Monday, August 30, 2010

What Kind Of Sunblock Surfs Your Skin?

I lived one-third of my life in Hawaii. What a great place to be, to grow, to learn and be inspired about the way the Hawaiian culture instills peace, kindness, resolve to life.

Once you lived in Hawaii, you’ll always remain a Hawaiian – at heart and deep within your soul. My Hawaiian Ohana is my connection to life where it needs to be. Like in the movie Avatar, healing energy flows through the entire community of its participants. If you stay connected – you’ll find your own way to a prosperous and fulfilling living.

Being young and adventurous, I barely used sunscreen products on my skin. After about 6 months of my stay in Hawaii, I started noticing pigmentation, first, covering my shoulders. Then, slowly migrating to the skin of my hands, face, back.

That was a huge moment of “AHA.” I made my own huge mis-judgement abut the potency of the sun. The sun can be healing and fun. The sun can become your enemy if you don’t treat it with respect.

That is why from that far-away day, I started using sun lotions and creams to prevent further “degradation” of my thin and sensitive skin.

With the years passing by, I educated myself on the all-natural products that perform the skin protection job with excellency of the master magician. My education and experimentation never ends. It propels me towards new ideas in new products that could be the most beneficial to my skin.

That is why when I see a product with great ingredients, I will sure experiment with it. Test it. Evaluate it on me. Then decide if I like it for my daily or seasonal usage.

And I celebrate my new “findings.” Today is a special celebration of the Smart Girls Who Surf sun protection lotions, lip balms, sunblocks, conditioners, soaps. To be precise, I would like to celebrate the founder, the creator, the master minder behind these fabulous, healthy and awfully needed products for our generations of beach goers and, of course, surfers – Jennifer Taylor.

CelebrateWoman (CW) What got you started on the path of developing Smart Girls Who Surf?

Jennifer Taylor (Jennifer) My healthy obsession with skincare and protecting my children while they are out in the sun. We live in a beach community, and we have sunshine eleven months out of the year. Even in the winter time, a person is exposed to harsh UVA and UVB rays. So I found myself slathering on sunscreen everyday. 

As a woman and a mom, I tend to scrutinize products I use every single day.  Shampoos, soaps, laundry detergent, sunscreen, etc… When I developed my formulas, I spent a lot of time researching chemicals and synthetic ingredients that make up most of the products we use in a daily basis, and I was appalled to find out how toxic they are. That is how the product line came to be. 

(CW) What was your life before you started this company ... and after ...?

(Jennifer) My professional background is in sales and marketing, but I had quit my job before my husband and I relocated to Laguna Beach from San Francisco and before I had my second child. 

So, I was a full-time mother managing two kids’ schedules and a household just like a lot of women out there.

Now my life is the same, except crazier. I go to my office in the morning and  leave by 2:30 pm to pick up my kids form school, then homework, sports, and dinner. I’ve learned that it’s okay not to have a perfectly clean house 24/7!

(CW) Who are those remarkable people that influenced your creative, professional, and personal life that lead you to starting and sustaining this company?

(Jennifer) There are many.  My Mom and Dad, my Husband, my kids, and a few close friends.

I don’t think people quite realize how much work is involved in starting a business and then actually having to maintain and grow it. There are so many different skills that are needed. Some you acquire from college, some learning from your mistakes, and many from your parents’ wisdom. 

I think to be successful in anything, you tend to pull from what you have learned throughout your life time, and a lot of those experiences come from your past and present relationships.

(CW)  Has your involvement with Smart Girls Who Surf products and company changed your self-image, and your relationships with family, friends, romantic involvement?

(Jennifer) No, not really. I am lucky to say that I have always been a pretty independent and self-assured person. Transitioning from a career person to a mom and back to a career person was incredibly easy for me. 

The unfortunate thing about having a full plate is that you find at the end of the day you don’t have as much time for yourself or for your friends. That is something I know I need to work on more. Women rely heavily on their friendships. It’s the one sure thing you know you can count on when you are feeling overwhelmed.

