All About the 2017 Speaker Lineup

The 2017 Annual Conference is a little over 6 months away, and at the HSCG Headquarters here in Saratoga Springs, New York, planning is in full swing.

One of the most exciting facets of the Annual Conference is the wide variety of industry experts that join us each year to talk about technique, formulation and growing your business. We’ve announced them on Facebook and you’ve shown them your love, but let’s take a comprehensive look at our Speaker Lineup for the 2017 Annual Conference!

2017 Keynote Speaker

Anne-Marie Faiola, CEO of Bramble Berry, will be joining us as the Keynote Speaker for our 2017 Annual Conference! Many of you recognize Anne-Marie from her educational blog, Soap Queen, which helps beginner and experienced handcrafters expand their knowledge through helpful tutorials and articles. Anne-Marie will be bringing her creativity and positivity to her Keynote speech as she talks about “How to Have Your Best Day Ever, Every Day”! This motivational speech about maintaining an optimistic, practical mindset will energize you not only for the duration of the conference, but likely for months after!


Business Sessions

 Growing your business is at the top of your entrepreneurial mind, and we get it-that’s why we’ve selected a few great speakers to give you some pointers on how to keep your business on an upward swing.


Charlene Simon & Leigh O’Donnell-The Yin and Yang of Customer Service

 This tag-team of customer-minded businesswomen is the best duo to help you navigate through the intricacies of modern day customer service. Leigh is the current Executive Director of the HSCG, and Charlene is the mastermind behind several successful businesses, including Bathhouse Soapery & Caldarium; she also currently serves on the HSCG Board of Directors.

These two amazing ladies are ready to take you through the complete customer experience; whether that experience is good, or not so good. Charlene will give you tips and tricks to make your customers feel like rockstars, while Leigh will give you guidance when it comes to the customers who are less than wonderful. This session is a must-see for any entrepreneur who is seeking to sharpen their customer service skillset!


Lela Barker-Battling Brand Schizophrenia

 Lela sees things from both sides; as a successful handcrafter with 14 years of experience under her belt and a business strategist who is very passionate about helping entrepreneurs to succeed, she can relate to the challenges you may be facing and has great advice on how to overcome them!

Lela will be hosting a topic called Battling Brand Schizophrenia, which is all about building a consistent and well-articulated brand that clearly defines who you and your business are. Learn how to channel your focus into making your brand the best version of itself.


Kenna Cote-Secrets to Soap Business Success

 Kenna is the brilliant creator behind Modern Soapmaking, which she describes as a “proverbial online playground for soapmakers, supported & written by soapmakers”. Kenna has over 10 years of soapmaking experience, and is ready to channel that experience into a fantastic session about running a successful, profitable and sustainable company!

Kenna’s session, Secrets to Soap Business Success, will give you the tools you need to keep your business profitable-a definite must see!


Marie Gale-Marketing Your Soaps and Cosmetics…Legally

 Marie is a woman who needs no introduction; she is a pillar of knowledge in the handcrafted soap and cosmetic industry, and is the author of several books designed to help fellow handcrafters through their labeling and manufacturing journeys. An Honorary Lifetime Member of the HSCG, Marie served has served on our Board and continues to be a great resource for the myriad of questions that we come up with every day!

Marie will be hosting a session called “Marketing Your Soaps and Cosmetics…Legally”. Questions about labeling soaps and cosmetics are the most common inquiries here at the HSCG Headquarters, and Marie will be ready to dive into the details of getting in compliance with federal standards.


Lori Ann Gum-Visual Solutions for Busy Retailers

 Lori Ann is a visual merchandiser ad the owner of Visual Solutions & Displays out of the Chicago area. With over 30 years of experience, Lori Ann has a firm finger on the pulse of the retail industry. She knows what attracts buyers and is excited to share her knowledge with you!

