOTE: MEETING ROOMS ARE NOTORIOUSLY COLD! Please plan ahead and bring a sweater or lightweight jacket. We have no control over the temperature in the meeting rooms.


During the conference, there will be photographers and videographers roaming around documenting everything! To make our attorney happy, all attendees need to sign a photo/video release. You should have already signed this when you registered for the conference through our website, but if you registered over the phone, were registered by someone else or aren't sure if you've signed one, please email mbrservices@soapguild.org or call 866-900-7627 and our Member Servieces Assistant, Kristine, can assist you.

If you are getting certified, the photographer will be available to take your picture with your certificate. He will also take pictures of Soapers Showcase winners. If you want a special picture taken, speak to the photographer to make arrangements.

Pictures will be uploaded to your Member Dashboard, and you will be able to download them after the conference for your own scrapbook or press releases.

Conference Contests

This year we are switching things up with a few new contests to give you more opportunities to win awesome prizes!

New England Treasure Hunt

Throughout the conference, we will be dropping clues for you to follow in our Treasure Hunt! There will be five silver soap bars and one golden soap bar hidden somewhere during the event; where are they? We'll never tell! We can tell you that these will be the most coveted soaps at the conference. If you can find a silver soap bar, you'll win a $50.00 gift certicate to the HSCG Store! Find the golden soap bar, and you'll win a full conference registration to the 2021 Annual Conference!

Make sure to keep an eye on our social media profiles and on Whova for more information!

Caption Contest

Add a caption to any shared photo or post a new photo and create a caption for it-then, share it on Whova and on social media!

Winners will be chosen by likes, so make sure your photo is public and use the hashtag #hscg20.

The winner of the Caption Contest gets a $75 certificate to the HSCG Store!

Photo Contest

Show us your favorite meal, the speakers you love and the exhibitors you meet! We want to see the conference from your point of view; snap some pictures and post them to Whova and social media for everyone to see!

Like the Caption Contest, winners will be chosen based on likes-make sure your post is public and that you use the hashtag #hscg20!

The winner of the Photo Contest gets a $75 certificate to the HSCG Store!

A note about the Caption and Photo Contests: Please be sure that all content is appropriate. No vulgar, hateful, harassing, political content will be accepted or tolerated.

Spirit Days

This year, there will be three Spirit Days to participate in!

April 23rd: Local Spirit

Show us where you come from! We want to see your state colors, your infamous county food, and your historic landmarks, and we want you to wear them. Be creative!

April 24th: Company Spirit

This is the day to truly represent your company with your clothes! Branded apparel, props, etc are all welcome on this day, as long as they relate to your company.

April 25th: HSCG Spirit

Show us some love on the last day of the conference with your official HSCG goodies! Don't worry if you don't have a branded shirt to wear, aprons will be available at the venue.

A note about Spirit Days: We encourage creativity and individuality, but please be mindful of any head pieces or anything that could obstruct the vision of attendees seated behind you in sessions.

Contact Us

We hope you enjoy the 2020 Annual Conference in New England as much as we've enjoyed planning it for you! If you have any questions about the conference, send an email to conference@soapguild.org and we will be happy to help.