I just got home yesterday after attending the 2013 1st Annual Central Soapers Workshop that took place at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas. The two day workshop featured some outstanding speakers, soap labs, a soap contest, a chance to make soap and try new things, lots of fun give-aways and/or things to purchase, and a wonderful opportunity to meet and network with other soapers--from seasoned veterans to those who have only been soaping for a couple of months. Read on for more . . .
The speakers were outstanding! They were knowledgeable, interesting, and entertaining! Some of the topics included:
- Business financials - You need to know your numbers in order to make intelligent business decisions.
- Using natural colorants - with environmental concerns all around us, it's important to look up stream and down stream when considering the carbon footprint of the ingredients we use. In the process of being extracted from the ground, many colorants take a heavy toll on the earth. The good news is that there are hundreds of natural sustainable colorants that we can use.
- Marketing - There are lots of fun ways to photograph and present our respective soap stories!
- Recipe Design - Have someone with sensitive skin? Is someone allergic to a particular oil? Need an extra-duty cleaning bar? There are hundreds of oils that can be used to make just the right soap, once you know their properties and can run them through a lye calculator to set up the right proportions.
- Alternative Liquids - Some of you already know that I make soap with coffee, and am planning to make some beer and wine soaps, too. But that's not all you can use! Herbal extracts, tinctures, tomato juice . . . the sky is the limit....well, almost!
- Profitability with Conscience - Evidence shows that the most successful, resilient, and enduring companies are driven by values as well as money.
In the soap labs, we had an opportunity to learn some new techniques for creating some neat, patterned, swirling color effects in our soap. It's one thing to read a book or to listen to someone describe a technique, but watching someone do it in real-life provides a wonderful opportunity to ask questions and share ideas. Again, we had some wonderful presenters!
As part of the workshop, each of us had an opportunity to make a pound of soap. Majestic Mountain Sage provided all of the supplies so that we could play around with new colors, fragrances, additives and techniques that we might not normally have tried. Conditions were a little crowded and rushed, and many of us joked about how this wasn't how we did things at home! Still, it was a fun part of the workshop!
Perhaps one of the best parts of the workshop was the chance to meet and network with so many other soapers from Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado, Nebraska and Tennessee. I met some really fun and creative women, and a couple of men, all of whom are passionate about handmade soap! To the women who organized this event....many kudos to you! You did a great job, and I am already looking forward to next year's event!