Visual Solutions for Busy Retailers will reinforce the importance of professional appearance and displays for your retail space. Learn how to get your buyer’s attention on any budget!


Dieshawn Holmes-How to Start a Mobile Gift Boutique

 Dieshawn is the owner of Angelic Soaps and Gifts based in Flint, Michigan. Dieshawn comes to the conference with a bold, exciting idea that you may have been secretly wondering about; the mobile gift boutique!

Dieshawn’s session, “How to Start a Mobile Gift Boutique”, will introduce you to the world of moveable retail with an informative session about how to get the proper permits, insurance, and how to get a truck and get it retail ready. If you’ve been looking for a way to spice up your business, Dieshawn’s session is a must!


Robert Lippman-Protecting Your Business Brand

 Robert Lippman is a Principal at the law firm of Lemery Greisler LLC in Upstate New York. Robert has over 28 years of experience in the resolution of business disputes, with a focus on the protection of intellectual property, contract negotiation and general commercial litigation. With an ever-growing market, protecting your brand is important; and Robert can give you the tools to do it.

During his session, Robert will take you through the process of protecting your brand with topics like trademarks, patents, and copyrights, and the difference between them. This is a great opportunity to learn how to defend your empire!


Lori Nova Endres-Make Money Teaching Classes

 Lori loves to teach; in 2001, she started offering DIY classes in her kitchen! In 2002, Lori opened “The Lavender Room”, and taught weekend classes; but, by 2003, Lori decided she wanted teaching to be her full-time career, and thus, The Nova Studio was born! After partnering with Cassie Durant and Ruth Esteves to form The Nova Studio LLC, Lori continued to pursue her passion for teaching with her partners by offering live and recorded eClasses, Q+As, class handouts, consulting sessions and free resources for makers.

With all of her teaching experience, who better to host a session than Lori? In “Make Money Teaching Classes”, she will share her experiences with you! Since opening The Nova Studio, Lori has taught over 1,000 DIY classes and is excited to take you through the ins and outs of having a successful career in teaching.


Gay Timmons-Safety in the Time of Bloggers

 Gay Timmons is the owner and operator of Oh, Oh Organic, Inc., an organic and specialty ingredient distribution company founded in 2000. Gay was the first American woman to manage vessel operations, loading and unloading cargo on the Oakland and San Francisco docks, and international traffic management. Since 1991, Gay has word as a producer and marketer of organic ingredients and an advocate for regulatory clarity for organic and natural producers and consumers.

During Gay’s informative session, Safety in the Time of Bloggers, she will outline the meaning of the claim “safe”, explore how to get information from your suppliers and how to test your products (or not) for safety, and provide tools to protect you against making false or unsupported claims. These are valuable insights for any handcrafted entrepreneur!


Craig Ure-Online Marketing Blueprint and eCommerce Marketing

 Craig is the CMAO (Chief Massive Action Officer) of Publishing International, a web marketing consultant, speaker, author and social media advisor for many INC 500 offline and online companies. Craig has spent the last 26 years perfecting marketing tactics and proven business-building strategies within the health, beauty and medical industry.

Craig will be hosting a session as well as an Intensive ½ Day Seminar-both will provide incredible tools to use in your marketing journey. His eCommerce session will provide the most up-to-date marketing hacks and strategies to help you leverage big gains and maximize your marketing spend. Craig’s Intensive ½ Day Seminar will provide attendees with a marketing “blueprint”, designed to take handcrafted entrepreneurs to the next level when it comes to marketing!


Technical Sessions

 Staying on top of industry trends when it comes to your product formulation and production is imperative in this growing industry! 2017’s Annual Conference will be packed with powerful speakers ready to elevate your techniques and teach you some new ones!


Susan Barclay-Nichols-Facial Moisturizers 101

 Susan, better known as SwiftCraftyMonkey and author of the blog Point of Interest, five eBooks (Lotion Making 101, Formulating Lotions & Creams, Hair Care, Facial Products and Back to Basics), has a passion for formulation that began as a failed batch of bath bombs during a youth group and blossomed into a love for chemistry and handmade products! Her excitement is tangible in her writing.

