The Other Way

054: Revolutionizing Skincare: A Journey into Clean, Plant-Based Skincare with Botnia's Founder, Justine Kahn

December 12, 2023 Kasia Stiggelbout Season 1 Episode 54
The Other Way
054: Revolutionizing Skincare: A Journey into Clean, Plant-Based Skincare with Botnia's Founder, Justine Kahn
NOURISH +
Become a supporter of the show!
Starting at $3/month
Support
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Want to meet Botnia and more amazing Bay Area brands in person? Join us at the Sausalito Winter Fest! This Saturday, December 16th from 10AM-5PM  (@sausalitowintermarket on IG)✨

Are you ready to revolutionize your skincare routine? Prepare to be enlightened as we take you on a journey through the world of clean, plant-based skincare with our fascinating guest, Justine Kahn, the founder of Botnia Skincare. This episode is packed with key insights on how skincare is not just about the surface but a holistic approach to well-being and health.

We explore the intriguing connection between skin health and internal health, underscoring the significance of understanding and treating our skin with pure, raw, and high-quality ingredients. Justine also shares the unique philosophy of Botnia that prioritizes ingredient quality and uses raw, natural ingredients. We further discuss how misleading marketing claims are creating a challenge for individuals seeking genuine clean skincare products, emphasizing the need to be informed consumers.

Venturing into the world of plant-based skincare, we reveal the importance of high-quality plants and their nourishing effects both internally and externally. As we conclude, we take a deep look at the heart-centered approach to growing a business. Justine shares her authentic journey of building Botnia, staying true to her values, and leading with authenticity in every business decision. Join us for this enlightening episode that promises to transform your approach to skincare and open your eyes to the power of authenticity in business.

To Connect with Justine and Botnia:





Support the show

To connect with Kasia

Speaker 1:

Hello and welcome to Nourish. My name is Kasha and I'm an entrepreneur, a longtime meditator and a student of Chinese medicine. My mission with this podcast is to share the tools and practices to help you integrate your whole self into every aspect of your world. As someone who is both a Taipei high achiever and a deeply spiritual, vulnerable and empathetic being, I know firsthand how it feels to be living a double life showing up one way at work a different way alone and struggling to reconcile the two. This disintegration of authenticity is one of the biggest causes of burnout, health flares and anxiety. For me, understanding how the mind-body connection is crucial to health and success, cultivating a strong sense of inner self and applying the healing philosophies of Chinese medicine and Zen Buddhism to my life has allowed me to lead from a completely heart-powered place, letting go of other people's judgments and finding peace in allowing my multi-dimensional being to shine. My hope is that this podcast may inspire you to do the same. I want to call out. It is a practice, it is a journey, but I believe it is the most important thing that we can do for our bodies, minds and our ultimate potential. Enjoy, hello, my friends, and welcome back to Nourish.

Speaker 1:

Today I have a very special guest for you and for a lot of you out there, she will be a familiar name. This is the absolute ticemaker herself, justine Kahn, founder, aesthetician and visionary behind botnia skincare. Botnia is born from the need for individualized skincare solutions as unique as our fingerprints. More than a skincare line, botnia is a science-backed collection of potent raw ingredients, each uniquely blended to cater to specific skin types. With a full-fledged lab partnering with over 200 spas nationwide, the reach of botnia extends beyond skincare. Botnia embodies Justine's cherished values sustainable farming practices, a nurturing work environment and the promotion of self-love.

Speaker 1:

On today's episode, we will dive into so much. We're going to talk about the skincare side of things, with the power of raw, pure ingredients and how they move the needle, talking about why customized skincare is crucial and greenwashing, identifying what is real when it comes to clean products. But we're also going to spend some time talking about the power of a value-driven business and how that's led to botnia's success. Tune into this episode if you're interested in clean skincare, building a truly heart-led and sustainable business and thinking out of the box when it comes to product creation or, in botnia's case, product formulation. Now let's dive into it. Welcome, justine, to the podcast.

Speaker 2:

Oh, thank you so much for having me. It's such a joy to be here.

