I’m a bit obsessed with body care products–like, maybe more than most folks. Luckily the Vegan Cuts marketplace is full of cruelty-free items to keep me well-stocked at all times. One of the many amazing vendors I suggest checking out is Bare Bones Body Care. I recently interviewed Monica, the creator of Bare Bones Body Care, to give you some insight into the brand.
1. When and why did you start making body care products?
I’ve struggled with allergic reactions to various mainstream body care products since I was a teenager. I would use a new shampoo or body wash and my entire body would break out into hives or I would get a rash down my underarms from a big brand deodorant. I ended up having to buy more natural-driven products just to keep that from happening. That worked for a while, but eventually it became too expensive.
I started making body care products for myself about three years ago. I was a recent graduate and had just moved to Los Angeles; most of the more natural products were out of my budget. Then I learned the truth about chemicals in personal care products. I was blogging at the time and took a green living workshop that literally changed my world. I felt pretty aware of environmental issues, but nothing prepared me for the chapter on chemicals. We learned about how only a few of the ingredients in a product have to be natural for it to carry that label and also about the rapid use of green-washing companies use to make a profit on people demanding products that are better for them. Even the products that were supposed to be great for me still had an ingredient list that was way too long for comfort. The more I learned, the more I knew I wanted to do something to change this, at a price that people could afford. After a year of debating whether or not I could start a skincare line, I decided I wanted it more than I feared it.
2. How did you come up with the name Bare Bones?
It was honestly the first name that came to me. I wanted something fun that carried the message of simplicity with a hint of cool as well. I also wanted a logo that would play off the poison symbol: eye catching, but also stating that our goal is to clean all the toxins out of your skin, products, and environment.
3. Who/what inspires you?
Anyone who opens his or her mind to the possibility of change inspires me. That may sound cheesy, but whether it’s non-toxic living or veganism, when I see the look on someone’s face after learning about the meat industry or toxins in their products, the look that means they have to do something to change their routine, I am inspired. Even if it’s just a little change, it’s a start. I know that we’re getting through and I feel that Bare Bones is helping people, which is my main goal.
My parents, another cliché answer I know, also inspire me. They’ve worked hard their entire lives to give my sister and I everything we needed and more. Whether it was my dad working 70 hours a week or my mom taking landscaping jobs on the weekends so we could have that little bit of extra money to do something fun, I definitely got my work ethic and drive from them. When I told them I was quitting my full-time job to serve tables and start my own skincare line, they didn’t question me or tell me all the things that could go wrong, they told me they were proud of me for taking the risk and staying true to myself. Honestly, that’s all the inspiration I needed.
4. What do you enjoy most about your work and what challenges, if any, have you faced along the way?
I definitely enjoy making the products the most, followed by talking to people about how minimal ingredient, cruelty-free products are better for them, their families, the planet, and innocent animals. Making the products is like meditation to me; I love putting on some music and creating healing potions. I have faced many challenges along the way during the first year of existence. Being a one-woman show at the moment definitely is the most challenging. Getting up early or staying up late in-between my two jobs to make and package products can be exhausting, but it’s worth every second spent and I know that someday it will pay off. Money is unfortunately always a factor and a challenge. I have so many products I want to put out there, but I have to be smart about it so Bare Bones can thrive and be around a long time without changing hands, which often leads to compromises in product integrity. I’ve definitely done some things right and made some mistakes, but even the smallest mistakes are learning experiences and I appreciate learning them early.
5. What’s an average day-in-the-life like for you?
An average day is full of tasks from every department, all done in my kitchen and office corner. I usually get up super early to get a head start before waitressing later in the day. I chug come coffee and begin the manufacturing process to make fresh skincare for the orders that week, label everything by hand through the production department, and check emails from the marketing and wholesale accounts. After making batches of cross bones specials, I try to reward myself with a comic book reading break because de-stressing is important. I then update social media sites and make a list of all the awesome tasks I need to get done: testing new products, designing new product labels, writing blog posts, or answering skincare questions from interested customers. I end the day by packing orders with non-toxic love and sending them out to their new owners. Then I continue my daytime identity as a waitress and comic book sales person. It’s a lot of work, but I get to live my dream for a little bit each day and that motivates me to keep going until I can live it all day, every day.
6. Do you have any exciting projects on the horizon you can tell us about?
YES! There are so many things in the works for Bare Bones Body Care. My dream is to do a bathroom takeover focusing on face, hair, and mouth, because the products we use everyday are the most important ones to be non-toxic. The next product to launch is a deodorant. I’ve been working on it for a while and I finally think it’s ready to make some happy underarms. I’m also collaborating with an amazing hair stylist to launch a non-toxic hair care line with pomade and hair serum (just to name a few) this fall. I have SO MANY ideas and I can’t wait to share them with the Vegan Cuts world!
Thank you, Monica, for sharing your story with us! And readers, head on over to the Vegan Cuts marketplace and check out the amazing products from Bare Bones Body Care. We absolutely love the face wash.