Behind the Scenes: Constructing HSCG’s Library

If you follow us here on the blog (or Facebook or Twitter, you faithful stalker, you) or were lucky enough to join us in Tucson earlier this year for our 17th annual conference, then you may remember hearing about a project we’ve been working on for the soap and cosmetic-making community.

One super important part of the Guild’s mission is to foster the handcrafted soap and cosmetic industry. To that end, we’ve been working on an online library to house all sorts of resources for members and the community at large. There you’ll find everything from instructional videos to the various toolkits we released earlier this year to helpful links and articles covering all aspects of your indie business.

Wondering what this content will look like? (Yes, we couldn’t wait, either.) While we are oh-so-impatiently waiting for this library to be built, we couldn’t resist sharing one of the first instructional videos, taught by bath don’t-call-it-a-bomb master Holly Port. In this video, filmed by Monster Productions, Holly, owner of Lotion Bar Café, teaches you how to make (what else?!) fail-proof bath fizzies.

And, if you really want a glimpse behind the scenes (and a newfound appreciation for what it takes to translate instructions to film), check out the blooper reel.


We can’t wait to bring you an entire library full of content like this. Members, keep an eye on your e-news to get the latest and greatest scoop.

Thank you, Holly, for sharing your expertise and your bloopers! What are *you* hoping to see in the HSCG Library?

Just (whole)sale it!

So you’ve set up your online shingle and your soaps are flying off the shelves. Or you’re up every Wednesday at 4am slinging fancy facial creams from your booth at the local market. Maybe you have a raving group of fans who search you out from Renegade to the local high school show. Your branding is tight and your COGS are on lockdown. The only thing you’re missing now is seeing your product on the shelves of local stores (and heck, stores nationwide)). But how to make that leap to wholesaling?

We have just the toolkit to help make your entry into wholesaling smooth sailing. Whether you are a professional or private label member, log in and check out the Wholesale Toolkit we’ve put together.

look how happy you'll be after securing that wholesale deal!

There, you’ll find a checklist that includes:

–       Wholesale insurance considerations

–       For the US, links to IRS forms your wholesale accounts may need

–       Important UPC considerations and links to UPC issuers by country

–       A sample letter of introduction to spark your creative juices when pitching a retailer

–       How to fill out a vendor information form and why it’s a great first step to a contract

–       A sample wholesale agreement (hallelujah!)

–       A sample order form for those times you’re not hooked up to the web

–       Price sheet guidelines and all the three-letter acronyms you want on it: UPC, VIN, SRP, and more

–       Guidelines on producing a wholesale catalog

–       Why you should care about electronic funds transfer

Most importantly, keep breathing. You got this!! For more great advice on wholesale, check out some of our favorite posts from Lucky Break Consulting, Modern Soapmaking, and the Soap Queen, who have all generously shared loads of business advice.

Check out the HSCG website for links to all the sample documents. From the Guild home page, navigate to Members –> Wholesale Toolkit. The website will prompt you to log in if you aren’t already prior to taking you right to the goods. Getting into wholesale may entail a whole lot of paperwork, but it doesn’t have to be scary.

What do you wish you knew when you started wholesaling? Did we miss your favorite wholesale post?

Pumpkin Season Waits For no Man

Pumpkin-inspired food, drinks, and decor have hit the store. In fact, it’s easy to stumble over just about any pumpkin-inspired thing you can think of aside, perhaps, from the actual squash (which aren’t quite in season yet for many of us). And the all-things-pumpkin craze can only signal one thing: the inevitable build up to the Q4 holiday craze and gift season.

Duaflex: Pumpkin Patch

For many of us, this is without a doubt the busiest time of year, the time when many of us move from the red into the black, while developing toned cores from repeated sessions of packing and lifting soap and frantically attempting to avoid paper cuts from handling copious amounts of shipping material. As a business owner, are you well-stocked for the holiday season? Have you already secured wholesale accounts for the season?

If you could use a little help getting the word about your company name out there, we have the toolkit for you. Announcing the Public Relations Toolkit, a guide to helping your product and company get noticed by both the public and the media, so that you are well positioned for the next holiday surge! Just for members, this toolkit contains a guide to the basics, loads of tips and tricks, templates, and links to other resources for members.


On to the goodies! When you log in, you’ll find:

–        Basic info on types of media coverage and how to approach each one

–        What you need and how to assemble a press kit

–        How to interview like a rock star to put your business in the best possible light

–        What it takes to get your products featured in media outlets

–        What you have to nail for PR success

–        Members of HSCG’s beauty blogger program ready to feature your goodies

–        Easily customizable press release templates for a variety of business-related announcements

–        Where to share your PR successes for feature in HSCG’s Members in the Media page

–        How to get your products in the HSCG galleries

–        How to get your store, farmers market, or craft show listed on the HSCG site

–        How to have your company listing show up on the HSCG site

Still breathing? Yep, it’s a lot of goodies, but the good news is that Public Relations is a journey, so you don’t have to execute all of these things at once….unless you’re down with that, in which case, bombs away! For the rest of us humans: just take baby steps, young grasshopper. It’s never too late to work your PR. (And pssst….if you are just getting started, we’ve also released a business start-up toolkit with all the basics. Read all about our Business Start-Up Toolkit here on the blog and find it on the website here.)

Whether you are a professional, vendor, or private label member, this toolkit is available for you in the Members section of the website. Find it by navigating to members –> Public Relations Toolkit and logging in. And don’t let next holiday season catch you by surprise.

What else do you wish you knew about PR?