HSCG Member Spotlight: Master Certification Recipients

HSCG Master Certified Soapmakers

Are you exited? Because WE’RE excited! I must say that I do love the fresh smell of ambition in the morning…

For those who may not know, one of the many Member Benefits of the HSCG is the opportunity to partake in the Certification Program.

 Long story short,  there are  3 levels of certification: Basic, Advanced, and Master.  Each available in either the CP/HP -or- the MP category, and each a bit more difficult/involved than the last (and no, you can’t just skip ahead & start at the Master level. You are required to start at the bottom, and pass you way up!)

The Master Certification level is the third and final level of Certification that an HSCG Member can achieve.

Comprised of 4 separate parts & allowed up to 2 years to complete it, this test is not for the faint of heart, people.  Just think of it as the SAT’s of HSCG soapmaking certification.  The Master level was implemented in 2012 to further evaluate the knowledge & experience of the soapmaker, along with their ability to research & investigate new areas, & expand the awareness of the handcrafted soapmaking community.  

If you were able to join us in Indianapolis, IN this past April for the annual conference, then you had the pleasure of helping us congratulate the very first 2 HSCG members ever to be awarded the HSCG Master Certification: Anne-Marie Faiola of Bramble Berry Inc., & Jackie Thompson of Gaily Rebecca Soaps!

HSCG President Feleciai Favroth presents Anne-Marie Faiola with her Master Certification award at the 2015 HSCG Conference.

“Completing the master certification has brought me the confidence in knowing that Bramble Berry and I can complete even the most daunting of soap challenges. We also gained much applicable knowledge in regards to lye production and transparent/melt and pour soap production.” ~ A.M. Faiola 

Having started making soap when she was 16 years old, it’s no surprise that this evolved entrepreneur was one of the first to complete this process.  However even with so much experience & success, when asked if she learned anything new that she might not have otherwise known before deciding to take the Master Certification, Anne-Marie gladly shed some light:

          “…There were many things! To name a few: the history of lye production, the chemistry of melt and pour and what the components do, how cream soap differs from something like bath whip, as well as the production methods for these items that could be applied to house made items at Bramble Berry.”

HSCG President Feleciai Favroth presents Jackie Thompson with her Master Certification award at the 2015 HSCG Conference.

Jackie Thompson, most well known for her adventures & experiments with liquid soapmaking,  was also kind enough to answer a few post-certification questions for us!  When asked about the process as a whole & whether or not she would recommend it to another soapmaker member, her answer was resoundingly positive:

“Of course I would recommend and have recommended other soapmakers complete the Master Certification! If nothing else the Master Certification creates a feeling of accomplishment as well as the understanding there is still so much more to learn.  It also gives the soapmaker a chance to understand the avenue of expertise they are especially equipped to focus in their soapmaking journey…beneficial for the soapmaker as well as the soapmaking community.”

(To read the entire Q&A with these lovely ladies, click here!)

So what are YOUR thoughts? Are YOU an HSCG Certified Member? What do you feel that you got out of the Certification process? We want to know! Drop us a line in the comments below to share your Certification story!

2015 Conference: Soap Highlights

Happy (nearly) Halloween! Have you inserted pumpkin into your product lines? Are you ingesting pumpkin, spices, and all things orange for the season? Are you layering chai lip balm over your pumpkin seed oil-based sugar scrub and pumpkin body butter? How about registering for the 2015 HSCG conference? [cue record scratch and music coming to a screeching halt] Just like carved pumpkins are being thrown out post-Halloween festivities, early-early bird discounts fly out the window October 31st at 1pm Pacific and 4pm Eastern time.

With that out of the way, we wanted to let you in on some of the soap-related sessions in store for you at the 2015 annual Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetic Guild conference. This is, after all, a soap and cosmetic guild, so we couldn’t leave soap classes off the menu.

