Day Two of the Handcrafted Soapmaker’s Guild Annual Conference was packed, packed, packed with an incredible line up of speakers.
Robert Tisserand entertained and educated at the same time with a great talk about essential oils. He had us in stitches with his sense of humor. My big take away for me from his talk was that ALL essential oils should be refrigerated (so quick, go make room in your fridge!).
Kayla Fioravanti talked about Essential Wholesale’s growth from inception to where they are today. She told hilarious (honest) stories of the early years, making everyone in the group feel better about how their businesses have grown (haphazardly!). My big takeaway from her talk was that small businesses are at an ADVANTAGE compared to big businesses because we can tell stories that connect with the customer; we can share our passion; we have a face. The ‘big guys’ can’t connect with customers in the same way that we can as nimble small businesses.
Debbie May shared her journey in starting WholesaleSuppliesPlus. She focused on the things that can kill your business – lack of passion, lack of data mining, lack of profits and lack of systems. Debbie has an MBA and she wowed us all by sketching out a basic profit and loss on the fly to illustrate the difference between net profit and gross profit. My big takeaway from her talk was that ‘growth sucks cash.’ In order to fund your growth in the early years, you may have to do without a paycheck as you plow all of your earnings back into your company to fund your growth. Debbie’s business hero is Mary Kay and she highly recommends the book “Mary Kay: Timeless Principles from America’s Greatest Women Entrepreneur.”
Then it was off to the Essential Wholesale Wild West Party. For the second year in a row, they sponsored the evening’s activities – from a Wild West Improv party to a comedian to a great dessert table, open bar and full wild west buffet. The evening was full of laughter, camaraderie and yes, even a conga line.
I’ve uploaded even more photos (and even a few videos from the Wild West party) to my Flick account here or the Soap Guild Conference page is here with full photos. Tonight is the big awards night where they announce the the location of the next Conference and give us all an excuse to dress up a little.