I spent the weekend at the Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetic Guild’s conference in Tampa. It was a fun time and a great experience.

There were so many wonderful presenters and, as always, wonderful attendees to meet and network with. I was a presenter this year and had a vendor booth. Thank you to everyone who came up, introduced themselves and spent time with me.

LovinSoapBooth

I didn’t get the chance to attend everyone’s seminar. I LOVED the ones that I did attend. I wanted to share some highlights from the event.

Charlene Simon talked about “But Busters” and how to ignore the negative talk in your head. My main take-away… say yes and figure it out as you go! Charlene is hilarious and she had us cracking up. She shared her story and shared some of her successes as the retail queen.

Darren Seibert – Darren gave a talk entitled Boys and Their B.L.A.D.E.S and talked about the men’s grooming industry. Did you know that men spend $80-$120 a month on grooming products!? What?! Get in on that. And I loved that he told people…you don’t have to make a fancy shave soap from scratch, some suppliers sell a great MP shave soap. It is about having a product available to take advantage of the men’s grooming movement that is happening right now.

Lela Barker gave a talk entitled Charge What You’re Worth! The Art of Communicating Value & Charging a Premium on Your Products.
She talked about pricing our products and communicating the value to our customers. For more info on pricing your products go to her website, Lucky Break Consulting, scroll down to the bottom and sign up for her email list and get her guide to pricing. It is packed with wonderful info on pricing and communicating the value of what you have to offer.

For some reason I didn’t take many photos! But I know who did. Check out the Rustic Escentuals photo album on Facebook. These photos were taken by Ian Curcio. You can also look at the hashtag #HSCG2016 on social media sites and images will pop up.

I love this photo and I love the Rustic Escentuals team!

Photo by Ian Curcio

Photo by Ian Curcio

SEO for Makers

I had the privilege of presenting this year and gave a talk on Search Engine Optimization for Makers. SEO can be confusing and complicated. I broke it down and gave those listening some easy action steps to take to help optimize their sites. Here are a few:

  1. Choose your keywords. But don’t just focus on regular keywords, focus on long-tail keywords. Long tail keywords have better conversion rates. Somebody searching for handmade soap is probably just starting his or her search. Somebody searching for charcoal soap for acne is probably ready to purchase.
  2. The handcrafted soap market is super saturated. By picking a niche and by picking keywords to fit that niche, you might have better results with organic search and more sales conversions.
  3. If you own a business, you need to be blogging! What do search engines like more than quality keyword-rich content on your website? They like quality keyword-rich content that is fresh and new and constantly being updated. One of the best ways to serve up fresh content is by blogging.
  4. Name your images and use alt tags. Anytime you upload product images to your website, your social media or your blog make sure they are named using keywords so that they will show up in image searches. Make sure your keywords are in your alt tags as well.

This presentation was packed with info! I hope that I broke it down enough for people to go home and take steps towards better SEO.

Tipping Points Panel with David Fisher

To close out the conference, David Fisher hosted a panel and we talked about tipping points for our businesses. This discussion was based on the book, The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell.

A few discussion points:

  1. My personal tipping point for my business came very early on when I received the support of Anne-Marie and Bramble Berry. I published an eZine in 2010/2011. Anne-Marie got a hold of it and wanted to sell it on Bramble Berry’s website. She then asked if I wanted to write some guest blog posts for Soapqueen.com. I immediately grew my audience by her sharing my content. (Thanks, Anne-Marie!)
  2. Then we talked about building community. One way to build a community around your brand is to use exclusivity. Customers love to be in on “the secret”. They love to feel special and to feel that they are part of something unique and limited. You can do this by offering an exclusive limited edition product or by offering a limited monthly club membership/product subscription. We’ve taken this concept and applied it to Lovin’ Soap Project and how we raise funds. For a donation of $10 a month you get subscribed to Soap Collaborative Magazine and help to support the empowerment of women all over the world!
  3. On staying motivated. Not everyone has an obvious tipping point. Sometimes growth is slow and steady…and it can be hard to see. Starting today, write down your social media likes, newsletter subscribers, monthly income… even if you only have 10 likes and make $20 a month. Keep track! In one month it might not seem like much progress, but once you compare the difference at 6 months and 12 months…you’ll be amazed at how far you’ve come! But if you don’t track it, you won’t notice it. Celebrate your success, no matter how small! I am constantly tracking my growth and this motivates me to move forward.

And for the most exciting part of the conference…

SoapEquipment.com Raffle!

SoapEquipment.com raffled an EZ Way Soap Cutter and donated the proceeds to Lovin Soap Project! What?!?! Yes! Raffle tickets were sold and one lucky winner was drawn during the awards dinner. A big thank you to the HSCG Guild for allowing us to do this.

SoapEquipment.com has been a supporter of our project since day one, donating equipment when we were still digging into our own pockets to self-support the project. The relief they provided with their donations and the love they showed us will always be tied to the story of when Lovin Soap Project first started. We are so grateful for Ron, Brandy and the SoapEquipment.com team. Brandy is one of my favorite people to see at conference…I can’t think of a sweeter person on this planet.

Congrats to the winner! Thank you to everyone who bought raffle tickets! We are so grateful.

SoapEquipmentWinner

Both Benjamin and I will be at the Alabama Conference and the Texas Conference. Will we see you?

Happy Soaping!

Amanda

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