After suffering from eczema for most of her life, Sarah Jacobson was tired of getting little or no relief from over-the-counter and prescription options. Taking matters into her own hands, she combined a little research with her own self-taught organic cooking skills and started creating all-natural lotions in her kitchen. The result was astounding -- her skin became clear, so much so that coworkers wanted to know what she was doing differently. That's how Jacobson's all-natural skincare line Sweet Georgia Sugar was born, and less than a year after it began, Jacobson is seeing big business for her small operation.
"I've had eczema and acne and all kinds of skin problems my whole life and when I started to make my own stuff and using it regularly, all of that went away," says Jacobson. When the women at her office began bringing in empty containers and asking the home-chemist to make them lotions, eye creams and cleansers, she realized it was a project worth sharing.
She's since quit a two-decade-long career in the hospitality business to focus on Sweet Georgia Sugar, and the success has been phenomenal: Jacobson reports that she just finished an order of All-Natural Whipped Body Butter for thirty Colorado Vitamin Cottage stores. Making batches of the cruelty-free product by hand in her own kitchen, Jacobson learned a lot along the way, she says.
She's now looking for ways to produce Sweet Georgia Sugar's eye creams, body scrubs, lotions, cleansers, oils and body butters in bigger batches, but is firm on keeping her commitment to a chemical-free, made-with-love product line.
"Finding things that are chemical-free is definitely more of a movement now than it used to be -- so it's getting easier now," says Jacobson of the current beauty-industry climate. "It used to be really hard to find any beauty products that fell into that natural realm that still smelled good or gave you the effect that you wanted."
The idea that all-natural skincare didn't have to smell like patchouli was another big motivator for her to find the right ingredients while keeping the price reasonable, she adds: "From the production side, it is a little bit more expensive to make products this way; but it's not that much more expensive." It was a shift in Jacobson's regular diet that first got her thinking about the effects of chemicals in and on the body. "Before I started making my products, I eliminated any prepackaged food or anything in the house for my family," she says. "I make everything from scratch; if it comes out of a box or a can we don't eat it. I thought that as I was kind of on that journey that my skin would clear up, too -- but it didn't," says Jacobson. "I couldn't figure out what was happening. When I started really researching what was in certain products -- even the 'all-natural' products -- it still had all this crap in it that I didn't want on my skin."
Once she started creating her own products, even Jacobson's doctor noticed a difference in her skin. "I told my doctor I had started making my own lotions -- she wasn't supportive of that at all," says Jacobson. "I just thought, really? You've been my doctor for fifteen years. She knows that I've had to take steroids to make it go away because it was so bad. Then I find something that makes it go away and the reaction was, 'Oh well, I don't know if I would do that or not.' It was very shocking to me."
It also helped motivate Jacobson to take Sweet Georgia Sugar seriously.
For now, she's still making all products in her home laboratory/kitchen. You can find a selection of Sweet Georgia Sugar's All-Natural Whipped Body Butters at local Vitamin Cottage locations; the full range of products is available online at the brand's website. This summer, Sweet Georgia Sugar is also offering full-line beauty "parties" for groups interested in checking out all that the company has to offer. See the website for details.
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