Business & Real Estate

For the skin they're in : Shared interest in organic skin care leads duo to form company

Ellie Van Houtte/town Crier
Nancy Newsom, left, and Kit Gordon started Botanic Organic in 2011 after they discovered a shared passion for creating organic, handmade skin-care products. The company now offers more than 15 products for adults and infants.

Kit Gordon and Nancy Newsom discovered their shared passion for creating organic, plant-based skin-care products in an unlikely place – yoga class.

Yoga partners since the late 1990s, the two friends struck up a conversation after class one day about natural cosmetics workshops they’d each taken in an effort to learn about homemade remedies.

“I remember that Nancy started talking to me about the things she made and then I told her about a class I’d taken, too,” said Gordon, a Los Altos Hills resident who initially began to explore natural skin-care remedies in 2004, two years after the birth of her daughter. “So I said to her, ‘Why don’t we take some more skin-care classes together?’”

What started as a conversation and a shared hobby soon grew into Botanic Organic, a skin-care company established in 2011 by the duo that offers nearly 20 handmade and plant-based organic products for adults and infants. The company’s products include moisturizers, cleansers and mists, which can be found for sale locally at Present, located at 162 Main St., as well as European Cobblery at 201 First St.

Newsom, a Sunnyvale resident and former teacher, said she had already experimented and began creating her own products as a means to “detox” her body prior to meeting her future business partner.

“I never would have made it into a business if I hadn’t met Kit. She was interested because she had a baby kind of later in life … and she was really concerned about what was out there,” Newsom said.

Not eager to take more drastic measures like plastic surgery, Newsom said she and Gordon began by making simple oil serum and other recipes using ingredients that were “as close to the plant as possible.”

“I could’ve gone out and bought somebody else’s stuff, but it’s just not in my nature to do that. … It was a fun thing,” Newsom said. “I’m a crafty, hobby-type person anyway, so I suppose this gave me something to do.”

What they discovered, Newsom said, was an array of possibilities when it comes to using natural ingredients, such as cold-pressed organic oils, to foster healthy skin.

“When I started making these things, I just wanted to do no harm,” she said. “That was my only intention – to make something that would do no harm to my body.”

Gordon added that she and Newsom took additional classes in making natural cosmetic products before creating batches of lotions and other skin remedies as Christmas gifts for friends and family members. From there, the partners displayed their goods at Westwind Community Barn on Earth Day 2011.

“For me, my motivation was seeing some of my friends and family making bad decisions about products,” said Gordon, a chemical engineer by trade. “I just wanted to make something healthy to give them. … I just love the idea of taking some things from nature and mixing them together.”

And while the company may still be in its infancy, the women are hoping to see it grow. Since their humble start, they’ve brought additional partners into the business while continuing their grassroots efforts to educate others about their products at community events.

Regardless of the company’s future, Newsom said the objective remains the same – to discover and create new products with the same passion she and Gordon shared from its very start.

“You get to a point where you feel confident enough to put yourself out there … so let’s see where it goes,” Newsom said. “That’s always been my attitude about it. Let’s just see where it goes, because the ride is kind of a fun one.”

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Botanic Organic cosmetics line - Photos by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier


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