Don’t expect your most loyal business supporters to be the people closest to you. If this happens it’s great but don’t be disappointed if it doesn’t. It’s nice when someone is interested in what you do or is enthusiastic or maybe pays you a compliment but don’t be discouraged if some of your closest allies downright ignore you. No worries or hard feelings toward anyone on our part. We’ve learned to be understanding, carry on and keep loving them anyway.
As a part of our series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Rebecca Adams.
My Alchemy Skin Care was founded by Rebecca, a Cancer Survivor, with a mission to promote whole body wellness inside and out, with safe, cruelty-free and environmentally friendly products. This eco-chic line of ethically sourced wild and organic botanical formulas, rewards customers with nutritional benefits and youthful glowing skin at any age. Feeling the growing need for whole-body wellness in the world today, Rebecca shares her passion for self-care by offering wholesome products with benefits from nature.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
You might be surprised to learn my background is not in beauty and honestly, I’m still surprised at the turn my life took inspiring me to create a clean beauty brand. Through the years, I’ve kept plenty busy. Placing family first, I managed to balance church and community service, philanthropy and humanitarian aid projects with being a piano teacher, music composer and directing my own piano studio. In my spare time, I usually had some kind of creative project going that encompassed sewing, a craft or baking. I lived an active and overall healthy lifestyle or so I thought, until I received an unimaginable diagnosis of two Stage 4 Lymphomas in my 60’s.
As chemotherapy treatments wreaked havoc on my body, my skin became dry and over sensitive, dramatically different from my typical complexion. As I began paying attention to labels and researching possible solutions, I discovered some questionable ingredients in the skin care I’d been using. Although these supposedly natural products came highly recommended, they failed to deliver the restorative, soothing results my damaged, irritated skin required. Being concerned about putting potentially harmful ingredients on my body, I tossed everything out.
Feeling pretty much desperate for help, my aunt’s name came to mind. It was lovely to reconnect with this bright and spry woman of 80 years. As we chatted, I was astounded to learn about her vast background, experience and formal training in skincare. I would have never predicted she’d be the one to provide all the answers I was looking for. She fast became my teacher and mentor, with ideas for plant-based formulas to nurture my skin back to pristine health.
Literally overnight, these formulas began to revive and repair my skin, and everyone noticed. When my daughter Amanda returned home from LA to assist with my care, she tried the products too and also experienced a huge transformation as they hydrated and refreshed her dry skin. She especially loved taking mini-size products with her when she traveled. Family and friends began asking for the secret to our smooth, glowing skin, and we began sharing our creations with them.
As the number of interested people expanded and they shared the results they were getting, I knew these products would be helpful for more than my cancer-related skin issues. Through my cancer recovery, while Amanda was home, we had plenty of time to discuss the ins and outs of starting a skin care business. With formulas too good to keep to ourselves, convinced we had something special, timing was perfect to officially create My Alchemy Skin Care in 2018.
Fast forwarding to 2021, with the topic of health and wellness at the forefront of our lives, my cancer experience proved that putting wellness on my skin every day combined with living a healthy lifestyle, provided benefits for my whole body as well as keeping my skin beautiful and glowing. Fascinated with nature’s powerful benefits and having the desire to learn more, I studied to become a certified Essential Oils Coach. I’m thrilled to be alive and looking forward to celebrating being 4 years cancer-free in September. It’s also my pleasure to announce coming this fall, My Alchemy Skin Care is enhancing our focus on self-care by expanding our product line into whole-body wellness.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?
Because we are a new brand, a small business and unfamiliar to most people out there, we’re pleasantly surprised when someone like an influencer or magazine editor contacts us. My first thought is, “Wow, they found us! We must be doing something right!”
We were beyond thrilled to receive some big news this past spring. Our Illuminate Brightening Serum was recognized as a TOP 10 Serum in the 2021 Clean Beauty Awards! It was recognized by CertClean as one of the best performing beauty and personal care products, manufactured without the use of harmful chemicals. It was selected from 455 products from brands across the globe. It was this serum that was formulated to address my damaged skin during chemo.
I guess my takeaway after receiving this recognition and being featured in national magazines is to never underestimate the little guy! My Alchemy Skin Care may be small but we are mighty, determined to be a shining star in the very large competitive market of beauty.
Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Oh yes, we’ve made mistakes! In fact, your question makes me chuckle. As both Amanda and I come from education backgrounds, we look at our mistakes as growth opportunities that hold invaluable lessons for us. I could kick myself every time I think back to our beginning marketing strategy for our very first products. Now, I just laugh at how generous or should I say, “overboard-generous”, we were with product samples. Can you imagine that we gave hundreds of complimentary full-size products as samples? It cost us a fortune! I must have been out of my mind! I hate to call us stupid but we were stupid! It does however, console me as I think of all those lucky consumers who received the incredible benefits found in our products.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Getting me through cancer was a family affair. My husband sacrificed his job to be my caregiver. My son was busy finishing his science degree but used his culinary skills to cook meals and grow a garden of organic fruits and veggies. My daughter assisted with appointments, posted updates, answered emails, returned calls from her California home and used her family medical leave time to return home to Illinois to give my husband some relief. Interestingly, Amanda was home at just the right time to see the skin issues I experienced, be involved in the development and testing of our skin care products and decision to start a skin care line. I will always be grateful for my family’s pure love and selflessness, placing their lives and personal ambitions on hold, over an exhausting period of several years.
In addition, I’ll always be grateful and to this day stand in amazement at my daughter’s friends who stepped-up to offer their services to help our family. Amanda says it best, “they shared their time, talents and treasures” to help us get our brand off the ground. We would have never been able to start a company without their kindness. You see, cancer robs you of just about everything including your bank account. Owing thousands and thousands of dollars for treatment, hospitalizations, doctors, medicine etc., our family’s finances were literally running on fumes. Starting a skin care line felt like a good business decision to help our family yet the idea seemed impossible. It was Amanda’s friends genuinely asking, “What can I do to help you and your family?” that made this My Alchemy Skin Care possible. Her friends thoughtfully offered their time and talents as graphic designers, PR and marketing consultants, website designers, business expertise, product formulation, networking and on and on. Can you imagine? Everything we needed to start a company! Her friends were angels who appeared at the perfect time in answer to our prayers.
Ok perfect. Now let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?
We believe through the service we give, kindness we show and respect for our earth, we contribute to making this world a more beautiful and healthy place to live.
We designed a heart in our logo intentionally. The very foundation of our business was built on the kindness of others. It was during the darkest days of my cancer battle that inspiration for our business
came and family, friends and church came to the rescue to support us. This wonderful start helps us keep kindness at the heart of everything we do and in every decision we make.
Purifier Plus is a good example of one of our products that spreads good will one bottle at a time. Our timing for launching it was several months before Covid made the news. Purifier Plus has sanitizing properties plus botanical conditioners so it doesn’t cause dry skin. Being prepared ahead, we answered the call for hand sanitizer from first responders and healthcare workers, hospitals and homeless shelters in our communities.
We believe that doing a little adds up to a lot. To this end, our small business decided to keep packaging “simple” and to “go naked”. We offer unboxed products to minimize our environmental footprint. We select recycled and biodegradable packaging and shipping materials as it suits our products. For example, while we may prefer a glass option, it isn’t always safe to use glass in a shower so we choose the next best alternative using a PET Plastic and BPA-free bottle. Over time, taking small steps will add up to impact our world. Just think what the impact would be if every business took similar steps.
Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.
These lifestyle tweaks are examples of what I incorporated as part of my wellness routine during cancer and have continued in our business.
- Prayer and Mantras. Amanda and I begin each workday with a prayer of gratitude for the blessings we have in our lives and for guidance in the business. We also say mantras to put us in the right headspace to generate positive energy at the start our day.
- Sit Less, Move More! When at work in our office, we find it invigorating to take a break from sitting at our desks where it’s easy to stay glued to a computer all day. Any action we can take to get more oxygen like walking around the office, getting a glass of water, stepping outside or even standing up and stretching, only takes a few minutes yet stimulates our bodies and minds to be more productive. We suggest building breaks into your schedule or even setting a timer to remind you to “move it” during the day.
- Don’t forget to Breathe! Uplift your spirit, refresh your space chemically-free and improve the quality of the air your breathe by diffusing essential oils. Calming lavender is great after a high stress day to help you relax and reduce anxiety. Breathing in essential oils is so good for our respiratory health with benefits for body, mind and spirit. I have multiple diffusers in rooms at home and my office.
- Eat Real food. Choose raw and organic whenever you have the choice. Shop around the perimeter of the grocery store instead of the isles where you’ll find the packaged foods. Do you already eat fruits and veggies? Well, I suggest eating more! Did you know cruciferous veggies like broccoli and cauliflower are loaded with anti-cancer benefits? The more I learned about the potent nutrients found in nature, it didn’t take much convincing that I needed to change my diet. I adopted Hippocrates advice, “Let food be thy medicine”.
