What’s Up at the HSCG: March 2017

2017 has and will continue to be an exciting year for the Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetic Guild!

In early 2017, we were very excited to introduce a new, lower cost insurance option through Veracity Insurance Solutions. Even with a price point $100 less than the standard coverage option, this lower cost policy still covers handcrafted soap and cosmetic makers in a wide variety of situations, and has the flexibility to cover everyone from fledgling business to full grown empire.

Let’s not forget our new look! The HSCG has rebranded, with new sleek and modern logos and a fresh website. If you haven’t yet, check out www.soapguild.org; we think you’ll love the updated feel.

We also announced our first HSCG Advocacy Day, taking place in Washington DC in April. This is a great opportunity for approximately 50 handcrafted soap and cosmetic makers to discuss ongoing legislation with lawmakers, and offer their own insight into how it will affect handcrafted businesses.

As you can imagine, things are getting very busy at HSCG Headquarters in beautiful Saratoga Springs, New York; with our largest (and nearly sold out) Annual Conference just around the corner in Las Vegas and the excitement and extensive planning surrounding it, the decision was made to add an additional employee to our staff; please help us welcome Niki Cameron!

Niki grew up in a small town just north of Saratoga Springs. She loves to knit “anything and everything”, and can usually be found reading a Stephen King book (the Dark Tower is her favorite series). She has a passion for small business and customer service, and will be filling the roll of Member Services Representative. Niki will also be attending the Annual Conference in Las Vegas this year to assist Leigh and Sara with all the moving parts! Chances are, if you’ve called the office at any time in the past few weeks, you’ve already chatted with Niki a bit; she will be your go-to source for general membership, benefit, insurance and conference related questions. Welcome!

Speaking of the conference, this year is going to be the largest event that the HSCG has ever hosted! We are nearly sold out at 600 attendees, and they are in for three days of action packed networking and educational opportunities. This year, the Annual Conference will take place at the Tropicana Las Vegas, located right in the heart of the action in Las Vegas. The newly renovated space is absolutely gorgeous, with plenty of room for our incredible Exhibitors and famous Speaker Sessions.

Of course, we can’t talk about the conference without talking about the speakers! This year’s lineup has something for everyone; right out of the starting gate, attendees will be treated to an inspirational and motivation keynote speech from Bramble Berry’s Anne-Marie Faiola! She will teach attendees how to “Have the Best Day Ever, Every Day”. Then, attendees will have the option to attend a number of different sessions covering a variety of topics including formulation, label compliance and marketing. There is truly something for everyone at this event, no matter what stage of your handcrafting journey you are in!

If you haven’t registered for the Annual Conference yet, make sure to sign up as soon as you can; there are very few spots remaining, and we anticipate selling out soon! Visit https://www.soapguild.org/cart/conference.php/ to purchase your registration today.

We can’t wait to share more exciting HSCG news with you; 2017 is going to be a great year!

 

 

Common Scents: Vetiver

Welcome to our series, Common Scents! Common Scents is a series of articles exploring the history of commonly used essential oils, and how they became so popular in modern day soap and cosmetic crafting; in this edition of Common Scents, we’ll take a look at vetiver. Revered by Indian culture and referred to in Sri Lanka as the “Oil of Tranquility”, vetiver’s unique scent and purported cooling, calming and medicinal properties have earned it quite a bit of respect.

Vetiver’s Roots 

Vetiver (c.zizanioides) is part of the genus Chrysopogon, family Poaceae, and is a grass-like plant native to parts of India, Indonesia and Sri Lanka. Vetiver is also cultivated in Reunion, the Comoro Islands, Japan, the Philippines, West Africa and South America. It is known by different names regionally; in Java, it is known as Akar Wangi or fragrant root. In India, it is known as Khus Khus, meaning aromatic root. In Sri Lanka, it is referred to as the Oil of Tranquility. The origin of the word vetiver is thought to come from the Tamil word vettiver.

Cultural Use 

In India, mats are woven from vetiver to help keep houses cool, due to the purported cooling properties of the herb. A similar approach is used in Africa, where vetiver is used to make roof thatches and rugs/floor mats.

Vetiver is used in Indian culture for its many supposed mental health benefits, as well as spiritual benefits. A few things that vetiver oil is used for include:

Relief of muscular aches

Fever reduction

Relief from pain attributed to arthritis

Used to combat fatigue

Used in the treatment of heat strokes

Relief from various joint disorders

Treatment of various skin issues

Used in the treatment of headahces

Along with the medicinal uses of vetiver, the Chinese also believed that the oil had the power to induce calmness, and awake the brain. They also believed that vetiver could calm angry and destructive thoughts and generally stabilize emotions.

