Client Interview: Sandy Polentes of BAUSC
Date Posted: 06/02/2014 | By:
Our client, Sandy Polentes of BAUSC, has been on a mission for the last few years to eliminate any toxicity in skin care products. She reasons – food that is bad for you, at least gets filtered through the liver – but something you put on your skin, goes right into your blood system. No filtering. So she has set about doing the filtering for her clients – creating non-toxic skin care products that are gentle and effective – and without a trace of harmful chemicals.
Us: Why is the name of your company: BAUSC?
Sandy: Well, I like the fragrance and freshness of the pear, especially the Bosc pear, and since that domain name ‘bosc’ was taken, we went for a variation of the word. Our signature scent is “Pear Naked” and the lovely shape of a pear is on the Home Page and every page of our website. Not everything we offer is pear-scented, but that particular fragrance, that’s not too fruity or cloying, is a perfect ‘summary’ of what we stand for: elegance and cleanliness and purity.
Us: You have a clear advocacy role in selling your skin products. How did you get there?
Sandy: My backstory is about becoming suddenly sick. A mother of three kids, I was completely exhausted, depressed and into a downward spiral that I couldn’t seem to stop. I saw endocrinologists and the like, but until I met with a functional medicine doctor, there wasn’t a clue to what was ailing me.
The integrative approach to health saved my life – literally. My miracle doctor focused on the root cause of why my body had reached it’s tipping point and assured me that I was going to be all right again, if given support it would heal. That included eating unprocessed, nutrient dense real food and eliminating my exposure to the toxins in everyday products which included the use of all conventional cosmetics and beauty products.
He said I had been unknowingly poisoning myself over years, as most of our personal care products are cocktails of very toxic chemicals that are known carcinogens and endocrine disruptors. Using these products daily for years accumulates in our tissues. The FDA doesn’t regulate cosmetics, so he told me to take a look at the labels on everything from hand lotion to lipstick. It was a wake up moment for me.
Us: So did you get better?
Sandy: Yes I did. It was a gradual healing process but I felt a change. It started with hope and ended with vital functioning on all levels and complete contentment in my own skin!
Us: How soon was it that you decided to sell the sort of body care products that met your criteria?
Sandy: My husband and I started BAUSC three years ago. Our first priority was a complete lack of green washing. Do you know that many of the so called ‘health’ products in the beauty aisles at places like Whole Foods and Sprouts are owned by giant corporations who quietly bought out the small guys – like Burt’s Bees, in order to bank on their holistic reputations?
Green washing means that the earnest consumer, someone who wants totally pure products, has to dig deep and truly vette their purchases. Don’t take it for granted that because there’s a ‘natural’ farmer on the packaging, that the product is good for you. Clorox owns Burt’s Bees! Since marketing terms are unregulated words like natural, organic, hypoallergenic can mean anything or nothing at all.
If you want to lighten your toxic burden, find small businesses that are passionate and have integrity about the purity of their product.
Us: How did you get started?
Sandy: We’re bootstrapped all the way. But it’s important for us to help women (and men!) understand and not be fooled. A whole host of falsehoods can be hidden under just the word fragrance. The platform provided to us by having a product line was the rallying point for us as an entrepreneurial couple. We wanted to make this work so others would benefit from a truly ‘valid’ product.
I found suppliers who would work with me on every ingredient being pronounceable and pure. I got really picky about every component of the soap bar or lotion. Basically, I was a pain – but it was so worth it.
I got my sister in law to do the graphics and our branding. My college roommate is an artist and did original artwork for our scented body products and also designed our logo. A friend created our website – he’s a certified hacker for the US Government (we live and work in suburban Virginia) so our website is secure! And then I got the labels from Leapin Lizard.
Us: We were there with you from the beginning – and you’ve entrusted us to learn with you.
Sandy: Yes, at the start both sides had to have a lot of patience – and we did with each other! Eighty different label types, all at once, and we’re figuring out what’s needed – the stress was huge. I think it was the biggest up front effort they had ever had!
But Todd, the CEO, he’s so CHILL! His calmness in the midst of the process was so supportive and encouraging. Frankly, I would love to be on whatever Todd is taking to keep that sort of demeanor every day! (As long as it was natural of course!)
We’re thrilled with Leapin Lizard and Todd is great to work with.
Us: People can order products on line. How do you get the word out so you have adequate traffic on your website?
Sandy: We’ve done all sorts of marketing – including selling through integrative medicine practices, attending local medical conferences, running ads on natural and organic ‘granola’ websites. But the real success has been building relationships with bloggers.
Us: That is so helpful to our readers who are entrepreneurs. Finding out what one marketing effort had a huge payoff.
Sandy: Yes, bloggers care about the same thing you do – so they are quite outspoken on their passionate topics. And that can help you tremendously – considering it’s an unsolicited endorsement of your product when they mention it casually. But the ripple effect is significant! It sure lasers in on your demographic. And you build a community that’s real and genuine – participation in the wider circles of the blogosphere will ‘out’ a faker instantly. You have to be the real deal!
Us: We’ll close by asking you to tell the deep dark secrets about cosmetics and body care products on the shelf. Just give us a couple of examples of the harm behind the beautiful bottle?
Sandy: OK – do you know that a bar of soap contains sodium laurel sulfate, a harsh detergent to make it ‘bubble’ They remove the glycerin in the manufacturing process and then add fragrance which is usually a cocktail of petroleum chemicals. Sometimes customers complain that their soap makes them sneezy or their skin itchy and I tell them they are having an appropriate body response to a detergent and petroleum bar.
So many skin care products create a dependency – use a drugstore lip ‘moistener’ and your lips will dry out and you have to use more. Most lotions that have ‘penetration enhancers’ like propylene glycol or xylene, also used in glues and oven cleaners, just so they rub in deeper and faster. , and what do you have? Deeper and faster toxicity! They dry you out ultimately – and you need more lotion.
Our soaps and lotions have natural ingredients like olive oil and coconut oil – creamy, dreamy and your skin will stay so soft! It’s a beautiful and buttery bar of soap that we sell.
Your skin will thank you for it! GO TO www.bausc.com for product orders and information.