Susan’s session, Facial Moisturizers 101, will focus on the formulation and production of emulsified facial moisturizers from scratch. You’ll learn how to include amazing ingredients like botanical extracts, vitamins, proteins, skin conditioners and cosmaceuticals in your products to really make them stand out from your competitors!


Regina Bauscher-Essential Oils-Their Purpose, Their Power and Their Precautions

 Regina spent the early years of her professional career in analytical laboratories doing Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy, testing materials for heavy metals such as lead, arsenic and mercury. Regina has a business administration degree as well as an Advanced Certification in soapmaking from the HSCG, and is currently a student in the Advanced Formulae Botanica program.

In Regina’s session, Essential Oils-Their Purpose, Their Power and Their Precautions, you’ll be exploring the intricate world of essential oils including their safe and proper usage in skin care products. Regina will provide an in depth exploration of twelve of the most popular essential oils, and will teach you what they are, how they work, their benefits and their contraindications. If you’ve ever wondered about essential oils on a deeper level, Regina’s session will answer your questions and leave you with a better understanding of the oils you are likely using already!


Beth Byrne-Lotion Magic-Creating Extraordinary Emulsions

 Beth Byrne has been creating cosmetics longer than she cares to admit, beginning with herbs she grew in her garden. Her family suffered…er, benefitted from her early herbal creations, from bath herbs to facial steams and herbal remedies. Her first lotions were the beeswax/borax as emulsifier type, so she was delighted to discover ewax, and she continues to enjoy formulating.

In Beth’s session, Lotion Magic-Creating Extraordinary Emulsions, you will learn not just about the oils, additives and emulsifiers you can use to create the ideal product line, but how to use the HLB system to create your own emulsifiers. Get tips on how to scale up safely, and profitably with this educational and hands on Intensive ½ Day Seminar!


Angela Carillo-From Trash to Cash

 Angela founded Alegna Soap in 2010, after she decided to take her career in chemistry in a whole new direction! Angela also teaches classes in soap making to adults in NYC and on Long Island, and skin care classes to elementary students. Donating her time and products to help those in need is also of great importance to Angela, and through her initiative “Soap for Soup”, she regularly makes a special batch of soap products from which the proceeds go directly to a Bethpage, NY food pantry.

Angela’s session, From Trash to Cash, will give you perspective on how to use every last bit of your soap batter! She will present soap demonstrations on how to save hundreds of dollars by utilizing what most soapmakers throw in the trash; waste not, want not, and Angela will teach you how to stick to that adage!


Lori Chandler-Capture Creative Swirls Using Natural Colorants

 Lori is a soapmaker, educator, speaker, and the business owner of Ashgrove Soaps and Sundries, LLC out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. You may know Lori as the host and organizer behind the annual Pittsburgh Soapmakers Gathering. Did you also know that Lori is an HSCG Certified Soapmaker and an HSCG Certified Soapmaking Teacher?

Lori’s session, Capture Creative Swirls Using Natural Colorants, will focus on the challenges and techniques you can use to create beautiful, naturally colored swirls in your cold processed soap! Lori believes that you can have bold and natural designs; don’t miss out on her session so that she can teach you how that’s possible.


Sharon Czekala-A Match Made in Heaven” and “Mind-Blowing Melt & Pour

 Sharon Czekala has spoken at our Annual Conference a number of times, and we are so pleased to welcome her back for 2017! When she set out to start her business, she had a few requirements; she wanted to make a product that everyone uses, a consumable product, and a product that she could make from home without any legal issues. Thus, The Great Lakes Natural Soap Company was born!

