Meet the Maker: Who, What and Why
Most small businesses start with passion and grit. This little company is exactly that. I’ve been making these natural bath and body products for many years, but only recently was I able to step away from my role in corporate America and share what I’m most passionate about with you, full time.
I get a lot of questions about my background, why I do what I do and what got me into all this, so hopefully this will help answer some of those questions.
Who am I:
Hi! I’m Kim, founder and maker of Sebesta Apothecary. I am a tree-loving, long time vegetarian, adventure seeking, scuba diving, dog mom with a love of making all-natural bath and body products.
I live in NE Minneapolis with my husband and our crazy Puli puppy Pepper (yes, Puli is the dreadlock dog, more on all that in a future post I’m sure!) We are lucky enough to have a home with a second kitchen in it - AKA the Sebesta Apothecary Lab. The lab is a small, bright space that is often warm and cozy, with soapy dishes in the sink and a true crime podcast playing in the background. I usually only get a few days a week to work in this space, the majority of my time is spent getting the product ready for sale, packing for events and other business details.
In my previous role at corporate America, I worked in the marketing department of a large food manufacture, designing packaging for international markets. I worked with some pretty amazing people and was given the opportunity to travel the world and learn about packaging requirements and recycling habits directly from the experts in each of the countries we worked with. The US is quite far behind in packaging innovation and ingredient transparency. So, use what I learned to see the full product life-cycle more clearly, and make decisions about packaging and ingredients that I can feel good about.
I am pretty outgoing by nature, which makes being set-up at an event, craft show or market with my team, my happy place. I love getting people jazzed about trying a shampoo bar or watching their face light up when experiencing the lather from my shave bar for the first time. I love to hear where people are in their path toward more natural products, things that make them hesitate to switch and stories about how and why they use my products.
Outside of all things business, you will find me road-tripping to the mountains, scuba diving or adventuring around town checking out the local breweries.
Sebesta Apothecary: What we make:
I am very passionate about what I make for you, and what ingredients I use. All of the ingredients I use are food-safe, no added chemicals or artificial anything. Actually, most of them come from a local, family owned bakery supplier!
I am self-taught, so when creating something new, I start with extensive research about ingredients, product characteristics, usage and shelf-life. I also take the added step to find natural, chemical-free ways to create the features you expect from store-bought. An example is my love of bubbles, which are not needed for soap to be cleansing, but help add to the experience. I refuse to take the easy path and use SLS or other foaming agents to get the luxurious soap bubbles, but research has allowed me to find natural alternatives. My favorite is actually in your liquor cabinet! When used as an ingredient in the soap making process, beer, wine and hard liquors naturally create lots of large bubbles without leaving you smelling like a brewery or distillery.
I also have some very patient family and friends to thank for helping trial products over the years. They receive test batches of soaps or skin care products with the request for detailed feedback. Although most of these test batches turn into products, not everything makes it past the test phase. Notice I don’t sell a deodorant… while there have been plenty of tests, I haven’t found a recipe that I approve of yet!
Our Philosophy: Chemical free and eco-friendly:
We are continuing to learn the hard way that many of the ingredients we once thought were safe are not - BPAs in packaging, Oxy-benzone in sunscreens and even microbeads in skin care. There is no sense in adding unnecessary chemicals, if you can get the same or better results using ingredients you can trust. It is exciting to see that there are more companies lately who are working to educate consumers about chemical-free alternatives, which helps you make your own decisions about the products you use.
Decisions about product packaging is part of my eco-friendly business model, and personal goal to leave the smallest footprint possible. Sadly, as a scuba diver over the years I have seen more and more plastics 100 feet below the surface in tropical waters, getting eaten by fish. This is why I buy in bulk, local when possible and everything I sell is packaged with biodegradable, recyclable and/or reusable materials. From the compostable business cards, twine and tags to the 100% recycled shopping bags and biodegradable kraft tape on shipped items. Every aspect of your shopping experience has been thoroughly reviewed for both function and footprint.
I am always working on something new and I have a lot of fun things to share with you. I’m excited to tell you more about my experience taking a Master Recycling course, explaining how soap is made and getting into geeky details about some of our more popular products. What kinds of things do you want to know more about? Let me know in the comments below!
A little something about me, I love bubbles. I also love making soap and sharing my passion for natural bath and body products. Do you want to come out and see us? Find us out and about at these events and be sure to follow along with us on social media for the latest details.