Monday, April 27, 2009

About Face!

So yeah, my husband lost his job. Now what?

Well, for years I've had a dream of creating and selling my own product line. Because, well...I LOVE products. Please don't look at my bathroom, it's like a Sephora puked in there after a hurricane hit an Ulta.

The problem with my product addiction is that there really aren't many affordable natural/organic options for specific products I was looking for.

As a breast cancer survivor, I've long wrestled with the deodorant conundrum. Do I wear mainstream store bought deodorant and risk developing more problems or even worse, possibly Alzheimer's Disease? Or do I take the even bigger risk of using the "natural" stuff which sometimes fails me?

As a cloth diapering mother, I was on an endless search for the perfect diaper balm for my son. One that was cloth-diaper safe (would completely absorb into the skin or rinse completely clean from the diaper) and yet highly effective.

As a diabetic woman, I've struggled with chronic skin problems related to candida.

And, as a total girly girl, I've searched high and low for a lip gloss that is yummy, stays put but isn't too sticky, and isn't packed with petro chems for me (or my loved ones) to lick or kiss off.

So, what's a naturally-minded, tree hugging hippie product addict with a passion for kitchen creation to do? DUH. I hit the kitchen and started mixing up my own potions. It started innocently enough. My "natural" deodorant wasn't as effective and failproof as I'd like it to be, and then the ingredients started irritating my sensitive skin. As my sensitive, irritated skin broke, it fell victim to every woman's worst nightmare: yeast. I had a raging, flaming, burning infection in my armpit! After trying everything out there on myself, I finally concocted my own little balm to heal the skin. It worked! Based on that recipe, I branched out and developed an all natural, 99% organic, so-safe-my-two-year-old-could-EAT-it! deodorant. It's crazy effective, pampers the skin and keeps stank away better than anything else I've tried. Since I was getting good at this whole making my own skin creams stuff, I tried to formulate a diaper balm that I could use on my son's sensitive skin that would cooperate with cloth diapering. Hooray! Problem solved. And last, but not least, I merged everything I'd learned so far with all my trials and errors into a moisturizing and delicious lip gloss/balm. Booyah!

I was pretty excited about my little stash of potions because they solved a lot of problems for me. Then one night, my mom was over. She needed to go to CVS for a prescription. She told me she had a skin-based yeast infection in the crease of her stomach. Every c-section mama knows that crease. Unless you still have the super flat tummy of a 16 year old, you know that crease. Oh, my poor mother. She suffered through spraying alcohol based yeast medicines on that very sensitive and painful rash. I mixed up a small pot of my little yeastie beastie wonder balm for her. She was skeptical. She took it home, but insisted on using her torture cream from the drugstore. Until the night that the combined pain from her rash and the medicine kept her from sleeping! She got up in the middle of the night, scrubbed off that nasty chemical-laden cream that was scorching her skin and smoothed on a dab of my concoction. She said she felt the pain relief instantly as the soothing ingredients calmed her skin and fought the rash naturally. In the morning, her infection was gone and her skin nearly completely healed. She begged me to sell this stuff, as surely countless other people could benefit from it.

A few weeks later, I read Peter Bregman's article on about Madame Alexander dolls and I was inspired. There it was. The slight kick in the pants that I needed: "Madame Alexander had a wise model for finding work. She started a business doing work she loved, with people she loved, solving a problem others were willing to pay money to have solved. It was a small company that took very little investment but gave her and others meaningful, sustainable work.

In other words, start a business in your kitchen with your sisters."

Slowly, the pieces of the puzzle started floating together. The best ex-boyfriend in the world sent me a post on Facebook telling me that if I ever started my own product line, he had the best name for it and I could use it if I wanted to. While it may or may not have come to him in a sangria-soaked moment, it was actually a pretty great name. I owe a heartfelt thank you to my devoted and supportive husband, my beautiful son, my mom, Mother Earth, CNN, sangria and Jaylo for developing the perfect storm of ideas.

I hardly expect the sales of my products to replace my family's former income. But the idea of "meaningful, sustainable work" appeals to me greatly. Beyond that, I'm a giver...a sharer by nature. I can't wait to share the great stuff I've made with the rest of the world. I can't wait to help others out with the same problems I've struggled with. When I was working as a certified massage therapist, I found the work very rewarding and personally fulfilling as I took great delight in healing people's pain with nothing but my hands. I see these products as an extension of my passion for helping people. And so, About Face Naturals was born.

About Face isn't only about, you know, the face. Granted, I have one tiny product that is intended for facial application. In the future, I'd like to develop more products intended for facial use. About Face is an attitude - an invitation, if you will. Forget everything you know about using mainstream products to take care of your skin, forget supporting huge corporations with your hard earned money, forget applying products with toxic ingredients, and forget spending a fortune on them. Turn about face from all of that nonsense, and try something completely different.

Packaging is on order, website is parked and under construction, product labels are being designed. My goal is to be up and running in about a month's time. Get ready to experience About Face Naturals.

1 comment:

Just Me said...

Congratulations! I am excited for you!