Member Spotlight – Kitty Kat Kreations, Arcana Shanks

She has been a tough little nut with a whole lot of personality since day one. When she was born she was little, jaundiced, and allergic to a lot of things – soap being one of them. She was the reason why a company was built and now she provides inspiration for it to continue. At just 11 years of age, Arcana Shanks has already overcome many obstacles in her life and has achieved some great goals as well.

She is most recently recognized as HSMG’s youngest official handcrafted Melt and Pour Soapmaker member. Her paid membership at this year’s Conference in Palm Springs sent a virtual buzz of activity around the soapmaking community which served to remind us all about the spark, passion, and love of soapmaking which knows no limits of age, gender, race, or other social stigma.

Arcana loves to make a lot of different things and this can be seen in her own company, Kitty Kat Kreations, which makes and sells jewelry, potpourri, soaps, and a variety of other treasured items. She used her company last year to sell product and collect donations for the local fire department, raising a total of $173.00 which was donated towards their “Courage” Program. Continue reading

Fabulous HSMG Merchandise!!

You may not have known, but the HSMG has some fabulous merchandise available!  In an effort to help soapmakers make themselves known as soapmakers, promote the handcrafted soap industry, and increase awareness of the Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild, we have apparel and accessories for sale – all with the HSMG logo to clearly communicate your affiliation and support of soapmaking.

It really works!  When I left the 2009 Conference to go home, I was wearing my “Raise The Bar” T-Shirt (with the HSMG logo and name on the front and “Raise the Bar – Use Handcrafted Soap” on the back.  Apparently I wasn’t the only one to go home wearing one, because several people at the airport commented on “the soapmakers” who had been in Palm Springs.  One woman said she didn’t realize there was “such a large number of soapmakers” and we chatted a little about handcrafted soap.  I gave my business card to several people on my trip who asked about handcrafted soap.  Who knows how many others now have handcrafted soap on their minds and will be more likely to buy some when they see some – just because of a T-Shirt!

My favorite, though, are the soap necklaces!  They are really well made, come in a variety of colors, and so clearly communicate the concept of “handcrafted soap”.

Check out the merchandise!  It’s available to anyone (not just members) and can be purchased through our shopping cart.  Just go to the “HSMG Merchandise” and see what’s available.

Marie Gale
President, HSMG

Member Spotlight – Jim Gregory, Grandma Gee’s Soap

Jim started making soap his sophomore year in college shortly after his great grandmother fell ill. Up to then, Jim was looking to start a small business. Interested in alternative energy to make a positive impact on the world, Jim’s motto is to leave this planet in a little better shape than when entered.

Investigating bio-diesel, Jim discovered soap. With memories of his great-grandmother making soap in her kitchen, she gave him an article about an unhappy architect who decided to launch a soap business in her kitchen going from a small capital investment to a six figure business in three years.

Motivating for Jim, his influential grandparents provided him inspirational articles about college students creating amazing businesses, graduating, and taking it to full-time. After Jim was accepted into the accelerated business program of Hanover College where he is currently a Junior Anthropology Major, he knew he had the right tools – access to a kitchen.

Starting with a couple friends in their basement, an LLP was established but with no clear management structure it fell apart. Devastated, Jim did not give up. A month later, summer 2008, Jim was chosen to for an inaugural program studying Entrepreneurship in Chicago, IL. Learning the business end along the way, Jim started making soap in his small studio apartment giving out soap to friends. With their support Esoteria Body LLC was launched. Continue reading