This year’s Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild Conference in Miami was three full days of amazing!
Everyone received a Bramble Berry clipboard:
Day one (Wednesday) started with a bang as the keynote speaker, Barbara Corcoran, described her rag-to-riches story. You may know her from The Today Show or Shark Tank. She started a small real estate firm with $1,000 and sold it 28 years later for $70 million! Along the way, she learned to stand up for herself, change her reality by changing how people perceived her and other smart lessons that we soaked up. Barbara is very funny and engaging. I’ll be checking out her books for more tips.
Next, we learned about the legislation scene in Washington, DC. Mary Anne Walsh and Rick Limardo recounted the situation regarding the past and future Safe Cosmetic Acts, the education of legislators they’ve been conducting, and how they’re using facts instead of hype to build the case for an Act that doesn’t adversely affect small businesses. Anne-Marie outlined the things you can do to help in this blog post. One of the most important things any of us can do is to donate to the cause. Anyone can donate and we all stand to gain from spreading facts around The Capitol.
The rest of the day was filled with information about organic certification for your operation (blog post coming soon), making melt and pour from scratch coloring soap and swirling soap. In the evening, everyone attended the fun-filled networking event hosted by Debbie May.
Day two (Thursday) started with Robert Tisserand. I am so glad he returned to speak to us again this year. He busted five myths about essential oils. The most important take-away is that you should always seek the truth about products and ingredients and not just believe headlines and hype. He mentioned a couple of sources for science-based facts, but I only caught one: Personal Care Truth or Scare.
Susan Kaymon untangled the various mobile technologies and how we could take advantage of devices and apps to increase our business reach and efficiency. There are mobile marketing tools and mobile payment processing tools to help you out. After the annual meeting at lunch time, we were able to learn about the product liability insurance offered by the HSMG, how to copy a product (it’s mostly math, good research and trial batches), how to wholesale our products and Zen marketing. I could have used some Zen, so I’m sad that I missed that one.
Our evening was filled by the much anticipated special event at the Fort Lauderdale Museum of Discovery and Science hosted by Essential Wholesale.
Day three (Friday) started with a talk about providing excellent customer service by Debbie May. Always exceed your customer’s expectations by making them feel special and don’t forget, the customer is always right.
Dr. Kevin Dunn, author of Scientific Soapmaking, returned with more soapy science. I’ll be blogging about that soon.
For the final afternoon, there were two presentations: One on moving your business from a small operation that relies on batches to growing it until it’s a manufacturing business. The other was on the importance of having great brand identity and packaging. The conference wrapped up with the Annual Awards Dinner. The final raffle prizes were awarded, Soaper’s Showcase winners were announced and the volunteers and board were heartily thanked by the attendees. A great time was had by all!
See you next year in Portland! And stay tuned, I’ll post the winner’s of the showcase soon!