Arianne Arsenault, owner of La Fille de la Mer , will show you how to take it to the next level in Melt and Pour Like a Pro. Master layering and embedding in large batches as well as prepping all that soap for retail.

Arianne Arsenault

Erica Pence, founder and CEO of Bath Alchemy Lab, will be teaching all the basic soap swirls in Swirling Made Easy and building on it with a discussion of tools, soap consistency, and techniques like the hidden feathers, nonpareils, peacocks, butterflies, and zebra stripes in Advanced Swirling Made Easy.

Erica Pence

Sharon Czekala, founder and owner of The Great Lakes Natural Soap Company, will help you understand why combining soap methods can take your soap to the next level – and help you overcome process limitations in Hybrid Soaps: The Best of Both Worlds.

Sharon Czekala

In Soaping for the Specialized Customer, Soaping101.com’s Catherine McGinnis will teach you how to tap into new markets by serving customers with allergies and ingredient sensitivities, as well as those who are socially and economically conscious.

Catherine McGinnis

Topic not yet announced, but Guild soap whisperer and Hampden-Sydney College Elliott Professor of Chemistry Dr. Kevin Dunn never disappoints. Past topics include investigations on milk and silk in soap, dreaded orange spots, gelling, partial saponification, water discounts, and effects of time and temperature on soapmaking.

Kevin Dunn

Check out the newly released schedule as well as all of the speakers and topics planned for this conference from the embedded links or from the 2015 conference pages on the HSCG website.

Can’t wait to get our soap on with you next year in Indy! Calling all soapers, did you learn something new about soapmaking this year?

2015 Conference: Extra Learning

Conference not enough for you? Add on one of our four half day seminars the day before the conference starts. This year, we’re covering social media, branding, product photography, and a hands-on soapmaking class.

We think you’ll learn plenty at conference, but these seminars offer an additional learning opportunity, particularly useful if you don’t have access to local classes or don’t usually get to take the time off for them. Each seminar takes place from 10am to 3pm on Friday, April 17, the day before conference starts and includes lunch. Don’t wait until the last moment to register – each seminar is capped at just 30 attendees to maximize the personal attention you’ll receive. Should you decide to arrive the night before these seminars, you’ll still be able to check in to the Westin at the special discounted conference attendee room rate. So, wondering what seminars are in store for you this year?

Catherine McGinnis, the guru behind www.Soaping101.com, is back with her wildly popular Cold Process Soapmaking Intensive Class. Learn all about soapmaking and dive into making your own batch. This is great preparation for the Basic Cold Process Certification exam.

Catherine McGinnis

Adam Grogin, Monster Productions owner and the hardworking man behind the camera at past conferences, is introducing Product Photography: Perfecting the Shot. Not only will he share the nitty-gritty of what you need, how to set up your studio and how to process your shots, you’ll get to practice with your own camera. Whether you’re sporting a smartphone or a fancy-schmancy DSLR, Adam will help you learn how to get a drool-worthy shot with experience born of years of exposure to the handcrafted cosmetic industry.

Adam Grogin

Lela Barker, empire-builder behind Lucky Break Consulting, is back with a seminar on Branding for Badasses. Learn why branding is the soul of your company and then let Lela guide you to your unique selling proposition, target audience, and figure out just what to say to be recognized for the badass company you are.

Lela Barker

Melissa Ward, managing parter at NewWard Development, is introducing The Social Media Sales Funnel. Social media should be more than a Bermuda triangle of time investment and a rabbit hole into cat videos. Social media marketing master Melissa will show you how to keep your brand on your customers’ minds and how to get your fans from your social media pages onto your website.

Melissa Ward

Whether you’re just starting out or looking to take your business to the next level, one of these seminars can help you out. Register today to make next year’s conference extra-intense. Your hardest choice just may be choosing one of the four!

P.S., early-early bird rates expire before trick or treating’s begun. Get thee to the registration page before October 31 to get the hottest deal on 2015’s conference!