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July 15, 2014

Seller Spotlight – Glow

If you like to live a healthy lifestyle and have beautiful healthy skin, you’re going to want to check out GLOW's products and read this article. Nikki Leendertse is the owner of this natural skin care line and we had the pleasure of interviewing her after she won our Made Urban Graphic Design Giveaway (to the left is her newly designed logo by Kelly Resener and her new business card design is near the bottom of the article).

Read about Glow’s products and how they’re ethically and sustainably produced with your health in mind. Nikki also educates us on what’s hidden in your brand name products…..and everyone knows…..what you put on your body is as important as what you put in your body.

1.What is Glow?

GLOW is a natural skincare company based in Sherwood Park, Alberta that offers handcrafted, eco-friendly, and ethical skincare products which are free of synthetic chemicals like parabens, petrochemicals, phathalates, and sulfates. All of the products are locally crafted in small batches using nourishing ingredients sourced from ethical locations around the world.

2.When and why did you decide to start it?

The idea for creating GLOW began when I moved back to Alberta about a year ago after living in beautiful Eastern Canada for three years. As a prairie girl my skin was used to battling our extreme dry cold winters and scorching summers, but after a few years my skin was dependent on the lovely moisture that comes when living by the ocean. When I moved back home to Alberta my regular skincare routine was not cutting it anymore. 

At this time I became a more conscious consumer and an avid label reader. I began searching for new skincare products and was appalled by the frightening harmful brew of synthetic chemicals in nearly all of the products that I came across. Out of frustration I decided to begin making my own products that would nourish my skin. For the first time I began receiving compliments on my new (paraben and petrochemical free) complexion. Friends and family started asking me to craft them natural skincare products and encouraged me to sell them at the local farmers market…and here I am today!

3.How did you come up with the name “Glow”?

My goal for my products was to avoid artificially enhancing the skin in the short term, causing damage to the skin and body in the long term. Instead, I wanted to create products with natural and nourishing ingredients that would enrich the skin, making people glow from the inside out. And as such, the name GLOW first took root.

4.What’s unique about your products and the way you run your business?

While some businesses place an emphasis on make a profit at all costs, GLOW aims to make profit in a manner which does not destroy the planet and does not exploit people.  I use only ingredients that are harvested ethically, are not endangered, and are from countries that are free of child labour and corruption. I package the GLOW skincare line in reusable glass containers to avoid leakage of synthetic chemicals into the product, while also allowing the containers to be cleaned, sterilized, and reused in order avoid unnecessary waste.

I currently work in partnership with Food for the Hungry Canada as a way to give back to our global community. GLOW is currently fundraising for the Small Business Empowerment Program that teaches women in Bangladesh essential skills like literacy, numeracy, and self-assurance.  In all, GLOW is unique business with a mission of creating products that are good for your skin, the planet, and people.

5.What type of products do you currently create and do you plan to add any to your line in the future?

The GLOW product line is an interesting blend of creations. I craft everything from delicious lip balms to refreshing summer sprays. I cover the basics of skincare products including body scrubs, face serums, lip balms, and moisturizers. The other side of the line is for those who want to pamper their skin with French clay masks, employ the aroma therapeutic qualities of essential oils with GLOW’s essential oil balms, and treat themselves to a relaxing massage with the magic massage bar after a long day at work.

I am always crafting new formulations in my mind, so there will definitely be future additions to the GLOW line. Some products to watch for include natural lipsticks.

6.What are 3 Glow products you think everyone should have and why?

French Clay Mask – This mask is crafted with French green clay that helps to remove deep impurities in the skin. This mask will leave your skin feeling smooth and rejuvenated!

Sunkissed Spray – This is a must have spray for those who love to bask in the summer sun. With aloe vera juice, floral waters, and a blend of essential oils, this spray is an almost magic remedy for skin that is burned and chapped from too much time in the sun.