Speaker 1:

The joy and honor is truly all mine. I know I said this before we went live and oh wow, 11-11, when we're recording slight tangent but that's amazing. That's a very good sign in my book. But I am just so thrilled to have you on A. You totally inspire me as a entrepreneur, I absolutely adore your products, but I also just love how you truly embody in a way like what you're putting out into the world, but you're really living and breathing this kind of sustainable lifestyle brand and I feel like that is very difficult to come by to really witness founders, not just talk the talk but walk the walk. So thank you.

Speaker 2:

Oh, thank you so much. What a sweet intro and it's such a joy and pleasure to hang out with you today and hang out with your listeners today and talk about skincare and my journey, and so thank you for having me.

Speaker 1:

Well, we have a lot to get into, but before we do, since you've listened to the podcast before, you probably know that my first question is what are three words that you would use to describe yourself?

Speaker 2:

I love that you asked this because self-reflection is vital, but it sometimes can be a little bit hard, and so I actually thought about it quite a bit, and some of the words that came to mind for me were creative, but not from the traditional perspective of creative, but really that I'm always creating something. And so I see myself as this creative person, and I also really believe in progression, and I think progression comes from creating, obviously, so really thinking about how can we push the needle forward, how can I be progressing, how can I be progressing for myself too, in my own goals, deepening who I want to be and how I accomplish those things. And so it kind of led me down that path to my second word, which was motivated. I would say I'm somebody that's really motivated. When I have a dream or have something that really inspires me, I have an innate ability to accomplish that thing.

Speaker 2:

And the other word that came to mind is generous. That's just something that I think most healers or people who heal people have in common. But I really love to give. Any way I can give Really speaks to my soul and the way that I am in the world. So, anyways, thank you for asking those questions.

Speaker 1:

I love those answers. I don't think I've heard generous before. And I'm curious actually, because at the beginning I used to ask this question and I would say, choose words that are not work related, because a lot of the people that I had come on were people who felt as though they were kind of splitting their personality between their personal life and their work life. And as the podcast has gone on, I've recognized and been introduced to so many incredible guests that actually kind of have found that authenticity in both spaces and I'm curious do you feel that those words would be the words that you would use, kind of to describe yourself both in and outside of the workplace?

Speaker 2:

Oh, yeah, absolutely. I mean I think inside and outside, when you are a entrepreneur or founder or business owner, the work life persona you are what you create. I mean I am all of the things that I am inside my business and my personal life. I would say I lean heavier into some things in my personal life than I do into my business, but I would say definitely all of those things as well in my personal life.

Speaker 1:

Okay, I love that. I think that that is such an inspiration for a lot of people who perhaps are not able to find that authenticity and that balance of showing up authentically in both spaces I think it's so important to talk about. That really segues well to all of the topics we have today. I want to introduce this for the listeners, but I feel like we're going to be covering a blend of skin care and your philosophy on skin care, both the philosophy and science behind botnia, but also journey into your path as a founder, because I find that very often and this is just coming to me as I'm saying it but when business kind of gets involved, things change, May it be core values or how people show up or the actions that they take when your livelihood is at stake. You and I have talked about this offline, but a lot of the choices that you've made and kind of you as the representative behind botnia, have remained so authentically aligned with your values. I know that some of those values include not just harmony as it comes to our physical bodies and skin care, but harmony in the natural world.

Speaker 1:

I'm going to kind of rattle off a couple of things that, as the founder of botnia. You've made some incredible choices from a product development point of view and then also in your lifestyle, your branding, how you package the whole life cycle behind botnia, your commitment to philosophy around skin care, but also a respect and care for nature. I want to actually dive into the kind of origin story of botnia to give listeners a little bit of background into how that came to be. I know that over 20 years ago you were working as an ascetician and you recognized how important unique skin care needs to be and that there is quote there needs to be individualized skin care solutions that are as unique as our fingerprints. Could you talk a little bit more about that and how you kind of recognized that skin care needed to be unique?

Speaker 2:

Oh, yeah, thank you for the question. It's such an important place to start in the beginning. It's true, it's so important and I appreciate it Really as an ascetician in beauty school. I'll take you all the way back to the beginning. I finished beauty school in I'm going to date myself 2001,. So long time ago.

