2000 and Counting!

The Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetic Guild is proud to announce that we have reached and surpassed the 2000 member mark! (Cue wild cheering!)


Since 2011, we’ve grown 40%. How did we get there, you ask? September 2011 marked the establishment of an official HSCG headquarters (in lovely Saratoga Springs, New York) along with the hire of our first full time employee, Leigh O’Donnell, as Executive Director. Prior to that time, the HSCG was run out of homes, basements, and temporary spaces, with multiple contractors and volunteers cobbling together coverage of the various and sundry day to day operations of the Guild. Having a corporate office staffed full time has allowed the Guild to provide better support than ever before.

In late February, we became the Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetics Guild. Our change was more than a simple name modification; we were also expanding to bring cosmetic handcrafters into the guild. Since then, membership has spiked – jumping another 10% and netting us another 200 members at the close of the first half of the year. We are excited about this expansion of our mission and can’t wait to bring in even more benefits for cosmetic manufacturers.


Our 2013 Annual Conference in Raleigh was the most successful yet. Three and a half days of learning, networking, and having fun energized us for the year ahead. Ten months out from next year’s conference, we have already filled half of our 400 available slots and are well on our way to selling out the 2014 conference in Tucson (if you’ve signed up, by the way, book your hotel stay now – you may have to call as rooms are filling quickly. We will be filling this venue!)

These days, we are seeing larger numbers of new members, a good indication of the strength of the industry and our stature within it. Members have been busy spreading the word about the Guild as well. We are receiving many referrals and handing out boatloads of golden soap bubbles (don’t know about golden soap bubbles? Where have you been? Read up on them here and get yourself a tidy little discount to the HSCG store.) Our next membership milestone is 2500 members. With today’s benefits, learning opportunities and support, we are well on our way to reaching that landmark by the time next year’s Board takes office.


We want to do something fun to celebrate reaching 2000 members. Send us photos of your products spelling out 2000 (post them to our wall, tweet them to @thesoapguild, or email them to socialmedia@soapguild.org). We’ll post the best ones in our Facebook page header through mid-month and give you a little shout out (and the satisfaction of being awesome!)

Submit a 2000 cosmetic/soap photo today to compete for Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest bragging rights!

Spotlight: Certified Lye

Southern California-based Certified Lye, supplier of sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide, and the necessary personal protective equipment, has been an HSCG supporter from its inception. It is a company that was years in the making, driven by market need and a soapmaker’s ingenuity.

It all started in California’s central valley, where owners Kerri Mixon and David Perez made their home in the early part of this decade. Soapmakers at the time were fortunate; olive production and processing throughout the central valley drove demand for sodium hydroxide production. “At the time,” relates Kerri, “the sodium hydroxide manufacturers also shipped lye to New Jersey, where it was resold as “Red Devil” brand lye, which is what I used to purchase for making soap because other sources of lye were nonexistent.”

Olive processing, however, would not last long in the area. Lye used in the production of olives was disposed of incorrectly, affecting growth of nearby orange groves, whose owners took legal action to have the olive processing facilities closed. Sodium hydroxide production decreased in response. “Meanwhile,” explains Kerri, “in New Jersey, Red Devil suffered loss of its lye supplier at the same time the company was fighting its own battles regarding the retail of a hazardous material often used to produce illegal methamphetamines.”

Kerri realized she needed a replacement for Red Devil and started to research what it would take to establish a lye supply company. Handling hazardous materials came with onerous restrictions, but a fellow soapmaker’s horror story surrounding the desperate purchase of fifty pounds of subpar lye gave Kerri the impetus she needed to create Certified Lye.

Learning from the legal battles of the defunct olive processing facilities, Kerri and David made sustainability a key tenet of Certified Lye’s operations. “We have seen the ramifications of environmentally irresponsible business;” says Kerri, “we do our best to have as minimal of an impact on our environment as possible.” In fact, Certified Lye continues to raise the bar, having recently completed additional solar panel installations and “sponsoring the gutters, rain chain, and 60-gallon water cistern for collecting rain water to irrigate the aromatic plant gardens at the A+ Soapmaking Studio.”

Thank you, Certified Lye, for sharing a glimpse of your history and for your support of the HSCG!