UPDATE 12/21/2010: Congratulations to Sam David! Here are his dreams for 2011:
Sam, if you’ve been a reader for at least a year, you’ll know that we moved a year ago from NYC to Washington state – a dream three years in the making. BEST decision ever. If you guys can do it, I highly recommend the West Coast! :)
Have you ever met or known someone who you know is doing exactly what they should be in life at that moment? If you haven’t, you must. I have only met a handful of these people, and I consider it a privilege, because it seems that they have an energy about them, that they are in sync with their passions. They follow with their hearts, making their lives seem like magic and like everything is falling into place. It makes me want to tap into it and ask them how I’m able to do the same. Heather Hamilton is one of these people.
I haven’t seen Heather in years, but we were friends in college more than ten years ago (was it really that long ago?!). We were both very different people then, still unsure of where life would take us. After finding each other on Facebook a while ago I saw how she had changed and how confident she seemed to be in the choices she had made. She had married her high school sweetheart, had a couple of gorgeous little boys and was on the verge of launching an organic skincare company.
Zoe Organics officially launched earlier this year, and like so many people, I was excited and curious to see how things would go for her. In just a short amount of time she has created so many products, and is launching new ones all the time. Her hard work is paying off – her products are finding their way onto television shows and into brick and mortar stores, and she’s thinking of expanding from a one-woman show to hiring some staff to help with demand.
I reached out to Heather a few months ago and asked her if she had any products that she felt would appeal to my Novel Eats readers. This, after all is a food blog, so I wanted to share something with you that would be relevant. She told me about a product that she was working on that wasn’t quite ready yet, but recently it launched and she sent me a jar.
In general, I’m rather obsessive about washing my hands, but even more so when I’m in the kitchen because I really don’t want to taint any of my food. I wash my hands so much that they are dry year-round, and sometimes in the winter they crack and bleed (I know – probably too much information). I usually carry some big name-brand lotions around with me, but I am increasingly wanting to use more organic and sustainable products.
Extreme Cream is made entirely with organic ingredients, and it is packaged in a glass jar. It’s a thick cream (not lotion) that was developed specifically for very dry skin, as well as skin disorders like eczema. Heather has shared that some of her customers who themselves or their children have eczema are able to find tremendous relief with Extreme Cream.
One of the great things about this cream is that a little bit goes a long way. I was able to completely cover my hands and my elbows with just this little bit of cream! It also took a little while to absorb into my skin, but once it did, my hands, nails and cuticles felt soft.
I can also see putting some Extreme Cream on your hands and feet, then covering them with those moisturizing gloves and socks. What a great way to pamper yourself – especially if you’ve spent a few quality hours in the kitchen, washing dishes or cooking. My hands are going to beg for this after washing dishes, I can guarantee it!
I wanted you to meet Heather, too, so she graciously took the time to answer my questions.
Q: Have you always been interested in making your own creams, lotions and balms? How did you decide to start creating them?
A: No, I have always enjoyed cooking and being creative with food, but didn’t become interested in making skincare until I became a mom. My love for beauty and wellness runs deep, however, and I have always wanted to open a day spa with its own product lines. I was originally planning to hire a third party to develop my formulas with me, but once I really got into the process, I fell in love with it and became a sponge for the knowledge that led me to creating my own product lines.
Q: Zoe Organics launched only a few months ago, yet you have so many products already! How do you come up with product ideas, and how long does it normally take to create a packaged product from just a simple idea?
A: I really delved into creating skin and body care products at the beginning of 2008. It took about a year to develop the baby care line. Our official launch date was May 21, 2010.
All of the products have been inspired by life experiences; seeing a need for a product and coming up with a solution. The baby line was easy for me because I created the line for my own kids. The pregnancy line was created from my experiences working as a doula and my own three pregnancies.
There are so many elements to getting a product just right; ingredients, textures, scents, choosing the right container, designing the label…
Pam Golafshar is an exceptional designer and has been working with me since conception to create designs that really reflect the brand. She is also a mother and pregnant and was actively testing these lines.
Q: All of your products are geared towards mothers (and parents of young children). What products would you recommend for people who may not have children or who may just want to pamper themselves?
A: My vision for Zoe Organics is to create lines that meet the needs of the entire life cycle. After all, Zoe means “life”. The stages of life that are most relevant to me right now are childhood and pregnancy. My husband has been prodding me to get started on the men’s line next…it is only a matter of time!
