Join the Certified Crowd

Join the crowd and be certifiably awesome. At the 2012 HSCG conference in Portland, we awarded certifications to 35 soapmakers – some of whom achieved certification in more than one testing track and more than one level!

The 2013 HSCG annual conference in Raleigh is fast approaching and once again, we will be offering certification exams. Currently, we have two opportunities within the conference schedule for you to take a certification exam: Thursday evening during the last hour of registration and Saturday morning just before the first session of the day.

If you’re testing this year during the conference, we have a few tips for you:

–        Pre-register for your certification exam

–        Login to access study materials

–        Prepare soap samples, if required

–        Prepare testing paperwork, if required

–        Pack a calculator and pencil

–        At the conference, check in at the certification table after registration

–        Submit soap sample by noon May 17th

–        Choose your testing session: Thursday, May 16 from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm or Saturday, May 18 from 7:00 am to 8:00 am

–        On the day of the test, arrive a few minutes early to sign in. No late entries will be allowed

If you’re attending the 2013 conference, this is the perfect opportunity to demonstrate your mastery of soapmaking skills and take up to two certification exams.

Once you’ve achieved certification, we want to show you some love. Certified soapmakers are highlighted to consumers within the ‘Find a Soapmaker’ section of the website and receive a logo indicating certification for use in marketing.

What certification level are you working towards?

Why Handcrafted Soap?

You’ve unpacked your soap, set up a killer display and the first person who walks into your booth picks up a bar and asks, “Why handcrafted soap?” Luckily, there’s a brochure for that. Of course your soap is awesome, but we don’t ever want to leave you tongue-tied for a response in the heat of the moment.

One great benefit available to members of the HSCG is the “Why Handcrafted Soap?” brochure. This brochure helps explain the difference between handcrafted soaps and commercially prepared soaps; it also touts the advantages of handcrafted soap and shows full-color pictures of a variety of handcrafted soaps.  You can purchase the full color brochures for a very reasonable price or print them out yourself. One great feature about the brochure is the space on the back panel where you can add your contact information which helps the customer get back in touch with you when they are ready to order (or re-order)!

Log in and go to Marketing Tools > Handcrafted Soap Brochure or go directly to the link here to get to all of the details. From this page, you can download a copy of the brochure or order a pallet-load to be printed and delivered right to your doorstep. They’ll also be available at this year’s annual conference in Raleigh, North Carolina, if you’re lucky enough to be joining us.

What’s your favorite response for “why handcrafted?!”

Spotlight: Certified Lye

Southern California-based Certified Lye, supplier of sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide, and the necessary personal protective equipment, has been an HSCG supporter from its inception. It is a company that was years in the making, driven by market need and a soapmaker’s ingenuity.

It all started in California’s central valley, where owners Kerri Mixon and David Perez made their home in the early part of this decade. Soapmakers at the time were fortunate; olive production and processing throughout the central valley drove demand for sodium hydroxide production. “At the time,” relates Kerri, “the sodium hydroxide manufacturers also shipped lye to New Jersey, where it was resold as “Red Devil” brand lye, which is what I used to purchase for making soap because other sources of lye were nonexistent.”

Olive processing, however, would not last long in the area. Lye used in the production of olives was disposed of incorrectly, affecting growth of nearby orange groves, whose owners took legal action to have the olive processing facilities closed. Sodium hydroxide production decreased in response. “Meanwhile,” explains Kerri, “in New Jersey, Red Devil suffered loss of its lye supplier at the same time the company was fighting its own battles regarding the retail of a hazardous material often used to produce illegal methamphetamines.”

Kerri realized she needed a replacement for Red Devil and started to research what it would take to establish a lye supply company. Handling hazardous materials came with onerous restrictions, but a fellow soapmaker’s horror story surrounding the desperate purchase of fifty pounds of subpar lye gave Kerri the impetus she needed to create Certified Lye.

Learning from the legal battles of the defunct olive processing facilities, Kerri and David made sustainability a key tenet of Certified Lye’s operations. “We have seen the ramifications of environmentally irresponsible business;” says Kerri, “we do our best to have as minimal of an impact on our environment as possible.” In fact, Certified Lye continues to raise the bar, having recently completed additional solar panel installations and “sponsoring the gutters, rain chain, and 60-gallon water cistern for collecting rain water to irrigate the aromatic plant gardens at the A+ Soapmaking Studio.”

Thank you, Certified Lye, for sharing a glimpse of your history and for your support of the HSCG!