The HSMG Acquires the Association of Artisan Businesses (AAB)

The Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild and Association of Artisan Businesses Reach an Acquisition Agreement

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Contact: Marrijane Jones (AAB) or Gayle Vrla (HSMG)

AAB phone –  1-800-542-6183

HSMG phone – 1-866-900-7627
AAB Email:

HSMG Email:

The Association of Artisan Businesses (AAB) and The Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild (HSMG) would like to jointly announce that an agreement has been reached for the HSMG to acquire the AAB.

When Debbie May, President of the AAB, was asked about the industry impact of this acquisition, she stated:  “I am excited to be part of this acquisition.  This agreement will strengthen the industry by providing streamlined benefits to members of both organizations.  The ability to work together on advocacy efforts is a real plus.  Overall, we are not a huge industry but standing together as one gives us a much stronger voice in Washington.  I have a tremendous amount of confidence that the leadership of the HSMG will treat the members of the AAB well and provide them with top notch benefits. ”

When Leigh O’Donnell, President of the HSMG, was asked about the HSMG acquiring the membership of the AAB, she said:  “This is a very positive move for both associations and the HSMG is ready to welcome the members of the AAB.  At a time when it is critical for our industry to stand together, this acquisition will strengthen our position.  We would like to thank Debbie May, President of the AAB for brining this opportunity to us.”

The acquisition and transition process will begin immediately.  If you are a member of either organization, look for the following changes to occur in the month of September:

Current Members of the AAB:

  • HSMG New Member Packet
  • Access to member areas of the HSMG website including forum, blog, etc.
  • A letter outlining options for Product & Liability Insurance insurance.
  • Authorization to use the HSMG logo for branded advertising.
  • Discounted access to the HSMG Conference. (May 18-20, 2011 Miami, FL)
  • Ability to become a Certified Soapmaker through the HSMG Certification Program
  • Subscription to “The Handcrafted Soapmaker” the HSMG’s quarterly e-Zine
  • Listing on “Find a Soapmaker” on the HSMG website
  • Your renewal date will remain the same and now be your HSMG renewal date.

Current Members of the HSMG:

  • A “Fee Free” website at Artisans
  • Free business articles from Artisans

Association of Artisan Businesses was founded in 2008 with the mission of being a national non-partisan, professional organization whose mission is to assist individual artisans in reaching their full business potential while also promoting awareness of the artisan industry to the public, government agencies and elected officials.  The members will find the HSMG a valuable organization to belong to.

The Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild was founded in 1998 with the mission of promoting the handcrafted soap industry; act as a center of communication among Soapmakers; and to circulate information beneficial to Soapmakers.

If you have any questions about this acquisition, please feel free to email either organization!

Sincerely Yours,

Leigh O’Donnell


The Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild

Deborah May


The Association of Artisan Businesses

From the President – HSMG hires DC Advocate Mary Anne Walsh

We are thrilled to announce, Mary Anne Walsh of Roetzel and Andress has been hired to represent the HSMG and the handcrafted soap industry in Washington, DC, she will commence work on September 1st, 2010.

For more information on Mary Anne please read my previous post.

Mary Anne had this to say about getting down to work with the HSMG:

“My colleague, Rick Limardo, and I are very much looking forward to working with you and your members.  We know that the stakes are high for the handcrafted soap industry, and we welcome the challenge to make sure that your voice and compelling message is heard and understood by lawmakers.”

Now, more than ever, we need your help.  Please consider donating to our Legislative Advocacy Fund or join the HSMG and have your voice heard in Washington.

Look for more updates soon as we begin to lay out our strategic plan, on the blog and in member e-News.

We would like to welcome Mary Anne to the team and look forward to working with her to make a difference.

Leigh O’Donnell

HSMG President

From the President – HSMG Interviews a DC Advocate

We are now one step closer to hiring an advocate to represent our industry.

Yesterday, I met with Mary Anne Walsh from the law firm of Roetzell & Andress in Washington, DC. Mary Anne has over 29 years of experience and has held a variety of positions including Chief of Staff for three U.S. Congressmen.  Read her full bio by following the link above and find out more about her firm here.

I was very impressed with Mary Anne, who was very forthcoming, professional and well-spoken and quickly grasped the issues we are facing. Most importantly, she was very excited about taking up our cause, and expressed a real passion for our industry.

Now that we are finalizing our search, the next step is to secure the necessary financial support for our efforts.  We’ve already received many donations (thank you to all who have donated so far!!).  There is still a ways to go to reach our goal.

Every little bit counts and we need your help.  Please consider donating to the Advocacy Fund or joining the HSMG or both!  There is strength in numbers and we need strength more than ever right now.

Leigh O’Donnell

President HSMG