We spend a lot of time talking about what to do for your skin on this blog but today I want to share a bit about what it's been like these past 3 years to be a business partner and a team member at Luminance. I'm very proud of what we've accomplished, mostly because of how in every step of the way we've made decisions that honor our well-being, the integrity of the products, the happiness and satisfaction of our customers, and our desire to do something good in the world. Looking back, this seems almost revolutionary in the business world.
So without to much fuss, here is what I'm most proud of:
1) Kim has consistently demanded that we create an environment that puts people above profits. This means that we take days off when we're worn down, we take vacations, and we empower each other to make creative improvements in all areas of the business.
2) Kim was adventurous enough to take on a 25 year old business partner. (Me!) Very brave move, all of his friends thought he was crazy. But I launched the online business which has given us incredible growth- so it turned out to be a good thing. I'm very grateful that Kim trusted himself enough to take me on and proud of the online boutique we've been able to create together.
3) We've had to reject traditional skincare business norms so that we could maintain the integrity of our products and keep our ingredients pure. In the world of skincare, even natural skincare, it's very difficult to launch a line without a 2 year shelf-life. Think about the logistics of wholesale. To be distributed nationally in a mainstream store products can't go bad on the shelf. However, in order to get a 2 year shelf-life you need to use a toxic preservative. And most "natural" skincare companies do. And they'll give you a line about how in small doses they're not harmful; but they really are. We have and always will be adamant about only using ingredients that are good for the skin and completely non harmful to humans or the planet. So we've opted out of large wholesale accounts and instead built an online business that doesn't require our products to have a 2 year shelf life. They have a 6 month shelf life and if they go bad before a customer has a chance to use them, we replace it no questions asked! Very old school customer service is another firmly held stance.
4) We've used generosity as a guiding value for our business. This began in the Farmer's Markets, Kim loves to help people fix their skin. So if someone would approach the table and described their skin problems he would typically gift them what they needed to fix it. And if he didn't have a product yet, he'd do some research and then make a product specifically for them. Needless to say these women became die hard fans! We've continued to do this online. Every now and then we send an extra goodie. Everybody likes a nice surprise. Maybe an extra serum or an eye cream, maybe a bar of soap or a lip balm. It's fun to think that our customers are going to have a nice extra something when they open their package. And in a world where business is increasingly just about making money, it feels good to focus on our customers and treat them the way we would want to be treated.
5) We support good causes. Refugee boys in a Los Angeles shelter, homeless folks, battered women, youth emaciated from the foster care system. I think that its easy to feel overwhelmed in our lives and feel like we have nothing to offer. Or we are too drained- I felt like this when I was working in after school programs. What I've learned from working with Kim is that we have the power and the responsibility to do good. It's a matter of grounding down, accepting our limitations, and taking action on something that we can manage and control. It feels great and I'm so proud that we're not "waiting until we're big enough" but rather doing what we can now to help our community.
Last year we decided that instead of focusing our marketing on "getting your skin ready for Valentine's Day" we wanted to bring a more direct generosity to valentines day and focus on a program that was doing amazing work. In doing our research we came across G.R.O.W. in Oakland that teaches a 12 week course to youth emancipated from the Foster Care and Probation System on how to cook with real food; a comprehensive introduction to the food service industry. It is such a perfect fit with our values on so many levels. So we've decided to do it again this year. We are selling our Special Edition Ginger Peach Soap and donating all the revenue generated to G.R.O.W. If you'd like to support you can find our Soap here (Only available in March).
Have you tried our Ginger Peach Soap? Let us know what you think in the comments.