Marla Bosworth is the founder and owner of Back Porch Soap Company. She teaches classes, corporate events and experiences including candle making, soap making, organic skincare and perfumery.

April 05, 2011

HSMG Conference Tip 5 of 5: How Not To Miss Each and Every Workshop

This blogpost is the last in a series of tips for attending the Handcrafted Soap Makers Guild (HSMG) Conference in Miami next month. This tip is about how to not to miss each workshop. If you're attending this year's conference, or planning to attend future conferences, my hope is that you'll find these tips helpful.

Upon check-in at the HSMG Conference registration you'll receive a folder (see below), along with a fabulous goodie bag. The folder contains the conference schedule. View the schedule online at the HSMG website for pre-conference planning (which I highly recommend).

This is my folder from last year's conference in Denver.

The first thing you'll notice is that there are two tracks running throughout most of the conference. This means you'll have to make a choice as to which track you choose. There are already sessions that I'm torn between, and this is where a gameplan comes in handy:

  1. Partner with one or two other conference attendees. It is easier to keep track of if you only partner with one or two people. Otherwise you'll be chasing down too many people during the conference. If you don't know anyone read How to Get Your Social Media Game On Before and After the Conference blogpost (see link below).

  2. Determine who will attend each session. Divide and conquer!

  3. Take an extra handout for each of your "teammates" per session.

  4. Take legible notes for each session on a separate piece of paper. Or bring a laptop and type up your notes.

  5. Email your typed notes to your teammates. Or if you have handwritten notes, use the hotel copy machine (or scan when you return home and email to your teammates).

  6. Schedule an end of day "briefing session" with your teammates to distribute handouts. During this time, while the information is fresh in your mind, point out any key observations that were made during the workshop.

Simple as that! You won't feel as if you missed a thing. Also, you will have networked with two industry colleagues that you may or may not have known previous to the conference.

You can read the prior posts here: Why You Should Pack
an Extra Suitcase or Box; How to Get Your Social Media Game on Before, During and After the Conference; Even if You're Shy Just Say Hi; and An Open Mind Could Lead to More Sales.

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See you in Miami!

April 04, 2011

Tip 4 of 5: Why You Should Pack an Extra Suitcase or Box for the HSMG Conference

Photo Credit: Jocelyn Mathewes

This blogpost is the fourth of five in a series of conference tips. Today we're talking about why you’ll be glad you packed an extra suitcase or box for the conference.

The first year I attended the HSMG conference, I had no idea how many freebies and goodies that would land in my lap. The moment you check into registration you’ll land a giant sponsor-filled goodie bag that in past years has contained molds, fragrance samples, herbs, pail openers, and so forth. The freebies don’t stop there. There are raffles, give-aways at evening special events and also vendor tables where you can buy and win more soap-related products and services. There are also three days of conference handouts, which pile up quite a bit. When combined, all of these can take up quite a bit of space in your luggage.

On my flight home to Boston after my first conference, I showed up at the Palm Springs, CA airport to find out that my luggage was 10 pounds over the limit. The ticketing agent looked and me and smiled politely, "I'm going to have to charge you a $90 over-the-limit fee." So I transferred 10 pounds of goodies back into my carry-on and lugged the bag all the way back to Boston (and a layover in Denver to boot..ah, no pun intended). I promised myself that would be the last time I would shlep all that extra weight. Somehow I would get those goodies home without paying the price with my wallet OR my back. Since then I’ve smartened up and packed a small empty carry-on size suitcase within my regular luggage. This allows you to strategically pack for the way home.

If, for whatever reason, you don't feel like packing a second suitcase, there is another option. Mariann Smith of Just Bubbly (Rockaway Beach, NY) packs a prepaid and pre-labeled, USPS flat-rate shipping box just for this reason. Simply pick up a large flat rate box at your local post office, purchase a prepaid label, pack it in your suitcase, and you're ready to go. You might want to bring along some packaging materials and plastic ziploc baggies to compartmentalize small items. When you've packaged up your box, drop it off at the front desk of the hotel and it will see you when you get home!

Whether you decide to pack the extra suitcase or prepaid flat rate shipping box, you'll be glad you did! Your shoulder, wallet and plane carry-on companions will thank you.

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