Are you aware of toxins in your body care products? If you live in the United States and buy commercial products they most likely contain a variety of toxins, even the natural brands. Thankfully we live in a supply-and-demand society that enables entrepreneurs to make a living creating and producing products that are meaningful, effective, eco-friendly, and to say the least, beautiful.
I had the pleasure of meeting Chelsea Higgason, founder and creator of Skin Balm Apothecary, a few months ago at a girls get together. Chelsea was one of the featured guests who graciously gave us all facials using her natural products, which also included a peppermint lip balm stick. I’m sure my skin glowed afterwards and I felt pristine and pretty. I was captivated by her lovely products and darling labels; after trying her Wild Rose Cleanser and Mist- I was hooked! I want everyone to know about Skin Balm Apothecary and use these wonderful products. I decided to ask her a few more in-depth questions about her company and natural body care products in general:
When did you decide that you wanted to start a natural beauty product line?
I decided sometime in 2015 but the seed was planted when I started making my own natural skincare line back in 2013. I became aware of the harmful chemicals and ingredients in the products I applied on my skin. The packaging claimed to be “all natural” or “organic”, but the list of ingredients told a different story. I decided to do some investigating. Armed with the knowledge I had gained through herbal courses, I began to research what was behind each ingredient. The discoveries of corrupt processing procedures were appalling.
A seed of inspiration stirred within me, “What if there was an honest and truly all-natural skincare line?” This led to the creation of my own products. I began sharing them with family, friends and then for my friends’ families. Their enthusiasm and support encouraged me to continue and to expand my line. Over time the seasons of inspiration, creation, sharing and enthusiasm blossomed into Skin Balm Apothecary.
Did you always want to become an entrepreneur?
Yes! The idea of building a company that I am passionate about has been appealing to me for as long as I can remember.
What was the first product you started making and why? And how long did it take before you decided to market and sell?
The first product I started making was lip balm because it seemed the easiest to make at the time. The lip balm I started selling almost right away. I initially made it just for myself but soon others started requesting it and orders started flowing in.
It was strictly a word-of-mouth business until we launched online in January of this year (2017). It took about four years before I did any online marketing, but selling my products to local customers started happening in 2013.
How do you draw inspiration for your products?
I get most inspired to create products while surrounded by nature. I truly believe that nature has the best ingredients that skincare has to offer. I am passionate about bringing nature and skincare together to create something pure and 100% nature-based. I am inspired by all the incredible benefits that herbs, plant oils, and other natural resources offer to our bodies.
Food can either be the best form of medicine or the worst kind of poison. The same goes with what we apply onto our skin, which is the largest organ of the body.
Are essential oils your main fragrance for all of your products and is there a special benefit to using essential oils?
This is a topic I could talk about for hours. I love essential oils. They really can make products into powerhouses when used correctly. Especially, when used and combined with one another in a way that complements their chemical makeup. I use absolutely no man-made, artificial fragrances in my products. Only essential oils and good smelling earth butters are used to make our products smell amazing.
It is important to note that not all essential oils are created equal though. We take the kinds of oils we use in our products seriously. We use all certified organic ingredients with the exception of a few of our essential oils. Some of our oils are not certified organic, but do go through a rigorous process that certifies there are no added fillers, synthetic ingredients or harmful contaminants in the oils. Our non-organic essential oils are subject to organoleptic testing, microbial testing, gas chromatography, and mass spectrometry analysis. The purity of an essential oil is its most important characteristic and we take all factors into account when choosing them.
What is your favorite product and why?
I can honestly say I do not have just one favorite product. I use all of our products consistently and only make my favorite creations available for purchase. As far as the product I am most proud of, I would have to say my deodorants. I spent several years perfecting the blend and my awesome team spent about two years giving me constant feedback until it was, in my and my team’s opinion, the best all-natural, aluminum-free deodorant available.
Have you ever compared natural beauty product brands and found some unnatural elements? If so, what did you discover?
Definitely. It is important to note that not all “natural” products are created equal. Many companies claiming to be ‘all natural’ create images of health when in reality even a casual glance at its ingredients label reveals numerous toxins that tax the body. We can avoid these tolls by reading the ingredients and opt for routes that offer more natural alternatives
Our handcrafted products are free of parabens, paraffins, petroleum, phthalates, propylene glycol, synthetic colors and other harmful chemicals. They are made without artificial preservatives. We never use unnecessary fillers. Our products are concentrated because every ingredient serves an important purpose.
