lori headshot 2013Lori Nova Endres, Founder and Co-owner of The Nova Studio, began making natural bath & body products in her kitchen in 2000 as a way to make family & friends homemade, practical gifts. Shortly thereafter, she began sharing her passion by teaching classes. Lori has taught classes for The Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetics Guild (HSCG), The Learning Annex of SF, Juniper Tree, The Native American Cultural Center, Foothill De Anza Community College & The Berkeley Ecology Center. Lori started The Nova Studio in September of 2003 and held classes in Point Richmond, CA until 2015. Learn everything from beginning soap making to all natural perfumes, a variety of bath & body products, and even home cleaning products from Lori.

Ruth headshot square versionRuth Esteves, Co-owner of The Nova Studio, started making handmade soap in 2006 as another in a long line of hobbies. Since then, she has gone from whipping up quick melt-and-pour soap gifts for her friends to designing and selling her own cold process soaps online through Sirona Springs. Trained as a laboratory research scientist, Ruth finds that soapmaking is the perfect blending of chemistry and art. Ruth is also a member of the Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetics Guild (HSCG) and holds the HSCG Advanced Soapmaker certification. Learn beginning & advanced soap making topics from Ruth.

Alice headshotAlice Duvernell is an artist & gilder who moved to the Bay Area after living in the south of France for 8 years. There she started researching problematic & sensitive skin types & developed an interest in the amazing virtues of essential oils & hydrosols. Her interest in culture & her studies in anthropology led her to travel in South America where she expanded her passion & awareness in native medicinal plants. During her last journey to Brazil, she set up a laboratory where she shared with the locals her homemade techniques for making hydrosols & other cosmetics, using only native plants. Learn how to create herbal & facial products from Alice.

Jen headshotJen Grimes started her descent down the make-your-own cosmetic rabbit hole after stumbling over books with vintage cosmetic recipes in her local library. After picking up and putting down books on how to make soap (all those bizarre ingredients and safety measures!), she took the plunge, promptly became addicted, and was certified as a soapmaker through the Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetics Guild (HSCG). Today, Jen is a proud member of and volunteer for HSCG & owns and operates Loft Soap. She has a passion for hot-processed soap, loves funny-looking soap and can often be found communing with other soapmakers at The Nova Studio. Learn intermediate & advanced soap making topics from Jen.

david critchfield teacher picDavid Critchfield, veteran Soapmaker & founder of Mission Peak Soap Products began soap making in 1995 when his wife presented him with a beginning soap making book. From the early days of ugly soap and vanishing fragrances, David turned his hobby into a steady stream of income producing fine, aromatic, handcrafted soap for fund raisers, local health food stores and specialty retailers. He joined forces with Lori way back in 2005 to expand the variety of soap making classes at The Nova Studio. Even though he’s retired from teaching classes (after 10 great years), we’re thrilled to have the products of his years of expertise available for sale as instant PDF downloads. Learn how to make really big batches of soap (his specialty) as well as other intermediate/advanced soap making topics from David.

joan headshot croppedJoan McCoy is a crafter who began making bath and body products in 2004. It all started when she pruned the lavender bush in her backyard & noted all the beautiful stems that went into her compost bin. After the next harvest, she dried the lavender and made sachets for everyone she knew. Soap and other bath products soon followed and there’s been no turning back since! Joan currently sells her products at craft shows during the holiday season and at an artist’s cooperative boutique in San Jose. Joan is also a proud member of the Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetics Guild (HSCG). Learn how to package your bath & body products from Joan.

kenna-modern-soapmakingKenna Cote created Modern Soapmaking in 2014, a proverbial online playground for soapmakers, after owning & operating 2 successful soap companies. With over 10 years of soapmaking experience, she passes on her knowledge through resources & eBooks. She continues to nurture soapmakers through mentorship programs & workshops, as well as publications. When “off” work, she indulges in photography, MMORPGs (video games!), & her amazingly supportive family (with 4 little ones). If you catch one of her YouTube soapmaking videos, you’ll see her in her element: working at 3 am with caffeine in hand, listening to her favorite electronic music. Learn a variety of soap making topics from Kenna.

erin headshot croppedErin Pikor is the owner of Naiad Soap Arts and a proud member of the Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetics Guild (HSCG). With a background in fine art and photography, she began making soap in 2006 with an attention to formulating soaps and bath products that suited her problematic and sensitive skin, but also appealed to her sense of composition and color. She is best known for her award winning soap design, her dessert line of soaps including the French Macaron soap and her body sugar cubes, a no-mess single-use, cube-shaped sugar scrub. Her soaps can be found online and in boutiques around the country. Learn to make silicone soap molds & 5 types of sugar scrubs from Erin.

debbie headshot croppedDebbie Chialtas is a self-taught melt & pour soap artist who started making soaps in 2005 and began teaching soap crafting for The Nova Studio in 2008. Her business, SoapyLove, was famous for its unique Soapy Pops which appeared in Glamour, People, Cosmogirl and other magazines around the world. Debbie was a guest on the DIY Network’s Craft Lab and authored two books: “Soapylove: Squeaky Clean Projects Using Melt & Pour Soap” and “The Art of Soap.” She still writes tutorials and loves the soap crafting community! Debbie is a mother of 2 and lives with her husband in San Diego. Learn beginning to advanced melt & pour soap techniques with Soapylove eZines & Class Handouts from Debbie.

Donna Maria Coles Johnson is an award-winning small business advocate and the founder and CEO of the Indie Business Network (IBN), a nationwide trade organization offering entrepreneurial training services and product liability insurance to Makers and Handmade Entrepreneurs. (Note: The Nova Studio has been proud member of the IBN since 2006). Donna Maria is also a former practicing attorney, an author, and the host of the Indie Business Podcast. Donna Maria taught the Original Business Boot Camp at The Nova Studio, and we’re proud to be offering it exclusively as a 4-part instantly downloadable Audio eClass. Learn strategies for getting your business off the ground or giving it the boost it needs from Donna Maria.

Lela Barker is the creator + CEO of Bella Lucce (an award-winning, international beauty company), the executive director of a Moroccan-based nonprofit and president of Lucky Break, a small business consulting firm serving the creative community. She has been honored to speak at business conferences and industry events from Palm Springs, California to Bamako, Mali. She’s taught on cruise ships, in African mud huts and in swanky hotel ballrooms. Lela has worked with USAID and sits on the executive board of Bead For Life, a nonprofit working to empower women and combat extreme poverty in Uganda. Her products and personal story have been featured in more than fifty publications worldwide. Lela believes in girl power, second chances, fab shoes and dark chocolate. She lives in in Columbia, SC with her two teen daughters and her high school sweetheart (it’s a great story!). Learn 155 words you need to know as a creative entrepreneur from Lela.

marie gale 2014Marie Gale is four-time author, past president of The Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetics Guild (HSCG) & labeling guru. She has taught numerous Soap & Cosmetic Labeling and Good Manufacturing Practices classes at The Nova Studio, based on her most popular books. Grab your copy of Soap & Cosmetic Labeling and/or Good Manufacturing Practices from our website. Learn how to get your business compliant from Marie.


Looking for a little 1-on-1 time? Many of our teachers offer private consultations, either in person (at their location or yours) or by phone or Skype. Just contact us to let us know what you need.

We’re always on the lookout for talented teachers with unique/creative ideas in the field of handmade bath & body products, entrepreneurship, etc. If interested, e-mail us with a proposal, your resume and references.



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