I am sitting in my hotel room after the end of Day 1 at the HSMG (Handcrafted Soap Makers Guild) Conference 2011. The conference is being held at the Miami Hilton Downtown Hotel this year and as always it’s fabulous! Or as Feleciai says, yummy! Every year it’s amazing to me how smoothly everything runs and how they pack so much into such few hours. I come back every year for several reasons: learn about new techniques, products and what’s going on in the industry, network with other soapers and vendors to gain tips and tricks, recharge my enthusiasm for my business and have some fun and get some goodies! I am going to try to report each day from the conference with a nod to the goals I hit that day.
So here’s the wrap-up from Day 1:
- I really appreciated the industry update by our legislative advocates: Mary Anne Walsh and Rick Limardo. Although they stressed that it will be hard work, overall they seemed positive that their efforts are bearing fruit. And they emphasized appreciated our bars of soap were that we sent to them to distribute to various legislators. Goes to show – people everywhere appreciate quality soap!
Noon was the networking lunch. I sat next to Andee Howard, the Blog Editor for Majestic Mountain Sage and picked her brain about time management for blogs and newsletters. I also got to reconnect with old friends and meet new ones. That’s me peeking out from behind Marie Gale in the photo.
- Recharging my enthusiasm sometimes simply comes from seeing the enthusiasm around me or perhaps the commitment from people in the industry a long time. I got to reconnect with Larry Plesent, the owner of Vermont Soapworks who is a certified organic manufacturer. Although we are all natural, I have wrestled with years whether or not the effort to get some kind of organic certification would be worth the effort. His suggestion was to survey my existing customers. I thought it was a GREAT idea. Thanks, Larry!
- The top of the heap for fun today was definitely the Wholesale Supplies Plus event. It was a dessert and coffee bar and then they passed out tickets for drawings based on much enthusiasm and well, noise you were making. Everyone was getting crazy. I must admit I think, yours truly was the first to stand on her chair waving her arms and in about 10 seconds 20 other people were on their chairs as well. People were doing line dances, chain dances and even the limbo. Fun and crazy! Unfortunately, I didn’t win any prizes, but thanks Debbie for a fab party.
5. We always get lots of goodies here – just today our annual over sized coffee mug, the clipboard from Brambleberry, plus of course the huge goodie bag at registration. However, my favorite for the day was the free walking stick from Essential Depot. Jerry is shown holding our two at the top of the block. They are carved out of hickory from Arkansas. How cool is that? (She assured us we should be able to carry them on the plane. Just limp a little.)
That’s it for tonight. Check in tomorrow for Day 2 @ HSMG Soap Conference 2011