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Hidden Gems: Meet Brittaney Kimmel of Paraguas Beauty

Today we’d like to introduce you to Brittaney Kimmel.

Hi Brittaney, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Getting here was an unexpected journey that started when I was pregnant with my first child in 2013 and couldn’t find skincare products I felt safe using.

I wanted products that met the same standards I have for food: natural, organic, GMO-free and preservative free. Beyond that, I wanted SIMPLE formulations – ingredients I recognized in a list short enough to research on my own.

When I couldn’t find products that met these standards, I started kitchen-crafting my own. I quickly learned that any product with water has to also include a synthetic preservative (questionable at best) as well as emulsifiers (damaging to your natural skin barrier defense), along with a host of other ingredients to counteract those. So, water was out. Going water-free not only gave me products that were healthier for my skin, but the concentrated formulas also delivered more uses per package, which helped me address my other skincare priority: sustainability. After some awkward trial and error (at one point, I dyed my face oompa loompa orange from too much turmeric in a mask), I finally had an intentionally simple, natural and effective set of products that my family, friends and I all loved.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Once I had products I loved, I thought I could take this brilliant water-free (Paraugas means “Umbrella” in Spanish) concept to contract manufacturers and that they’d make my products while I set the ingredient quality standards, social mission objectives and got the word out. Spoiler alert: if you have an out-of-the-box idea (in my case, water-free, preservative-free formulas in glass and paper packaging), and don’t have a big name or a big budget, this is not a realistic path.

I felt completely discouraged, but also would rather scrap the entire business idea than compromise on my safety, quality and sustainability standards. So, I called USDA Organic Certifying Agents and eventually spoke with someone who was willing to walk me through getting my home kitchen certified as a USDA Organic Processing and Handling Facility.

It took me a year to complete the certification process, but it allowed me to make everything in-house (literally), according to my values and in small batches.

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Paraguas Beauty is an organic skincare line committed to helping you simplify your self-care practices while also minimizing our eco-footprint and creating a positive social impact.

Our organic and vegan products are intentionally simple, with 5 ingredients or less. Water-free formulas not only allow us to stay committed to our natural and simplified self-care mission but also provide more uses per package. As part of our commitment to sustainability, our bottles are glass or paperboard, we plant a tree for every product purchased, plant 5 trees for every organic facial booked with our spa partners, and we purchase carbon offsets for our shipping. We also believe empowered women change the world so donate 5% of profits to non-profit organizations making the essential human right of safe water access a reality.

What would you say have been one of the most important lessons you’ve learned?
Burnout is real. There is a quote I love: “How do I stay motivated? I don’t. I stay consistent.” Creating something new is hard, and when sales don’t reflect the effort you’ve put it, it’s incredibly humbling and sometimes outright demoralizing. But if you stay true to your values, and just keep showing up, and keep iterating, you’ll end up with something you’re proud of.

The other important part I’d add to that quote is, “I stay connected.” Find your community and make sure you’re taking care of it – it’s not a resource, it’s a collaboration. There will be season when you’re in need and seasons when you’ll be in a position to uplift someone else in need.

Stay consistent and stay connected.

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