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Monday, December 20, 2010

Emergency Action Alert from the Alliance For Natural Health

Food Safety PASSES the Senate in Shocking Maneuver Sent to House for Action on 12/21 - TELL THEM NO!

Below is an important message we wanted to share with you from The Alliance for Natural Health...

"Please forward this message to everyone you know who cares about the Food Safety issue, and ask them to take action TODAY, since the bill will almost certainly be voted upon tomorrow, Tuesday 12/21.

Sunday night, in one of the most underhanded and outrageous legislative maneuvers we’ve seen, the Senate passed the language of S. 510, the Food Safety bill, by a unanimous consent agreement. It now goes to the House of Representatives. We have one last chance to stop it!

As we told you last week, Democrats first attempted to attach the food safety bill to the short-term spending measure to keep the government running, but Republicans balked because they wanted to keep that measure clean. So last night, the Senate raised it as an amendment to a completely unrelated bill from the House of Representatives—H.R. 2751, the Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save Act! Quite a number of reports, including some from other health organizations, have gotten many of these details wrong. The swift approval by unanimous consent caught some aides and lobbyists working on it by surprise. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) had promised to block the legislation, but lifted his objection at the final moment.

Reid announced he would send the legislation—this time attached to a House-originated measure—back to the lower chamber for final approval. Please contact Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and your own Congressional representative immediately and urge that the Food Safety language be completely stripped from H.R. 2751 the Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save Act!

We believe Pelosi would prefer to bring up Food Safety “under suspension,” which is an expedited House procedure that requires a two-thirds vote to pass. We need you to urge her in the strongest possible terms to bring it up under regular order—no more expedited deals, no more underhanded maneuvers!

Tell her that the Senate’s passage of this bill at 10 p.m. on a Sunday night doesn't give the public an opportunity to weigh in—and you don’t want the same thing to happen in the House! Tell her this issue is too vital for you and your family’s health to allow it to be considered outside of regular protocols!

Please send a message to Ms. Pelosi and your representative TODAY!"

Monday, November 29, 2010

Pretty Packages

Things that make you go hmmmmmmmm!

So I was talking to a customer the other day and we were talking about marketing your products. We all try to come up with something cool to package in, something that will make our products stand out so that they are remembered. We even try to make our product beautiful, natural looking, unique, once again, something to make it stand out so that someone wants to pick up our product, feel it, smell it, ooo and ah over it…and just gotta have it. And then there is that fine line... Creating a product so beautiful and cool looking that it becomes a decoration on the vanity rather than the best skin care product they ever purchased. Because let’s face it, women do that. I have to admit that I am guilty of it myself from time to time. We love to buy pretty soaps and things like that to just sit around. We don’t mind paying $6.00 or more for this awesome bar of soap because it looks cool sitting in on the vanity or in the kitchen.

My customer and I got a great laugh out of it, but she said, “You know, you are right. I want people to love the way my soap and other products look, but I want them to try them because they feel even better. They have to try them in order for me to get repeat business.”

So have you ever run into this before? Do you have any funny stories, thoughts, or ideas to add to this? Let us know what you think…especially as we head into our biggest shopping season. Tell us your favorite ways to package your products and to get your customers to try them.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Methods of Packaging Your Soap

So you made the soap, de molded it and cut it into beautiful bars! Now what do you do with all of it? First it needs to cure! I use stackable, vented Soap Drying Trays. They really seem to reduce the amount of my cure time. The cool thing about these trays is that you don’t have to turn your bars. The air just flows through and around. You can fit on average, a hundred bars on one tray and they are stackable! Need I say more!

Packaging your soap! Now this is the fun part! There are so many options. You have put all this work into making these beautiful bars of soap and now you get to decide the best way to package them! There are boxes and sleeves, raffia and twine, cigar bands and shrink wrap…the list goes on. I have seen some really creative packaging even using simple materials such as coffee filters and parchment paper.

Two of the packaging methods I really like are cigar bands made from Seeded Paper and Shrink Wrapping. There is this really cool seeded paper that you can your print cigar bands (or other marketing) on. Rather than your packaging getting tossed in the waste basket, it can be planted in soil to produce a gift of flowers.

I also like using a Shrink Wrap System. This is great when you have a lot of soap to package. You can wrap a whole lot of bars in a short time. I especially love using Shrink Films that allow the scent to pass through.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

HSMG Hires DC Advocate Mary Anne Walsh

Mary Anne Walsh of Roetzel and Andress has been hired to represent the HSMG and the handcrafted soap industry in Washington, DC.

To read more about this visit the HSMG blog @ http://www.soapguild.org/blog/

The HSMG needs our help...please consider donating to the Legislative Advocacy Fund .

