9.5.10

New Opportunities & Networking at 2010 HSMG Conference

There's one place you can always find me in May - at the Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild (HSMG) Conference. A soap conference, you ask? Yes, a soap conference. For those of us in the industry, it's an annual event that is inspiring and uplifting. It's educational and fun. Oh, and the goodie bags and vendor events top the highlights.

This year's HSMG Conference was held at the Inverness Hotel in Denver, Colorado. Although I live in Boston, I am a Wyoming girl at heart. Gazing out at the snow-capped Rocky Mountains from my hotel room made my Western heart very happy - despite the daily 6 a.m. alarm clock.

I met many new colleagues and reconnected with other soapmaking and industry movers and shakers. In the next few weeks I'll be making a some exciting new announcements that came from networking at the conference.


Above is Kayla Fioravanti from Essential Wholesale and me. She and her husband threw a fabulous party Western party Saturday night that featured can can dancers and an improv comedy show. Kayla also gave a wonderful presentation entitled "You are the Secret Ingredient: Formulating Your Dream Business."

My presentation on New Opportunities in the Melt and Pour Market was sponsored by Debbie May of Wholesale Supplies Plus. Debbie hosted a wonderful dessert event on Friday evening. There were several thousands of dollars in giveways, and I won a $175 gift certificate! Debbie gave a very educational presentation on Taking Your Business to the Next Level.

One of my favorite presentations (there were many) I attended was one on Trace Analysis by Kevin Dunn (see photo above). Kevin's book, Scientific Soapmaking, is a must read for any cold process soapmaker.

Another favorite presentation was "The Safe and Effective Use of Essential Oils in Soap" by Robert Tisserand. He elaborated on aromatherapeutic oils and blends for soaps - antibacterial, skin soothing, skin protecting, etc. He gave examples of historical and current blends, and how to make blends that last and have fragrance impact.

Although I had already interviewed Joshua Onysko of Pangea Organics back in February, I enjoyed hearing him tell "The Story of Pangea Organics." Joshua shared how he took Pangea from the initial bright idea to an award-winning company setting new environmental and sustainability standards in the industry. (Pangea is the first company to introduce and be awarded for biodegradable, compostable, plantable packaging.)

There were many other wonderful presentations by Anne Marie Faiola, Donna Maria Johnson, Kelly Bloom, Amy Kalinchuk and Marie Gale. Check out HSMG's website for more info and check out their Facebook fan page.


Next year's conference will be held in Miami, Florida. Hope you will pack your swimsuit and join us!


Did you make it to this year's conference? What did you find valuable?

2 comments:

Donna Maria @ Indie Business said...

Great post, Marla! What fun to see you at the conference. Nice pictures of you and Kayla and you and Kevin! Such nice people, what a wonderful time! Thanks for sharing!

Anne-Marie said...

Great wrap up. It was so much fun to meet you. One of my favorite presentations was Kevin Dunns. How fascinating to hear that the light trace issue doesn't create soap that has a too high pH and that regular soap leaves the same amount of 'scum' as Dove soap. I love that he proves all of that scientifically! =)

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