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!

Show Us Your Heroes

Soapmakers, Cosmetic makers, and Guild members, let’s gather around the fire or air conditioners, as the weather may currently dictate, and have a mushy moment. It may not be that traditionally “thankful” time of year, but we are feeling pretty darn grateful right now. Why? Because you guys rock. Week after week, month after month, stories roll in from near and far of the quiet generosity of soapmakers to other soapmakers, within their communities, and far beyond. Here at Guild headquarters, we don’t hear about all of the unsung heroes, but we can darn well start trying. And that, my friends, is where you come in.

Magnifying Glass - Brooklyn Flea

We are excited to announce the Member of the Year program, aka “Show Us Your Heroes”. Anybody can nominate an HSCG member to be Member of the Year. Why might you nominate someone? Besides just being generally awesome, a Member of the Year candidate may have:

–        advanced human rights through their soapmaking expertise
–        found a new way to make their operations and other makers’ operations eco-friendly
–        tackled a local social issue
–        or maybe even led the charge to advance cosmetic making methods in their local communities

Our precious Earth.

So just how will you show us your heroes? So glad you asked. Nomination forms are going live on the website soon. You’ll have until the end of the year to nominate a member for Member of the Year. Once nominations close, a special selection committee will have the thankless task of narrowing down the nominations and presenting a final slate of candidates to members. Here’s where it gets awesome. We will share each nominee’s story to HSCG members, and you get to decide on the winner, who will be announced at the annual HSCG conference. All of the candidates who make it to the final slate will win a free registration for the 2015 conference (because, hey, you gotta be there to find out if you’re the big winner!) and the final winner wins a trip to the 2016 conference.

We are beyond excited to find out what good soapmakers are up to in your hood and to share more of those stories. Get your nominations ready!!

Member Spotlight: Sugarloaf Soaps

Sugarloaf Soaps, in Sugarloaf, Pennsylvania, is truly a wonderland. Wandering the shelves, you’ll find a plethora of bath, body and gift items, including glycerin soaps, lip balms, lotions, sugar scrubs, soaking bath crystals, bath bombs, shampoo (for humans and pets), tarts, candles, incense, friendship balls, wooden roses, and antiques. Owner Rose Cunfer credits Debbie May with sparking her interest in creating bath and body products. “A medical life event caused me to leave my long time administrative job in education. Looking for a complete 360 degree turn, I became interested in soap by watching Debbie May’s videos on Wholesales Supplies Plus website. Then in 2010 I joined HSCG and met so many amazing people!”


While you’ll find plenty lining the shelves of the store to tempt you, Rose insists you try the sugar scrubs, which are most amazing and come in very unusual flavors. And of course, you still have time to pick up Easter-themed soaps and scrubs. If you aren’t close enough to stop by in person, keep in touch with  Sugarloaf Soaps on Facebook.


“I am truly blessed”, Rose relates, “to have an opportunity to own my business, work in a brick and mortar shop next to my house, and travel to meet new friends and formulate new ides. The sky is the limit in this trade and everyone helps one another to be successful!”

Thank you, Rose, for that little shot of inspiration and thanks for giving us a sneak peek into Sugarloaf Soaps!