17.5.09

2009 Handmade Soapmakers Guild Conference: Beautiful Location, Great New Friends and Valuable Info!


I’m returning from an amazing five-day trip to Palm Springs, California where the Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild (HMSG) held their 2009 conference. The Handcrafted Soap Makers Guild is an international non-profit professional trade association whose mission is to promote the handcrafted soap industry; to act as a center of communication among soap makers, and to circulate information beneficial to soap makers.

My mask and counterparts above were courtesy of Dennis and Kayla Fioravanti of Essential Wholesale. They provided attendees with a keynote from Erin Brockovich, then a wonderful evening of dining including an ice sculpture flowing with mango martinis (!), entertainment from comedians John Reep and Wendy Liebman, as well as very generous goodie bags.

Have you ever been to Palm Springs? It’s where desert meets mountains meets palm trees. The temperatures were in the 90s and 100s, but with the low humidity I was rarely hot. The Miramonte Spa and Resort in Indian Wells was a great place to hold a conference. From outdoor patios to hottubs, there were many places to network with soapmakers and industry experts from around the U.S.

Although the temperatures would soar, there were cool fine mist sprays that in the heat of the afternoon would cool the air around the patio and bar dining areas. The mist was so fine that it didn’t feel wet – it would evaporate and cool the dry heat. Just like an Evian mist!

It was fabulous – especially the creative and inspiring entrepreneurial soapmakers I met. The synergy between soapers was supportive and encouraging - we were all there for the same reason - to network, learn from each other, and grow our businesses. Many of them are rocking out their businesses despite the economy. The list is long and over the next few weeks I am going to be spotlighting them here on my blog.

Last fall I was asked to speak at this year's conference. I presented findings from my market research company to assist business owners find their niche, differentiate their business and ultimately increase sales. I really enjoy helping entrepreneurs grow their business. I'll be sharing some of my findings here on my blog over the upcoming month.

I also enjoyed meeting so many industry experts that I have talked with over the years, but hadn’t met in person. I took home so much valuable information by attending conference sessions from cold process soap making demos with Kelly Bloom of Southern Soapers, E-commerce with Jamila White from Ecommerce Diva, The Media is You by Donna Maria Coles at Indie Beauty, Profit Margin Killers by Linda Stevens of Upland Soap Factory and many more.

Next year's conference is slated for Denver, Colorado (Englewood) at the Inverness Hotel. If you are in the bath and body business, join us! Dennis and Kayla have promised the entertainment and surprises are going to be even better. Hard to believe, but I can hardly wait!
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