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I’ve been trying to sort out all the information I learned at the HSMG 2012 Conference and I’m finally able to get my thoughts in order. I found this year’s conference to be informative and fun as the previous conferences I’ve attended. Thanks to Jerry, I’m able to provide notes for almost every presentation during the conference!
Come join me for a synopsis of our first day!
The first presentation of the day was the keynote given by Mary Lou Quinlan. Mary Lou is a woman of many hats and these hats include titles like author, friend, marketing expert/strategist, wife, entrepreneur, inspirational speaker and daughter.
I was very surprised and pleased to learn that each attendee got a free autographed copy of “What She’s Not Telling You: Why Women Hide the Whole Truth and What Marketers Can Do About It.” I’m so excited to sit down and read my copy from cover to cover. Mary Lou was an amazing speaker and I found myself hooked to every word! When her presentation began, Mary Lou told us to be on the lookout for the half truths told by women. A half truth is not a lie, it is simply the truth a woman is willing to admit to others and even herself. The whole truth is what she believes, does and buys. A great example of a half truth is “I try to be healthy.” The whole truth hiding behind this half truth is probably, “I exercise, when I feel like it,” or “I watch what I eat, sometimes. But those pancakes dripping with syrup and butter and topped off with whipped cream are just so good!”
Mary Lou even shared with us the acronym that she and her co-founders at Just Ask a Woman developed to help marketers reach and understand women better. The acronym is GAMES.
Mary Lou also stressed that we should push ourselves to be INTENSE listeners. Don’t just listen to what people say, listen to what their bodies say and their mouths don’t say! I learned that if we are intense listeners, we can then use that information to change our product lines to meet what our customers really want.
After Mary Lou shared all this great information that made my brain feel stuffed, she shared her story about her mother and touched my heart. Her mother would take her stresses, worries, concerns and hopes, write them down on scraps of paper as prayers to God and tuck those papers into a box she called her God Box. She would listen to her friends, family and even strangers as they shared with her. Then she would take those emotional thoughts and change them to written prayers that were no longer something she could control as they had been passed to a higher power that would take care of those worries instead of her. After her mother died in 2006, Mary Lou found her mother’s God Box or boxes, there were 10 boxes with 20 years of written prayers for friends, family and strangers. Mary Lou also shared stories about the codes that she and her mom used to say “I love you.” This brought tears to my eyes during the presentation and again as I write this post.
The second presentation of the day was Good Manufacturing Practices for Handcrafters by Marie Gale. I found this presentation very interesting and gave me ideas on how to make blog testing and procedure a smoother process. Here are the points that she made.
Marie gave a great presentation and I learned more about ways to ensure quality from batch to batch and make sure my operating procedures helped me rather than setting me up for failure. Actually if I follow these Good Manufacturing Practices, I’ll have less failures on the blog! How cool!
The next presentation on my schedule was Pears Soap and the Art of Advertising by Catherine Failor. This was a great presentation for the time traveling trip we took to see how advertising was started by Thomas Barratt, “The Father of Modern Advertising.” Barratt was the chairman of Pears Soap and his advertisements made the way for the combination of slogans and memorable images. While Catherine took us back in time, she also gave us information about the importance of branding and how we can make advertising a key component of our marketing efforts. Her key points were:
The presentation that occurred at the same time as Catherine Failor’s presentation was Moisturize It! Lotion Candles and Lotion Bars by Debbie May. Debbie talked about lotion candles, massage candles and lotion bars. I found this class to be informative even if I personally feel that lotion/massage candles are just asking for trouble. I listened in this class and feel that I did walk away with some great information for formulating solid bars as either lotion or massage bars as well as information for candle making.
The next series of presentations all occurred at the same time, but they were repeated twice. This meant that we were able to attend all of the presentations and get some great information for you.
When making soap with alcoholic beverages like beer, wine or liquor, you get a soap that has colors in shades of tan and has a nutty type scent. The color can be lightened with Titanium Dioxide or complimented by dark pigments. The nutty scent works best if you us it as a base note to round out the desired fragrance.
Ruth’s checklist of preparation:
When making soap with brewed beverages like coffee or teas, you get a soap that has a high level of anti-oxidants and natural scents depending on the tea used. Coffee soaps offer deodorizing capabilities and you can always add coffee grounds or tea leaves for exfoliating texture. The color can be lightened with Titanium Dioxide or complimented by dark pigments.
Ruth’s checklist of preparation:
When making soap with fruit or vegetable juices, you get a soap that has a naturally occurring color and natural scents depending on the juices used. Some juices won’t hold their colors and will turn brown. Other juices shouldn’t be used due to their high acidity. You can use either store-bought or homemade. Just makes sure you have a fluid juice as it will be easier to work with in the long run.
Ruth’s checklist of preparation:
Ruth does chill all of her liquids. I do think this can cause problems by having a lye solution that is too cold, but her other information was great. I’m excited to give my soapmaking a new twist with using different liquids.
The second presentation in the series of three was Formulating Natural Lotions and Creams by Marla Bosworth. Marla talked about formulating lotions and creams without having to stress about greasy formulas, separating product or guessing which ingredients need what quantities.
Marla’s Formulation Guidelines:
Marla also talked about the importance of preservatives (I remember Taylor talking about this), challenge testing your products, giving your products lot numbers and she even covered marketing of your products. I think her presentation had some interesting perspective and information that would be useful.
The last presentation from the first day was Blending Essential Oils by Jade Shutes. Jade
talked about three key reasons we may blend essential oils.
2. Emotional/Mental/Spiritual Approach
3. Holistic Approach
Jade’s presentation mostly focused on blending oils to follow a holistic approach by beginning with designing synergy. Synergy is a combination of 3-5 essential oils alone that meets your requirements without having an unbalanced blend.
Whew! I feel like my brain was stuffed and this just covered the first day. I’ll share more tomorrow.