2020 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: Keynote Address

Presented by Moira Forbes

Moira Forbes sets the tone for the conference during this Keynote Address! 

Locavore Soapmaking

Maker Track  Presented by Mindy Wright

Looking for a way to find your niche, expand your soap collection, or create additional revenue streams? The answer might be as close as your own backyard! This session will offer attendees an introduction to “locavore soapmaking,” based on the locavore food movement, which promotes eating food grown within 100 miles of its point of purchase. By adapting this notion and using local foods in soapmaking, you can develop marketing and collaboration opportunities with local farms and artisan producers that really increase your bottom line.
In this seminar we will examine both the locavore movement and the shop local movement, and how by understanding both of these ideas you can create both products and a marketing plan that will set you apart from your local competition. We’ll discuss how you can can incorporate foods into your soapmaking, followed by a “brainstorming” session in which we’ll look at 20 different locavore soaps as a springboard, and discuss how the concept behind each could be adapted for your region. We’ll then look at how to forge collaborations with farmers and other local businesses, and discuss other opportunities that can spring from becoming a locavore soapmaker. We’ll wrap up with “Soap Local” marketing plan questionnaire for participants to take home to further develop the “fruits” of their brainstorming work into a regionally focused business and marketing plan.

Candle Making with Natural Waxes

Maker Track  Presented by Cindy Novack

This seminar is the best of all of natural our candle making classes all wrapped up into one fun filled day of nothing but candles, candles and more candles! This class is great for beginners and experienced candle makers who want to come and play with all different types of natural waxes without having to buy each one. This seminar covers everything candle making including selecting your wax, wicks, scent, when to use additives, wax blending, tips and tricks and more.

Each student will get valuable hands on experience making their own candles to take home with them.  Hands on candle making projects in this class will include:  containers, wax melts, votives, tealights and dessert pie candles.

Each project will be ready to package and label before by the end of class so you are leaving with many different beautiful candles after a waxy fun day.

A release is required prior to attending this class.

Cosmetic Certification Intensive

Maker Track  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. We will also review formulating techniques, documentation and labeling requirements, and the math calculations you will need to know to pass the written exam. At the end of class, all attendees will have the opportunity to take the written Basic Cosmetic Certification examination.

A release is required prior to attending this class.

From Fizz Disaster to Bath Bomb Maker

Maker Track  Presented by Ariane Arsenault

Hosted by the colourful Ariane Arsenault and the ingenious Lee Choy, this speaker demonstration 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 see them get their 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. They will pressing by hand versus using The Bath Bomb Press. You will also be given tips and advice 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.

From Fizz Disaster to Bath Bomb Maker!

Maker Track  Presented by Lee Choy & Ariane Arsenault

Hosted by the colourful Ariane Arsenault and the ingenuous Lee Choy, this class is the starting point to the basic elements of creating successful bath bombs and adding an artistic twist with production in mind. Learn tried and true formulas, learn many secrets no one has been willing to share with you yet and learn how bath bombs are made. From ingredients to equipment, get ready because this class is going to get fizzy!

A release is required prior to attending this class.

Hair Conditioner Bars

Maker Track  Presented by Kerri Mixon

Have you taken the HSCG pledge to reduce plastic waste? Go a step further by adding plastic-free hair conditioners to your product line. Attend Kerri Mixon's "Hair Conditioner Bars" class to learn how to make the best version of these profitable bars, how to label them, and how to package them without using plastic.

Introduction to Cosmetics - Formulating, Preserving and Packaging

Maker Track  Presented by Sharon Czekala

Cosmetics can be daunting.  In addition to trying to make a product that is both safe and effective, there is a whole new world of regulations, packaging and label requirements.  This session is designed to help you understand the basics and prepare to make your first cosmetic products. We’ll be looking at everything from Good Manufacturing Practices to formulating, preserving and preparing your products to sell.

It All Adds Up: Using Additives to Make a Good Product Great

Maker Track  Presented by Melanie Brown

Additive - noun - something that is added, as one substance to another, to alter or improve the general quality of something.

