|How did your interest in the all natural beauty business begin?
My interest began in the mid 1990’s. As a chemically sensitive individual, I was very careful most of my life with eating an all natural diet and with using natural bodycare products. I came across a book, The Safe Shopper’s Bible by Dr Samuel Epstein*. I was surprised to learn that there were many “not so natural” ingredients in many brand name cosmetics that were assumed to be natural. I conducted much research for a few months, and concluded that there were only a handful of companies that were making truly natural products. I left my career as an interior designer to start my company so that I could let others know about these brands that really contained synthetic-free ingredients. My business was originally mail order only, and went online in 1999.
What kind of all natural beauty products do you actually make yourself?
Out of a need to find “the purest of the pure” makeup products, I started a line called Earth’s Beauty TM. These loose powder products are made with arrowroot and minerals. Having an interior design background came in handy, as I create all the colors myself. Those who are highly sensitive can usually use this line of products including face powder, blush, eye shadow, eye liner, concealer, and lip products. I also make a line of essential oil perfumes , True Aroma TM and will be adding a line of therapeutic aromatherapy products in the near future.
What kind of products do you sell?
I sell over 250 different products from 9 different manufacturers. These products are carefully screened before we carry them to make sure they are truly natural.
You opened your business in 1997. What changes have you seen in the all natural beauty business? Where do you see the future going?
There is definitely a broader awareness of the fact that one should pay close attention to the ingredients in cosmetic products. As the years have gone by, I get increasing inquiries from customers asking what different ingredients are, what they are derived from, and are they safe. There are quite a few more companies selling truly natural cosmetics compared to 5 years ago. The future holds much optimism for the natural beauty industry to continue growing. One hope of mine for the near future is that the FDA will regulate the word “natural” when used in conjunction with cosmetics, because there are many companies out there taking advantage of this word as it seems trendy at the moment. However, the general public is getting very educated, and can see through some of the false advertising.
Tell us about any unique or interesting experiences that you've had while running your business.
Since the start of my business on the internet, I have come to know a former well known Hollywood actress as a customer. It is quite interesting when she orders, as she will order one specific item in a large quantity, such as 6 lipstick of the same color, and then want it sent Overnight. Once I had to overnight her a bottle of hand cream where she was staying at a NY city hotel, as she forgot it at home!
How do you feel that you've grown by running your all natural beauty business?
I have grown in the aspect of realizing that I am not alone in having chemical sensitivities. I have met many customers through the years whom I have sympathized with in their stories. Many of my customers are cancer patients, many have severe allergies, and others are educating themselves in cosmetic ingredients. It is very fulfilling to feel that the work you do is of benefit to the health and well-being of others.
Do you have a tip for someone just starting out in this business? Maybe something that you wish that you'd known when you first started.
My best advice is to learn about ingredients and how natural products are made before you start your business. I kind of did this backwards! I sold natural skincare and makeup for several years, and then decided that I needed to know more of the “mechanics” of natural cosmetics in order to answer questions with more knowledge. I took a one day seminar about 2 years ago on how to make lip balm and lotion. My focus was amazingly changed after that experience, and I decided that I wanted to make more products myself. I enrolled in a one year Aromatherapy course, which I recently received a certificate for, and I feel much more knowledgeable than when I started my business 6 years ago. I truly enjoy making the products!