Tuesday, March 18, 2014

What To Bring To A Soap Conference - Guest Blog Post

There are soap conferences and gatherings all over the country, from the huge Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetics Guild Annual Conference to regional gatherings like Central Soapers Workshop, Alabama Soap & Candle Meeting, Tennessee Soap and Candle Social, Mid Atlantic Lights & Lather Artisans, and so many more!

For most of us, saving our pennies is the beginning and by the time we set sail for the conference, we're losing our wits! Plus, if you've never been to an industry conference, you might be totally baffled as to what to expect.
First things first, most soap conferences provide food (but double check with your specific conference!) You might want to pack a little snack, like a granola bar or trail mix to munch on if you get hungry in between meals. Add a bottle of water, trust me on that one.
While you might be sitting in on seminars and talks, there will be plenty of milling about and networking. So, wear and pack comfortable shoes that don't kill your feet. And clothing? Chances are casual clothing is the way to go. Wearing layers is a smart idea, as the conference location could be a little too chilly or a little steamy for your personal thermostat.
Speaking of networking, bring those business cards. The best part about soap conferences is meeting up with other like-minded folks. Bring some business cards to trade info! That last thing you want to be doing is scrambling to write down your info when talking shop.
It may seem like a no-brainer to remember medication, but I have to admit, I’ve forgotten! Also, make sure to bring your healthcare information, including an insurance card, just in case. The last thing you want is to get sick or hurt, but if you do, being prepared is important.
A little mini first-aid pack in your purse is a lifesaver: pack up a couple Band-Aids, a mini pack of Kleenex, a travel size bottle of hand lotion, and single dose packet of aspirin.
When you pack your bags, have a game plan for any swag you might pick up at the soap conference. Most gatherings have goodie bags or raffle prizes. Set aside money to ship anything home, if you need to.
Last, but certainly not least, pack a stellar attitude. Whichever soap gathering you are going to is a "once a year" opportunity to put your best foot forward and make connections. Don't shoot yourself in the foot by playing the shy guy.
Step out of your comfort zone and see how many new people you can meet. Scope out other attendees in advance and make preliminary connections on social media, if it puts you at ease. And while you might love seeing your soapy sisters (and brothers) that you already know inside and out, make sure to reach out and meet new peeps!
I'll be headed to Central Soapers Workshop, the HSCG Annual Conference, and the Alabama Soap & Candle Meeting this year. Will I be seeing you there? Make sure to stop and say, hi, okay?!
This post was written by Kenna of Modern Soapmaking, the soap maker’s best friend and go-to resource. 

(Thank you, Kenna, for this great post about soap conferences!  Great bits of info, and so true.... I had a 2 day migraine and forgot my migraine meds at the HSCG conference last year.  No bueno.  This year, I shall be prepared!)


Leigh O'Donnell said...

This is a great post and a very good list of what to bring to a soap (and cosmetic) conference! I have been part of planning the HSCG Conference for about 10 years and I can't agree more with Kenna, all the things she mentioned are vital to making your experience a great one, no matter what conference or gathering you chose.

The only thing I would add to the mix is to bring a laptop, tablet or smart phone with you or any combination of the three. Taking notes is much easier with these devices and you will want to go online often, even in the sessions. They will greatly enhance your experience and interaction with the presentations.

Have a great time at all of this year's gatherings and conferences, I hope to see some of you at Central Soaper's Workshop or in Tucson at the HSCG Conference!

Leigh O'Donnell
HSCG Executive Director
HSCG Conference Director

Chellemie Mar said...

Then I should bear these in mind whenever attending a conference. Great post, keep it up!

Ewenique said...

Thanks for the tips! I've been to the Alabama Gathering a few times and it was great fun. Now I am excited to attend the HSG conference in Tucson in May! I hope to meet some of the soap makers whose blogs I follow.

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