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!

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?

Have You Got The Merch?

Did you know the Guild has a store? Yup, it’s not just at conferences where you can get your fix of HSCG goods. The HSCG online store carries general educational material as well as select HSCG-branded items. Order as much or as little as you like for one flat shipping rate (and pssst, you can get a 25% discount on books. How sweet is that?). Take a peek at some of the goods now lining our online shelves:

HSCG acrylic member sign

Announce your membership or  certified soapmaker status with pride. Perfect for display in your shop or at shows, we have newly printed 5″ x 7″ (roughly 13 x 18 cm) acrylic signs for both HSCG members and certified soapmakers available in the store.

grow your handmade business book

Books abound. Stock up on popular business titles, like Keri Chapin’s Growing Your Handmade Business and Marie Gale’s  Good Manufacturing Practices for Soap & Cosmetic Handcrafters. Expand your repertoire with Holly Port’s new release, Make It Fizz: A Guide to Making Bathtub Treats. Keep it legal with Marie Gale’s classic, Soap & Cosmetic Labeling or just kick back with tales like Jenna Woginrich’s Made From Scratch. Whatever titles you cozy up to, you’ll get an extra discount on the list price (how’s that for treating yourself?).

HSCG soap necklace

Finally, did you catch the new jewelry at this year’s conference? We’re excited to have these hot sellers now available in the store. You’ll find necklaces and earrings with dangling bars of handcrafted soap (made out of clay, not soap, FYI, although boy would that come in handy!) in scores of colors. Both are conversation starters, and perfect for announcing your not-so-secret obsession to the world.

Browse the store for the full selection, including aprons, shirts, gift certificates, marketing materials, and more.

How do you show Guild pride?