Tuesday, June 2, 2009

HSMG Conference Palm Springs...finally

More than two weeks ago I attended the Hand Crafted Soap Makers Guild Conference in Palm Springs and I still think I'm recovering ; ). I had heard a lot of great things about the conference from Lori Nova of The Nova Studio and I am sooo glad that I was able to attend this year. I was a really wonderful opportunity for me to majorly geek out on all things soap!! Plus I got to meet tons of incredible people - including some serious role models like my very own conference roomie Jen Hardaway of Klean Bath + Body, Lela Barker of Bella Lucce, Anne Marie Faiola of Brambleberry and the list just keeps on going....

Lori Nova and I

The conference was meticulously planned and organized, the VP of the HSMG Leigh O'Donnell (and future president) did a great job. It truly is incredible how many events, presentations, networking hours, meetings and meals were packed into 3 days. There were presentations ranging from topics like Setting Up Shop with Linda Stevens of Upland Soap Factory (who is hilarious!) to The Media is You with Donna Maria Coles Johnson of the Indie Beauty Network. I was shocked when I realized I was understanding (and really enjoying) Cold Process Kinetics (heat in soap making process) with Kevin Dunn, PhD (apparently I have turned into a science geek in my old age). Kevin had the coolest animation to show the chemical bonds between soap and water molecules and the different ways soap molecules can arrange themselves...so neat - you can check it out here. The first evening, Kayla and Dennis Fioravanti (check them out on Twitter here) of Essential Wholesale threw a lavish party -

My table at the party

complete with jugglers, stilt walkers, an incredible ice sculpture/martini fountain,

delicious food, a bag filled will amazing natural products (I cant get enough of the Bitter Almond & Vanilla Lotion), and two very talented comedians: Wendy Leibman and Jon Reep. Jon had me in tears, I was practically hyperventilating I was laughing so hard...oh lordy that man is fuuuunnnny. After the next jam packed day we had an evening to pamper ourselves with Spa Night - don't I look fabulous?

Thanks for being my personal photographer Bill (from Piper Tate)! Somehow I managed to make it to the pool each evening (staying up way past my bedtime) to chat it up with my fellow soapers.

The last day of the conference was bitter sweet, it started with a Indie Meet up breakfast hosted by Donna Maria where I was able to meet fabulous Indies and talk about legislation effecting our industry. Oh and I also got to talk cupcakes with Anne Marie. Fellow soaper Cindy of Sudz N Bubbles and I got more than we bargained for when we went to a local spot called Randy's. Randy's is a Palm Springs staple and is frequented by sports stars and Hollywood celebrities. Randy was extremely genial if a bit eccentric, his walls are covered in photographs and autographs and his menu was a binder not only filled with food options but also articles, factoids and more photographs. You can ready more about the lunch here. After another afternoon of classes the conference ended with dinner, an awards ceremony and tons of pictures!

The next day was rough, I was sleep deprived and had to be up at 4am for a 6am flight back to SF so I could make it to work by 9 (I know I am totally crazy). I am thankful I didn't have anything serious to do at work that day because I was loopy!!!

I really had a great time and I am so glad that I went. I know that I am definitely attending next years conference in Denver!! Hopefully this time I'll get to hit up the spa.


Anonymous said...


Thank you so much for this wonderful post and for coming to the conference. Linda Stevens is one of my favorite people, I am so glad you got to see her. And who can say enough about Essential Wholesale and that fabulous party they threw! :) I am glad you are coming to Denver, perhaps in my new role I'll get to chat with some fellow soapers. :)

Leigh O'Donnell

Alana said...

Leigh -

I loved the conference. You and your team did an incredible job. I would love to chat soap with you at the next conference!

Anonymous said...

Great blog Alana, so glad you got to come to the conference...it was so much fun. Of course, now I need to go back to Palm Springs to check out Randy's. Looking forward to the Denver event too.

Dennis Fioravanti

Alana said...

Dennis -

Thanks for the compliment. You and Kayla put on a great party!!! You definitely must check out Randy's it was quite an experience : ).

Ruth said...

Nice summary of a GREAT time! It was SO worth the sleep deprivation, right? I feel so energized from all of the great talks and ideas floating around all week.

Alana said...

I know!!! I really need to go over all my notes again. I was DEFINITELY worth the sleep deprivation.

alinadel said...