You've tested and tested and arrived at a good, basic recipe for your product whether it be a soap, lotion, body butter, scrub, or other concoction. Now what? Besides choosing the correct oils and butters for your product, what else can you add to take your product from good to GREAT? This discussion will include the many different additives available, and what each additive can do to improve or take your product to the next level. 

A release is required prior to attending this class.

Numbers & Bubbles: Demystifying Soapy Math

Maker Track  Presented by Jennifer Hofmann

Can you calculate a recipe by hand or do you rely on a lye calculator?  Lye calculators have made formulating and calculating a recipe easy.  It definitely saves us time.  And assuming we enter the information correctly it’s usually error free! However, a soap maker gains a better understanding of SAP values, lye strength, superfats, and water discounts when they learn to calculate recipes from scratch. Come learn how to calcuate a recipe from scratch!  Learn everything you need to know about the "math" side of soap making!

Saving Time by Using the Heat Transfer Method of Soap Making

Maker Track  Presented by Sara Golding

Tempest Fugent. Who doesn't need more time in their day? Between balancing the needs of a growing business with those of our family and social lives, time is a precious commodity. Looking at how much time is spent in the production of making soap can be overwhelming. What if there was a way to get back some of that time? The Heat Transfer Method of Soap Making does just that. By expediting the process of combining your lye solution with the oils & butters, you can regain a multitude of hours. 

Soap Formulating Rockstar!

Maker Track  Presented by Ariane Arsenault

If you have always wanted to formulate your own soap recipe and learn more about exotic oils and butters, join this class as we will cover the basic soapmaking oils and butters, talk about fatty acid profiles and what gives soap its good qualities. Being aware of the different ways oils and butters are produced, Ariane will introduce you to sustainable sources and ethically produced exotic ingredients that you can incorporate in your formulas to make them stand out from the crowd and be authentically you.  You will have an overview of saponification values and by the end of the demo, a soap will be made based on attendees' votes and the formula will be calculated so that you walk out with visual understandings of formulating basics! 

Using Natural Soap Colorants

Maker Track  Presented by Jo Haslauer

Jo's presentation explores the art of creating your own infusions and colorants from plant materials, as well as adding these infusions to soap to achieve the vibrant shades and swirls that she is famous for. This presentation will also demonstrate how to add powdered plant colorants to your soap at trace. Jo will be sharing some tips and tricks that can help to maintain these stunning colors and slow the fading of plant colorants over time.

Waterless Beauty: Formulating Anhydrous Products

Maker Track  Presented by Beth Byrne

Confused about anhydrous vs. hydrous products? Are you new to making cosmetics other than soap? Anhydrous products are a great place to begin. Learn how to infuse herbs for anhydrous cosmetics and how to make four products: Hand & Nail Balm, Lip Balm, Lotion Bars and an Oil Facial Serum.

Aligning Your Authentic Self to Your Brand

Business Track  Presented by Marla Bosworth

The market for indie beauty businesses has been rapidly changing during the past several years. Brands that carve a niche for themselves are the ones who become memorable to their customers. What is your brand relevancy? Is it uniquely yours or a carbon print of another business? Are you stepping into your own full potential as a business owner? 

As we step into our full potential as entrepreneurs, taking on leadership roles in our communities, teaching, evolving as a conscious business owner, our brand presence deepens too. This shift in aligning our true authentic self to our products, our business organically leads to more brand exposure and as a result, an increase in sales. 

In this workshop attendees will learn exampes of how and why customers are attracted to brands based on the culmination of your unique experiences. Then we'll discuss how to begin to align your brand with your own life experiences to create a deeper connection to your customer base through branding, marketing, social media, products and services.


Crafting Soaps that Sell

Business Track  Presented by Clyde Yoshida

Are you tempted to try all the latest design techniques, new soap molds and intriguing additives posted on our social meda? It is fun, dazzling, and overwhelming, but how does all of this influence our own soap creations? How do we stand out in the crowd? In this presentation, Clyde offers some ideas to liberate your creativity while also developing strategies to remain competitive in a growing soap making community.

Labeling: What's Required, Allowed and to be Avoided

Business Track  Presented by Marie Gale

Labels and Labeling: what goes on your product and what you say about the product on the label and elsewhere. And the perennial question ... Is it legal?  It can be confusing, intimidating and make it seem like you are trudging uphill on the shifting sands of the desert. 

