Conference Speakers

2009 Annual Conference2 Comments

Keynote – Erin Brockovich
The keynote speaker for the 2009 Annual Conference will be well-known speaker, environmentalist and award-winner, Erin Brockovich.

The story of Erin’s investigation, legal triumph and personal issues were dramatized in the hit movie “Erin Brockovich.” Released in March 2000 by Universal Studios, it starred Julia Roberts as Erin and Albert Finney as Edward Masry.

From the exposure of the movie, she became what she calls “a reluctant public figure”. Over time, she realized she could use her notoriety to spread positive messages of personal empowerment and encourage people to stand up and make a difference. She now travels the world doing personal appearances spreading motivational messages, telling her story and personal life lessons learned.

She is the President of Brockovich Research & Consulting, where she is involved in numerous major environmental cases.

For more information about Erin, visit her website at

Linda Stevens
Linda Stevens is the owner of the Upland Soap Factory, specializing in wholesale private label soap and silicone lined soap molds. Linda started making soap in her kitchen in 1996. As that space was outgrown she moved her expanding soap business to her garage and then in 2003 to a commercial facility in Upland, CA. In 2008 she moved to a farm in Marshall, NC where she and her husband raise angora goats, llamas, chickens and turkeys in addition to making soaps and molds. Linda makes large batches of CP soap averaging 160 to 230 pounds per batch.

Linda will be speaking on Profit Margin Killers and Setting Up Shop.

Donna Maria Coles Johnson
Donna Maria Coles Johnson was one of the first “members” of the Handcrafted Soapmaker’s Guild, before it was formally established as a 501(c)(3) organization. Today, she is the editor of the Indie Business Blog, the leader of the Indie Beauty Network and the host of the Indie Business Radio Show. Along with her husband and business partner, she also manages Indie Business Media, LLC, a “new > media” company that empowers Indies to use technology to promote their businesses and expand their sphere of influence. A popular social media expert, Donna Maria understands firsthand the challenges of simultaneously running a business and managing a home. She therefore targets her services to women and families, especially those in the health and beauty industries.

Donna Maria is a 2003 US Small Business Administration Home-Based Business Advocate of the Year. She works tirelessly to spearhead efforts to defeat pending draft federal legislation that would put small and “micro” cosmetics businesses out of business. Donna Maria graduated from the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast Journalism. She was earned a Juris Doctorate from the Catholic University of America, where she served on the prestigious Law Review and majored in telecommunications.

She served in the law and public policy department at a Fortune 500 company before exiting the workforce in 2001 to manage her businesses full-time. Donna Maria is the author of the “Lifestyle CEO Book: How to Break all the > Rules, Build Your Own Corporate Ladder and Create the Life You Love,” and “Making Aromatherapy Creams & Lotions.” She is the National Work At Home Network Director for Mocha Moms, Inc., a non-profit organization supporting mothers of color.

Donna Maria has been included in dozens of media outlets including the Wall Street Journal, Ebony Magazine, The Washington Post, the Washington Times, Global Cosmetic Industry Magazine, the Natural Foods Merchandiser, the Chicago Tribune, Time Magazine, Parents Magazine, National Public Radio, and the Washington Business Journal.

A native of Washington, DC, Donna Maria > makes her home outside Charlotte, North Carolina with her husband and their two children.

Donna Maria’s topic at the 2009 Conference will be The Media Is You!

Kevin Dunn
Kevin Dunn is the Elliott Professor of Chemistry at Hampden-Sydney College. His book, Caveman Chemistry, brought him to the attention of handcrafted soapmakers and because of this he has undertaken a series of research projects on the chemistry of handcrafted soap. This research has culminated in a second book, Scientific Soapmaking, to be published in the Spring of 2009.

Professor Dunn has appeared on the Learning Channel’s “Mysteries of Magic” and the History Channel’s “Modern Marvels”. He lives in central Virginia with his wife and several cats.

Kevin will be speaking on Temperature effects in cold-process soapmaking.

Kelly Bloom
Kelly J. Bloom is the owner of BloomWorks® Soap Co, LC established 1997 and formerly known as Natural Botanika. Kelly opened Southern Soapers® Fragrances, the supply division of BloomWorks in Fall of 2006. Kelly also is the owner of the 3700+ member Southern Soapers Yahoo! Group, an online community that welcomes soap makers, chandlers and industry suppliers from around the globe. Kelly has over 20 years of cold process soap making experience and is the author of several copyrighted soap making articles, including Low Temperature Soap Making and Large Batch Soap Making. Kelly pioneered her soap making business initially during the early days of eBay, leaving that sales venue in 2005. Kelly has since launched several budding BloomWorks brands in 2007 to include Bodacious® Body, Facetious® Faces, BW Bodytique®, and Blooming Florals®.