Speaker 2:

Back then there was very limited skin care options. There's so many more skin care options these days for asceticians, but really we were limited back then. What I found, working with my guests inside my treatment room in various spas and I worked in many spas and I worked in day spas and I worked in all sorts of different kinds of spas was that I had these beautiful intentions for my guest skin and I had a foundational knowledge of how skin functions. Then I was watching these results be lackluster or not what I had promised, and it really all came back to the tools I had. I had struggled with these tools and the tools being the ingredients that were inside what asceticians call a back bar, what they use on their client's skin, these ingredients, they really were developed. Generally, I was noticing, as an ascetician who's dealing with a very specific person, who's standing right in front of me, that there was no general solution. I would have, for instance, my guests standing in front of me telling me that they're struggling with fertility and they're having hormonal breakouts. I would be looking at their skin and going, oh gosh, yes, you do in fact, have very traditional sebaceous related meaning lots of oil in the skin, acne expression on the surface of your skin, but you also are 40 and slightly dehydrated. I don't have something. That's for both things. What asceticians do and what I was doing is I was taking my moisture mask and mixing it with my acne mask and praying for the best and again getting results that didn't really work.

Speaker 2:

About 10 years into that journey, and always feeling unsatisfied, I just had this idea of like what if I could know about these ingredients. I need to know more about these ingredients so that I can at least have a foundational knowledge on how to treat my guest skin. Specifically, even if I am going to mix my moisture mask with my acne mask, I want to know if it'll work and if that's okay to do. I went to school and learned about cosmetic chemistry. Of course, that led me down a rabbit hole and all of a sudden, I found myself in my kitchen hand-making products for each one of my clients because, speaking to that question that you had before about generosity of spirit, I don't even care about the money, I just want to heal some skin. I was like I'm just going to make these products from scratch and see how it goes. I just started getting these incredible results. My clients kept growing.

Speaker 2:

In 2010, I actually started my own company. It was called Skin Remedy. Then I opened a spa in San Francisco. It really was a launch pad for me to create not only our back bar those professional products but also our retail line. What we really developed was an entire system based around the philosophy that when we are with our guests, it is so important as estheticians that we are able to get very specific about our protocols and treat the skin utilizing whole, healthy ingredients that are specific for each person. Our back bar is 23 raw ingredients that I train estheticians on how to utilize specifically. They mix it at the exact time of the facial, which is so awesome. You're seeing my back bar behind me and if you're just listening to this, you can go to the show notes and see our back bar. It's such an exciting way to get in alignment with what humans require.

Speaker 2:

Going back to what you said about skincare like a fingerprint. It's true. Each one of us has our own bio, individual makeup. We're all having different kinds of experiences inside our bodies. Even if our skin we would consider our skin to be normal, we might also have times of the month where it fluctuates, and having a professional be able to say oh, I do notice that you are dehydrated today more than usual and be able to treat that specifically is an important thing. Or if you have a skin change or shift, it's also really important to have your esthetician be able to treat you specifically. That's how we created our back bar.

Speaker 2:

From there, I really identified a nutrition, and that nutrition in our back bar is also in our retail line. Our retail line is different combinations put together to really accomplish a goal that a guest might have with their skin. What's so exciting about this approach, which is different than maybe some other approaches in skincare, is that we don't look at the facial as our result moment. We look at the day-in, day-out, repetitive use of a nutritional skincare line as how we get to our result In the treatment room, and very similar to traditional Chinese medicine as well. We look at that as triage. We are, in the moment able to address specifically what's happening for you, but it's through lifestyle changes and through nutritional support systems that we create lasting change for people and support systems for people. That's kind of how I approach people's skin, and it takes time. It's a beautiful thing to really accomplish a goal with a guest and have it be a quality goal, not at the detriment to their organ, but in fact building up the resilience of their organ and having that resilience last them a lifetime.

Speaker 1:

So beautifully said.

Speaker 1:

There's something so exciting about and honestly empowering, to be able to take some of the knowledge that's gained in a facial and then continue that self-care process and actually be able to nourish what I love that you called out, which is the organ.

