– a medieval association of craftsmen or merchants, often having considerable power.
– an association of people for mutual aid or the pursuit of a common goal.
As we launch our new Guild, we face the challenge of defining who we are, and what is our purpose or vision. So this first blog post will attempt to outline some of our thoughts on this subject.
Who We Are
Support & Education
The handcrafted soap and toiletries industry has exploded over the past few years, and shows no sign of slowing down. Most of us started making our own products because we were looking for more natural alternatives to commercial products, either because of a desire to make healthier choices, or because of troublesome skin conditions or allergies. When this “natural is better” movement began, we were all stumbling around in the dark, because sources of accurate information were hard to come by. With the advent of the Internet, information has exploded, but ironically, accuracy is even harder to come by.
As soon as companies realized that a whole new audience was available to them, at a fraction of the cost of traditional print and television advertising, the avalanche of misinformation began. The approach? Tell them whatever is required to make them open their wallets. Unfortunately this misinformation gets spread so widely across the Internet, from blog to blog, that finding accurate information in Google search results is next to impossible. Examples? Try doing a search for natural sunscreens and insect repellents, or essential oils, and see what you find.
Another contributor to the wealth of misinformation on the Internet is the DIY movement. We all started as DIYers, and we are very supportive of anyone who wants to jump in and try it for themselves. Unfortunately many of the DIY recipes on the Internet are disasters waiting to happen. No, grating up a bar of soap and mixing it with water or aloe or hydrosols does not make liquid soap….it makes a runny, slimy impersonation of liquid soap. Melting grated lipstick with Vaseline is not going to give you the quality handcrafted lip gloss or balm that you’re looking for. Grapefruit seed extract is not a natural preservative. The misinformation is endless, and everyday it gets spread further and further.
So, one of the aims of our Guild is to encourage our members to share accurate information about the amazing ingredients and techniques that we use everyday, so that experienced crafters can continue to grow, and newcomers can benefit from the experience of those who have learned the hard way.
Our longer range plans include member conferences and core technique courses/certificates, which will be added on as our membership grows.
So how do we share this information? For our Members, we have a password protected site that will soon contain a variety of proprietary tools and resources, such as a searchable INCI Database in English and French, an interactive map of all suppliers in North America, with direct links to their websites, Fragrance Calculator worksheet to help you figure out exactly how much fragrance to add to your product, and…and….well you get the picture. Something you’d like to see added? Let us know.
Professional Members will be featured in our Business Directory, allowing customers to locate you by Province or City.
We also have a Members Only Forum, where you can start or join discussions on any subject pertaining to the handcrafted bath & body experience. We’ll get you started by setting up some Boards, but feel free to suggest any new ones that you’d like to see.
Wait, what about Discounts?
Who doesn’t love a good discount? Even if you join the Guild just for the vendor discounts, you’ll cover the cost of your membership in the amount you save buying supplies from our Vendor Members over the course of the year. However, when you see the list of our Vendor Members, you aren’t just seeing potential discounts, you’re seeing Vendors that are used by our Members on a daily basis. We have made a commitment to continually search for solutions to our Members problems, so if you’re having trouble sourcing an ingredient or packaging solution, ask the Membership or ask us….we’ll get on it! Have a favourite vendor that isn’t currently a Member? Send them an email and ask them to join, or send us an email suggesting that we add them, or both.
We are only a week old, so our Vendor Member list is short, but we are actively communicating with many Vendors, some old faces and some you may not be familiar with, so check back often for additions.
Who We Aren’t….
We aren’t the Bath & Body police 🙂
The Guild is here to help and support you; to brainstorm and share ideas with people facing the same challenges as you are. Hopefully you’ll find solutions here, but we will never tell you how to run your business, or what you should think and feel about any issue.
We aren’t all “natural”…..for a couple of reasons:
a) in Canada, there is no legal definition of “natural” as it pertains to cosmetics, and
b) not everyone has the same goal in mind when they handcraft bath & body products. Some want to eliminate all synthetically produced ingredients from their products, while others are okay with adding safe synthetics, they just want to be able to make an amazing product that they can afford.
So, that’s us in a nutshell. Sorry this was a little bit long, we promise to keep them shorter in the future. If you’re interested in becoming a member, drop into our website and take advantage of our 30 day free trial membership. If you’re not quite ready to join us, come visit us in our Facebook group, Soapz and Stuffs, for lively, informative discussions on all things handcrafted bath & body…we’d love to see you there!