Tips for Becoming an Organic Sunscreen Creator

Today's I Want to Be features Lisa and Jill, two friends who met in 1999 at a puppy training class and instantly became friends and later, co-creators of Bare Belly Organics.  

Lisa is a pediatric ICU nurse, homeschooler and mom to 6 kids ages 4 to 14. Originally from Pittsburgh, she and her husband have been in the Atlanta area for the past 10 years. In 2012 their family spent 3 weeks in Latvia adopting twin boys. Lisa was motivated to be as chemical-free as she could (little-by-little) after witnessing the high rates of childhood cancers at work. When her kids are not on stage acting, they spend their time swimming or going to the beach! 

Jill is an architect, designer, and mom to three boys, ages 6, 8 and 11. Born in Canada, Jill lived and traveled worldwide until settling in Atlanta in 1996. She and her family spend as much time as possible outside – at the pool, at the baseball field and camping in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Find out how to connect with Lisa and Jill at the end of this article.

How long have you had your business?

Officially Bare Belly Organics (BBO) began in the summer of 2013. That was when we decided to try our hand at the sunscreen business. We spent the fall and winter designing our label and getting our products tested and FDA compliant. This summer has been our first attempt at selling sunscreen during actual sunscreen season. So far, so good!

What led you to pursue it?

Several years ago we started to be more aware of the chemicals in our homes and in the products that surround us. We started to take steps to limit their impact on our lives - from our food to our cleaning products to eliminating plastics in our kitchen (even the dishwasher!). We started using our own recipe for sunscreen on our kids after finding out about all of the harmful chemicals that we were putting on their skin and that were being absorbed into their little bodies (ick!). 

After several requests from friends for our sunscreen - which was easier to spread and smelled nicer than what was available on the market – we decided to try to make a business out of it.

Are you full time or part time?  If part-time, do you anticipate switching to full time?

We never anticipated that it would be full time, but that is definitely what it has become! 

How do you market your business?

We use a little of everything! Blogs, Farmers Markets, local merchants, and farming co-ops to name a few. We have an Etsy store and sell on Amazon. We also sponsor a few area swim teams and have run some specials within our kids’ sports clubs.

What is your favorite part of the business?

One of the things we love most about the sunscreen business is meeting our customers and hearing their stories. People who never went out in the sun because they are allergic to sunscreen come and tell us that because of BBO they are finally able to go to the park with their kids without being itchy or having a terrible skin reaction. Or that their kids don’t fight them to put on sunscreen anymore because our sunscreen doesn’t sting or irritate their eczema. One of our customers loves to tell us that every time she puts BBO on her kids they say, ‘Ummmm! Smells YUMMY!’ We love to hear these stories!

What one question do you get most from people about your business? 

“Can I use it on my face?” All of our sunscreens are natural, 100% organic and non-comedogenic. Perfect for any place you want to put it.

What one myth or misconception do you want to dispel about the work you do?

We are just two moms making sunscreen in our kitchen.  There is no corporation behind us, no big production (unless you count our 9 children helping us to put the labels on!).  What you see is what you get – two families passionate about healthy sunscreen who want to share what they have learned with whoever wants to hear it.

 What advice do you have for others who want to get into a similar opportunity?

Just do it. But be ready for it to be WAY more complicated and time consuming than you ever would have thought.

You can learn more about what Lisa and Jill do at their Bare Belly Organics website and on their Bare Belly Organics Facebook page.  You can also find them on Twitter as well as Instagram.


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