Speaker 1:

I think all too often we forget that our skin is an organ. It's a detox organ. It serves so many functions as a barrier. Can you maybe share a little bit about how you and how the estheticians you work with and botnia think about caring for the organ, and what I mean by that specifically is? I remember a couple of months ago you shared something that was quite eye-opening to me, which was that the way that we think about, for example, toners as being painful and having that burning sensation may not necessarily be the healthiest thing, and so for people who are listening, who might not be nearby, might be a little bit further away as they think about evaluating hey, how is my skin, how is this organ doing? What are some of the things that they should be thinking about at a high level? I know it might be hard to get really specific.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I mean, I think at a high level really what you notice about your own skin and its own and the health of it. Do you notice that your skin is more flushed than usual? Do you notice any shifts or changes? Just like the rest of our body, and a lot of times these shifts and changes we notice inside our skin are indicative of internal imbalances, to your point of the skin being a detox organ. What's interesting is that our gut is our skin on the inside, and I think your listeners will be okay with this, but I'm going to use a graphic word, but it goes up through our anus and then turns into our gut, and so when we're thinking about what is our gut and gut health and gut brain health and brain skin health and body connection it's all connected. And so, you know, thinking about how we are seeing the representation of our internal health on the outside of our body is a lot of what a holistic esthetician which is what I am and botanist estheticians are we think about, you know, body systems and the skin is our largest organ and one of our greatest teachers, and so when we have acne or rosacea or eczema or psoriasis or any skin dysfunction or disease. It's indicative usually of an internal imbalance and sometimes can be caused by an external imbalance. And so when you're looking at your home care and you're looking at your skin and you're thinking about what are you noticing, I really suggest also going to a holistic esthetician to help guide you, because as a layman person it's really hard to tell what you're looking at, because you know rosacea, for instance, might be a biome dysfunction and there's a lot of evidence to support this right. Could also be a hormonal imbalance. There's evidence to show that eczema is a similar way. So, you know, really folding in the support systems, but generally speaking, things to really watch out for that might be harsh or damaging top down for the skin.

Speaker 2:

I would say alcohols, parabens, fragrance colors. I've been seeing this trend recently at the Everything Shower and people are putting like all their Dove you know products and things out and I'm like, oh no, you know, and not to call out Dove, I don't know, I haven't looked at every one of their products, but thinking about you know, do you recognize the ingredient name is a good place to start. And if you don't looking it up and I love EWG, environmental Working Group and you can actually just put the name of the ingredient into EWG, check it out, see if it's good for your skin. And then the other piece that I will just say to piggyback onto that is that if it's burning and if it's hurting, it's your body signaling that it's not going to be healthy for you. And so you know, our body has this beautiful intuition and it tells us when things aren't good for us. And so you know, I always feel if something is burning or hurting, you should not be using it.

Speaker 2:

And you know these peels on Amazon and whatever, and you see the before and the after and you think, gosh, that's amazing. But what you don't see is you don't see the hyperpigmentation that comes from doing a home peel that's too strong for the skin. You don't see the post inflammatory issues that happen, maybe for that person, maybe that picture is even photoshopped, which happens a lot out there. So you know, really, again, a plug for a professional, get a professional in your life and really trust them with your skin. And that's what I would say.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and I think it's such a powerful call out to just be aware of what a great job marketing can do and how necessarily it's not. You know, we kind of talked about this a little bit offline as we were, you know, preparing for this, but I think we can get into this a little bit later in the interview. But there are a lot of misleading claims out there, not just around ingredients but around how sustainable the products are greenwashing a lovely term that we can get into but I want to actually pause before we move on and highlight something that I think is so unique about botnia, and I'm curious because we talked about the uniqueness of our skin and how our skin does require more customization that I think, by default, we are used to providing it with. But the other thing that I know is core to botnia's philosophy is ingredient quality, and you started to speak to this a little bit around. You know, understanding what is in our skin care and the episode that actually aired in October.

Speaker 1:

I had Jenna Hua on from Million Marker and she talked a lot about like open this can of worms, of understanding toxins and toxicens either like natural toxins or manmade produced toxins and the impact that that has on our health. Can you share a little bit around how you and botnia specifically are thinking about ingredient quality, because it does feel so? Quote I think you said raw ingredients are important. I would love to hear more about why.