Prior to opening Natural Botanika, Kelly served in the US Army as a Military Intelligence Specialist in Yongsan, Korea, transitioning later into the civilian workforce as a middle grades science teacher, Willie M. Special Education teacher, Title 1 Lead Coordinator, and Staff Developer. Kelly served as the Publicity Officer for the Fort Bragg Officers’ Wives Club, as an elected representative of the Fort Bragg School Board and as a Cadette/Senior Girl Scout Leader. She obtained her BS in Middle Grade Education from the University of North Carolina college system, continuing with Graduate Studies at the School of Business & Economics MBA program. Kelly is the mother of four daughters ranging in age from 18 to 28 and a son, age seven.

Kelly will be speaking on Trademarking – Branding Architecture for Soap Business and Creative CP Design.

Kayla Fioravanti
Kayla Fioravanti is the Vice President, Chief Formulator, ARC Registered Aromatherapist and Co-Founder of (Essential Wholesale) and (Essential Labs) . Kayla received her college degree from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon.

Wife and mother of three, Kayla runs her company along with her husband Dennis. In 1998, Kayla started creating products in her kitchen using essential oils. Her first glimpse into the world of essential and botanical oils was by means of a personal trial; one of her children had a case of ringworm that would not go away. After trying every over-the-counter ointment and even some prescriptions, she finally looked into the natural way of healing by stumbling upon the world of essential oils. The results were outstanding and healing took place quickly. Kayla was so fascinated by what she found that she decided to spend the next several years researching natural cosmetic formulating, while studying to becoming a certified Aromatherapist. Her goal has always been to stay true to a natural theme and to utilize ingredients that are wholly beneficial to everyone and the environment.

Today, Kayla is the go-to-specialist for formulating and information regarding natural, organic and pure cosmetics. She formulates everything from household products, skin care products, and hair products to mineral makeup and everything in between. Products developed by Kayla recently earned a spot as a finalist for “Innovation of the Year” by the International Cosmetic Manufactures and Distributors Association and Essential Wholesale made the INC 5000 list for 2006 and 2007. Kayla writes articles for the DermaScope Magazine, Handmade Beauty Business Magazine, HK Magazine Online, Indie Magazine and Total Mom. She also writes a weekly newsletter and blog. Kayla has been a guest on Organic Beauty Radio, Indie Radio, KPDQ Northwest Showcase, Good Day Oregon, 104.1 The Fish and Podcast From the Heart. She has been a speaker for Handmade Beauty Network and the HSMG Conference. She has taught aromatherapy classes on everything from Day to Day Aromatherapy to the Biblical Roots of Aromatherapy.

Kayla will be speaking Good Manufacturing Practices and the FDA Globalization Act and How to Thrive in a Sluggish Economy.

Lori Nova
Lori Nova is an educator & owner of The Nova Studio, located in historic Point Richmond, CA (20 miles from San Francisco), where people come to learn how to make their own natural soap, candles, cosmetics & beauty products. Lori Nova opened the doors of her teaching facility in September of 2003. To date, over 5,000 people have taken classes at her studio. Currently, she and 10 other instructors offer weekly group classes, multi-day intensives, private lessons & consulting in over a dozen different product making areas.

In 2006, The Nova Studio started offering 2 & 4 Day Boot Camps, which are extremely popular. Students have traveled from Indonesia, Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico, Florida, New York, Maryland, Virginia, Georgia, Virginia, Massachusetts, Idaho, Texas, Illinois, Wyoming, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon & Washington DC.

After having a sole focus of teaching others for the past 5+ years, Lori is happy to be working on her own retail line (to launch in 2009). Future plans for The Nova Studio include making class materials more readily available to people who can’t get to Point Richmond & continuing to be a leading resource for those interested making their own natural products for hobby or to sell.

This will be Lori’s 3rd presentation at an HSMG conference (Hot Process Crock Pot Soap in 2006 and she taught her award winning Cold Process Swirling Method in 2007). In addition to teaching at The Nova Studio & for the HSMG, other venues include The Learning Annex, Juniper Tree Soap & Candle Supply, The Native American Cultural Center, De Anza College & The Berkeley Ecology Center.