But, the truth is that there are just a few rules you need to know, understand, and follow. When you have those under your belt,  it becomes easy. Like cruising down the open road with nothing in your way.

Marie will present those rules to you in a way that you can understand them and take them home to use in your business.  

Mind Your P's & Q's for a Successful Marketing Mix

Business Track  Presented by Catherine McGinnis

The four P’s (product, price, promotion and place) are the ingredients that come together to capture and elevate a brand’s unique selling points, while differentiating it from its competitors. These age-old marketing fundamentals are as important today as they ever were to businesses. The marketing mix is a critical aspect of successfully bringing a product to market.

A change in price may constitute a change in place, or the location where the product reaches the largest targeted consumer market. Likewise, an increase in raw material costs may change the budget for promotion thus affecting the reach of customers. The four P’s rely on synergy- like a well oiled machine they work as one. If one part fails to perform, the model as a whole may fail to deliver. Attendees will gain key understanding of the process to help propel their brand forward. With time honored theory and through a series of questions, attendees will find this session helpful in designing their brands’ unique marketing mix.

Pricing: Theory and Presentation

Business Track  Presented by Marc Hight

Looking for help on how to think about how you price your products? Are you afraid to raise (or lower) your prices? Would you like assistance in presenting prices to your customers in ways that will induce more of them to buy? In this presentation, we will discuss and critically engage what insights the field of behavioral economics has to offer in the field of price theory and price presentation.

Record Keeping: How to Maintain Your Fiscal Health

Business Track  Presented by Dave Yoshida

How long do I need to keep financial records? What do I even need to keep? Do I have to keep all that paper? What do I do if I'm missing a receipt for something? Join the HSCG's friend, Dave Yoshida, EA, as he shares practical guidance for reasonable, helpful, and responsible record keeping that will help you stay out of trouble (or, will help you if trouble finds you...)!

Understanding INCI

Business Track  Presented by Marie Gale

INCI. International Nomenclature for Cosmetic Ingredients. It is the go-to resource for how you should name your ingredients in the ingredient declaration on your product label.  Well, most of the time. Usually.  With a few exceptions ... depending on where you live. Confusing? It can be. But it doesn't have to be.

In this class you will learn how to determine what the correct name for your ingredient is, with certainty. In addition, you'll get an overview of the HSCG INCI lookup and how you can use it to make sure the ingredients on your product are just right. 

Advanced Soapmaking

Advanced Track  Presented by Catherine McGinnis

This is a seminar for the advanced soap maker wanting to expand his/her knowledge and skill set. You will learn the skills and tips that will help you excel on your Advanced Cold Process/Hot Process (CP/HP) exam and you will experience soap making hands on. 

A release is required prior to attending this class.

Defying Conventional Wisdom: New Data on Hair Care and pH

Advanced Track  Presented by Kathy Davenport

Many soap makers make soap-based shampoo that they and their customers love. Yet conventional wisdom insists that using hair products that have a pH of 8 or higher (as handcrafted soap typically is) will result in permanent damage to the hair.
A new study, conducted by Tammy Lisi, an expert cosmetic formulator and chemist, reveals groundbreaking results that show not all hair is negatively affected by high pH products. Watch microscopy video of the before, during, and after responses of the test subjects to low and high pH hair treatments.
Learn how to properly test for pH while watching a demo of pH testing of a liquid soap, solid soap, and conditioner bar. You will have to opportunity to do a simple test for hair porosity on your own hair.

Emulsification Systems

Advanced Track  Presented by Kerri Mixon

Lotions, creams, liquid foundation makeups, sunscreens, laundry fabric softeners, and hair conditioners are only ever as good as the emulsifiers used to create them. Have you ever had a batch of lotion separate? Have you ever made a cream that felt grainy? Attend Kerri Mixon's "Emulsification Systems" presentation to learn which ingredients truly function as emulsifiers, how to test their efficacy, and which emulsifiers are best for specific products.

Five Non-Soap Facial Cleansers

Advanced Track  Presented by Marie Rayma

Curious about surfactants, but not sure where to start? This presentation is part lecture, part demonstration, and will cover the basics of formulating with surfactants before sharing five easily customizable formulations for different non-soap facial cleansers. We’ll make everything from micellar water to a foaming cleansing powder, discussing ways to explore and refine the formulas to meet the needs of your customers.