Sharon is excited to be presenting two topics at our Annual Conference. Her Intensive ½ Day Seminar, Mind-Blowing Melt & Pour, will share with you the newest MP techniques and much more. Sharon is also hosting a session called “A Match Made in Heaven”, where she will teach you how to combine your favorite cold process recipes with melt & pour soap to create amazing masterpieces that you and your customers will love.


Kevin Dunn-Secrets of Saponification Values

Kevin is one of the most beloved speakers out our Annual Conference. He is the Elliott Professor of Chemistry at Hampden-Sydney College, and has written several books, including Scientific Soapmaking, which explores the chemistry of soap at a deep, but accessible level.

Kevin’s session, Secrets of Saponification Values, will help you understand how saponification values are determined and how to measure your own. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to expand your formulating knowledge!


Amanda Gail-Know Your Fatty Acid Profiles: The Road to Better Soap Formulation

Amanda is the writer and educator behind, a blog that features step-by-step full color photographic tutorials, articles, troubleshooting advice and general information about soapmaking. Amanda publishes eZines and eBooks on the topic of soapmaking and has written for industry publications such as Handmade Magazine, Saponifier and Soap Collaborative.

Amanda’s session, “Know Your Fatty Acid Profiles: The Road to Better Soap Formulation  is a great opportunity to expand your knowledge and formulating library! Amanda will walk you through examples of single oil soaps and provide you with a unique color-coded chart of fatty acid profiles that will help you learn their properties once saponified.


Jordan Henderson-Laundry Soap: The Formulation and Crafting Of

 Jordan has been making soap since 2000. Hooked by soapmaking chemistry, he started making all of his own formulations, many of which are sold by his company Soap Alchemy still today!

Jordan’s comprehensive session, Laundry Soap: The Formulation and Crafting Of, will cover the formulation requirements of laundry soap and how these basic formulations are crafted. You will also explore the difference between a top loading machine and high efficiency machines, and review other factors that will effect how you formulate your own laundry soap.


Catherine McGinnis-Design Outside the Lines

 Catherine is the creative brilliance behind the YouTube channel, Soaping 101, and the organizer of the annual social gathering, SoapCon. She is also the owner of The Soap Deli, a trendy brick and mortar store in Kentucky.

Catherine will be hosting a session called Design Outside the Lines, which will explore how to make vastly different creations with only four colors! If you’ve been looking for a refreshing way to switch up your routine, this session is for you.


Margaret Neff-Some Like it Hot!

 Margaret has been a soapmaker for over 20 years, and has been making soap long before stick blenders were widely available in stores! Margaret started Nature’s Touch Soaps, LLC after her passion for soap began to take over her house, and currently focuses on private label soaps, wholesale accounts and retail sales through her website.

Margaret’s session, Some Like it Hot! will take you through the ins and outs of making soap using the hot process method. This is a great session for beginner and experienced soapmakers alike.


Christina Rose-Get Your Glitter On: Create Your Own Nail Polish and Pressed Eye shadows

 Christina is the fabulous owner and director of KBShimmer Bath and Body. Currently, KBShimmer offers nail polish, lotions, cuticle creams, scrubs and other hand care products, many of which Christy still produces herself!

Christy’s Intensive ½ Day Seminar, Get Your Glitter On: Create Your Own Nail Polish and Pressed Eyeshadows, will take you on a creative journey into the glamorous world of handmade nail polish and eye makeup! In a world of makeup tutorials, adding these items to your product line could help fill a need in your local market as well as keep your business on trend. Christy will teach you how to create polish and pressed eyeshadows using many ingredients that you likely have already!

Melinda Wolff-Foster-Making Safe Handcrafted Pet Products

 We can’t forget about our furry friends when we buy (or make) incredible handcrafted products! Melinda, owner of Melinda’s Naturals, is a practicing certified aromatherapist through the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy, an award winning cold process soap artisan, a holistic pet care educator, a professional pet stylist, and owner of The Pines Pet Pampering.

