Thank Yous in Spades

The 16th Annual HSCG Conference has just wrapped up in Raleigh, North Carolina and we are fit to bursting to share all the details with you. While we catch our breath from the excitement of last week and recover from the travel back home, we would like to heartily thank the many individuals and companies that contributed to this year’s conference.

post conference clean up

From early mornings and late nights to complete loopyness by the last day (though to be fair, we were not the ones throwing flying monkeys during class), volunteers run the show (which also makes them hard to photograph – that constant movement leads to some blurry photos). We hope the volunteer force helped make your conference experience awesome this year! Here’s who you may have seen announcing speakers, ferrying supplies, giving directions, selling raffle tickets, tweeting madly and wearing tiaras:

Leigh O’Donnell Executive Director/Conference Coordinator
Al Gerhold Conference Coordinator Assistant
Tom Koenig Conference Coordinator Assistant
Teri Kalgren Conference Coordinator Assistant
Lauri Isle Speaker Coordinator
Tricia Samundsen Vendor Coordinator
Cheryl Peterson Sponsor/Donations Coordinator
Robin Schmidt Attendee Coordinator
Rosemarie Cunfer Soapers’ Showcase Coordinator
Wanda Gillen Conference ground crew
Jessie Hoffmeier Conference ground crew
Camryn O’Donnell Conference ground crew
Donna Pixton-Hacker Conference ground crew
Janette Mitchell Bookkeeper
Adam Grogin Videographer
Sebastian Vasquez Photographer
Cathleen Timberlake Board, President
Feleciai Favroth Board Vice President, Programs & Services chair
Julie Koenig Board Treasurer, Membership chair
Barb DeLosSantos Board Secretary, Certification chair
Beth Byrne Board, Public Relations chair
Jen Grimes Board, Social Media chair
Tami Thornton Board, Membership co-chair

Vendor Collaboration at the 2013 Conference

Did you love the goodie bags?? How about the prizes in the raffles? These companies are the reason why:

A+ Soapmaking Studio

Nature’s Garden Soap and Candle Supplies

Ace Soap Molds

Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetic Guild

The Nova Studio

Action Bag Company

Handmade Soap Coach

Nuscents Wholesale LLC

Aloha Molds

Jedwards Int. Bulk Natural Oils

Online Labels


The Lebermuth Company, Inc.

Pallas Athene Soap

Back Porch Soap Company

Lil’ Bud and Becky Pet Care Products

Pendergrass Inc


Lotion Bar Cafe

PGS Soap Holders

Boyer Corporation

Lucky Break Consulting

Printable Boxes

Bramble Berry

Making Cosmetics, Inc

Pure Essential Supply, Inc

Bulk Apothecary

Marie Gale

Sagescript Institute, LLC

Catania USA

Milky Way Molds

San Francisco Herb Co.

Certified Lye

Mission Peak Soap Products

Save On Scents

The Chemistry Store

Scientific Soap Making

Columbus Vegetable Oils / Soapers Choice

Monastery Scents

Shay & Company, Inc.

ECOM Cocoa

Monterey Bay Spice Company

Shepard Publications

Essential Depot

Soap Impressions

The Essential Oil Company

Mountain Rose Herbs

Essential Wholesale

Stephenson Group

For Crafts Sake

Nashville Wraps

Texas Beauty Labs

From Nature With Love

National Shrinkwrap

Veracity Insurance Solutions

Glorybee Foods

Natural Soap Registry

Wholesale Supplies Plus

Stay tuned – We’ll be back next week with more coverage from your 2013 Annual Conference.

Spotlight: A+ Soapmaking Studio

A+ Soapmaking Studio, currently teaching soapmaking, business classes and more to students in the local southern California area and beyond, had an unexpected start. Owner Kerri Mixon had just joined the HSCG as the owner of Pallas Athene Soap and attended her very first conference that same year in Tucson, Arizona. Inspired by the incredible meeting of the minds that happened at the 2003 conference, Kerri started free Soapmakers Luncheons shortly thereafter. “I…decided a gathering of like-minded kindred soapmakers was too precious to have just once a year”.soapmaking studio logo

Her quarterly SoCal Soapmakers’ Luncheons grew and Kerri began bringing in guest speakers ranging from lavender growers to marketing specialists and beyond. It didn’t take long for luncheon attendees to recognize Kerri’s expertise and to start requesting formal classes.

Between Pallas Athene’s growing business and her desire to protect intellectual property, Kerri resisted, but soapmakers persisted until, as Kerri says, “I realized I had an obligation to provide my fellow soapmakers with accurate modern soapmaking technology”. In 2009, bureaucracy conquered and curriculum developed, the A+ Soapmaking Studio opened its doors and joined the Guild as a vendor member.

The Studio quickly took off, bringing students from as far away as Taiwan and Belize, and garnering local media attention. Today, the Beginning Cold Process Soapmaking class (Soapmaking 101, of course!) consistently sells out. “The most surprising aspect of teaching soapmaking classes,” shares Kerri, “is how eager people are to learn. I’m always amazed by what people will endure to learn and I’m grateful for their tenacity.”

Peruse the A+ Soapmaking Studio’s current class list here. You can also catch Kerri in action at the 2013 HSCG conference in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she will be presenting a two-part session on the chemistry and properties of fatty acids and oils.

Thank you, A+ Soapmaking Studio, for sharing a sneak peek into your past. We can’t wait to see what you come up with next!

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!