Speaker 2:

Oh yeah, don't tempt me in talking about plants. Plants are amazing. So you know, ultimately we grew up with plants, meaning that we literally were cells that divided in an ocean. People say Mother Earth, I say Mother Ocean because that's where we came from, if you believe in evolution, and we crawled out of the ocean next to all the sea mosses and different kinds of seaweeds. And we crawled out of the ocean and we went our separate ways, right. But we've been growing up together ever since, and plants have this incredible innate ability to actually be ingested by us and feed our organs and create systemic health for our bodies.

Speaker 2:

And so doesn't it make total sense that topically as well, because our skin is our body, that they hold these beautiful minerals and vitamins that are also vital to our skin's health externally as they are internally?

Speaker 2:

And where the science comes in there and there's a lot of science to support this through biology, chemistry, modern cosmetic chemistry utilizes plants, but really, when you're talking about plant-based skincare, what's most important is the quality of the plant and how the plant is extracted and what constituents were after.

Speaker 2:

And this is why modern skincare is amazing, because we have the ability to isolate and look at and determine what would be most beneficial for our skin. And the thing to also note about our skin is that our skin is a detox organ, but it doesn't have a digestion like our bodies do, and so in our bodies, when we're eating a plant, we're chewing it up, we're creating all of these enzymes and digestive secretions inside our saliva, we're swallowing that plant, we're breaking it down with our tummy acids and good bacteria some bad bacteria is in there too there's like a gamut of things that are going on, and then, you know, it gets divided out to our vascular system through our bowels and then it goes and it feeds all of ourselves, and that's how it works on the inside of our body.

Speaker 1:

On the outside, of it Sounds like a child's story. By the way, the way that you're sharing, I love it. Okay, sorry, go on. Yeah, I know, and by the way, if there's any bad bacteria just intermingling in this wild festival, sorry, go on.

Speaker 2:

I love it, and it's true. It's true, it's a medley of things and it's okay.

Speaker 1:

There's some some bad, like a fruit medley, but a bacteria. I love it.

Speaker 2:

Yes, and it's so important too. It's so important we have to have all of the diversity. And you know, I think you know, top down, it's very different because we don't have that same mechanism inside our skin. And so that's why cosmetic chemistry exists is because we want to micronize and make these molecules smaller so they can penetrate in and our, our skin can actually absorb them right.

Speaker 2:

And you know, using raw plants, we have limitations because we're not using condensed vitamin A. We're using vitamin A in a larger amount that might be less strong. And so you know the way that pharmaceutical companies and the way that the world has worked from the perspective of modern medicine is that it's put its imprint onto cosmetics, and so we think like more vitamins, better stronger, bigger reactions. You know actives, actives, actives, but we're missing what the purpose of these actives is in our bodies and how our bodies assimilate with plants. And so if you drink, you know, super juices every day, it might actually hurt you. In fact, a lot of the juice crazes do hurt people. And you know we really want to be thinking about what's a healthy dose. And then how are we getting to those constituents? And so I'm no, I know I'm giving you a big, big response. But you know, I think it's important to start with the foundations of the body, in our Y, behind plants, and why it's important to have quality plants. And so you know, when I looked at plant-based skincare, I looked at different plants that would be specifically good for the skin, that have a lot of vitamins and minerals that the skin can benefit from, like vitamin A and K and manganese all in kale, for instance, there's cameoazoline and chamomile, there's vitamin C that's in rose hips, and so we have these raw, beautiful plants that we can access. And so what we did with botany is we looked at, okay, so our bodies create these secretions and ways to break down these plants and make them more bioavailable to ourselves, and so we mimic that with our back bar. So we use things like goat's milk yogurt that has natural lactic acid, it has natural enzymes, it has good and bad bacteria that exist inside it to help to break down these plants and get through the cellular walls of them to make them more bioavailable to the surface of the skin. We also have ones that we've created, too, to do that, and so that's really important, that we think about the science along with how are we feeding the skin these whole healthy plants and then, as far as the plants go, having whole healthy plants.

