I have dealt with skin sensitivities my whole life. Finding a soap or lotion that my skin would tolerate was a constant struggle. It seemed like the only products I would EVER be able to use were boring and medicinal. I was never able to soak in a luxurious bubble bath, or slather on a lovely scented lotion. All of those types of products contained ingredients that made my skin angry. Red, rashy, swollen skin and eyes look especially bad on a redhead!
Unfortunately, one of my sons inherited my sensitive skin. At four years old, he developed eczema on the back of his knees and scratched them raw every night. The doctors we saw all gave just one solution: steroid cremes. The idea of putting steroids on my little boy’s skin every day did not sit well with me. Further research on the long-term effects of steroids on the skin proved that I was right to be concerned. It was at this point that I decided to take the matter into my own hands and look for other, more natural alternatives.
I looked up the ingredients in products that claimed to be good for eczema, and for skin in general. These were well-respected, “natural” and “safe” personal care brands – a few specifically for babies. I was appalled and angered at what I was finding. Ingredients classified as skin and eye irritants, known carcinogens, hormone disruptors, and neurotoxins filled those bottles and cremes. I was seriously disturbed when I learned the reason one product didn’t sting eyes wasn’t because it was so “pure,” it was because there was an ocular numbing agent in the formula. The backs of these bottles read like a recipe for toxic soup. I immediately went a little nutty and started pitching everything in the house that had any of the offending ingredients listed on them. A fire was lit under me at this moment, and it’s never gone out.
I realized that if I wanted to have safe products for my family (and really know what ingredients were in everything we used), I was going to have to make them myself. I read dozens of books, spent hours researching ingredients and formulas online, and started experimenting in my basement with handmade soap. After some truly epic failures, I created an oatmeal soap with goat’s milk that worked wonders on my little one. In a matter of one month – after purging the bad products and using the using the natural bath soap- the eczema was cleared up, and I had a much happier little boy.
After seeing his skin clear up I realized that I couldn’t stop with just natural bath soap. I knew I wanted to formulate and make everything we put on our bodies but hadn’t quite yet realized that this was going to turn into a full-blown natural soap company. Realizing that this was going to be more than a hobby, I enrolled in online Aromatherapy courses through The American College of Healthcare Sciences in Portland, Oregon. I learned how to create natural skin care products using the therapeutic benefits and amazing aromas of essential oils. After two years of classes, I earned my Certificate in Aromatherapy.
When I decided to go all-in and make this my life’s work, I “retired” from my job as a Creative Director, (designing, packaging, and building brands for other people) and set out to create my OWN brand for my own natural soap company!
Since I was starting my own brand from scratch, I set my mind on doing it right from the very beginning – natural ingredients, eco-friendly packaging, and charitable contributions built in to every product. When trying to find the right name for the brand, the word “kind” really seemed to sum up everything nicely. I created KIND soap company at the end of 2008 with the three “pillars of KINDness”. Our promise to our customers was to always be: KIND to their skin, KIND to the earth, and KIND to others.
Using friends and family as guinea pigs, I created a whole line of natural skin care products that are safe for the most sensitive among us AND luxurious in scent. I started by selling KIND products at farmers markets and online, and then to retail stores. In 2011, I opened my first brick-and-mortar retail store in my town of Webster Groves, just outside St. Louis. Two years later, after outgrowing that space and gaining some helpers, we moved down the street to our current location.
It’s been an amazing journey that all started nearly a decade ago with an itchy little blond-haired boy. MY skin is in its glory as well. I’m soaking in bubble baths and slathering on lotions and pampering myself silly. I’ve also thoroughly enjoyed getting to know our customers. Some of them have been “KIND fans” since the very early days, and I now consider them friends. It has been so incredibly rewarding to hear about (and see!) all the positive results that KIND natural skin care and beauty products have had with their skin.
The best result of all, though, is that little boy – who is 19 now and towering over me – continues to have healthy, itch-free, eczema-free skin.