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

HSMG - Hiring a DC Advocate

A message we'd like to share from Leigh O'Donnell - HSMG President

The Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild's (HSMG) is an established and functioning non-profit trade association whose mission is to promote the handcrafted soap industry; to act as a center of communication among soapmakers, and to circulate information beneficial to soapmakers.

In the past three years there have been many threatening legislative proposals. The three most recent pieces of federal legislation have been the FDA Globalization Act 2009 (HR 759), Safe Baby Act 2009 (S 925) and The Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 (HR 5786 – still pending).

The HSMG Board of Directors has decided that the time has come to strengthen our policy positions and take an even more pro-active stance in advocating for the handcrafted soap industry, especially since a large portion of the industry makes soap falls under cosmetic regulations.

To this end, the HSMG Board of Directors created a Legislative Advocacy Committee and has approved an official Legislative Advocacy Statement, including a clear delineation of advocacy policy and positions. We are now in an active search for a suitable professional advocate (lobbyist) to work on our behalf in Washington.

As the HSMG is supported solely by membership dues, we have established an Advocacy Fund and are seeking donations from both members and non-members to defray the costs associated with hiring a professional advocate and related expenses. All monies donated to the Advocacy Fund will be used solely and only for advocacy related activities. It is our hope that HSMG members, non-members, companies and consumers interested in preserving the industry donate today. These funds will specifically fund the hiring of a professional advocate and related expenses. For more information and/or to make a donation, see our advocacy webpages here: http://www.soapguild.org/industry/leg-SCA2010.php

Updates and additional information will be communicated to you via the HSMG blog and eNews.

It is exciting for us to be able to take such an effective stance in the legislative arena, we are proud to be taking the voice of the handcrafted soap industry to our elected officials and government agencies.

Leigh O'Donnell
HSMG President

Monday, August 2, 2010

Five Ladies Go to Washington to Oppose The Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010

We would like to express our sincerest thanks to five special ladies for sacrificing their time and money for our industry by making a trip to Washington, DC to meet with senior staffers of the sponsors of The Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010.

Leigh O'Donnell - Pesident, HSMG
Donna Maria Coles Johnson - The Indie Beauty Network
Kayla Fioravanti - Essential Wholesale
Anne-Marie Faiola - Bramble Berry
Lela Barker - Bella Lucce

An exerpt from Leigh O'Donnell...

August 2, 2010

Legislative Update

Sunday evening I flew to Washington DC to join up with Donna Maria Coles Johnson (IBN), Kayla Fioravanti (Essential Wholesale), Anne-Marie Faiola (Brambleberry) and Lela Barker (Bella Lucce). We will be meeting with senior staffers of the sponsors of The Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 (H.R. 5786).

Please see my blog post about the trip for the details. I will be posting to Facebook and Twitter while in DC, if you want to follow the action.

NOTE: If you are an HSMG member in the DC area and would like to meet us for dinner tonight (August 2nd) we will be at Luigi’s, 1132 19th St. NW, at 6 PM. Come join us!

We have posted an expanded summary of the Safe Cosmetics Act on the HSMG Website, along with talking points, a sample letter and additional information to assist you in your actions to help oppose this bill.

I will do a complete blog post on the results of this trip when I return.

Kindest regards,

Leigh O'Donnell,
President, HSMG

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Petition to Oppose HR 5786: The Safe Cosmetics Act

In the last couple of posts we've shared information and links with you regarding The Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010. Today we encourage you to take action!

Whether you currently have a business in the Handcrafted Industry, are considering one in the future, or simply a consumer who enjoys buying handcrafted products from small businesses, this will affect you.

If you oppose this draft legislation as written, please take the time to write your Representative explaining how this bill will affect you.

Click the following link to sign the Petition to Oppose HR 5786: The Safe Cosmetics Act
Oppose HR 5786: Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010

We hope you will join us in supporting businesses in the Handcrafted Industry by voicing your opinion.

Thank you!

Friday, July 23, 2010

The HSMG Stand on The Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010

The following informative article was posted on the Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild Blog. The Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild, Inc. is an international non-profit professional trade association promoting the handcrafted soap industry. Click here to find out more about the Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild Inc.

Legislative Update
On July 20th, The Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 (H.R. 5786) was introduced by representatives Schakowsky (D-IL), Markey (D-MA) and Baldwin (D-WI). [Read the entire bill (47 pages)].

This bill is intended to amend the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act to ensure the safe use of cosmetics, and for other purposes. IF the bill passed in this format, this is what if would mean for your business:

Who does this bill affect?

• Any establishment located in any state that manufactures, packages or distributes cosmetics.
• Any foreign establishment that exports cosmetics to the United States without further processing or packaging outside the United States.

