Updated: Apr 6, 2021
This picture was taken by a girlfriend of mine about a year ago, in August of 2019 (pre-COVID!). I was considering leaving Reno, NV for another beautiful mountainous area... Denver, CO.
Despite the hopeful caption, I wasn't doing too well internally. Have you ever experienced a blow to your sense of self so huge, that you had no other option but to completely fall apart and slowly, painfully rebuild? I hope not. Actually, I kind of hope so to be honest; it's worth clawing your way back up from feeling like a lost pile of person, and knowing that the Phoenix that rose from those ashes was all you, and no one can take that from you, ever again. We will stumble and have "weak" moments, but when we also mindfully accept that honoring ourselves is paramount, we will never feel alone... and it doesn't suck. As much.
That all may sound cheesy or cliché (sigh), but it's true. It was so f*cking hard, and it's not easy now, but it's less hard. Everyday is work; some days are difficult and some are pretty damn good.
Following this trip, on my journey back to me, it dawned on me that I missed lab work, playing with chemistry (I spent almost a decade working in a pharmaceutical lab in San Diego), working with instrumentation... so I decided to make a CBD face serum for fun, for me, because CBD is "so hot right now". And, CBD has shown tremendous results as an effective anti-inflammatory (I have Lupus, so inflammation is kind of a thing for me). They're also looking at dermal absorption in clinical trials for acne treatment.
So, as I began my research (I spent five years in a Master's program for a thesis defense - I've homed my researching capabilities!), looking at serums and common ingredients, I was quite surprised to find how much filler goes into a lot of (highly rated) skincare products. Emollients, emulsifiers, stabilizers, oh my! I get it - why not use chemistry to solve problems with texture and shelf life? Hm. Because it doesn't add value for the user? I pressed on, aiming to make something "clean", preservative free even (formaldehyde releaser? nah, gross). By my seventh formulation, I was actually pretty happy with the product, so I kept using it.
Then, one day, I was walking around Target (whee!), and it occurred to me that there are, like, five aisles of skincare products. Five. WTF. And if you pick up the bottles and read what's in them: crap. Mostly. Some good stuff, but more-so crap: fillers. And, there's so much waste! Did you know that in 2017, the US put 52% of 268 million tons of waste into landfills? (FYI - that is about 900 Lake Tahoes) Plastic bottles everywhere, packaging, signs with pictures of beautiful people on them that ensure us our problems will be solved with this new smoothing facial moisturizer. Ugh. I was OVER IT. I decided that day I'd throw my hat in the ring of this multi-billion dollar industry of waste and misleading information. Don't even get me started on this all being unregulated (most people don't have the time to be a highly-informed customer, there's some consumer trust there).
Our goals at eNVy look like:
Formulate clean skincare with effective ingredients
Minimize waste, increase recyclability of every part of the product
Bring ingredient sourcing in-house as much as possible to maintain quality control and reduce the impact on the environment from transporting goods
Create skilled labor jobs locally, in Reno, NV and encourage continued growth of this vibrant, beautiful place
Encourage education for consumers of skincare products and more!
I hope to gain enough trust from customers to be loyal, and to basically finance the growth of a completely American-based company, with a commitment to changing the status quo of skincare sourcing, production, and waste accountability. If you're curious about my background, please check out my LinkedIn profile.
This inspiration has moved me forward, out of that dark space. And it all came from accepting the discomfort, getting quiet, and f*cking listening to my intuition.
I hope you join me.