Truthfully, I use all of the products in the baby line on myself! These products were created for delicate, sensitive skin (and noses), but they are very effective for adult skin too! The most popular among the adults is the Baby Balm (moms love to stick this in their purses to use as lip balm or cuticle conditioner).
The products in the pregnancy line were created for the specific needs of pregnancy and new moms. I think we will find a lot of people enjoying the Refresh Lip Balm.
The Extreme Cream is really one of those products that works for everybody (and the name leaves it open for everyone).
Q: How did you come up with Extreme Cream?
A: I have heard from so many moms who have kids with eczema and are so discouraged because they have tried “everything” and nothing seems to work except for steroids (which is a short-term, undesirable solution for most). I began looking at the creams they were being told to try by their pediatricians and dermatologists and was shocked to find these creams the equivalent of junk food! I knew from the research I had done and the testimonials I was receiving about products like our Baby Balm clearing up eczema, that I needed to create something specifically for issues like eczema, psoriasis, or just very dry skin.
What I love about the Extreme Cream is that it is made with 100% natural and certified organic ingredients. That’s it. You can feel the protective barrier the Extreme Cream creates on your skin. It is loaded with vitamins and has no essential oils that may irritate sensitive noses.
Unlike a lotion, there is no water in the product, requiring a preservative and emulsifier. Only a little bit of Extreme Cream is needed, whereas a lotion must be slathered on to coat the skin.
Q: Do you make everything yourself or do you have staff?
A: Right now, the creation and production of our products is all done by me. We are currently planning our next steps; which include a larger facility and staff.
Q: You recently shared on your blog that you are expecting your third baby – how does being a mother influence the products you come up with or the ingredients that you choose to use?
A: As I mentioned earlier, being a mother and my passion for pregnancy, child birth and motherhood have absolutely inspired the products in these two lines.
I am REALLY excited to be launching the pregnancy line at the time of my third pregnancy. I think there is something really special about getting to share my own experiences and the experiences of the women using these products. I think the connection I have to these products is one of the things that makes Zoe Organics unique.
Q: Many of my readers are vegan, and are concerned about animal testing or non-vegan ingredients. Can you share how you test your products, as well as how many of your products are vegan?
A: We test our products on ourselves…hahaha. Throughout the development of the lines, all of our products were first tested by my own family, then friends and then volunteers from our community. The beauty of using natural ingredients is they are safe. Most of the ingredients we use are familiar and could be found in your kitchen. We aren’t using chemicals.
The only animal product we use is organic beeswax; which can be found in our balms. (Baby Balm, Diaper Balm, Lip Balm and Nipple Balm).
The Extreme Cream is vegan.
Q: Like so many people, you’ve experienced a lot of change over the last few years, but you seem to have handled it with a lot of grace and courage. It’s also been exciting to watch you launch Zoe Organics, which has clearly been a tremendous amount of work – although it seems like it has been very satisfying for you. For people who might be overwhelmed with change right now, do you have any words of wisdom to share with them? Any advice for 2011?
A: Wow. I have been on a personal journey of simplifying and returning to my roots to determine what is really important to me in my life. I have by no means figured it all out, but I have found that making sacrifies to do what I love and getting in touch with my creativity has made me a happier person.
Losing Suzanne a few years ago also really put into perspective how precious life is. You always hear the saying “each day is a gift” and it really IS! Sometimes is just takes really difficult circumstances, like losing a loved one, or a job or home to bring things into perspective.
My advice would be to grasp change as a chance to move to something better. Think of it as an opportunity for a new beginning that otherwise may have led to complacency.
Now for the Giveaway!
Thanks to Heather and Zoe Organics, one of you will be lucky enough to experience Extreme Cream for yourself! You will receive one 4-oz. jar worth $28. Can’t wait to try it and want to buy your own? You can purchase Extreme Cream here.
To enter, answer the following question in ONE comment (to be fair to other contestants only enter once):
What are your dreams for 2011? (Your winning does not rely on your answer!)
Be sure to include your email address in the email address line so I can reach you if you are the winner.
Note: This contest is valid only for people who live in the United States.
The contest will close this Monday, December 20, 2010 at 11:59pm PT and the winner will be chosen at random, then announced the following day.
The contest is closed!