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!)