(This means the bill will affect you IF you are making soap that qualifies as a cosmetic.)

How will it affect your business?

Mandatory Registration
Any establishment as defined above will have to register with the Secretary (the FDA) by providing the following information:
• Name
• Address
• Trade Names
• Description of Activities
• Number of Workers Employed
• Gross receipt of Sales
• Names and Addresses of any suppliers of ingredients
Any changes to the registration will be made within 60 days. Once the registration is completed the establishment will be assigned a registration number. The FDA will maintain a list of establishments that are registered and portions this list will become public information. Any establishment that fails to provide complete information of fails to register will be removed or suspended.

(Currently the FDA has a Voluntary Cosmetic Registration Program (VCRP). This bill would make registration mandatory and require further information.)

Registration Fees
A fee schedule will be determined by the FDA. All companies with annual gross receipts of less than $1M will not be assessed a fee.

(Although the fees are unlikely to directly affect you, it may affect your suppliers or their suppliers and may have a trickle down affect to the end user.)

Product Labeling
All products will be labeled with the name of each ingredient in descending order of predominance. A contaminant or trace element is not required to be listed if the contaminant is present at levels below technically feasible detection limits.

All products sold in e-Commerce would be required to have an ingredient list on the website as well as the product label. This includes the establishment's website as well as the websites of their distributors.

List of Ingredients
The FDA will keep a list of ingredients that are prohibited or restricted for use in cosmetics and continually update that list. The list will be ingredients that are known to be carcinogenic, mutagenic, or have reproductive and developmental toxicity, based on information from the following:

• The Environmental Protection Agency
• The International Agency for Research on Cancer
• The National Toxicity Program through the National Institutes of Health
• The California Environmental Protection Agency
• Other authoritative international, Federal, and State entities (as determined by the Secretary)
(It will be the responsibility of the manufacturer to keep up with what is on the list and what is added to the list, at this time it is not clear how this list will be maintained and in what format).

Safety Statements
Eighteen months after the date of enactment of the Act, each manufacturer shall submit a statement signed by the CEO, based on available information after a good faith inquiry, that -

• The cosmetic and its ingredients meet the safety standard; or
• There is insufficient data to determine whether the cosmetic and its ingredients meet the safety standard.
(The safety statement will be required for each product that you sell; it is not clear what is done in the case of a product that has insufficient data).

Registration of Products
Each manufacturer shall submit electronically each cosmetic manufactured in the establishment that is intended to be marketed in the United States a statement containing:

• The registration number of the manufacturing establishment;
• The registration number of the establishment responsible for distributing the cosmetic;
• The brand name and the product name for the cosmetic;
• The applicable use for the cosmetic;
• The ingredient list as it appears on the cosmetic label of insert, including the particle size of any nanoscale cosmetic ingredients;
• Any warnings and directions for use from the cosmetic label or insert; and
• The title and full contact information for the individual responsible for submitting and maintaining such statements.
Any changes must be made in a timely manner and notification will be made to the Secretary. Each statement will be assigned a cosmetic statement number by the Secretary upon submission.

(This means EVERY product that you manufacture and market to the public which will limit your ability to change and try new products on short notice).

Reporting of Adverse Health Effects
All reports of adverse health effects shall be made within 15 business days of the event. The content of the report shall include:

• An identifiable patient.
• An identifiable report.
• A suspect cosmetic.
• A serious and unexpected adverse event.

Confidential Information
All information submitted to the Secretary shall be deemed public information and nonconfidential with the exception of the concentration of cosmetic ingredients used in a finished cosmetic.

Position of the HSMG

At the 2010 Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, the membership passed a legislative advocacy statement:

The position of The Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild is to act as an advocate in all areas that affect the manufacture, sale and distribution of handcrafted soap as defined by HSMG Policy 2005-04-28 Position Statement. Handcrafted soap under these definitions can be either a soap or a cosmetic depending upon how it's formulated and labeled.

The FDA's website has a page with a very good definition of whether your soap is a soap or a cosmetic. To re-educate yourself click here.

It is the position of the HSMG that The Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010:
• Is poorly written and confusing.
• Places too much of a financial burden on small business.
• Over regulates an already safe industry.
• Destroys the creativity and flexibility of small handcrafted soap manufacturers.
• Creates further job loss and loss of local revenue in already tough economic times.
Therefore, the HSMG is against H.R. 5786 The Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 as written.

Additional Information

This information has also been posted to the HSMG Blog and I would welcome your comments there.

The HSMG will be monitoring the progress of this bill and making our voice heard in Washington. Additional information will be posted to the blog and sent out to members as it becomes available.