Glow Facial Serum – These serums are a blend of base oils (like sweet almond, olive, coconut, macadamia nut, and apricot kernel) and essential oils (like chamomile, calendula, lavender, and carrot seed) that are specially formulated for 3 skin types: mature skin, oily skin, and sensitive skin. There is even a serum for the delicate under eye area, and another for dry and cracked cuticles. These serums will hydrate and nourish your skin and are an excellent replacement for night cream.

7.If you could tell people one thing about big brand skin care products, what would it be?

A lot of big brand skincare companies will greenwash their products and make the consumer believe they are buying something that is good for the environment and good for their skin. When you take the time to read through the ingredient list you will find these products riddled with parabens (can be hidden in the term “fragrance” and are known to increase skin aging, DNA damage and can lead to breast cancer and reproductive abnormalities), with sulfates (a skin irritant that may cause eczema), and with petrochemicals (can be contaminated with cancer-causing polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which is considered a carcinogen). 

Another marketing tool used is to confuse the idea of people and planet. A company that gives to charities and promotes ethical production of their line does not mean that the products are good for your body or the earth, and in many cases the products are laden with parabens, sulfates, and petrochemicals. Many individual’s will get lost in this superb marketing tool and forget that you can have both – you can buy products that are good for your body, and are good for the world.

8.What’s your favorite brainstorming activity or way to get into a creative headspace?

Music is my primary tool for developing and expanding my creativity bubble. I love to brainstorm new ideas for the product line and craft products while listening to music that inspires me or a tune that I can simply groove to.

9.What opportunities for growth do you see for Glow?

There are numerous opportunities for growth – expanding GLOW’s product line, increasing the number of markets that I take part in, boosting online sales via the website and Made Urban, and even having the products hosted in stores.

10.What has been the most challenging part of starting your own business and how have you/are you dealing with it?

The most challenging part of starting my own business is everything that goes on behind the scenes. When I started GLOW I envisioned creating luscious products and spending days imagining new concoctions. To my surprise, I spend a large amount of time filling out product notification forms, creating new labels, balancing books, updating the website, staying active on social media, writing blog posts, finding suppliers for new ingredients, etc… There is definitely an unglamorous side to small business, but I try to balance the challenging aspects of business with the parts I enjoy such as product development and crafting the line.

11.How do you keep yourself motivated on the hard days?

I read. I will read anything and everything I can find on essential oils, natural skincare, different DIY recipes, aromatherapy, and more. When I get frustrated with creating a product that is not turning out how I would like, I go back to the books and I am reminded of the reason for what I am doing – making quality natural skincare products that are good for our bodies and our planet.

12.Where do you see your business in 5 years?

In five years I would love to be developing fair trade partners with communities in developing nations. While I currently work to ensure all ingredients are ethically sourced I would like to create a special partnership with a community that would contribute to the GLOW line. As well, I imagine in five years GLOW products may be on the shelves of local health and wellness retailer’s including spas, health stores and organic shops across Canada.  Making GLOW products easily accessible is a definite goal for the business.

13.What would be your one piece of advice to someone thinking of starting a handmade business?

Jump in! There is a wonderful community of handcrafters who will catch you.  If there is something you love to make then you don’t have to wait to pursue a small business. There are fantastic ways of selling your creations – Made Urban, farmers markets, and craft fairs like Make It!.  It is an amazing community to be in, and it is fantastic to be doing what you love every day.

14.Where can people find Glow products

Made Urban! We feel very privileged to sell our products alongside other awesome handcrafters in the Made Urban community. If you’re an avid online shopper you can also purchase GLOW products via our online store at www.glowskincare.ca If you’re not one for online shopping then you can come visit us at the Sherwood Park Farmer’s Market (in the new library building) on Wednesday’s from 5-8. If you’re in Edmonton then you can stop by the City Center on 104th Street Farmers Market on Saturday from 9-3. We will have some delightful samples of the GLOW products for you to try. 

Head over to GLOW’s Storefront to check out all her amazing products!

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