The HSCG New Jersey Local Chapter is helmed by President Donna Pixton-Hacker, Vice President Thomas Naso, Secretary Maureen Morgan Sapnar, and Treasurer Carol Steinhauser. Recently, we asked the New Jersey 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?
We have always enjoyed helping other people, sharing knowledge, and learning from others. We believe that we grow stronger together, not separately. Sharing knowledge and learning from each other elevates everyone involved and helps to “raise the bar” for our industry in so many ways. As soon as it was announced at the HSCG Annual Conference that there would be a pilot program for Local Chapters, we knew we wanted to be a part of it! We had been working together with local soapmakers, and would share and learn from each other; we asked them to be a part of starting the chapter. We were so excited to have so many interested members in our area want to join us and collaborate on topics such as business, manufacturing, candle making, preservatives, cosmetics, lotions and more.
What do you think is the biggest benefit of participating in a Local Chapter?
Sharing and learning from each other, the camaraderie and passion we all have for our businesses, making natural products, and educating our consumers. Our chapter members help each other out when we need supplies, advice, support, and knowledge. We are so proud of the members who have joined our chapter and want to be part of growing our industry.
How do you feel your Local Chapter impacts, or can impact your local community?
When we all support one another it makes it easier to recommend our local soap makers for special projects, specific types of products that we ourselves may not make, but know someone who does and will refer a customer to the other soapmaker so that we are all growing our businesses. Awareness is key! Our communities benefit by us being at craft fairs, farmers markets, and wholesaling to other businesses. We are promoting great, well made products using high-quality ingredients, and using good manufacturing practices. We often have a donation collection as part of our meetings and we choose a local women’s shelter or other outreach program where we can donate our handmade products.
What is your favorite part about your Local Gatherings?
Meeting new people from all over! We have had a lovely Amish woman from Pennsylvania attend our last gathering, we’ve had HSCG members from New York, Delaware and Connecticut, and we had quite a few curious non-members attend our larger regional gathering, some of whom joined the HSCG after attending our event.
Imagine the future of your Local Chapter: what do you see?
We would love to see our Local Chapter grow to 200 members this year! We can envision our meetings helping to grow our members’ businesses to higher levels, and we want to help people make informed decisions about what their business goals should or could be. Some people don’t want to get their products in Target, some people want to stay on a smaller scale for manufacturing – and that’s ok. Everyone has their own goals and helping people to realize what their goals are and then giving them the tools and resources they need to achieve their goals is what we see our chapter doing.
We would love to harness technology and broadcast our meetings to our other members who may not have the time to travel an hour or more each way, then spend three hours attending our meeting in person, or those who have family commitments or other situations (craft fairs, farmers’ markets or manufacturing products) that would keep them from participating in person. I think our long-distance members could definitely benefit from having our meetings broadcast on FB Live or another platform to make it possible for them to participate.
If you live in the New Jersey area and would like to become a part of the HSCG New Jersey Local Chapter, please reach out to our Member Services Assistant Kristine at firstname.lastname@example.org, or via phone during business hours at 866-900-7627. There is no additional cost to join a Local Chapter for HSCG Members