Karyn Gets More At The Conference April 27 2015

Last week was the Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetic Guild's (HSCG) Annual Conference. Joanna and I went with the intention of meeting some of our customers, perhaps making some new ones and generally promoting our company, Mad Oils. We talked with people, made connections, mission accomplished. Right? Well, half right.

For me the conference went a little deeper. Soap makers are a unique group. We talked with everyone from suppliers to competitors to customers and I noticed one common theme. Community. And while Joanna may be well known in this community, I am not. In fact, I’ve never even made a bar of soap. You see, Mad Oils is my chapter 2. So I came into this close knit community expecting to feel like an outsider looking in and, instead, I felt welcomed with warmth. I can tell you as a psychotherapist (my chapter 1) that’s pretty rare. I saw beginners and seasoned soap makers alike working/learning together in an environment of inclusion. Now that’s pretty cool. The level of camaraderie was remarkable. I felt a connection to these friendly, creative, artistic and talented people immediately. Many of these people have known each other primarily on the internet for years. In fact, I’d be remiss not to mention the fascinating role of social media within this community. There are groups and forums, blogs and websites, all aimed at building this cohesive community. But, here, they could meet face to face and connect in real time. They were open and engaging and eager to talk about their craft. They shared recipes and suppliers, what they liked what they didn’t about each. They were helpful, to each other and to me. And I learned so much more than I had bargained for, not just about soaping, but about people. About community.

One of my favorite parts of the Conference, was that this sense of community extended to the speakers, as well. The speakers, all experts in their fields with reputations that preceded them, were never too hurried to answer questions, never too rushed to stay after and explain something in more depth or sign a book they had written. I was even lucky enough to talk with a few over cocktails at that evening’s soiree. It made me feel like no matter what level I was on, I was important and I was going to get what I needed. That’s pretty incredible in a group of 450 people. There was also a plethora of resources for sale, both at the vendor booths and from the HSCG itself. They really were able to cater to soap makers at every level, which I found impressive.

So while I went there with the intention of networking for my company, I left there feeling part of a new community of not just potential customers, but friends.


The Dude's Story Needs To Be Told September 11 2014

The story behind our logo: Our Mad Oils logo is based on a Sugar Skull that we showed to our graphic designer, but we wanted more.  Something more organic, something that would tell our story and who we are. He listened to us and took our business name, thoughts and design ideas and created two large trees being joined together by a walking bridge, while maintaining the image of a sugar skull.

What we love about this, is that it shows how complex this imagery really is. Everyone sees something different.

Karyn sees her movement from one career to another, where she can stand out on the bridge and look out at her future.

Joanna sees two things: she sees "the Dude", which is what we call him here at the workshop, because he looks like a short-legged crazy grunting funny man that runs around, curling his arms down and grunting. (she knows: weird imagery...) The other thing she sees: The untamed,unharnessed beauty of nature with our small bridge that we built so that we could bring a little bit of that magical nature to you without disturbing the beauty of it.

When Syd looks at our "Dude", she is reminded that you can always see the fun and whimsical side of life, her motto has always been that you should laugh every day of your life, and she sees it as representation that you can do anything, BE anything at whatever age you are. She sees rejuvenation in our Dude, as she begins the 3rd career of her life.

So, the Dude has history... and now you know.  So what do you see?  The great thing is that it is interpretive!  It can have whatever meaning for you, so make it your own.

Thank you, Adrian Clark, of Mad Fox! (now back in Australia).  Your talent got the job, your business name sealed the deal for the rest of the work!  You rock and we love you!