Melinda’s session. Making Safe Handcrafted Pet Products, will focus on how to expand your line by venturing into safe pet products. She will teach you the fundamentals of common bath and body ingredients, including essential oils, and whether they are safe for cats and dogs.


Clyde Yoshida-Vibrance! Color Theory for Soapmakers

 If you are looking for a veritable art class for soapmaking, Clyde’s got you covered! Clyde’s excitement in making his first batch of soap eventually led to him starting his own business; he enjoys sharing his creative ideas with others!

Clyde’s session, Vibrance! Color Theory for Soapmakers, will present color theory specifically for soapmakers. The presentation will include how to use the color wheel to plan color schemes to effectively suit specific fragrances. You will also learn how to avoid mud and how to obtain the pure and vibrant colors you’ve been after!


There you have it folks! The 2017 Annual Conference will be jam packed full of amazing speakers to help you on every step of your current journey. Make sure to join us at the Tropicana Las Vegas May 1st-3rd 2017 to see these incredible educators in action! Visit today to sign up.

Behind the Scenes: How Your Conference Comes to Life

It’s a changeable afternoon in Upstate New York; the kind of fall day in this area that makes everyone look a bit foolish. It’s mild, but there’s a cold breeze; the sun shines in the morning, but by early afternoon it’s pouring rain. This isn’t exactly the kind of weather that makes you think of a warm, desert atmosphere, surrounded by hundreds of your passionate, handcrafting buddies-but that’s exactly what Leigh O’Donnell, Executive Director and conference planner extraordinaire, and I are talking about on this particular day.

Leigh has a confident way about her, and when I sat down to talk to her for this interview, I knew exactly the type of answers I’d get; to the point, realistic and honest facts about the Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetic Guild’s Annual Conference and the immense amount of planning that goes into it. I’ve worked with Leigh for a little over a year now, and I’ve seen her serious, jovial, busy, determined; but not shaken. Planning a conference for hundreds of people? She’s got this.

HSCG VP – Charlene Simon, Leigh O’Donnell, HSCG President – Feleciai Favroth

Leigh attended her first Annual Conference in 2004, was on the conference crew in 2005, and began planning the event in 2006; 2017 will be the 12th conference she’s planned, and you can tell; she knows the welds and rivets of this conference as if she was the captain of a very large, very exciting ship.

When I ask her what distinguishes the HSCG Annual Conference as the premier event in our industry, she says, “the level of professionalism is through the roof with this event.” She goes on to explain that “the participation of vendors, sponsors and speakers is unique because they stay through the entire event; they will interact with attendees at meals, sessions, and parties.” What she’s describing is one of the most amazing parts of this event-everyone is accessible. You may find yourself sitting next to a speaker or your favorite supplier at the Networking Lunch, a favorite for meeting new friends and making new connections. The Networking Lunch is a great example of the comprehensive experience that the HSCG is looking to offer; the point of the conference and the planning that goes into it is to create an immersive attendee experience that gives handcrafters not only the ability to be in the same room as their favorite educators and vendors, but the opportunity to reach out to them on a personal level.


The 2016 Annual Meeting

In fact, this intensive, focused planning is what Leigh says is her favorite part about planning the conference. When I ask her what her favorite part of the organizational process is, she says “I think trying to think three dimensionally. When an attendee walks in, what will they see? What will their experience be?” she pauses for a minute, “We want them to have a successful experience and all the moving parts of the conference are planned with that goal.” If the conference is a huge machine, the attendee’s experience can be thought of as the gears that make it move. Without taking each experience personally into consideration, the conference would be just another event; and this careful planning is exactly why it’s the best and biggest of it’s kind in the world.


A small-scale view of an enormous undertaking-volunteers will move and empty between hundreds of boxes before the event starts.

