May 10, 2012

Soap Conference - Day 1: The Jen Report

Since I could not go to the HSMG Soap Conference this year due to my baby boy who is expected to arrive in less than 1 month, I asked one of our teachers & Soap Conference Volunteer Jen Grimes if she would be willing to write & keep up updated on what's going on at the conference. Fortunately she said YES and below is her report for the first day.

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.

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.

Money Box at Casino Night

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!
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This blog post was written by Jen Grimes, owner of LoftSoap. Jen teaches classes on how to make Cold Process Soap 101 & Hot Process Soap in the 2-Day Soap Boot Camp at The Nova Studio.


sironasprings said...

Great job posting the highlights of the first day of the conference, Jen! It was indeed a busy blur. By the end of the day, I felt just like whoever was in that money box!! :D But my favorite part was meeting past students (again) and meeting soapmakers in person that I had been connecting with on Facebook. It makes it feel like such a small friendly community.
Looking forward to your next report!

jen said...

thanks, Ruth! You are so right - I forget what a warm, lovely, utterly hilarious group of people soapmakers are.

Kim Karster said...

Love the post. I have been wanting to go to this event. It is so up my ally.