The Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetic Guild concluded last week, and we had plenty of fantastic guest bloggers on the ground to report back on all the soapy goodness. Over the next few weeks, look for Soap Guild session recaps on everything from how to price your products to how to develop a killer body butter recipe.
To start things off, Gates Councilor of Burly Stone Soap Co. gave us his overall impression of the guild, as well as some important takeaways. He is already excited for next year! — A.M.
So after all was said & done, what did I learn? What were my takeaways from the week?
First and foremost, I’m humbled and emboldened at the same time.
I’m humbled for several reasons. I’m humbled by the level of skill, dedication & talent that I witnessed while I was at the conference. Soapers are kind enough, generous enough, and cool enough to happily share the knowledge they have. I’m humbled by the people who have been doing this for years, and have forged friendships, businesses & small empires!
Some of these great folks are absolute rock stars in the hand crafted soap world, for good reason. So thank you all for the gifts you gave me.
I’m emboldened because the folks I met are just like me. I may be behind the curve a little, but I now know that if I bust my butt & really focus, I can make Burly Stone a success.
The conference was an invaluable resource for learning, connecting, sniffing & seeing what is possible.
The 2014 conference was held in Tucson, Arizona
Oh, that list of questions I started with before the conference? I’ve got my answers:
Am I really ready for this? You’re NEVER ready. But I was prepared as I could be, and I took full advantage of the weeks’ events.
Am I crazy? Oh yes, I most certainly am. But so is everyone else. No one looks at you like you’re crazily when you get into deep discussions over oils & scents. We’re all crazy… in a good way.
Did I pack enough? I did, though I didn’t even make it to the pool. We had Burly Stone shirts made up, and wearing those was helpful. It helped me feel like I was part of my brand, and several people took the time to compliment me. They saw my shirts & recognized the logo from the showcase soaps.
Which breakout classes should I take? In the end I spread out & took as many as possible. Some, like Lela’s pricing session, or Charlene’s sales session, addressed the business side, while Kerri’s color/scent addressed the “art” side. Even the liquid soap seminar, the cologne seminar & the soap scenery seminar were valuable — they pointed to things I may want to do in the future. (A-M note: not lucky enough to see Lela in person? She has classes and programs to get all the details on her site here).
It was a packed house for many of the sessions!
Will I get my money’s worth? Holy cow was it ever worth it. I’ll definitely be attending next year. I can’t imagine NOT going.
Am I “too new” for all of this? This one was possibly my biggest fear. But no, I wasn’t too new. I’ve made plenty of soap in my short time, and worked hard to get the Burly Stone brand to a place I felt ready to show people. So I could, for the most part, talk the talk & walk the walk. That being said, I learned SO FREAKING MUCH.
I’ll be tweaking my formulas, taking a hard look at my pricing and becoming a much better soap maker & business person, all thanks to the things I learned at the conference.
It’s not a Soap Guild Conference without plenty of soap.
Did I prepare enough? Do I have my prices ready to talk to vendors? I think I was prepared as possible. I had all my various prices ready & it allowed me to have informed discussions with vendors & other attendees.
I need business insight. Will there be classes/people/vendors who can help? Absolutely. For soapmakers who are serious about making this a business, the conference has a TON of resources that will help.
So much swag!
Will I be able to break out of my shy/comfort zone? Always one of my biggest challenges, but I think I did, to some extent. I still felt like a newbie, so I stood back more than I should have, but I did better than I have at similar events in the past.
A huge shout out to Tanya from the guild (HI TANYA!), who literally took my hand and walked me through some of the vendor stuff. I’m not kidding, she LITERALLY took my hand & walked me around. It was freaking hysterical. She made me feel right at home. Another huge shout out to Renee (HI RENEE!) from Tub Time Treasures. She recruited me to help out during one session, and I had a blast. Everyone I met was warm, outgoing & gracious.
The free popcorn was nice too!
What sort of people go to a soap convention? Soapers know how to party, that’s for sure. They also know how to laugh, & share. I think, overall, that really cool people who are passionate about the art & business of soap would go to a soap convention. It’s only logical.
No, really. A soap convention!? Yes really. A soap convention. If you’ve made it this far, you have to go next year. I’ll buy the first round of drinks.
Believe it or not, registration is already open for next year’s conference in Indianapolis, Indiana. The conference will be held April 18 – 20, 2015.