I have attended the HSMG soap conferences for 5 consecutive years (2006-2010) and right now I'm seriously missing my soap friends & family. I'm sure they're all having a great time & I'm grateful to Jen for taking the time & energy needed to update us (especially with all that she has going on). If you ever get a chance to attend a soap conference, I highly recommend it. ~Lori Nova Endres
Wednesday, May 9, 2012:
|The registration team, ready to register attendees|
Hi, Jen Grimes here. The 15th annual Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild conference is finally upon us (I know, a relief for those of you who have been listening to me count down for the last six months).
While this is the 15th year of the conference, it’s only the second time that it’s been held here in Portland, Oregon. The conference rotates around the country each year, so those of us on the west coast truly lucked out this year. Speaking of lucking out, not only does our hotel have a river in its backyard, but Portland has been treating us to sunny skies so far.
|The view from the hotel, including Mt. Hood|
The conference officially kicked off this morning with a huge breakfast spread. Mary Lou Quinlan gave a captivating keynote address exploring the half and whole truths in women’s lives, how that impacts product marketing, and how to approach marketing to women, who control $5 trillion of the U.S. market.
On an entirely different note, the story behind her latest book, The God Box, had everyone in tears. Aside from staying to sign books, Mary Lou is donating a portion of the proceeds of the sales of The God Box to Rose Haven, the same beneficiary of HSMG’s soap donations this year. How cool is that?!
The rest of the day was, as usual, a blur of break-out sessions, visiting vendors, and, of course, eating. Past Guild president Marie Gale presented an information-packed session on how to apply Good Manufacturing Practices on a small scale while maintaining sanity. [Note: Anyone interested in this topic, Marie will be here teaching it in a Brand New Workshop at The Nova Studio on Sunday, 10/14/12 - click HERE for more information].
We took a break for lunch and had an opportunity to mix it up and meet soap makers from all over. I was at a soap-lebrity table with some of the Bramble Berry and Essential Wholesale crew, as well as the Guild’s very own raffle princess.
After lunch, Catherine Failor presented the fascinating history and ground-breaking lessons of Pears Soap marketing while Debbie May shared her lotion candle and lotion bar secrets. The Nova Studio’s very own Ruth Esteves turned everyone on to alternative liquids in lye solutions. And yet another Nova Studio teacher Marla Bosworth spilled some of her secrets to successfully formulating natural lotions and creams and Jade Shutes explored the true art involved in blending essential oils.
Finally, Bramble Berry and Wholesale Supplies Plus combined forces to present a spectacular casino night, capped off with a give-away of several thousand dollars in gift certificates. All I can say is that what happened at casino night, stays at the conference. I’ve never had so much fun losing so much (faux) money so quickly. Stay tuned for Day 2…. the fun has just begun!
See day 2's post HERE!