Lori’s topic will be Color With Confidence.

David Steinberg
In 1995, David founded Steinberg & Associates, Inc., a consulting company that specializes in cosmetic regulations, labeling, preservation and sunscreens. He has over 35 years experience in the cosmetic industry. He founded the Masters Degree program in Cosmetic Sciences at Fairleigh Dickinson University and taught there from 1982 to 2000. He is a member of the American Chemical Society, Society of Cosmetic Scientists, Institute of Food Technologists, Regulatory Affairs Professional Society and is a Fellow member of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists. In 1991 he was the President of the US Society of Cosmetic Chemists. From 1992-5 he served on the Presidium of the International Federation of Societies of Cosmetic Chemists.

In 2006, he founded the Cosmetic Preservative Council and is the Executive Director. In 2008, he established Report Reaction, LLC to assist companies in complying with new adverse effect reporting rules.

David has written 5 books including “Preservatives for Cosmetics, The Guide to the European Cosmetic Regulations”, and has authored many papers and chapters in books. He has lectured worldwide on how to preserve cosmetic products, regulations and many other topics. Since 1995, he has written a regular column on Cosmetic Regulations for Cosmetics & Toiletries magazine.

David’s topic will be Preservatives: Why We Need Them and What They Do.

Marla Bosworth
Marla G. Bosworth is the founder of Back Porch Soap Company, established in 1998. Her company primarily wholesales to high-end boutiques, resorts and organic-focused retailers. Back Porch Soap Co. also sells retail via its website ( In addition, Marla is a business consultant and market research analyst. Since 1988 she consults for companies of all sizes in the area of niche market opportunity, product development and positioning, as well as sales and marketing.

Prior to launching Back Porch Soap, Marla was a senior market research analyst for the company now known as Forrester Research. Her clients included Hewlett-Packard, Apple, Canon, IBM, and Xerox. There she forecasted product and market opportunity.

Originally from the ski mountain resort town of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Marla literally grew up working in resort boutique shops. One gift shop was atop 10,450 foot Rendezvous mountain and required a tram ride to and from work. At an early age she learned to develop an “eye” at spotting trends as well as sales and marketing techniques. This came in handy when she launched her own company and focused on differentiating her products within several niche markets.

In addition, she held the position of editor at a number of Boston area newspapers and magazines. She obtained her B.A. in English/Journalism from the University of New Hampshire.

Marla’s topic will be Differentiating Yourself in the Market.

Lisa Chouinard
Lisa Chouinard is the owner of Feto Soap where she makes everything from natural to novelty handmade bath and body products. Lisa started making melt and pour soap from a kit in the summer of 2003 and was immediately hooked. She eventually bought out the local craft stores of every mold, colorant and fragrance they had in stock before officially launching Feto Soap in the fall of 2004. Some of her most popular soaps are her Chocolate Bon Bon Soap and Lemon Bars!

Lisa’s topics will be Melt and Pour Delicious Desserts and Toys in Soap are Good, Clean Fun!.

Susan Ryhanen
Founder of Saipua, Inc., Susan Ryhanen has always had a passion for entrepreneurship. Her first attempt was a bartering business in 1980 and then a resale maternity shop in 1983. With a lifelong need to ‘make things by hand” Susan sold quilted pillows then wooden garden ornaments before she discovered the art of soapmaking in 1997.

She is currently the CFO of Saipua, Inc. and still makes all of its soap. The business is now in the capable hands of daughter Sarah and her partner Eric. Susan also owns and operates Creekside Soaps with husband, Pentti.

Susan will be speaking about wholesale trade shows.

Jamila White
Jamila White, The E-Commerce DivaTM , is an award-winning Internet Strategist, web designer, blogger, and owner of j.blossom and co., a manufacturer of bath and body products for girls. She was recently named one of the Top 50 Most Powerful and Influential Women in Social Media.

An Internet marketing pioneer since 1995, Jamila helps small business owners learn and apply proven strategies that increase web sales and traffic. She quit her “good corporate job” in PR at age 23 to start her first web business and never looked back. Since then, she has helped thousands of entrepreneurs launch and further their Internet-based ventures with her consulting and training programs.