It is important to note that the FDA has not approved Vetiver for use medicinally. The HSCG does not make or support any medicinal claims, and is providing this information for educational purposes only.

Vetiver oil is used in many fragrance blends.

Use in Modern Day 

Vetiver is considered a base note, and its scent is described as woodsy, warm, and earthy. Used alone, it is classified as a “masculine” scent. Using vetiver as a base in more complex fragrance blends is very easy to do, given its heavy, sweet aroma. Mixed with lavender, ylang ylang, cedarwood, oakmoss, rose, lemongrass, or sandalwood for example, vetiver lends depth and spice.

Final Thoughts 

Vetiver has a unique history and reputation for inducing the most desired of human conditions: tranquility. After the business of the holidays and overall craziness of day-to-day life, producing a soap or cosmetic using this aroma is sure to help your customers relax! Consider adding vetiver as the base to your fragrance blends to capture the scent of well-being and calm.

Vetiver blends well with rose and lavender; have you taken a look at the history behind these two popular oils? Check out the articles for both by visiting the following links!

Common Scents: Lavender:

 http://www.cuttothetrace.com/2016/09/common-scents-all-about-lavender/

Common Scents: Rose:

http://www.cuttothetrace.com/2017/02/common-scents-rose-absolute/

And for advice on fragrance blending in general, take a look at http://www.cuttothetrace.com/2016/11/fragrance-bending-how-to/

5 Ways To Be a Boss, and Maintain Your Well-Being

Being an entrepreneur is a difficult, but rewarding path. When you own and run your own business, you have almost complete control over your schedule, and how your time is managed. Furthermore, many handcrafters have their working space right in their own home, which can make “going to work” more convenient.

While you are working hard perfecting your recipes, narrowing down designs and focusing on your customer’s experience, it can be easy to forget that your most important business asset is yourself!  Let’s take a look at five ways you can maintain your own well-being, while still being the boss you are.

 

Take Time 

Time is precious. Time is limited, and the temptation to devote yourself fully to your work can be strong.  But, before you dedicate the entirety of your waking moments to work, pause.

Designating time for yourself is crucial to maintaining your mental well-being. We aren’t talking long periods of time, because of course, when you’re the boss, manufacturer and salesperson of your empire, long breaks are not always feasible. The time we are talking about here is an hour or two, just 60 minutes out of the 1,440 minutes in a day, to focus on something you enjoy. That something can be reading, gardening, spending time with family or just meditating, but it is important to dedicate at least a few moments to something that is not work related.

 

Ask for Help 

Sometimes, things can get overwhelming. Perhaps you are swamped with orders, or worried about carting all of your products and setup materials to a local show; reach out. Your friends and family are also human, and can be a great source of strength and support. Asking for help does not invalidate your entrepreneur status, so don’t be afraid to lean on someone if you need to!

 

Take a Vacation, or a Staycation 

If you’ve got a bit of time to take off, don’t let the potential improbability of jetting off to a tropical location stop you! Sometimes, a staycation is more productive and more relaxing than an actual vacation. Take the time, do things around the house, visit your favorite coffee shop; and stay way from your workspace! Your mind and your body will thank you.

Know Your Limits 

Boundaries and limits are made to be pushed and broken, at least to a certain extent-but having an understanding of your own physical and emotional limits and adhering to them will make for a healthier mind and body. Sure you could work seven days a week, for 20 hours a day. But you shouldn’t. You could skip lunch to make a few more batches of product, but you shouldn’t. You will be sharper, more aware and better able to serve your business needs if you are rested and have been taking care of yourself.

Be Kind to Yourself 

When you are every cog in your business machine, there is no one else to look to when something goes wrong; it can be very easy to be extra hard on yourself. And before you think “it’s easy for you to tell me not to be hard on myself”, wait! Put yourself in your best friend’s shoes. If they were beating themselves up over every mistake, would you join in or tell them to keep their chin up? Be that friend to yourself. You are the most effective encouragement that you have.

Final Thoughts 

Being an entrepreneur is the dream. To make your dream a successful reality, it is imperative that you take the time to take care of yourself; by doing this, your business will thrive. Taking  a moment to take care of you is a sound investment in your empire!