All About the 2017 Speaker Lineup

Sara WagnerHSCG Annual ConferenceLeave a Comment

The 2017 Annual Conference is a little over 6 months away, and at the HSCG Headquarters here in Saratoga Springs, New York, planning is in full swing.

One of the most exciting facets of the Annual Conference is the wide variety of industry experts that join us each year to talk about technique, formulation and growing your business. We’ve announced them on Facebook and you’ve shown them your love, but let’s take a comprehensive look at our Speaker Lineup for the 2017 Annual Conference!

2017 Keynote Speaker

Anne-Marie Faiola, CEO of Bramble Berry, will be joining us as the Keynote Speaker for our 2017 Annual Conference! Many of you recognize Anne-Marie from her educational blog, Soap Queen, which helps beginner and experienced handcrafters expand their knowledge through helpful tutorials and articles. Anne-Marie will be bringing her creativity and positivity to her Keynote speech as she talks about “How to Have Your Best Day Ever, Every Day”! This motivational speech about maintaining an optimistic, practical mindset will energize you not only for the duration of the conference, but likely for months after!


Business Sessions

 Growing your business is at the top of your entrepreneurial mind, and we get it-that’s why we’ve selected a few great speakers to give you some pointers on how to keep your business on an upward swing.


Charlene Simon & Leigh O’Donnell-The Yin and Yang of Customer Service

 This tag-team of customer-minded businesswomen is the best duo to help you navigate through the intricacies of modern day customer service. Leigh is the current Executive Director of the HSCG, and Charlene is the mastermind behind several successful businesses, including Bathhouse Soapery & Caldarium; she also currently serves on the HSCG Board of Directors.

These two amazing ladies are ready to take you through the complete customer experience; whether that experience is good, or not so good. Charlene will give you tips and tricks to make your customers feel like rockstars, while Leigh will give you guidance when it comes to the customers who are less than wonderful. This session is a must-see for any entrepreneur who is seeking to sharpen their customer service skillset!


Lela Barker-Battling Brand Schizophrenia

 Lela sees things from both sides; as a successful handcrafter with 14 years of experience under her belt and a business strategist who is very passionate about helping entrepreneurs to succeed, she can relate to the challenges you may be facing and has great advice on how to overcome them!

Lela will be hosting a topic called Battling Brand Schizophrenia, which is all about building a consistent and well-articulated brand that clearly defines who you and your business are. Learn how to channel your focus into making your brand the best version of itself.


Kenna Cote-Secrets to Soap Business Success

 Kenna is the brilliant creator behind Modern Soapmaking, which she describes as a “proverbial online playground for soapmakers, supported & written by soapmakers”. Kenna has over 10 years of soapmaking experience, and is ready to channel that experience into a fantastic session about running a successful, profitable and sustainable company!

Kenna’s session, Secrets to Soap Business Success, will give you the tools you need to keep your business profitable-a definite must see!


Marie Gale-Marketing Your Soaps and Cosmetics…Legally

 Marie is a woman who needs no introduction; she is a pillar of knowledge in the handcrafted soap and cosmetic industry, and is the author of several books designed to help fellow handcrafters through their labeling and manufacturing journeys. An Honorary Lifetime Member of the HSCG, Marie served has served on our Board and continues to be a great resource for the myriad of questions that we come up with every day!

Marie will be hosting a session called “Marketing Your Soaps and Cosmetics…Legally”. Questions about labeling soaps and cosmetics are the most common inquiries here at the HSCG Headquarters, and Marie will be ready to dive into the details of getting in compliance with federal standards.


Lori Ann Gum-Visual Solutions for Busy Retailers

 Lori Ann is a visual merchandiser ad the owner of Visual Solutions & Displays out of the Chicago area. With over 30 years of experience, Lori Ann has a firm finger on the pulse of the retail industry. She knows what attracts buyers and is excited to share her knowledge with you!

Visual Solutions for Busy Retailers will reinforce the importance of professional appearance and displays for your retail space. Learn how to get your buyer’s attention on any budget!


