The HSCG California Local Chapter is helmed by President Cindy Christ, Vice President John Mikrut, Treasurer Heidi Jaynes, and Secretary Mandy Gough. Recently, we asked the California Local Chapter leaders to share a collaborative view of their experiences and inspiration in forming and running their chapter.
What inspired you to form a Local Chapter?
The founding board of the HSCG California Local Chapter was inspired to bring the HSCG to California for a variety of reasons. The opportunity to unite the growing population of soapers and cosmetic makers into a unit of creative support was a goal we could not leave untapped. Offering education and community to our membership was a part of the big picture. Although California is a very large state spread out in length, our vision was to create a large community that could gather at a variety of venues, both big and small, for networking and the simple, pure pleasure of getting to know each other. Our goal remains in support of the HSCG and to share all that has inspired us each to belong to the international organization; education, networking, support, and community. We also strive to bring to California events and gatherings to our membership of makers who cannot make an annual journey to the HSCG Annual Conference. Overall, opportunity for Californians to have a place where they could participate in the industry in a professional manner was a driving force and inspiration.
What do you think is the biggest benefit of participating in a Local Chapter?
Learning and connection! Both nurture the growth of small business owners and those aspiring to feel empowered and less alone on their entrepreneurial journey. Each region of the country faces its own challenge in business; the weather and seasons, regional laws and restrictions, and sources of supplies. We believe that Local Chapters can be extremely beneficial in addressing these concerns and aid in building a stronger organization of well-informed members. Local Chapters lend support to the local members who otherwise may have none. As small business owners, we often work in isolation. Social media can only go so far in bringing makers together. Having a local community to turn to for information and support is vital to being successful.
How do you feel your Local Chapter impacts, or can impact, your local community?
Our networking with local makers creates an opportunity to develop and share accurate information to the public and encourage potential buyers of our products. Through our membership growth, we can reach out and educate consumers on the benefits of supporting small business, and the personal health benefits of using natural products such as handmade soap. Our efforts also contribute to the health of our planet’s future as we forge forward to reduce plastic and fossil fuel consumption by shopping local. We can help people expand their vision for their lives by building paths that potentially inspire their careers.
What is your favorite part about your Local Gatherings?
Meeting other soapers and formulators, and learning their story. Hearing about their triumphs and struggles, and sharing information. We love attending events to engage in person with other makers. “My all-time favorite thing is make and takes. It is a chance for me to engage in a craft or activity that I might not normally get to do, so to see first-hand what it takes and to bring a sample home is just the best!”
Imagine the future of your Local Chapter: what do you see?
Our Local Chapter Board of Directors has the desire and dedication to continue the goals of building community and empowering one another in our industry. Our goal is to reach all parts of the state of California with two to three small gatherings around the state as well as one larger event each year. We would like to see wide participation across the sate. A multi-day event covering a wide range of topics is a future goal. We love being able to have key presenters who are respected professionals along with offering makers the opportunity to explore the challenge of becoming instructors and offering demonstrations to their peers. We also strive to make our Local Chapter Facebook page a source of education and networking for our members. Growth of our Local Chapter and growth of the HSCG organization is our future desire!
Over the many years of our chapter opening we have had many events across Southern California featuring popular, local instructors. In 2019 we stretched our outreach to Northern California with our most recent one day even in Pacifica, California. It was packed with 30 attendees and three instructors. John Mikrut demonstrated transparent soap from scratch, Cindy Christ presented a distillation workshop, and Heidi Jaynes demonstrated the art of solid perfume in a make and take demonstration. It was a fabulous day in a beautiful setting, and members came from near and far.
We are currently developing a spring event in San Diego, with several gatherings throughout the state for 2020.
If you live in California or a neighboring state and would like to become a part of the HSCG California Local Chapter, please reach out to our Member Services Assistant Kristine at email@example.com, or via phone during business hours at 866-900-7627. There is no additional cost to join a Local Chapter for HSCG Members.
A special thank you to the California Local Chapter Board of Directors for providing us with their dreams for the Chapter, and photos too.