If you’ve attended one of our Annual Conferences, you know that one of the most amazing parts is the dedication and passion of the volunteers who help keep it running smoothly. I ask Leigh, what do you look for in a volunteer? “Someone who can take physical and mental abuse with a smile!” she says, laughing. “But seriously…a sense of humor, a strong work ethic, and a passion for the event. Someone who understands how rigorous the conference schedule is, and can keep smiling!”


Longtime Conference Volunteer Tom Koenig (Sheriff Tom) and Leigh O’Donnell


Now, I’ve only been to one Annual Conference myself, but I was taken aback by the friendliness and grace of the volunteers, even under pressure. Even through difficult times, the staff stayed cool and more importantly, kind. These are passionate, excited handcrafters who have given their time not only to the HSCG to help keep the conference moving, but to their peers to give them the best possible experience; that passion is at the core of what the Annual Conference is all about.


Many potential attendees ask the same question; How is the venue chosen? When I ask Leigh this, she says, “Cleanliness, but really, how do you feel when you walk in the door?” By putting herself in the shoes of the attendees when considering a venue, from the very beginning, the experience is faithfully planned not just around the educational and networking experiences an attendee will have, but how the environment and meeting space will make them feel. Leigh shared with me that its not all about location, although that’s important. It’s also important to the HSCG that the venue is comfortable, clean, well taken care of and lends its own positive experience to the overall event. Considerations like proximity of the meeting rooms to the exhibitor space, and the general conference area to the guest rooms are all taken into account when choosing a venue. Location does play a part in planning, however; the Annual Conference moves around the country to try to give the fairest chance to everyone that wants to attend. Because the Annual Conference has grown so much in the past 10 years (it has gone from less than 80 attendees to over 600 expected attendees in 2017), it is a challenge to find a venue that can house the event; but that hasn’t stopped the HSCG from finding amazing, engaging resorts and hotels each year! 2017’s venue is no different; the Tropicana Las Vegas is a beautiful property with an abundance of amenities, not to mention its prime location on the Vegas strip. Best of all, meeting, exhibitor and meal areas are all located in the same building and in close proximity to each other and the guest rooms, making the Tropicana Las Vegas a comprehensive experience from start to finish.


It’s a Florida morning-sunrise at the beautiful Saddlebrook Resort (2016)

Planning an event of this size isn’t an overnight task, and when I ask Leigh when planning officially begins, she laughs. “I have a two week rule: no one is allowed to say the word ‘conference’ in front of me for two weeks after the conference. Of course, I always break that rule.” In reality, she says that the conference planning begins nearly 2 ½ years before the actual event. Venue selection is a time consuming process, and it is important to make sure that the desired dates and conference space are available; this is why Leigh chooses the venue locations so far in advance. As for the meat and potatoes of the planning, this typically starts a month or two after the previous conference ends, and the speaker selection process begins.


Planning takes place at every level, beginning with the well-choreographed Registration process.

“If someone has a passion and a fire, it projects onto the attendees.” Leigh tells me when I ask how the speakers are chosen. She says that a few things are taken into consideration: what topics we have had in the past (so that there aren’t many if any repeats), and what credentials a speaker has. By credentials, she explains, she does not mean a degree or certifications (although this helps, too). If someone has passion and knowledge when it comes to the subject they are interested in speaking about, that will translate into a successful speaker session, and those are the speakers she loves to work with. Speakers are also considered based on referrals from fellow attendees, members and vendors; there are many factors to consider when choosing the perfect speaker, and no detail is overlooked.


Infused water from the 2016 Conference, one of the many small meal details that was planned with an experience in mind.