If the first ingredient in your skincare is water or any kind of alcohol, chances are you are buying from a company that uses fillers.
Another thing to keep in mind is the level of heat companies apply to their products. Heat control is important and should be monitored to preserve the therapeutic properties in ingredients such as butters and carrier oils. That is why we always use cold pressed oils and make all of our products in small bathes for quality control. There are a lot of factors to think about before buying a product. Anytime a company is not open about their ingredients, and the process that their products go through prior to being bottled, is not a good sign.
Have you done any research on the risk factors for some of the commercial organic beauty brands?
Yes, a lot. For example, let’s start with the subject of dry skin. Most commercialized skincare lines use silicones. Silicones are sneaky moisture thieves! They deceive the skin into feeling hydrated, which convinces it to slow down its own internal production of moisture, such as hyaluronic acid.
Likewise, a cleanser that may be advertised for oily skin types may use detergents such as sodium lauryl sulfate that strips it of all natural oil. These may appear to generate quick results, but the long-term effects are disappointing.
It is important to make sure that a company is not harming nature more by using animal testing or other means to test their products. Our products are never tested on animals, nor do we condone such testing, because we believe it both unnecessary and unproven to make skincare safer for my customers. Instead of testing Skin Balm Apothecary on animals, we test all products extensively on our amazing team and ourselves. We never sell anything until it has been tested, tried and loved by many.
What are your plans with growing your business?
Constant growth is important. Stagnancy is not something I ever want at Skin Balm Apothecary. I believe that social media and networking online is important and plan on getting more involved with connecting with people through means such as Facebook live and posting more online videos, but I tend to be more old-fashioned and believe word of mouth, and staying connected with our current customers as much as possible, is the strongest form of marketing.
We are currently in one store and plan on branching into more in the future. We are in the process of making our products more accessible for online customers in other countries. Growth is important but we need to be ready for it; this year I plan on bringing more people onto our team to make sure we can handle the growth that we are expecting to happen.
What are some of your most popular products?
Our current best sellers this month have been our Wild Rose Facial Mist, Men’s & Women’s Deodorant, and our Lip Balm Trio. It tends to vary from month to month, but our deodorants always make the bestseller list.
Are you able to share with us what other products you plan to release?
Sure, one is a Blemish Balm, which is mainly to prevent blemishes from getting worse and to help the process of healing the blemish after it has been extracted.
The other products we will be releasing soon are two clay masks.
What words of advice do you have for other young women looking at making an online living?
Have a plan. Write out a business plan and know what your next steps are. There are a lot of great resources from online mentors, workshops, and free printable business plans that you can fill out on your own. Set goals and revisit your business plan often to reassess where you’re at and where you want to be.
Never compare yourself to other others, or your company to other companies. I truly believe that comparison is the thief of passion and joy. There will always be someone behind you and someone in front of you. Focus on your own growth and remember it takes time. Waiting is both frustrating and fine art. Oftentimes, one must master it to succeed.
There is power in vulnerability. I know for me, sharing my passion and something I invested countless of hours into, was like sharing a part of my inner self. Showing that part of myself to the world was a bit intimidating. I believe that is one of the reasons why it took me more than three years to launch online. Be confident in the gifts God has given you and boldly use them in a way that is YOUnique.
Don’t wait until everything is perfect before you start because if you do, you’ll never get started. You learn from experience, so don’t wait-get started! Remember, you do not make mistakes; mistakes make you.
Lastly, choose your inner circle wisely. Find at least one mentor who you know will be honest with you even when you do not want to hear it; someone willing to be on the court with you and not just in the stands, who will hold you accountable even when you want to give up.
What makes your company different from the other companies that also sell all-natural, organic products?
I would say one difference is that we see our customers as part of our team rather than people who buy our products. When someone purchases from our shop, they are investing in our dream and become part of the Skin Balm Apothecary family. I write a personal note to every person that orders; I enjoy making connections with our customers.
Another attribute that sets our company apart is that the vast majority of our products use certified organic, fair-trade, cold-pressed, unrefined ingredients. Sure, a lot of companies claim to be all natural and organic, but where are they sourcing their products? Are they fair-trade? How much heat are they applying during the infusion, extraction, and blending stages? Do they test their products on animals? How do they treat their employees? Are they more concerned with making money than delivering the best product they possibly can?
At Skin Balm Apothecary, we make the answer to those questions easy by being honest and open. We care. We have fun loving what we do. We do not compromise. Most of all, we love our customers. They come first. Always.
Visit Skin Balm Apothecary @ www.skinbalmapothecary.com