Speaker 2:

Not all plants are created equal, and when I started thinking about the quality of our ingredient, I started by purchasing plants online. Like everybody else who starts a skin care company, I feel like a natural skin care company starts, and I went to the usual suspects and I ordered my plants and I got them and I was like, great, this is calendula. It's kind of gray and white, but like I bet it was orange one time. And then I realized over time that like I wasn't getting these really strong results in my treatment room and I really felt like maybe it's because of the plant quality. And then sometimes I was getting results that I wasn't happy with. In fact, I had a few histamine reactions, people having hives after having facials, and I realized that it might be because there were pesticides used on these plants. And what if I was taking these plants and freeze, drying them and grinding them up? And it was condensed amounts of pesticides that I was actually applying with the plant matter. And so I was like, oh gosh, I have to actually have control of this.

Speaker 2:

And so I started growing my own, and so botnia's plant is actually one that we know the seed, and if we don't grow it ourselves, our farm partners have a strict protocol that they follow that enables us to control whether or not this plant has ever seen a pest. We also use heritage seeds, ones from plants that we have used the year prior, and so we really think about the heritage of the plant and how we're folding that into our skin care, and so it's a really exciting, also regenerative, farming way to really bring forward these vital, really deeply nutritional parts to our skin care line. But also know your plants. I think we're one of the few skin care companies out there that actually grows their own skin care. I think there's a lot of companies that do beautiful skin care. I just think we actually do know our plants, and I think there's a really good reason for that, which is, again, to support the external health of your body.

Speaker 1:

And I absolutely love that decision. I feel like it is super unique and that was one of the reasons why I initially reached out, because when I heard through the grapevine about all the incredible work that you were doing behind the scenes to not just create a product line that is effective from both like clinical point of view, but effective in harmony with our bodies and in harmony with nature, and you kind of own the whole life cycle, which is incredible. But I also want to kind of dig into that because I feel like from a business point of view, it's not necessarily the kind of strategy that most founders would choose in building a you know kind of building and growing a skin care line. And so I'm curious how has it been kind of making that part of your philosophy and part of the way that you've chosen to do business, and how has that been possible? When you think about growth and building botnia and botnia is growing and it's reaching so many incredible people but how has that ride been?

Speaker 2:

Oh, wow, yeah, it's been so exhilarating. I have to say that you know, when I started this again, I really started it from such a heart-centered place. It never was the goal to have a skincare company, I think, like other people come to it. It came from such a natural place where it was like I just want to heal these clients in front of me, and then I started having success and I just felt like I could share it with other people, and so it grew and grew and grew.

Speaker 2:

The other thing that I think is really rare and unique is that I'm really focused on having the life I want to have, and I think that's a really important thing to keep in mind when you're thinking about growing a company or being anything larger than yourself. Right, like, if you're thinking about growing and expanding, what does that mean and what is it at the cost of, and where do you find your most juicy center? Inside that. And for me, again, I love creating and gardening and learning and thinking about ecosystems and thinking about creating humane workspaces for the people who work for me, and thinking about how I can encompass the life I want inside my business. Instead of like doing it outside of my business.

Speaker 2:

I do it inside my business and so earlier when you asked me about, am I different outside than inside my business? I'm really not, and that's because I'm doing everything I love in both places and that's a sweet spot. And I am not doing it for the money. But of course money is really important and we have to have it, but it doesn't drive me in the same way as like God. Wouldn't it be cool if I could have a farm and grow plants and wait. I get to get paid for that and then I get to share it with other people get out of here.

Speaker 1:

This is like the coolest thing ever. Oh my God, I love that, I absolutely love that, and that is so true. I mean, when you position it that way, right, and it sounds so in alignment with what you obviously love to do in and of itself. But I'm curious, like have there been some rock bottoms along the way? Right, because here we are, I'm looking at your beautiful space, you have a beautiful backdrop.

Speaker 1:

I know you're partnered with what like 200 or something estheticians around the country at least it looks great now as we're talking about it. But choosing to make that decision along the way, when you're thinking about putting your products out there or scaling them, like, has it just been kind of this flow as you've gone along? Or, you know, have there been rock bottoms where you've kind of had to use that north star of what you really care about to kind of keep you motivated to keep going and stick to that decision, because it is, in many ways, maybe the easier decision when it aligns with your core values, yes, but it's also sometimes maybe logistically harder than you know. Doing things in XYZ faster, automated, whatever way, right?

