Tell us a bit about yourself. Where were you born and whatever else you’d like to share as to how you got to this point in your life?
Tara: I was born in Massachusetts and have lived in Manhattan for the last 8 years. I am your typical a-type New Yorker with lots of drive and energy. What’s special about my life is I was born to two teenage parents who were the most hardworking people I know. Despite the stigma associated with having young parents, I was able to work my tail off to get to where I am today. I wasn’t born into a cushy life or having connections to get ahead, I was able to get to where I am with dedication and hard work. I’m proud of that. It’s a true testament that hard work does pay off.
Jen: While I have lived most of my life in Massachusetts, I was born in Wisconsin and still consider myself a “cheese head”. Tara is right when she says she had hard working parents and a stigma to fight. I too fought that stigma; however, I put myself through college getting an associate’s degree, then bachelors and finally masters. Her dad did the same. We worked hard to achieve our dreams. I have tried to instill that determination in Tara. Set a goal and go for it!
How did you get interested in making bath and body products?
Jen: I have always had a passion for eco living and alternative medicine. I became a certified Aromatherapist and Herbalist. I began growing my own herbs and producing medical herbs, herbal teas and plant-based skincare to friends, family and at local farmers markets.
Tara: I called her the witch doctor – any ailment whether skin related or medical related she had a fix. And it always worked. We got so much positive feedback from the products it inspired us to launch a skincare line. We spent two years of developing our skincare recipes and mastering our product. The rest is history!
When did you launch your company?
Our official launch was Thursday, December 13, 2012 right here in NYC! (Amber Blue Skincare is based in Boston and has a satellite office in NYC).
What do you sell? What sets you apart from other bath and body companies?
We have a face line, body line and aromatherapy line which includes: cleanser, toner, and serum, lip balm, soaps, body oil, candles and solid perfume that you can find in vintage lockets. How are we different? For starters we grow our own herbs, many of which you will find in our products! How many other companies can say that? If we don’t grow it, we source it from reputable suppliers. Our products are engineered by nature, sourced responsibly, plant-derived, ethically created, and hand-made by us for you. We take pride in the way we develop our products to ensure that we have created not only the best, but also the purest. It’s our promise.
What is your favorite part of running a bath and body business?
The creativity! We love being able to create something that is absolutely amazing. The details that go into the recipe making, consistency of the product, smell, ingredients, the design… It’s all very exciting and fun. It’s also fun to be able to work with your family.
What is your least favorite part?
Jen: I just want to grow the herbs and make the products. I don’t like dealing with the business side of things – that’s where Tara comes in – she handles most of that.
Tara: Yikes, I do not have a least favorite part, I absolutely love it all!
What are your biggest challenges as a small business owner?
Our biggest challenge is time & resources. There are only two of us and we wear many hats. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything we have to do. When most people are sleeping, we are up working on recipes, packaging, making products and shipping products!
When you have free time how do you like to spend it? Hobbies, sports, travel, etc.?
Tara: HA! Well we rarely have free time but when I do I love to travel! It’s the best way for me to disconnect and recharge. My favorite trip as of recent was my visit to Sugar Beach in St Lucia!
Jen: With a five year old and running a business there is not much time to relax. I love to cook, spend time with family, read, bike, hike, travel and just spend time outdoors where I can disconnect from the phone, email etc…
Do you have any words of wisdom to share with other small business owners?
A business is your blood, sweat and tears. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it. Starting a business and running your business takes patience, drive and commitment. Remember the bad days are normal – and we have all gone through them – so don’t quit. And the good days make it all worth-while. Also, look for local resources like SBA / SCORE which provide free business assistance, take classes, read books, and connect with other entrepreneurs.
Any Upcoming Events for people to come see your products?
We are constantly taking part in business discussions, herbal classes and the like. Our next retail show is the Chelsea Bazaar on August 24th at The Altman Building, 135 W 18th Street, NYC. You can find details on our website at: www.amberblue.com under our events tab!
Our products can be purchased at http://www.amberblue.com. You can also find us at a variety of popup shops around NYC and Boston – visit our events page of our website to see where we will be next! You can also reach us at email@example.com & firstname.lastname@example.org.