Hey there, I know you had asked for some info on how I got started in your order notes. I finally have a minute to chat.
I basically always loved products. I was the go-to person if you wanted to know about new products and makeup. I eventually attended Cosmetology School after college. While working in a salon, I started to notice that a lot of women had similar health issues in that environment. I had migraines about daily growing up. A lot of the women I worked with had headaches, as well as PCOS. PCOS is an ovarian/hormonal disorder. I mentioned this to my mom, a nurse. She gave me a book called The Green Beauty Guide, by Julie Gabrielle.
The book talked about all kinds of toxic junk in our skincare that was ending up in our bodies. It talked about how estrogen and phthalates are the same size, and so those phthalates can become endocrine and hormone disruptors. The more I learned, the more I felt like I was killing people with shampoo. ( I was a theater major, so a bit dramatic perhaps :)
I didn't really know what to do about it. I have a very dear uncle who spoke with me regularly about my dreams and aspirations. When I mentioned wanting to start making Organic Skincare, he said... just do it.
So...LOL... I did :) I started with myself. You must understand actually getting my items on Etsy was almost a year and a half into the process. First, I had to see if I could fix my skin.
I had Acne from the time I was about 13. 24, at the time, I was tired of trying. I had used EVERYTHING I could get my hands on. Nothing worked, or at least nothing worked well. Some things would clear the blemishes, but left my skin dry and flaky. Some things made it worse.
When I decided to go green, I happened upon Hemp Seed Oil. This is really where the magic happened. I started using it to clean my face, shave, moisturizer, and just about everything else. Within a month, my skin looked totally different. I started researching Essential Oils, other oils, clays, herbs, and so began a year of my life spent on the computer.
I literally spent hours a day reading, watching videos, and taking notes. I wanted to know everything there was to know about how your body really works. No one EVER told me that the more Omegas you eat, the thinner your sebum, and so the less breakouts you will have. No one ever told me what Gluten is or why our body can't handle it. I felt sort of cheated.
PCOS is not pleasant. Mostly bad cramps, long periods, hairy chin (super fun lol), and inability to conceive. Yeah, that last one really gets me. The better my skin got, and the lack of headaches made me angry. WHY had no one ever said, hey... your headaches might be the artificial fragrances you use. No one ever said...hey...those lotions may make it so you can't have babies. I thought about all the young girls, spritzing their Bath and Body Works all over and it made me sick. - I think everyone should know what I know. I think everyone should at least hear that these things are being linked.
I was finally ready to start making products for sale. i had been testing my Cleansing Oil with a few friends, and working on my Cold Cream and Acne Serum. These three things were the beginning. My Mom loaned me $500 and I quit my job.
I bought supplies, took pictures, and got my Etsy on. The first few months were a lot of learning. I literally knew nothing about business. I had to learn things as they came up. I started taking free online courses on business and watching Shark Tank like it was my religion. (Not really though, I was raised Catholic :)
I started my business to do good. To spread the message that we need to get back to nature. To help protect babies and little girls and even teens. I wanted to be someone in the industry with a heart. LOL I gave so much stuff away. I just wanted people to try it. The more people who did, the more orders came in.
I had learned all the hard lessons with my own skin. Things like Hibiscus on your face for extended times makes your mustache grow, or that coconut oil as your face cream = the worst breakout of your life, LOL or my personal favorite... if you add the wrong kind of Calcium to your toothpaste, it explodes in your mixer.
By spring of 2014 I had come up with tons of formulas. I sold at a few small shops and fairs, but didn't do much in-person selling. I am really excited to be doing that this spring.
Many people don't understand that I didn't take the traditional business route. I just kind of winged it. Thankfully, it has been enough to pay the bills, but I am finding that I need to bring on investors. LOL I didn't really think about the fact that I was putting everything back in the business and not really paying myself until recently. I am starting a kickstarter campaign soon, to help upgrade some things.
Up to this point I have been using about two bowls, one hand mixer, and four pyrex dishes to make everything. As you can imagine, doing seven orders a day...with multiple products, gets to be a lot of dish washing. That is one of the main things I want to get, some specialised bowls for certain oils and butters. I type, print, and cut out my labels. I want to buy some professional ones and free up that time. I want to upgrade some packaging, and start selling larger sizes. All kinds of things.
I am so incredibly blessed to be doing what I love, and even more blessed to see my products helping and healing. This may be more than you ever wanted to know about the lady making your face cream, but I am Bear's Beauty, and it is my baby. Thank you for your interest, it is really nice to share my story.