Why You Should Attend The Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild Conference

Irecently returned from Denver, Co, where I attended the 2010 Conference of Handcrafted Soapmakers. While there, I moderated a panel discussion on legislation affecting soap and cosmetics manufacturers, and delivered a presentation on how soapmakers can create branded digital media to expand their sphere of influence. I also met keynote speakers Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun, former Senator from Illinois and the owner of Ambassador Organics, and world renowned aromatherapist Robert Tisserand.

I was one of the first people to sign up for Soap Guild membership, and I have had the honor of speaking at their conferences over the years including those held in Minnesota, Missouri, Vermont, California, and Denver. My cover article entitled, “The Media Is You” is in the current issue of their member newsletter, pictured above. Another great honor for me.
The mission of the Soap Guild is “to promote the handcrafted soap industry; to act as a center of communication among soapmakers; and to circulate information beneficial to soapmakers.” Next year, the conference will be held in Miami, Florida from 18 – 20 May 2011. If it is anything at all like this year's event, and others I have attended, it will be amazing. Here are a few things that make the Soap Guild conference extraordinary.

  1. Diversity and useful content. People come from all over the world to attend Soap Guild conferences. Everyone brings their own unique ideas and soapmaking techniques. The sharing and fellowship are unsurpassed.
  2. Fantastic speakers. Each year, Soap Guild conferences feature a variety of speakers covering every imaginable topic of importance to soapmakers. Soapmaking chemistry, coloring techniques, labeling, shaping, ingredient combinations and more. There are hands-on workshops, informative lectures, and panel discussions.
  3. Audience interaction and networking. Everyone gets to know everyone else at the Soap Guild conference. The networking is phenomenal. And the parties — oh my! Essential Wholesale has sponsored huge parties for the past two years, and other Soap Guild sponsors provide support for other events. You can see a list of sponsors for this year's event on the right side of this page.

This year's conference was sold out, with over 300 people in attendance. Next year, the Soap Guild expects to surpass that number, and I have every reason to think it will. I plan to be there, and if you make soap, you should too.

Even if you don't make soap, I strongly urge you to consider attending. You might meet a soapmaker who can help you add handcrafted soap to your product line. You might meet a soapmaker who would like to add the products you make to their lineup. You'll meet great speakers and enjoy delicious food (including healthy options — not always the case at conferences). And if they let me return again next year, you'll enjoy the 6:00am Fitness Walks that they have allowed me to lead for the past two years.

You can find out more about next year's Soap Guild conference by clicking here. Keep your eye on that page as it will soon announce early bird conference registration rates. If you're on Twitter, you can re-live this year's conference action and read attendees's blog posts about the event at the #soapconf10 hashtag.

I look forward to seeing you in Miami next year!

Question: Have you ever attended a Soap Guild conference? What was your experience?

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About Donna Maria Coles Johnson

Donna Maria is an author, podcaster, attorney, and the founder and CEO of the Indie Business Network, providing affordable product liability insurance and mentoring. Donna Maria teaches Makers and Creative Entrepreneurs how to use technology and community to build a profitable, sustainable business.