Speaker 2:

Oh yeah totally, Of course. You know, the thing I'll share with you is, like you know, I believed one of the secrets to life is just to accept that life is 50%, not great, and I think if we can make it then we don't get so stuck at the bottom right, and so it's like, of course, totally I've definitely been at the bottom. Hey, I had to close my beautiful business during COVID and you know I had to do all of these things and stretch myself and myself and my staff, and we all did and everybody did, and you know it was 50%. Just shit then. Sorry, I don't think I can say that, but it was 50% bad then.

Speaker 1:

This is an 18 plus podcast. Pretty much we're fine. It's like PG-13 onward.

Speaker 2:

But yeah, I mean, I think if you can accept that, then I think that you have a chance at having the other 50% be really great, because you're not so attached to the 50%. That's not good. You just see it as like okay, I'm in discomfort right now. This isn't fun, I'm struggling and I know that it's not forever and I know that there will be another time where I'm really thriving and things are great and you can also trust yourself.

Speaker 2:

And I think that's the piece too is that when you have a values aligned business, you can trust yourself to know that, like, if it all falls apart, at least I did it in alignment with myself and my own values and I'll learn something from that. And so the risk of failure is really not there for me because I'm like well, I'll learn a lot if I fail, and I probably won't, because I'm staying in integrity. And I think people really recognize people who do that and they align themselves with that integrity, just naturally because they have integrity. And I think people are searching for maybe businesses like mine that really do care and really do think about these things, that they also think about Absolutely.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely, and it definitely radiates, I will say, through your brand and obviously the quality of the products that you produce. But also, I think in hearing you speak you can hear that like it's just all so beautifully authentically aligned. I'm curious, as a business owner, as you know and I have a lot of entrepreneurs at different stages that listen to this podcast I know that's quite a percentage of our audience and also aspiring entrepreneurs Do you apply that value-based thinking to also how you think about growth from, let's say, a marketing point of view? I'm guessing yes to the brand, because the brand exudes all of that.

Speaker 1:

But how does that kind of strategy of leading with your values apply to the decisions that you make day in, day out? And maybe I'll be even more specific, but there are so many kind of unsaid slash, agreed upon philosophies To grow on social one needs to do X, to scale your business one needs to do Y, and so I'm curious if you lead with that value-based system in all of those decisions, and have you ever in turn made a decision that maybe some common sense in air quotes business might say is not the right decision, but it's actually kind of brought some unexpected benefits or returns or landed you in the direction you wanted to go, and I share this because I would love to get some inspiration for all the founders out there that want to operate this way.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, oh, my gosh. So you know, social media in particular is where most of our business comes from. Instagram, in particular, although we do have a presence on TikTok and threads and Facebook and Pinterest you name it, we're there. X. Just do it all. I do that because I think honestly. First of all, it's free. Amazing, we love that price. We love that price. Yes, entrepreneurs do the free thing, but I think the authenticity is really being celebrated right now through those channels. What I will say is that the thing that's really worked for us is not to worry so much about the growth of getting new people to follow us, but really focusing on the people who are following us and not thinking about constantly getting new people. They will find you and your number on Instagram in particular doesn't really matter. I think we only have 23,000 followers, something really small, but those people are super engaged with us. That's what's most important when you're talking about marketing is how are you engaging and telling your brand story? I think we also, as a small company, think about our scalability and think about our growth and think about what are the limits that we want to push ourselves to as well. I think right now, we're in a really great sweet spot of being able to just tell our story. We use a lot of user-generated content mixed with our own content of our own story. Through our social media we do a monthly series, for instance, about our microfarm and what we're growing on the farm. We also do a series inside our lab and what we're making in our lab. I talk about skin nerd facts and things like that on there that, I think, really help people get to know us. But to your point about values, just to go back to that, I think what's most important is that you identify what your values are, and a lot of times they are values that you do have in your personal life, that you also might want to bring into your business life, and they can act like a North Star that helps guide you through what is alignment for you.