Kindest regards,

Leigh O'Donnell,
President, HSMG

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010

The following is a well written article regarding the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 by Donna Maria Coles Johnson CEO and Founder of Indie Beauty & Indie Business Network. We encourage you to visit her web site, http://indiebeauty.com/, and consider joining IBN, the social networking site for small and independent business owners and the people who love them!

Dear IBN Members:
I write to advise you that, earlier today, the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 was introduced by Reps. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc. (Link to PDF of legislation.)

As I understand it, this proposed legislation was drafted in large part by the Campaign For Safe Cosmetics (CFSC), which as you may know published a video today entitled “The Story Of Cosmetics.” You can see the video and read my brief commentary about it here.

As you might imagine, this is quite a comprehensive piece of legislation, far more involved than anything we’ve addressed before. I am still reading through it. I don’t have any advocacy points or discussion points at this time because I don’t want to prematurely draw any conclusions, but I want you to be thinking about at least these things because we will soon have to create and circulate our position:

1. Read the legislation (PDF link here), with an eye toward understanding how it will impact how you do business. What new requirements would it impose on you as a manufacturer of cosmetics? What new costs would you likely incur, such as new employees, testing equipment etc.

2. What outlets do you have in place to tell your story when the time comes? Your blog? YouTube? FaceBook? Etc. At some point, we will need to call on members to publicly share their stories of how the legislation will impact their businesses, and also what you as a business owner would propose as an alternative to the legislation as drafted.

3. If you are a signer of the Compact For Safe Cosmetics, this legislation does not affect you any differently from the way it affects anyone else, but it might be an interesting exercise to search through the email communications you have received from CFSC to see if they asked for your input on this legislation. I for one am quite curious about this.

4. If you know of any small business owner anywhere that operates in a regulated industry that has any kind of exemption for small business owners, please post the information to the (link: discussion area) I set up at our private networking site. It can be any industry, anywhere, state or federal. We may be able to use such exemptions in other areas in our advocacy. (If you volunteered to help us find such exemptions, stay tuned for a separate email from me.)

5. If you are one of the IBN members who does not make cosmetics, but who loves using artisan and Indie-made cosmetics, and maybe provide services to those companies, please consider collaborating with your “Indies In Arms” to help your cosmetics manufacturer colleagues address this legislation. It’s obviously too soon yet to make public statements because we still have to read and analyze the legislation, but we can begin supporting one another generally now on FaceBook, Twitter, etc., just by encouraging each other with updates of support for small businesses generally.

CFSC is hosting a briefing on Capitol Hill on July 23 at 9:00am in the Rayburn House Office Building. If you are in DC this Friday, it would be a good idea for you to attend, ask questions, etc. IBN is sending a representative, but I think the more small businesses in attendance generally, the better. You can see the announcement and details about the briefing here.

If you decide to go, please let me know via email so I can connect you with everyone else who I know that may be going, and you can connect with each other there. Also if you plan to go, be sure to call the number at the bottom of the announcement to get your name on the RSVP list. I am told that it will be heavily attended, and that even though it does not start until 9:00, anyone wishing to get in should be there around 8:15.

I do not have anything more to report at this time, but I have opened a discussion at our private member social networking site so members can discuss and share here. If you cannot access that link, email reply me a request to send you another invitation to join us there. Feel free to use it, but please keep in mind that questions cannot be fully answered at this time because no one has had time to read the Act.

Please do not send any email questions in response to this message as I cannot keep up with the ones I am already receiving. If you post to the forum link, I can easily see everything at once and we can talk there.

I will host a member conference call sometime quite soon to address issues, but that probably won’t happen before the end of next week. Meanwhile, let’s connect at the private forum.

I am honored to serve you.


CEO + Founder: Indie Beauty & Indie Business Network

Social Network   Twitter   FaceBook

Monday, July 5, 2010



Soapequipment.com, a division of Willow Way LLC is happy to introduce our new blog for the Handcrafted Industry. Our sole purpose is to provide readers with beneficial information on equipment, tools, and products for Soap, Skin Care, and Candle Making in addition to tips on taking your hobby to the next level…starting your own Handcrafted Business. We hope to provide you with an avenue to convey your thoughts and ideas as well as post questions.

We will also be sharing important news about the Handcrafted Industry. Check back often to read about articles, events or legislation that are or will be affecting our industry, The Handcrated Body Care Industry. Because we are not alone, and work and live in a symbiotic world, you may find information concerning other pursuits, Candle, Cosmetics, Herbs, etc.

This blog will include an array of things from articles, to equipment and product reviews, pictures, recipes, and links to other blogs and beneficial sites.