Choosing pieces of the conference like the speakers and venue are obviously very important, but another important consideration when planning the conference is the cost. “The conference eats and feeds itself,” Leigh says, “As a not-for-profit, our goal is to make enough to cover the cost of the conference; we would rather come out ahead by a small margin rather than fall short.” As a trade association, it is the HSCG’s duty to keep the cost of the conference low while presenting a well-planned, innovative event to the industry. Making this event available at an attainable cost level is important to Leigh and the HSCG; it goes hand in hand with the location. Accessibility means traveling around the country and intense negotiations with venues to keep room rates low, while maintaining the type of quality that the Guild has taken pride in over the past years. The registration cost is determined by a few things; expenses for speakers and staff/volunteers, cost of printed materials and graphics, cost of the venue itself and food for the attendees. Relative to other events, the HSCG has managed to keep the cost of the annual 3  ½ day event low compared to many other large-scale gatherings; a goal that the HSCG keeps in mind when planning each event.


Leigh’s least favorite part? “When it’s over, and there’s a whole year until another conference.”

By the time we start to wrap up our interview, it’s been 45 minutes; I get the feeling that Leigh could talk about the conference and her vision for it for hours. When I ask her what she believes the future of the conference is, she is optimistic. The HSCG Annual Conference has grown by hundreds of attendees since it first began, and the trend of additional attendees is a definite goal. The conference has been sold out each year since 2010, and is expected to sell out for 2017 once again. Leigh is realistic about this, though. “I would like to keep growth under control; if we went from say, 600 attendees right to 1000 attendees, there’s a chance of a drop in quality and we want to avoid that.” Maintaining the integrity of the conference is important, which is why the attendee limit is raised incrementally from year to year instead of exponentially. What will a large attendance mean for the locations of the conference? “I could see us settling on 3 or 4 major cities due to our size and the space needed for the event.” Leigh says. Don’t worry though, folks; she also reiterated to me that, even if the event was limited to a few standard choices, the quality of the venue would in no way suffer; the HSCG has high standards to meet.


The 80’s Party, Tampa 2016

This year, as with past years, there are many new faces attending the conference. Attending the conference means something different to everyone, but what everyone seems to share at the conference is a sense of camaraderie. My last question to Leigh was, what is the best advice you can give to a first time attendee? “Lose your fear right away,” she says immediately. “Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there-you’re not going to be disappointed.” The Annual Conference is about elevating your industry education and meeting your favorite suppliers face-to-face, sure. But it’s also about meeting and making connections with hundreds of like-minded individuals with the same passion and love for handcrafted soap and cosmetics that you have; a rare sight all in one place. Many attendees, including Leigh herself, have told us that they have made lifelong friendships that started as simply as saying “hi” to someone at their Networking Lunch table, or complimenting another attendee’s outfit at one of the incredible nighttime events at the conference. What you take from the conference personally, if you take the time to get to know your fellow attendees, will be far more valuable than any education you could receive (although that’s pretty great, too).


Preparing for the last event of the conference-the Award’s Dinner.

Whether this is your first conference or your 10th, each conference has its own personality and experiences; there is something different for each attendee, and no two attendees have the same experience. Speakers will be there to energize and encourage you, vendors will be there to give you the tools to implement what you’ve learned, and the passionate and dedicated volunteers will be there to give you a little nudge in the right direction, just in case you get lost-but who are we kidding, getting lost in a sea of handcrafted soap and cosmetic makers doesn’t sound too bad!


HSCG VP Charlene Simon, 2016 (and 2017!) Speaker Kevin Dunn, and volunteer Tina Roberts (in the background, being awesome)

The Premier Rate for the Annual Conference will expire on October 31st at 4pm EST; as always, you can visit to sign up online, or you can reach us in person at our Saratoga Springs, New York headquarters by calling (866)900-7627, Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm EST.

Common Scents: All About Chamomile

Common Scents: All About Chamomile

  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. chamomile2

In this edition of Common Scents, we will explore the healing history behind chamomile. One of the world’s oldest known herbs used for medicinal purposes, chamomile has become very popular in soap and cosmetics as well. Commonly confused with the prevalent daisy flower, chamomile typically has a compact yellow center and small, white petals.


What’s in a name?

