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Exploring Life & Business with Curt & Martha Van Inwegen of Life Elements

Today we’d like to introduce you to Curt & Martha Van Inwegen.

Martha Van Inwegen is the Founder, President and Chief Alchemist of Life Elements, Inc., A woman-owned company based in Atascadero, CA. She has created and continues to lead the development of nature-based formulations for the Life Elements body & skin-care product lines. Together with her husband and business partner, Curt, they have created craft skin and body care products that have garnered awards and are recognized as some of the best CBD products on the market by the top wellness boutiques, spas and retailers across the country. Martha grew up in the small village of San Pedro (Jalisco) Mexico, where she would go into the hills to collect flowers with her Grandfather and into the garden to collect herbs with her Grandmother. Together, they’d make home remedies in the kitchen. Her beginnings were humble, but her drive to be successful was strong.

As Martha says, “I didn’t think growing up in Mexico or in the States that anyone thought the quiet little girl with scraped, skinny legs would amount to much more than a housewife. Growing up, we were not encouraged to be aspirational, but simply to be good people and hold a good job. But, even at a young age, I begun learning about entrepreneurism by selling crafts and custom macrame pieces to neighbors, by asking for babysitting jobs, cutting lawns, and more. I loved being able to buy anything I wanted with money I earned. It was these opportunities, along with sports that gave me the confidence I needed later in life.”

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Martha rose up thru the sales ranks beginning with cosmetics at Longs Drugs to founding and selling a technology business in San Diego in the late 90’s. Like many women, she had to deal with a male-dominated business world where bias and denigration were rampant despite her sales ability that put her at the top of the sales chart every month. As we fast forward to the evolution of Life Elements, Martha and Curt, her husband and business partner of 16 years, have been by her side where they run the company together. As a small company, Life Elements has pivoted several times in the face of business challenges such as the 2008 economic crisis to their contract manufacturer ripping off their idea and selling it directly to their customers under a different name. But now, they are stronger than ever and one of the top natural skin and body care lines on the market.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Life Elements, Inc?
The name behind our Life Elements brand is a direct representation of our values and our approach to creating nature-based products made with the basic elements of life. We seek out ancient ingredients that have been used for generations (and even some that have been forgotten) to take advantage of their untapped beauty and healing properties for our various skin and body collections. We make the best nature-based skin and body care on the market and we don’t necessarily consider ourselves a “CBD” company even though we are most widely known for our CBD Bath Bombs — and our Ache & Pain products because they are considered the cleanest (in terms of safe ingredients) and most efficacious pain products in the industry. We pride ourselves and our team on our ability to make craft skin and body care at scale.

Our production facility, recipe formulation and manufacturing processes are a model for how a smaller company can control every aspect of the product without reliance on contract manufacturers or formulators. So many body and skincare brands (and especially CBD companies) have their products made in the same contract manufacturers which makes their differentiation nothing more than a sexy label, packaging and slick marketing campaigns. We believe strongly that people want to know who is making the products they use on their body and that there are indeed real people making real products that are healthy and good for them. That is our story. It is harder to do, but the benefits to our customers are that they are getting fresh products that were made locally and that haven’t been sitting in a warehouse for months (or even years). THAT is our differentiation.

Do you have any advice for those looking to network or find a mentor?
We truly believe in the philosophy that your attitude and outlook on life is based on the people you surround yourself with. And we cannot emphasize enough how important it is to find and learn from mentors or other inspiring people. It does take work to find and foster these beneficial relationships, but the fruits can be plentiful. The most important piece is really simple…you just need to ask. A great example of this was a few years when Curt & Martha were attending a local event and one of the speakers was Eric Meyer (Founder of Simple Shoes). Martha went up to him afterwards and asked if he could provide some advice. From there, over a cup of coffee, he provided some simple but super helpful advice that helped us pivot the business in a very positive way. You would be surprised how much people love to help. But like any other relationship, choose wisely so that you are both receiving the benefits of that connection.

Pricing:

  • CBD Bath Bombs — The best bath bombs on the market with the cleanest ingredients to provide the most beneficial muscle-relaxing and pain-reducing therapy session you’ve ever had $14 – $28 https://lifeelements.com/collections/bath-bombs
  • Life Elements Facial Collection In this plant-based collection, each product has a custom formula designed to improve the natural balance of your skin by cleaning, stimulating or moisturizing it without stripping away all the good stuff.  Reap the benefits of this Collection’s natural blends that promote anti-aging, and restore the healthiest glow you never knew you had. $28 – $90 https://lifeelements.com/collections/face-care
  • Healing Honey Stick This is our OG product that help put Life Elements on the map. The Honey Healing Stick showcases what nature’s gifts have to offer. It’s soothing on dry patches of skin or for protecting lips from cold, dry air. It’s a salve, it’s a balm, it is truly a “healing stick.” Science gives us the knowledge of what these substances can do. Martha’s talent for combining science and art gives us these effective, useful, and beautiful products (No CBD) $12 – $18 https://lifeelements.com/products/healing-honey-stick

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Image Credits

Life Elements, Inc.

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