Membership FAQ

The following are the most frequently asked questions about HSCG Membership. Click any question to display the answer, or view all answers.

If you have a question that is not answered here, contact our office at , (866)-900-7627 (US toll free), or (518) 306-6934.

About Handcrafter Memberships

By definition, Associate Handcrafters are not selling their soap to the public, so they should have no reason for an online listing.
Yes. We will offer you a pro-rated credit towards the upgrade to Professional Membership for the unused portion of your Associate Membership. This can only be done by calling the HSCG Office during normal business hours (Monday Friday) 866-900-7627, you cannot upgrade your membership online.
Yes. You can transfer the remainder of your membership to the new owner. You will need to call the HSCG Office to do so and both parties must be present for security purposes. (866-900-7627) Please note: You CANNOT transfer your Product Liability Insurance Policy, the new owner will need to purchase their own policy
No. Per the HSCG Bylaws the Membership is non-refundable. The insurance payment is governed by the insurance broker and is also non-refundable (see the Insurance FAQ for additional information about your insurance.
No. Handcrafter Memberships are in the name of the individual and therefore all benefits are associated with the individual. Your business partner will receive a conference discount under your membership and will be covered under the Product Liability Insurance provided that you both work under the same legally recognized business name such as an LLC or a Corporation (but not a personal "Doing Business As" (DBA) business name).

To gain full rights as a member, your partner would have to join as a separate member. Note, however, that if the partner is covered by an existing insurance policy (yours or another), then the partner can join with insurance waived.

Yes. There is a 7 day grace period from the time your membership expires to when you are marked expired by our system.

For example, if your expiration date is January 1st, our system will not mark you expired until January 8th. If you have not renewed your membership by January 8th, you will lose your Online Listings, Gallery Image, Soapguild Store and any locations displayed in the Store Locator. Your Product Liability Insurance will have expired and coverage will have ceased.

If you renew within the next 90 days you will retain your current member number. If you do not and renew at a later time a new member number will be assigned to you.

No. If you renew early you will still be given full credit for your current term. Your new term will simply start on your renewal date for both your membership and insurance, if applicable
Memberships in the HSCG run for 1 year from the day that you join/renew. For example, if you join on July 17th, your renewal date will be July 17th of the next year.
The HSCG is registered with the IRS as a "Professional Business Association" (also called a "Business League") as defined under Section 501(c)(6) of the IRS Code. The IRS says:

To be exempt, a business league's activities must be devoted to improving business conditions of one or more lines of business... The term "line of business" generally refers either to an entire industry...

The key here is business. In order to maintain tax-exempt, non-profit status, the HSCG must forward the business and industry of handcrafted soap and soapmaking.

Technically, Associate Memberships are for those who are in the process of becoming Professional Handcrafters (defined as actually selling/marketing handcrafted soap or cosmetics). Five years seemed like a reasonable time to make the transition.

Someone who is a hobbyist or personal-use-only handcrafter and never intends to actually sell handcrafted soap, technically doesn't qualify for membership in the HSCG.

About Vendor Memberships

While handcrafters are individual people who may have a businesses, vendors are businesses that generally have staff and employees. Rather than putting the membership in the name of one specific person, the vendor membership is in the name of the business and an individual is designated as the "Owner" or "Contact" for the membership. That way the business can appoint the appropriate person to manage their membership and the person so designated can be changed if needed when staff changes occur within the business.
Vendors can join at Tier 1, 2 or 3 levels; there are different benefits associated with each and each level has different dues. A Tier Level can be selected that meets the desired benefits level and fits within the budget. For more information or to discuss the different options and how they can be combined with our HSCG Conference Sponsorship Opportunities please call the HSCG Office at (866)-900-7627 (US toll free) or (518) 306-6934.

General Membership Information

The Board of Directors determines the benefits for each of the different membership levels.
The prices are set by the HSCG Board of Directors (in accordance with the HSCG Bylaws).
The HSCG is based in the United States and uses English as our primary language. At present we do not have the resources to offer our services in other languages. If you need to access our website in another language, we ecommend using the Google translator, which can be accessed in the Chrome browser by right-clicking the web page and selecting the option to translate the page.

The HSCG Soapmaker Certification Program was developed to encourage and promote the highest professional standards among HSCG members.  It is available to HSCG Members only and is completely voluntary.  Certificates are valid only so long as the membership is in force.

There are two testing tracks, Cold Process/Hot Process and Melt & Pour.  Each track has three levels: Basic, Advanced and Master.  A fourth level, Expert, is being developed and will be between Advanced and Master.

For more information see About the HSCG Certification Program.