Speaker 2:

One of the things that we don't do currently is we don't do any influencer marketing, and that's something a lot of people do do and there's nothing wrong with it. But when I'm talking about trust and authenticity, it's not very authentic for us to go out and go. You've never used our product before. I'm going to send it to you and I'm going to bet that you'll love it and so you need to talk about it. And then the next week you're talking about some other person's product. It just doesn't feel truly values aligned. And so we do have some influencers who talk about botnia, but we don't pay them and we don't give them free product. And it's a wonderful place that we've found to just dig our heels in and say no to a trend and it's a hard trend to say no to, because you see a lot of people having a lot of success with that and I think for us it's just about again, at what cost? At the cost of looking like we potentially might not be in alignment with our own values. No, thank you.

Speaker 1:

That is such a good example and thank you for sharing that and thank you for frankly being an inspiration. You know, as I kind of. You know I talked offline, but I'm in the process of personally thinking about launching a product and a brand that I've been building and I took your advice about outlining those values and it's playing into how I think about reaching and building community and how to do that in an authentic way, and I think that the more that other founders and business owners think about this and can turn to examples of this, like you and Votnia, I think that it really allows for businesses to operate differently and that translates not just in the marketing but in the product development, in how you think about sustainability and how you actually practice sustainable practices.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's right and you don't get so stuck.

Speaker 2:

I mean, I think that's the thing is that we're trained to think like, oh gosh, I have to have, you know, 100,000 followers or whatever your number is as an entrepreneur.

Speaker 2:

And really it's like if you have 100 great followers and they're all buying your product and they're, all, you know, feeling values aligned with you, they will come back time and time and time again and be repeat customers and you don't need 100,000 if your 100, you know are actually participating. And I think we just yeah, we can get really sidetracked by you know the machine and also it's fatiguing and I think if you can be really clear on your values, you spend a lot less time in psychic chaos around like, should I be doing this, should I be doing that? Because you're able to see your guiding light. You're able to see like, oh gosh, is it aligned with my values? No, actually it's not Okay. Oh well, moving on, you know, and then you spend no time on it and you just get to move forward and sidebar. I'm so excited for you, that's so exciting. I can't wait to see what you have to show us all.

Speaker 1:

Thank you. Thank you so much and thank you for being such an incredible inspiration along this journey. I could keep chatting with you for hours, but we're just about at time. I would love it just to see if you could share with folks. Where can people find you, where can they find botnia, and if you have anything exciting that you want to share, please do. I know all of our listeners are going to be heading to the website if they don't already know about you. I feel like everyone here does. Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Oh gosh, thank you, thank you, thank you, Thank you. Well, you can find botnia at botniaskincarecom. You can find us on Instagram at botniaskincare, same on TikTok, also on Pinterest, and I will say that if you haven't yet tried one of our seasonal hydrosols, they're very special, and right now we have our chamomile hydrosol. The proceeds of that are going to a nonprofit here in Marin County that helps people who are currently undergoing cancer therapy and their families, and we're donating to that nonprofit right now, and so we're fundraising for that. But we also have seasonal hydrosols. We have two coming out for a holiday that I'm really excited about, and they're collectibles because we only produce a small amount of them every year, and they're just something really to covet and to utilize and increase your vitality and your health of your skin. And, yeah, it's been such a joy to be on this podcast today. Thank you for everyone who listened today too. It's such an honor to come to your ears and talk about my company, and thank you for having me.

Speaker 1:

It's wonderful oh this was such a joy. Truly, the joy was all mine and I cannot wait to continue to listen to your farm series, your skin care series, all that good stuff online. I love it. That's the next dream the building the farm dream and thank you everyone for tuning in. Have an incredible week and see you next time. Bye, thank you so much for tuning into this episode of Nourish. If you enjoyed this conversation, please leave a review. Five Star Reviews helped the podcast grow and I'm so grateful for that. I publish new episodes twice a month, so hit the subscribe button to be notified and if you want to stay connected in between episodes, join my community on Instagram and TikTok at nourish underscore podcast. All right, that's all I got for you today. See you next time.

Skincare Philosophy and Sustainable Business Growth
Skin Health and Ingredient Quality
Quality Plants in Skincare
Building a Values-Aligned Business
Business Authenticity and Values Importance

Podcasts we love