 The name chamomile has its origins in the Greek word khamaimēlon, which means earth apple; it was given this name because its flowers smell like an apple. Later, the Greek form evolved into the late Latin term chamomilla, which later evolved to the French term camomille, which is the closest to the modern form that we use today.


History and Chamomile

 Chamomile has a long history in ancient and modern medicine. It has long been valued for its alleged healing properties, as well as it’s pleasant fragrance. From the ancient Egyptians to modern day aromatherapists, Chamomile has earned the respect of many believers in natural medicine.


Ancient Egypt

 Ancient Egyptians valued chamomile and it’s purported healing properties so much that they dedicated the herb to Ra, the Egyptian god of the sun and worshipped by many Egyptians as the creator god. Chamomile was given such a high value because it was believed to cure malaria; it was also reported to be used in the mummification process because it was said to repel insects. Egyptian noblewomen used crushed chamomile on their skin because of it’s appealing fragrance.


 Chamomile was also revered by the Romans; like the ancient Egyptians, they too dedicated chamomile to their gods, and used it in their baths. Roman physicians used chamomile to prevent and treat headaches, liver and kidney inflammation, among other medicinal uses. Chamomile was also used to flavor drinks, and was used commonly in incense.


Greek physician Dioscorides also reported healing properties in chamomile. He recommended its use to heal intestinal, nervous and liver disorders, and also prescribed it for “women’s ailments” and kidney stones. Greeks were believed to have made garlands of chamomile to wear, not only for the sweet fragrance but because they also believed chamomile to be spiritually calming.

Middle Ages 

In the Middle Ages, chamomile became more widely regarded as a medicinal herb rather than a luxury herb for fragrances and baths. Chamomile was commonly believed to treat asthma, colic, nervous disorders, skin diseases, inflammation, and many more prevalent ailments of that time period. Vikings also believed that chamomile would lighten their hair, and used it frequently in shampoos to brighten their blonde hair and give it more shine.



Modern Times 

Chamomile is still widely considered as a healing herb. Those who practice natural medicine and aromatherapy have an abundance of respect for its purported health benefits. Commonplace modern uses include treatment of:

-Colds, specifically chest colds

-Difficult wounds


-Diaper rash

-Psoriasis and eczema

-Menstrual pain


Although chamomile is reported as having a multitude of healing properties, it does have some reported side effects, too. A reported side effect of chamomile can include uterine contractions; for this reason, pregnant women are advised not to use it. Some have also claimed that those who are allergic to ragweed may suffer a similar allergic reaction to chamomile, as they are from the same plant family.

It is important to note: these observations and claims are made by those who have used chamomile; the FDA has not approved chamomile in a medical capacity, and we are providing this information for strictly educational and entertainment purposes.


Chamomile in Soap and Cosmetics 

Because of it’s soothing properties, chamomile has become very popular in modern soap and cosmetics. Bath tea, tinctures, bar soap and lotion; chamomile can be used in each and every one! Today’s chamomile, when sold in essential oil form, typically comes in two varieties; German Chamomile and Roman Chamomile. What’s the difference?

German Chamomile: Also known as Hungarian or Blue Chamomile (due to the oil’s dark blue color) is native to Europe and Asia. It is also grown in Hungary, Egypt, France, South America, and the United States. German Chamomile contains a higher concentration of azulene, which makes it a preferred oil for anti-inflammatory purposes. 

Roman Chamomile: Also known as Noble, Common, English, or True Chamomile, Roman Chamomile is native to Europe, East Africa, and the Middle East. It is also grown in the United States, South America, England, Belgium, and France. Roman Chamomile is said to have anti-rheumatic qualities.


Final Thoughts 

Chamomile has a long history of promoting well-being of the body and mind. Whether you choose German or Roman chamomile, you are sure to find that is light, pleasant smell will make a great addition to any fragrance or essential oil blends you are currently using. There are many ways to incorporate chamomile into your products that will be a big hit with your customers, and attract new ones too!