Dieshawn Holmes-How to Start a Mobile Gift Boutique

 Dieshawn is the owner of Angelic Soaps and Gifts based in Flint, Michigan. Dieshawn comes to the conference with a bold, exciting idea that you may have been secretly wondering about; the mobile gift boutique!

Dieshawn’s session, “How to Start a Mobile Gift Boutique”, will introduce you to the world of moveable retail with an informative session about how to get the proper permits, insurance, and how to get a truck and get it retail ready. If you’ve been looking for a way to spice up your business, Dieshawn’s session is a must!


Robert Lippman-Protecting Your Business Brand

 Robert Lippman is a Principal at the law firm of Lemery Greisler LLC in Upstate New York. Robert has over 28 years of experience in the resolution of business disputes, with a focus on the protection of intellectual property, contract negotiation and general commercial litigation. With an ever-growing market, protecting your brand is important; and Robert can give you the tools to do it.

During his session, Robert will take you through the process of protecting your brand with topics like trademarks, patents, and copyrights, and the difference between them. This is a great opportunity to learn how to defend your empire!


Lori Nova Endres-Make Money Teaching Classes

 Lori loves to teach; in 2001, she started offering DIY classes in her kitchen! In 2002, Lori opened “The Lavender Room”, and taught weekend classes; but, by 2003, Lori decided she wanted teaching to be her full-time career, and thus, The Nova Studio was born! After partnering with Cassie Durant and Ruth Esteves to form The Nova Studio LLC, Lori continued to pursue her passion for teaching with her partners by offering live and recorded eClasses, Q+As, class handouts, consulting sessions and free resources for makers.

With all of her teaching experience, who better to host a session than Lori? In “Make Money Teaching Classes”, she will share her experiences with you! Since opening The Nova Studio, Lori has taught over 1,000 DIY classes and is excited to take you through the ins and outs of having a successful career in teaching.


Gay Timmons-Safety in the Time of Bloggers

 Gay Timmons is the owner and operator of Oh, Oh Organic, Inc., an organic and specialty ingredient distribution company founded in 2000. Gay was the first American woman to manage vessel operations, loading and unloading cargo on the Oakland and San Francisco docks, and international traffic management. Since 1991, Gay has word as a producer and marketer of organic ingredients and an advocate for regulatory clarity for organic and natural producers and consumers.

During Gay’s informative session, Safety in the Time of Bloggers, she will outline the meaning of the claim “safe”, explore how to get information from your suppliers and how to test your products (or not) for safety, and provide tools to protect you against making false or unsupported claims. These are valuable insights for any handcrafted entrepreneur!


Craig Ure-Online Marketing Blueprint and eCommerce Marketing

 Craig is the CMAO (Chief Massive Action Officer) of Publishing International, a web marketing consultant, speaker, author and social media advisor for many INC 500 offline and online companies. Craig has spent the last 26 years perfecting marketing tactics and proven business-building strategies within the health, beauty and medical industry.

Craig will be hosting a session as well as an Intensive ½ Day Seminar-both will provide incredible tools to use in your marketing journey. His eCommerce session will provide the most up-to-date marketing hacks and strategies to help you leverage big gains and maximize your marketing spend. Craig’s Intensive ½ Day Seminar will provide attendees with a marketing “blueprint”, designed to take handcrafted entrepreneurs to the next level when it comes to marketing!


Technical Sessions

 Staying on top of industry trends when it comes to your product formulation and production is imperative in this growing industry! 2017’s Annual Conference will be packed with powerful speakers ready to elevate your techniques and teach you some new ones!


Susan Barclay-Nichols-Facial Moisturizers 101

 Susan, better known as SwiftCraftyMonkey and author of the blog Point of Interest, five eBooks (Lotion Making 101, Formulating Lotions & Creams, Hair Care, Facial Products and Back to Basics), has a passion for formulation that began as a failed batch of bath bombs during a youth group and blossomed into a love for chemistry and handmade products! Her excitement is tangible in her writing.

Susan’s session, Facial Moisturizers 101, will focus on the formulation and production of emulsified facial moisturizers from scratch. You’ll learn how to include amazing ingredients like botanical extracts, vitamins, proteins, skin conditioners and cosmaceuticals in your products to really make them stand out from your competitors!


