It is just about conference season for us soap makers! Benjamin and I will be making the rounds, attending the HSCG Conference, Texas and then Alabama. We can’t wait! There is nothing like gathering with like-minded individuals to talk soap, catch up with old friends and have a good time.

Do you know about the conference held in Texas every year in June? If not, keep reading as I interview Elin Criswell about the Lone Star Soap and Toiletries Seminar.

We’ll see you there!

Amanda: How did Lone Star Soap & Toiletries get it’s start?

Elin: Lone Star was founded by my dear friend, Starlene Moore. She envisioned a supportive group of Texas soapmakers who would join together to encourage each other in our mutual craft. She wanted a partner in fun, so she asked me to help her and together on January 1, 2010 we launched Lone Star. We had a great time working together as a team, then in 2014, she turned Lone Star over to me with her blessing.

What is the mission of Lone Star?

Simply put, our mission is…. “to gather, to learn, to encourage each other.”

How long has Lone Star been hosting the Soapmakers Seminar?

We held our first seminar in 2010, so this year’s event will be our 8th annual seminar. We hold the seminar every first weekend in June at the Williamson Conference Center at the Wingate Hotel in Round Rock, Texas.

Does Lone Star host other events?

Yes! In January 2016, we launched the Lone Star Winter Retreat. The idea was to have a more laid-back event than our educational-intensive seminar. We hold the Retreat at the Riverbend Conference Center in Marble Falls. It’s a great venue and very relaxing to stay at a hotel right on the lake. The retreat provides a wonderful time to socialize and learn from other soapmakers in a relaxed setting.

How do you join Lone Star? Are there dues to pay?

Lone Star is not an organization or non-profit, so there are no dues to pay. Lone Star is in fact, my business. I serve as the Coordinator and Event Planner. My team of five also helps me with coordinating all the behind-the-scenes details of coordinating Lone Star events. The team includes Pat Tyson, Melanie & Gary Brown, Trish Morton and Chris King.  Also note that we communicate via our Facebook group that soapmakers can join.

Is Lone Star exclusively for business soapmakers?

No. We welcome everyone from those just starting out in the craft to the well-cured soapmakers.

Do you have to live in Texas to attend the seminar?

No. Soapmakers from all over the state of Texas attend our events, as well as those who travel or fly in from other states.

What make the Soapmakers Seminar different from other conferences?

Our people!  We have a great group of soapmakers who not only attend our events, but faithfully volunteer to help out at our events. Personally, I tend to think that all groups that host soap gatherings are basically doing the same thing. However, each group has their own take on how to do it. Just like how we are all soapmakers making soap, but we all have our own take on it. As a result, we have several different soap events across the country from which to choose to attend.

What are the advantages of attending a soap gathering?

There is tremendous value in meeting together with other soapmakers! First, other soapmakers are the only ones who will truly understand your love for the craft. Second, Lone Star’s motto is, “You never know what you will learn from another soapmaker!” This is so true! When you network with other soapmakers you always stand the chance of learning something you didn’t know…. from a tip on how to best swirl soap to explaining some new technique, it is always beneficial to network with other soapmakers.

Where do you envision Lone Star going in the future?

The primary goal is to always maintain our status of being an encouraging, supportive group of soapmakers. It’s only way to go! As for the seminar and retreat, they will both grow, but always with that goal of maintaining an encouraging atmosphere.

I would like to extend my personal invitation to all readers of your blog to come to the Soapmakers Seminar. Come on down to Texas!  We’ll treat you to good time! – Elin

Happy Soaping!

-Amanda Gail