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05-17-2011

Oprah's Favorite Soap Maker to Teach "My Small Business 102" Class at Adirondack Business Center in Saranac Lake

Saranac Lake, N.Y. -- The Adirondack Business Center, in its mission to support regional small business owners, will offer "My Small Business 102: Strategies and Inspiration for the Creatively Inclined" on Wednesday evenings, May 25 through June 15, at the Adirondack Business Center in Saranac Lake, N.Y.

Designed for artists and craftspeople in all stages of their business, this four-part series will focus on using the artisan’s artistry to advance their businesses.

Sandy Maine, proprietor of the SunFeather Natural Soap Company in St. Lawrence County, will instruct. 

After reading a $3 book on soap-making, which she purchased in a Saranac Lake bookstore in 1979, Maine began her business in her backyard using a small generator and water she hauled in five-gallon pails from a nearby spring to get started making all-natural soaps. Specializing in artful colors, textures, and scent palettes, her products integrated artistic form as well as practical function.

Her business grew and employees joined in to help with the increasing workload until Maine eventually moved on to product development, sales, and marketing, where she again creatively implemented artistry in her work.

While preserving a socially responsible model of operation for her business, a hands-on approach, and utilizing healthful organic ingredients, Maine specializes in keeping artistry a very important component of her company’s work.

In 2005, SunFeather Natural Soap Company was selected to provide hundreds of pounds of six custom scented soaps for Oprah Winfrey’s 50th birthday party.      

She has written numerous articles and books on soap making and microenterprise. She is also the founder and director of the non-profit organization Community Supported Business Start-Ups, which has given nine microenterprise grants to local start-ups since its inception. 

The four-part series will include “Your Life, Your Art, Your Business," The Art of Management: Maintaining, Growing & Sustaining Your Business," “The Creative Art of Marketing," and “Selling What You Make."

The fourth class of the series will include guest instructors Hilary Oak, executive director, St. Lawrence County Arts Council; Mary Hilton, owner, Maple Run Emporium; and Dorothy Yanchitis, owner, the Ray Brook Frog. This class will run from 6:30-9:30 p.m. on June 15. The first three classes will meet from 6-8 p.m. on May 25, June 1, and June 8.

To register, contact the Adirondack Business Center, 141 River Street, Saranac Lake, N.Y., at 518-354-8410 or adkbusiness@clarkson.edu.

The Adirondack Business Center is sponsored by Clarkson University’s Center for Entrepreneurship in Potsdam, N.Y. It offers classes, assistance, and counseling in support of regional small business owners. It also offers business spaces available by the hour or day. These include personal workstations, private offices, a conference room, and a 24-seat class room. Included are personal computers loaded with Microsoft Office 2010 Suite, high speed internet, phone, teleconferencing, projectors, and screens. Copying, scanning, faxing, and small-batch printing are also available on site. 

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in six alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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