How to Fire Customers & Other Things Not in the Books

Advanced Track  Presented by Eileen Curtis

Small business owners want to be everything to everybody and they can't. How do you figure out what you can do and what you can't do? What you should do and what you shouldn't do? How do you weed out the needy or bully customers without offending them and hurting your reputation? How do you know that you are heading in the right direction? We can discuss these issues and find solutions or at least, find a path to the solutions.

Information Security for the Non-Techie Handcrafter

Advanced Track  Presented by Eric Bockelman

It seems like every day we hear about another data breach, another organization hit with ransomware, or a piece of malware that attacks millions.  If these attacks are successfully damaging billion dollar companies, what can you as a handcrafted maker possibly do to protect yourself and your business?  In this talk, we’ll go over some simple steps you can take to improve your safety, secure customer data, and understand the motivations of these cyber criminals so that you can stay out of the crosshairs. 

Preservative & Emulsification Systems and the pH Dependency

Advanced Track  Presented by Laura Badcock

We will look at the different types of emulsifications systems and understanding what questions to ask before choosing the emulsifier for your various types of oil/water formulas, including how pH affects preservation systems. We will also look closely at the preservative choices and why preservation of cosmetics is so important. Many actives, preservatives and emulsifiers rely on a particular potential hydrogen environment and we shall discuss that too.

Saturation, Solubility and Saponification

Advanced Track  Presented by Jackie Thompson

How do you know what you think you know regarding the properties of oils? Information along with misinformation abounds in all media formats. Knowing what to take to the bank and what to deposit in the recycle bin can be confusing.

Join Jackie as she shares her research on the properties of common soapmaking oils. pH, hardness, lather, solubility, saturation and saponification of the oils will be examined as single oil soaps as well as popular blend combinations with and without additives “known” to increase lather, hardness and stability.

Throughout the presentation, you will be invited to test your knowledge and ask questions using an interactive platform you can access via your cell phone. Real time results of surveys and polls will be integrated into the powerpoint presentation.

The Business of Hemp CBD

Advanced Track  Presented by Kayla Fioravanti

The landscape of hemp CBD is ever-changing and quickly shifting. As an industry insider Kayla Fioravanti will provide the most up to date information on the business of hemp CBD in the United States. She will address hemp CBD as it relates to FDA, USDA, state-by-state issues, shipping, banking, and the what is happening in the industry. 

Systems to Sell Handmade Products Online

General Session  Presented by Zakia Ringgold

Do you make amazing products but struggle with the systems to sell online? Is your business online but you are struggling to get people to your website or to checkout? If you know you need to be online but not sure where to get started or what you are doing wrong, this is the session for you.  During this session you will learn an easy to follow system to create content, connect with new and existing customers, engage your community and convert sales for your handmade products. We'll talk about the four components of a successful online presence and how you can implement them for your business.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

General Session  Presented by Kevin Dunn

Over the years, many people have asked Dr. Dunn for help in diagnosing bad or ugly soap. Sometimes he uses sophisticated experimental equipment, but often he uses tools and techniques that are accessible to most soapmakers. In this presentation, he will describe methods that may be be used to solve problems using inexpensive equipment and supplies. He will further show how diagosing problematic soaps has led to new crafting possibilities. 

Using Sustainability to Drive Sales, Brand and Business

General Session  Presented by Wayne Dunn

During his session, Wayne will share tips, tricks, hacks and strategies that will grow your business, help the planet, help your customers, and be fun too!

The session will include a brief background on the growing importance of social and environmental sustainability and how its increasingly part of buying decisions and brand loyalty. Wayne will also share a brief summary of sustainability strategy, impact ventures, and how these trends relate to the handcrafted soap and cosmetic industry. You'll learn how to develop a pragmatic sustainability strategy that will align business growth, social responsibility, and environmental stewardship.

The session will be hands-on and will include real-world examples, including Baraka Shea Butter, who has been featured in numerous articles for using sustainability to drive business growth.

Register for the 2020 US Conference