(CW)  If you had to do it all over again, would you? And why?

(Jennifer)  Absolutely!  Having your own business and watching it grow and succeed is one of the most fulfilling things I have ever done besides create two wonderful children.  

(CW) Is there anything that was a surprise to you that you did not expect on your way creating Smart Girls Who Surf?

(Jennifer)  Yes. There are many things that are surprising. The biggest surprise was how hard it is to be a small business owner. I thought going into it, “Well if I can accomplish A,B, and C, then the rest will just happen naturally.” So wrong!! It is like running a race, but you don’t know where the finish line is.  

(CW)  How do you see Smart Girls Who Surf will effect your life in the future?

(Jennifer)  I am hoping that the company and the brand will continue to grow. I am hoping to show my children that their mom went out and started a small business on her own and grew it into a successful company. I want them to see firsthand, that they can achieve anything that they put their mind to. I want them to know that life is full of opportunities.

(CW)  What is the #1 Thing you would like your customers to know about your Smart Girls Who Surf products?

(Jennifer)  That our products are actually healthy and good for you skin. So many skincare products are mass produced overseas, made with cheap synthetic chemicals and are so harmful to your health.

At Smart Girls Who Surf we are extremely aware of quality control (our products are made and packaged in the USA), and customer feedback. 

Also, when I developed the brand that I had an image of a Smart Girl, I wanted to promote with my brand. My Smart Girl is responsible in her decision making, respectful to herself and others, and is helpful and compassionate to those in need.  Qualities, I think are lacking a bit in todays society. 

My goal is that with developing a positive lifestyle message with this brand, it will resonate with our children. To help achieve this, I support a group of amateur, female athletes (SGWS Team Riders) who have to meet some high standards to be accepted into our program. Like maintain a 3.5 GPA or higher, volunteer for some non-profits or charities, like Surfrider and American Cancer Society, and be a responsible individual.

I’d like to think that these girls can be the role models that parents are looking up for their children.

(CW) If we talked to All of your family and friends – imagine them in one room at the same time – what would you tell them about what you do? – What would they tell Me about your involvement with your company?

(Jennifer) My family and friends pretty much know what I do.  They know that I am extremely passionate about, what I am doing. I don’t think there is a lot of guessing going on.  

They would probably tell you that I am very decisive, that I see things in black and white, and that I am a freak about wearing sunscreen. I am always asking everyone if they have their sunscreen on.

(CW)  What keeps you going day after day?

(Jennifer)  The thrill of creation and the support I receive from my family and friends.  Everyday I get to create or contribute to something or someone. 

(CW)  How do you celebrate: your achievements; mistakes and miscalculations; and even failures?

(Jennifer)  Well, I celebrate my achievements by smiling and giving myself a small pat on the back and then continuing with my day. 

Mistakes and miscalculations are not celebrated, but are just a deep breath and a powerful mental note of what not to repeat. I think both your wins and your losses are what shape you into the type of person you are.  You learn from both experiences and you move on.

(CW)  After a long day, when you close your eyes and reflect on the day, just before you go to sleep, what goes through your heart and mind?

(Jennifer)  I am always thankful for what I have and what I have been given.
What are you celebrating today? Any special celebrations this summer? No matter what season, hot or cold, sad or happy, celebrate your inner dreams that move you along the path of life. Your life is in the making.

Thank you, Jennifer, for thinking through and putting a plan together of creating a very skin-friendly product – actually, several products –for me and all the people who care about their health and the health of our Earth and Oceans.
PS: If you have any questions to Jennifer Taylor, please leave them in the comments below. She will definitely read and answer them.
PPS: If you know a woman-entrepreneur who has created healthy product(s), please let me know, so we could spread the word about her and her contribution to this planet.

Disclosure: I only write about products I believe in and use personally. I am not compensated for my opinions.
Curb Your Appetite – Stop Your Cravings

VP Programs Development, ScaleDown for Life
VP Education, GoZonkers Inc.
©2010 Laura Gontchar. All Rights Reserved.