- Self-care is Non-negotiable. Covid heightened our awareness of what it means to take care of ourselves beyond basic hygiene. It’s ok to spend time on your physical, mental and spiritual health in order to be healthier all around. Cancer recovery has been a lot of work for me and is quite time-consuming. I’ve learned it’s ok for me to spend time on me, as much time as it takes. Why do we feel guilty spending time on ourselves? Learning to accept that it’s ok for me to take a nap every afternoon has been hardest of all. It’s also surprisingly challenging for me to remember to drink my 8 glasses of water everyday. I simply get busy and forget. Leaving myself notes on my desk, door, and the bathroom mirror helps me remember. Over time, I’ve learned to listen to what my body is telling me about what it needs to heal. Self-care is a good thing, not something to postpone, rationalize or feel guilty about. I’ve learned caring for my whole self is an investment that has helped me look better, feel better and has helped keep me cancer-free.
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
Love a Neighbor Movement.
I was raised in a neighborhood where everyone loved and looked after each other with no exceptions. Every family voluntarily shared their wealth of garden produce and home baked goodies with each other. If there was a fence to build, a quilt to sew, the whole neighborhood rallied together to get the job done. When someone was ill, neighbors offered to watch children, run to the grocery store or drive to a doctor appointment. I’ve never since lived in a more perfect utopia with this spirit of genuine goodness and concern for the other guy. I grew up, went to college, got married and moved away. As the years have passed, I’ve come to more fully appreciate my unique experience and the profound effects of this simple gesture in my life. It only takes one act of kindness to get the ball rolling. What you waiting for?
Relative to my business, I’m proud to be part of the Clean Beauty Movement, as a product innovator and educator. We are supporting this movement by creating personal care products that are safe and by educating consumers to know the difference. Too often we forget what we apply to our skin is absorbed inside and travels through our blood, around our body. There are a lot of dangerous ingredients out there with potential to harm your health and whole body wellness. We will continue educating about safe ingredients and doing our best to spread awareness and offer healthy alternatives throughout the world.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
1. Doing your best doesn’t mean doing it perfectly. Perfect is not a requirement for success and in fact, can impede it. My musical background as a pianist brings out the perfectionist in me and this high standard adds a lot of pressure to most everything I do. As I’ve matured, I’ve learned by removing this pressure and accepting I’m human, not perfect, I’m a much happier person. In business, I’ve witnessed being too much of a perfectionist can actually slow momentum, sometimes even bringing progress to a screeching halt. There are times when moving forward is better that having everything perfect.
2. Reduce and Simplify. Life can get complicated. Keeping it simple removes a lot of stress. Applying this to our business, we do things like keeping our formulas simple. We don’t need to put a long list of ingredients in a product to get the amazing results fewer top quality and powerful ingredients can give. As for packaging, we can’t reduce this much more than “going naked”. No secondary boxes for us. Hey, while helping the planet, this also insures consumers their dollars are purchasing the actual product not fancy packaging. Besides, who needs boxes when our products are beautiful enough to stand alone?
3. Don’t worry so much about money. Self-funding a business without a big pile of cash or investors can be challenging but worrying doesn’t help. What does help is drawing on your creative powers, sticking to a budget and prioritizing spending.
4. When you have a big decision to make, listen to your feelings. Confusion is often the answer. When we are swaying back and forth on a decision, when we don’t feel at peace, the confusion we feel most often points us in a clear and safe direction. We’ve learned to step back and listen to our gut. When decision time gets down to the wire, we ask ourselves, “Am I feeling peace or confusion”? Our green, good-to-go light is accompanied by a feeling of peace.
5. Don’t expect your most loyal business supporters to be the people closest to you. If this happens it’s great but don’t be disappointed if it doesn’t. It’s nice when someone is interested in what you do or is enthusiastic or maybe pays you a compliment but don’t be discouraged if some of your closest allies downright ignore you. No worries or hard feelings toward anyone on our part. We’ve learned to be understanding, carry on and keep loving them anyway.
Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?
This is a tough question as we’re brand-conscious about each of these critical needs and very good causes. The conditions our world has faced with the pandemic, lockdown, working and schooling at home has raised our awareness about the need to take better care of ourselves. We consider mental health a very important part of self-care. In fact, we collaborate with a local community organization to help raise funds for the growing needs of mental health services for youth and families they serve. Mental health is one of the driving forces behind our decision to enhance our skin care line with whole-body wellness products. We are getting ready for our fall launch to support mind-body-spirit. We’re confident as conscious consumers that as our small business grows, our brand will be able to do more and be of greater influence to help everyone live their best lives.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?https://www.pinterest.com/myalchemyskincare.com
Thank you for these fantastic insights!