O u r  S p o t l i g h t   w a s  o n :

-   T h i s  M a n u f a c t u r e r   -

Sharon Kinnier

Every month we choose a different manufacturer of "all natural beauty" products.  Our criteria for this position is simple.  It's someone that we feel has contributed to the business in a positive way, and brings wonderful products to the market for your enjoyment and good health. 

 Q  &  A :

We are so fortunate to have you on our site, Sharon. Your web site (BotanicalSkinWorks.com) is filled with so many beautiful all-natural products. It's amazing how in-depth your products are. You have everything from baby products to products for men, with so many different varieties of every product in between. Why did you first get involved with the field of all-natural beauty?

       I have another company that has been in existence for 6 years. It deals with networking and supporting computer infrastructures. It is a VERY stressful business and I needed something to help me relax. I was introduced to aromatherapy and fell in love. I was so intrigued by this centuries old yet new age phenomenon that I started studying quite diligently about 4 years ago. I continue to study to this day and imagine that I will always do so. There is so much to learn.

     One day I came home from work and sat down on the sofa. I told my husband that I was going to make some soap. He asked me if I knew how. I said no but I was sure that I could figure it out. I fell in love with making soap. I made soap all the time. I fell into a groove and gave everybody soap.


     From there it has led me to a full line of products. I decided that the only way to really do this would have to be as natural as humanly possible. There is so much “stuff” out there for us to use on our bodies that is killing us. If I was going to make something to use then it had to be better than anything I could get on the market. My motto was “everything you need, nothing you don’t”. So I had to justify to myself why I would use one ingredient over the next and what benefits was I expecting to receive from using the ingredient. Also did it compliment the next ingredient – in other words was it a good marriage between ingredients for results, texture and aroma. It all had to fit.

     Every product in my line is because I needed it or someone I know needed it. All of my products have been tested on friends and family. In the beginning they would run the other way. Now, everyone begs to be a tester.

 

You have turned into our resident expert on ingredients since reading your wonderful article "Natural Preservatives". What inspired you to study the topic of all-natural ingredients?

       Research is a passion of mine. It’s like being a detective and you are trying to get all the facts for defending your case. Every essential oil, carrier oil, exotic oil, etc., all have good properties and bad properties. Let’ take Sweet Orange Essential Oil. By now everyone in America who has a TV knows the cleaning power of Orange. They also know that it smells good and psychologically will leave you feeling upbeat. It also has a downside of being phototoxic. (Can make you sensitive to sunlight – but that’s another subject). So, now knowing all of this, how do we safely incorporate it into lotions, creams, soaps and spa products? It is these types of questions that lead to a better understanding of the power of what we as natural handcrafters have in our hands. If you are going to handcraft something whether its for yourself or the public you need to KNOW EVERYTHING about not only the ingredients but side effects, reactions and why those reactions might occur.
 

What are some of the typical mistakes or misunderstandings that you see consumers making when it comes to their beauty care?

     In today’s market there is a big push for ‘natural’ and/or ‘organic’ beauty care. I think that’s great because that cuts down some of my advertising dollars. At least they have heard the words before. Now the hard part is really educating the consumer. Most people have now heard of shea butter in some fashion or other. There is a very popular company that makes a shea butter body cream that is really hot. It is smooth, creamy and smells divine. It also has only 2% shea butter and there is a very good chance that the 2% has been extracted with Hexane. (Hexane is a solvent used to dissolve the shea butter from the nut. Large manufacturers use this because 1) they can get more shea from the nut 2) its quicker, easier and cheaper than going the hand-crushed method. http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/tfacts113.html for more information on hexane.)

     Even considering the fact that it is probably extracted with hexane, it is listed 3rd item from the bottom from a list of 12 ingredients. Ingredients are listed in order of prominence. To call this Shea Butter anything is a joke.

     Blindly following Madison Avenue for your beauty and health needs will get you killed. Consumers are going to have to take some time to read the labels and start asking questions.

     There is also the matter changing lifestyles which is not easy. There will need to be some consistency in choices you make. For instance,
you shop at Whole Foods because of the quality of goods, but your lunch is a McDonald’s hamburger. You purchase a natural handcrafted bar of soap and your lotion of choice is a drugstore brand.  

     It’s helping people to make the connection. 


 

 
When your visitors go to your web site, they will see many very nice gift baskets to choose from.  I especially like the all-natural baby gift basket.  Not only is it the perfect gift for the new mother, it's one of the most loving ways that you could ever welcome a new baby into this world! 

If you were to receive a gift basket from someone else, what would you like it to include?

     If I were to receive a gift basket I would love to have one of everything. My favorites are:

  • Shea Butter Face & Body Lotion
  • Brown Sugar Body Polish
  • Herbal Foot Soak
  • Herbal Foot Scrub
  • Herbal Foot Cream
  • Nail Nutrient
  • Luxurious Hand Cream
  • Shea Butter Body Cream
  • A selection of the bath salts... (they’re all wonderful :) 

     With winter coming, turning on the heat will dry out my skin and I want to remain soft and silky with beautiful feet all winter long.

B a b y  G i f t  B a s k e t
 

What do you see for the future of the all-natural beauty field? 
 

      I see wonderful days ahead with some bumps in the road. More and more people are taking charge of their health and accepting aging gracefully. Women are deciding that aging gracefully is a wonderful alternative to the scalpel and unnaturally peeling off a layer of your skin. The industry itself is starting to go through a change and it is a wonderful thing to see. When you hear commercials making jokes about essential oils and soap companies comparing their soap to handcrafted soap – oh yeah, they’re listening and taking note – as they should.  
 

What changes have you seen happen in the field since you started your business? 
 

     I receive 3-4 calls per week from spas looking for a natural alternative to some of their current lines. Once again I think that the driving force behind this is women who have decided that aging gracefully and naturally is a beautiful thing.  

 

What would be your advice to those that are starting an all-natural beauty business? 

     It’s easy to get into this business. It takes an investment to stay in this business. The investment is not only money, but time, time and some more time. There must be lab time, research time, quiet time, reading the periodicals of the industry just to name a few. 

     The most important thing is deciding which side of the fence you are really on and drawing your line in the sand. Everyone has to have a no cross point.  

     What you do affects people’s lives. That is a powerful thing. It may only be a cream. It may be just a lipstick. But these are items people use with a purpose whether to soften skin, put on their ‘day face’ or to relax in a bath, they trust you to ensure that what they purchased is really what it said it is. That it has exactly what you said it has – no more no less. That it does exactly what you said it will do.

  

Make sure to visit Sharon's web site:

Botanical Skin Works

 

If you know of someone, or if you yourself deserve to be in our spotlight, please let us know.  Send us the name of the manufacturer and a brief note telling us why this person or company deserves this position.  Send us an   e-mail at:  comments@allnaturalbeauty.us

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