Regina Bauscher-Essential Oils-Their Purpose, Their Power and Their Precautions

 Regina spent the early years of her professional career in analytical laboratories doing Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy, testing materials for heavy metals such as lead, arsenic and mercury. Regina has a business administration degree as well as an Advanced Certification in soapmaking from the HSCG, and is currently a student in the Advanced Formulae Botanica program.

In Regina’s session, Essential Oils-Their Purpose, Their Power and Their Precautions, you’ll be exploring the intricate world of essential oils including their safe and proper usage in skin care products. Regina will provide an in depth exploration of twelve of the most popular essential oils, and will teach you what they are, how they work, their benefits and their contraindications. If you’ve ever wondered about essential oils on a deeper level, Regina’s session will answer your questions and leave you with a better understanding of the oils you are likely using already!


Beth Byrne-Lotion Magic-Creating Extraordinary Emulsions

 Beth Byrne has been creating cosmetics longer than she cares to admit, beginning with herbs she grew in her garden. Her family suffered…er, benefitted from her early herbal creations, from bath herbs to facial steams and herbal remedies. Her first lotions were the beeswax/borax as emulsifier type, so she was delighted to discover ewax, and she continues to enjoy formulating.

In Beth’s session, Lotion Magic-Creating Extraordinary Emulsions, you will learn not just about the oils, additives and emulsifiers you can use to create the ideal product line, but how to use the HLB system to create your own emulsifiers. Get tips on how to scale up safely, and profitably with this educational and hands on Intensive ½ Day Seminar!


Angela Carillo-From Trash to Cash

 Angela founded Alegna Soap in 2010, after she decided to take her career in chemistry in a whole new direction! Angela also teaches classes in soap making to adults in NYC and on Long Island, and skin care classes to elementary students. Donating her time and products to help those in need is also of great importance to Angela, and through her initiative “Soap for Soup”, she regularly makes a special batch of soap products from which the proceeds go directly to a Bethpage, NY food pantry.

Angela’s session, From Trash to Cash, will give you perspective on how to use every last bit of your soap batter! She will present soap demonstrations on how to save hundreds of dollars by utilizing what most soapmakers throw in the trash; waste not, want not, and Angela will teach you how to stick to that adage!


Lori Chandler-Capture Creative Swirls Using Natural Colorants

 Lori is a soapmaker, educator, speaker, and the business owner of Ashgrove Soaps and Sundries, LLC out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. You may know Lori as the host and organizer behind the annual Pittsburgh Soapmakers Gathering. Did you also know that Lori is an HSCG Certified Soapmaker and an HSCG Certified Soapmaking Teacher?

Lori’s session, Capture Creative Swirls Using Natural Colorants, will focus on the challenges and techniques you can use to create beautiful, naturally colored swirls in your cold processed soap! Lori believes that you can have bold and natural designs; don’t miss out on her session so that she can teach you how that’s possible.


Sharon Czekala-A Match Made in Heaven” and “Mind-Blowing Melt & Pour

 Sharon Czekala has spoken at our Annual Conference a number of times, and we are so pleased to welcome her back for 2017! When she set out to start her business, she had a few requirements; she wanted to make a product that everyone uses, a consumable product, and a product that she could make from home without any legal issues. Thus, The Great Lakes Natural Soap Company was born!

Sharon is excited to be presenting two topics at our Annual Conference. Her Intensive ½ Day Seminar, Mind-Blowing Melt & Pour, will share with you the newest MP techniques and much more. Sharon is also hosting a session called “A Match Made in Heaven”, where she will teach you how to combine your favorite cold process recipes with melt & pour soap to create amazing masterpieces that you and your customers will love.


Kevin Dunn-Secrets of Saponification Values

Kevin is one of the most beloved speakers out our Annual Conference. He is the Elliott Professor of Chemistry at Hampden-Sydney College, and has written several books, including Scientific Soapmaking, which explores the chemistry of soap at a deep, but accessible level.

Kevin’s session, Secrets of Saponification Values, will help you understand how saponification values are determined and how to measure your own. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to expand your formulating knowledge!


