The Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild kicked off their 2011 Handcrafted Soapmakers Conference on May 18 at the Miami Downtown Hilton. This year's conference drew nearly 300 attendees. In addition to soapmakers from all over the U.S., there are 14 attendees from Canada, and others from Guatemala, few from U.K., Colombia, Puerto Rico, Cayman Islands, Australia, Bahamas, Ecuador and Venezuela.
The rooftop pool at the Miami Hilton is a bonus and great place to steal away for an hour or two! This is the view from my seventh floor, floor to ceiling window.
The view of Miami (harbor views are off to the left) from my hotel window. It's beautiful at night, too. I'll try to get a shot of the "moon over Miami."
Robin Schmidt of Dragonfly Handmade Soap (HSMG speaker coordinator) ready for a line of attendees awaiting their registration and highly coveted goodie bags.
My friend, Kim Johnson, with keynote speaker Barbara Corcoran, real estate mogul and one of the multimillionaires on ABC's "Shark Tank". One of my favorite parts of the conference is meeting up with new and old friends.
Donna Pixton-Hacker of Chamomile Cottage introducing Kayla Fioravanti of Essential Wholesale. Kayla gave a workshop on how to make your own melt and pour soap. I'm going to give this a whirl when I get home. Hmmm....new soap making class in NYC and Boston?
The conference provides time for networking with other soapmakers. Seated on the far right is Gillian Deconto of Little Bitty Soap Company out of British Columbia. To the left is Trista Page of Indigo Bee and Laura Page, general manager at Essential Wholesale.
Jennifer Hardaway of Klean Spa making suggestions during the Legislative Issues workshop with Mary Anne Walsh and Rick Limardo.
The fabulous Feleciai Favroth (HSMG treasurer and conference committee member) making introductions and announcements.
Debbie May of Wholesale Supplies Plus kicking off the first night networking event. She shared interesting personal stories and business tips throughout the evening.
Wholesale Supplies Plus treated HSMG attendees with an espresso/coffee bar, sundae bar and more than $5000 worth of gift certificates.
Everyone behaving after line dancing and acting wildly to "earn" raffle tickets for the $5000 giveaways.
Networking continued late night for some attendees (especially West Coasters who are still on Pacific Time) - poolside or in restaurants around Miami. Stay tuned for another post after the completion of Day 2!
Did you attend the HSMG Conference? What was your favorite part of Day One?