Jamila’s corporate clients have included The Smithsonian, PBS, Georgetown University, and the National Education Association. Her projects have garnered a PBS “Eddie” Award, the APEX Award for Online Communications Excellence, Yahoo!com “Pick of the Day”, Project Cool’s “Site of the Year”; and recognition by The New York Times for excellence in online education; yet her most proud achievement was finishing in last place on television’s Wheel of Fortune show and being awarded “some lovely parting gifts.”

A summa cum laude graduate of Howard University, Jamila lives in Bowie, Md., and is known for her funny, informative, “plain-English” teaching style.

Jamila’s topic at the 2009 Conference will be E-Commerce Reality Check for Soapmakers

Anne-Marie Faiola
Anne-Marie has been making soaps and toiletries since she was 16. Always a crafty girl (she knits, makes paper and handmade cards, and also rubber stamps), she settled on soaps and never looked back. Anne-Marie started selling her handmade soap creations in Chehalis, Washington at the age of 18 to the gift store Traver’s Electric and continued to expand her clientele throughout college.

After college and a brief unsuccessful stint as a correctional officer, she founded Bramble Berry Inc. to sell quality raw materials (including butters, oils, fragrance oils and colors) to the soap and toiletries makers of the world. Now in its 11th year of business, Bramble Berry serves over 33,000 customers world wide and has been featured in magazines such as Women’s World Daily, Herb Companion, HomeArts, Parents Guide, Herb Quarterly, Better Homes & Gardens Special Interest Publications and mentioned in Cosmo Girl, Teen Vogue and Allure Magazine. Anne-Marie has also appeared as a repeat guest on the Martha Stewart Radio show, Disney Radio and numerous TV shows, including DIY’s Craft Lab and Home Shopping Network.

In 2003, Anne-Marie founded Otion – the Soap Bar to bring her love of soapmaking and all things bath related to the public. Otion proselytizes soap through classes, parties and a full sniffing bar and make-it-now soap bar.

In addition to running Otion and Bramble Berry, Anne-Marie loves helping out the soap community through her instructional site and spends many hours every week providing soapmaking tips and answering questions on her blog

Anne-Marie’s topic at the 2009 Conference will be Lotionmaking

Lela Barker
Lela Rain Barker is the founder and creative director of Bella Luccè a company dedicated to creating fresh, globally-inspired skincare using some of the world’s most exotic ingredients. Lela began making soaps and toiletries in 2000, after learning of the negative implications of many cosmetic ingredients once her sister was diagnosed with a breast tumor. That discovery prompted Lela to blend her own natural formulations. Three years later, amidst a challenging divorce, Lela launched Bella Luccè because…well, she couldn’t land a single job that would allow her to be home with her babies.

That series of rejections led to the genesis of a company that now offers more than 100 decadent beauty products, from face-to-feet and everything in between. With no formal business training and less than $500 in startup capital, those products have made their way into more than 500 luxe spas from Los Angeles to New York, and more than 150 international properties in almost two dozen countries. Lela and Bella Luccè have been featured in Southern Living, American Spa, Life & Style Weekly, Body + Soul, US Weekly, Natural Health, The Home Shopping Network and dozens of other national publications. Through a network of distributors, Bella Luccè has grown a significant international presence, with export sales almost outpacing domestic figures. Bella Luccè also private labels specialty beauty products for several national companies and just inked a 17-property deal for an international hotel chain launching a new spa concept in the Middle East. Bella Luccè has allowed Lela to see the world, with business trips to Italy, Greece, the Netherlands, Jordan, Kuwait, Dubai, Egypt, Oman and India in the past two years. Bella Luccè was named the “Indie Beauty Business of the Year” by Indie Beauty; their Tahitian Body Glaze took top honors as “Best Body Oil” in the nation by Natural Solutions Magazine and Bella Luccè’s “Thai Body Ritual” was honored as one of the best body treatments in the country by Allure Magazine in their “Best of Beauty” issue.

Happily remarried to her high school sweetheart, with whom she reunited after more than a decade, Lela relishes her role as a Lego-castle building, grilled cheesemaking, yoga-practicing mommy who spends her days blending irresistible spa treats at the Bella Luccè production facility that’s just a few miles from her South Carolina home. Lela appreciates the opportunity to model spunk, dedication, and the value of believing in your own potential for her daughters, who are often found underfoot at the production facility.

Lela’s topic at the 2009 Conference will be Understanding & Developing International Distribution Opportunities.

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