The Business of Wellness: Why Annmarie Skin Care Makes Sustainability a Priority
The origin story of nearly any brand usually revolves around creating a unique solution to an existing marketplace problem. Airbnb was born out of a lack of hotel rooms in San Francisco; Everlane launched because there was a gap between ethically made clothing and affordable pricing. But what happens when your core mission is more abstract—and the idea for a company sort of falls into your lap? That’s a piece of the trajectory of organic, wildcrafted nontoxic beauty brand Annmarie Skin Care. Its founders didn’t set out to make sustainable skincare, but their passion for helping people live healthier lives manifested as nutrient-dense, handcrafted beauty products that nourish and soothe skin. We chatted with the company’s COO, Rachel Pachivas, to get more details on why sustainability is part of Annmarie Skin Care’s ethos.
Healthy Living Beginnings
Let’s step back in time to 2008, when healthy living advocates Annmarie and Kevin Gianni started up a vegetable-oil-powered RV and embarked on a two-and-half-year journey across North and South America. The goal? Find a skincare line they could share with their followers. As successful vloggers under the name The Renegade Health Show, the duo had been educating the public on herbs and natural remedies for years. “They pushed the limits of talking about toxins and ingredients,” says Rachel. “But when it came to skincare, they didn’t have anything they could really recommend.”
It became something that their followers wanted more information about: Annmarie was getting asked all the time about what products she used, and instead of blindly advising products she wasn’t totally sure about, she and Kevin decided to find a line that fit their high standards.
That line was discovered at a spa in Patagonia, Arizona. Handcrafted by an herbalist and chemist who had been formulating organic skincare for more than 30 years, and who thoughtfully used miron glass to house her energetically infused products, the line immediately stood out to the Giannis. “They could feel the positive intention in each product,” says Rachel.
Working with the formulator, Annmarie and Kevin decided to bring this line to the masses, naming it after Annmarie, and launching in 2009, thereby ending their search for clean, sustainable, nontoxic skincare they could recommend wholeheartedly.
Why Sustainability Matters to Annmarie Skin Care
Says Rachel about Annmarie Skin Care, “The goal wasn’t just to have a product line, but to be part of world change.” That larger mission speaks directly to why sustainability is key to the skincare line. “There are so many shortcuts to be had,” she continues, “but we decided to do it the proper, long-term way.”
That starts with the sourcing of ingredients and trickles down to how the company treats its employees, Rachel says. “We never want to sacrifice the integrity of what we do. Education is so important to us, and we want our products to help educate, and our employees to be inspired and passionate too.”
In practice, sustainability begins with sourcing, and the Annmarie team sources its ingredients from all over the world. “If we can get it from its native country or place, we will,” says Rachel, “and a lot of our ingredients come from the United States.” And that’s only the beginning of the line’s three-step process in handcrafting each product.
Annmarie’s Three-Step Process to Sustainable, Nontoxic Skincare
It begins with the selection process, in which each ingredient’s source is constantly audited to ensure its coming from the best place, and that the sourcer is using the best practices to ensure sustainability. “We like to know the story behind every ingredient,” Rachel says. And the team strives to find organic, non-GMO or wildcrafted ingredients wherever possible. Plus, it’s all lab-tested for verification.
Step two is infusion. Says Rachel, “Every product has some kind of infusion in it—our carrier oil or aloe is infused with 20 to 30 herbs for 30 days before it becomes the base of a product. It’s a deep steep infusion.”
Step three is intention, which is part of why the Giannis were drawn to the line initially. From beginning to end, there is specific intention behind each step of the formulation. “Nothing we use is toxic, from our ingredients to our packaging to our adhesives,” says Rachel. The products are housed in miron glass to protect their efficacy; the facility where their boxes are made is powered by wind; the labels on each product are make from sugar cane plant fiber waste. “There’s no part of the process that we’re not thinking about,” Rachel says.
“We believe these products can be preventative healthcare in a bottle,” she continues. “There are studies that show diabetes is linked to the phthalates in fragrances, and we’re conscious of all our ingredients to that level. There are 80,000 chemicals on the [cosmetics] market and only one percent of those are tested for consumer use. That’s why using ingredients that are sustainable, natural and nontoxic is so important.”
And powerful. Says Rachel, “One drop of our face oil is equal to 20 pumps of a conventional lotion in terms of nutrient value.” That speaks directly to the line’s price point too: With products that range from $23 to $119, it might seem at first glance to be inaccessible. “But when you think about how often you use it (and how little you have to use), it doesn’t feel as cost-prohibitive,” says Rachel.
But if it still feels overwhelming, she says, take it slow. “Transition one product at a time, and focus on educating yourself. The industry does such a good job of covering up the toxins in our products, so we need to be advocates for ourselves. But we also need to be gentle to ourselves as we eliminate day-to-day toxins. It doesn’t have to be an overhaul immediately. You can take it slow.”
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