For over 7 years I have been a member of the Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild (HSMG), an international trade association that promotes the benefits of handcrafted soap and is the voice of the handcrafted soapmaker. After attending my first conference in 2003 I was awed by all that I learned as a new soapmaker. It inspired me to continue and improve the soap I was creating. There are several reasons the come to mind why I have maintained my membership from year to year.
- Conference – Like I stated earlier the conference was my first time being exposed to others who create handcrafted soap. I learned so much from the presenters as well as my fellow soapmakers. Each year after I have attended the annual conference and each year it gets better. The speakers are awesome and the topics are relevant.
- Quarterly Journal – Each quarter a journal is mailed filled with great information about soapmaking, current topics that are of importance to soapmaking and articles related to promoting and marketing soap. The journal also has vendor ads which help to know what vendors are out there selling something I might need in my business.
- Certification – Last year the HSMG launched the first phase of a certification program. At this past conference the second level of certification was available. Certification can benefit a handcrafted soapmaker because just like a travel agent they may know about my dream Tahiti vacation but if I know they are a certified Tahiti specialist I the consumer know for sure they know about Tahiti and I will have an enjoyable vacation. It gives the consumer another layer of confidence that the soapmaker knows their stuff.
- Forum – If you have a question and need an answer check out the forum. It is already loaded with search able threads of topics. If you don’t see an answer to your question then all you need to do is ask and someone will answer you. This is how soapmakers can help each other even though we live miles apart.
- Business Experts – Quarterly an expert is available on the Forum for a Q and A session. Imagine having Sandy Maine of Sunfeather Soaps, Kayla Fioravanti of Essential Wholesale and Marie Gale of Author of Soap and Cosmetic Labeling available to answer your business or soapmaking question; awesome!
- Insurance – Being a soapmaker you never know what could happen when you product is in the hands of the consumer. Having product liability insurance is a great benefit of membership knowing you are covered “just in case”.
- National Advocate – Recently there were things in legislation that could affect the handcrafted soapmaker. Thanks to the leadership of the HSMG and the collaborative efforts of others in the industry you can know that the HSMG is keeping an eye on what can effect soapmakers and that action taken to protect our interest.
- Promoting Handcrafted Soap – Ads are placed in national magazines directing the reader to the HSMG website as a source for them to find a local handcrafted soapmaker. This gives exposure about the benefits of handcrafted soap and helps the reader find you to buy your soap.
- Profile Page – This gives your soap business added exposure. Make sure that you have set up your profile information and that you keep the information current. This is your space to sell you so let the reader know why they should purchase from you. The HSMG is #1 when the term “handcrafted soap” is searched so make sure your profile is up to date.
My list could could go on and on but I would like to get some feedback from you. Please tell me what your #10 reason is for being a member of the HSMG. I would love to see your responses.