Miley Cyrus' song, "The Climb" was released in 2009 the same year as Be Green Bath & Body launched and it's been my personal theme song along my business-owner journey.
Did you know that once upon a time, Be Green Bath & Body was not called Be Green Bath & Body? It's true, back in 2009, the company was launched as "North Easton Naturals". North Easton is the name of the town in Massachusetts where we make all of the 'good for you' skincare products.
Let's back up just a little, though. In 2008 I was inspired to start the company after my friend and neighbor, Kristi Marsh (founder of the Savvy Women's Alliance), battled breast cancer. We both started on a journey (which continues to this day!) to become healthier. We learned about healthier eating, cleaning products and personal care products (among a bunch of other things.) I was shocked and amazed particularly when it came to personal care products. How was it that basically anything could be put in a skin care product, you didn't have to test it and it was not regulated by the FDA?
I learned about the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics which at the time was compiling a cosmetics database rating products for safety. I purchased products from a company I found on the database and loved them. I was so in love with the simple, natural ingredients that I began to make products for myself and family. At some point shortly after (and also because the software company I had been working for was sold and the MA office closed), I had a revelation- that I could start a company to share non-toxic skin care products at an affordable price. I could help others "Nourish Your Skin Safely"- which, by the way, became Be Green's tag line!
It took a long time to research natural and plant based ingredients and formulate recipes and products, not to mention testing the products. (This is a process that never stops!) I took a course at a university in a neighboring state to master emulsions and a year long course at an organic skincare school to learn how ingredients work together, how skin works and how to start a business.
I was so determined to start this business! I knew I could make it work even though most of my family and friends thought I was crazy. I mean how many people back in 2008 had heard of a paraben, tetrasodium EDTA or triethanolamine (TEA)? I came up with the new company name, Be Green Bath & Body, designed the original logo (which by the way was a green bee- get it? be green...). On my own, I figured out all the technical jazz like registering a domain, finding a web host, designing my own website, taking my own product pictures, writing the content, getting a merchant number and a paypal account. I did all the legal registering for a business license and got set up to collect sales tax. I found all the packaging suppliers and designed all the labels (on my inkjet printer because there was no money to professionally print labels back then). I filed for and received federal trademarks for Be Green Bath & Body and Nourish Your Skin safely on my own, without a lawyer. Whew! It's exhausting just reading all of this! Starting a business is a journey...long and difficult but also rewarding.
My mission from the beginning was to follow the stricter standards that the EU (European Union) countries followed- including not using over 1000 ingredients that were banned in the EU but not in the US. In the process, I signed the Compact for Safe Cosmetics and had my products listed on the cosmetics database which became known as the Skin Deep Database on EWG (Environmental Working Group). The Skin Deep database rated Be Green's products all in the 0-2 range meaning they had the safest ingredients. Be Green became PETA certified, we signed the Truth in Labeling Pledge and became a Green America Certified Business.
The next several years as Be Green grew, new products were added, old ones were tweaked and improved and ones that didn't sell as well were discontinued. This has been the best part- coming up with new high performance skin care products. I get to play with all kinds of ingredients and see how they work (or don't work!) together. I get to help customers try to solve skin care issues and I get to teach both men and women about ingredients they should avoid and those they should embrace. I have also been fortunate to spend a lot of time learning: about skin conditions like rosacea and eczema, about essential oil safety, and even about the importance of a high quality customer experience.
As Be Green grew we migrated to a new website and then another one. We had professional labels designed and printed in 2015 (that was so exciting!), had professional product pictures taken, and started sending out a quarterly email newsletter. We joined Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest (although, admittedly, I don't get to this social media responsibility as often.)
In 2016 and 2017 we applied to have many of our products EWG Verified. This was a difficult and lengthy process but rewarding at the same time. It means that the product avoids ingredients that authoritative health bodies have flagged for potential health concern, is committed to full transparency and operates under good manufacturing processes. It just fits with our mission and was the right thing to do for Be Green and our customers.
I have the joy of having my family members help me with the business. It's not a one man show anymore! We make products and fill orders as a team. I can even take a vacation now and production and orders don't stop! I'm lucky to have such dedicated and reliable assistance. Starting and owning Be Green really has been an awesome journey. My experience reminds me of my favorite Miley Cyrus song. For me, it's all about the journey.
The Climb by Miley Cyrus
I can almost see it
That dream I'm dreamin' but
There's a voice inside my head sayin'
You'll never reach it
Gotta keep tryin'
Gotta keep my head held high
The struggles I'm facin'
The chances I'm takin'
Sometimes might knock me down but
No, I'm not breakin'
I gotta be strong
Just keep pushin' on 'cause
There's always gonna be another mountain
I'm always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose
Ain't about how fast I get there
Ain't about what's waitin' on the other side
It's the climb