Amanda Gail-Know Your Fatty Acid Profiles: The Road to Better Soap Formulation

Amanda is the writer and educator behind, a blog that features step-by-step full color photographic tutorials, articles, troubleshooting advice and general information about soapmaking. Amanda publishes eZines and eBooks on the topic of soapmaking and has written for industry publications such as Handmade Magazine, Saponifier and Soap Collaborative.

Amanda’s session, “Know Your Fatty Acid Profiles: The Road to Better Soap Formulation  is a great opportunity to expand your knowledge and formulating library! Amanda will walk you through examples of single oil soaps and provide you with a unique color-coded chart of fatty acid profiles that will help you learn their properties once saponified.


Jordan Henderson-Laundry Soap: The Formulation and Crafting Of

 Jordan has been making soap since 2000. Hooked by soapmaking chemistry, he started making all of his own formulations, many of which are sold by his company Soap Alchemy still today!

Jordan’s comprehensive session, Laundry Soap: The Formulation and Crafting Of, will cover the formulation requirements of laundry soap and how these basic formulations are crafted. You will also explore the difference between a top loading machine and high efficiency machines, and review other factors that will effect how you formulate your own laundry soap.


Catherine McGinnis-Design Outside the Lines

 Catherine is the creative brilliance behind the YouTube channel, Soaping 101, and the organizer of the annual social gathering, SoapCon. She is also the owner of The Soap Deli, a trendy brick and mortar store in Kentucky.

Catherine will be hosting a session called Design Outside the Lines, which will explore how to make vastly different creations with only four colors! If you’ve been looking for a refreshing way to switch up your routine, this session is for you.


Margaret Neff-Some Like it Hot!

 Margaret has been a soapmaker for over 20 years, and has been making soap long before stick blenders were widely available in stores! Margaret started Nature’s Touch Soaps, LLC after her passion for soap began to take over her house, and currently focuses on private label soaps, wholesale accounts and retail sales through her website.

Margaret’s session, Some Like it Hot! will take you through the ins and outs of making soap using the hot process method. This is a great session for beginner and experienced soapmakers alike.


Christina Rose-Get Your Glitter On: Create Your Own Nail Polish and Pressed Eye shadows

 Christina is the fabulous owner and director of KBShimmer Bath and Body. Currently, KBShimmer offers nail polish, lotions, cuticle creams, scrubs and other hand care products, many of which Christy still produces herself!

Christy’s Intensive ½ Day Seminar, Get Your Glitter On: Create Your Own Nail Polish and Pressed Eyeshadows, will take you on a creative journey into the glamorous world of handmade nail polish and eye makeup! In a world of makeup tutorials, adding these items to your product line could help fill a need in your local market as well as keep your business on trend. Christy will teach you how to create polish and pressed eyeshadows using many ingredients that you likely have already!

Melinda Wolff-Foster-Making Safe Handcrafted Pet Products

 We can’t forget about our furry friends when we buy (or make) incredible handcrafted products! Melinda, owner of Melinda’s Naturals, is a practicing certified aromatherapist through the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy, an award winning cold process soap artisan, a holistic pet care educator, a professional pet stylist, and owner of The Pines Pet Pampering.

Melinda’s session. Making Safe Handcrafted Pet Products, will focus on how to expand your line by venturing into safe pet products. She will teach you the fundamentals of common bath and body ingredients, including essential oils, and whether they are safe for cats and dogs.


Clyde Yoshida-Vibrance! Color Theory for Soapmakers

 If you are looking for a veritable art class for soapmaking, Clyde’s got you covered! Clyde’s excitement in making his first batch of soap eventually led to him starting his own business; he enjoys sharing his creative ideas with others!

Clyde’s session, Vibrance! Color Theory for Soapmakers, will present color theory specifically for soapmakers. The presentation will include how to use the color wheel to plan color schemes to effectively suit specific fragrances. You will also learn how to avoid mud and how to obtain the pure and vibrant colors you’ve been after!


There you have it folks! The 2017 Annual Conference will be jam packed full of amazing speakers to help you on every step of your current journey. Make sure to join us at the Tropicana Las Vegas May 1st-3rd 2017 to see these incredible educators in action! Visit today to sign up.

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