Before “Organic Was Trendy”, This Balanced Babe Turned Her Kitchen Experiments Into a Thriving Business: Meet Jessica Iclisoy
Our team is always on the lookout for entrepreneurs who have a vision and are passionate about creating a product niche. Jessica has the kind of pioneering spirit that helped her launch her kitchen experiments into a thriving business: California Baby . Almost 20 years ago, Jessica created her own natural, non-toxic baby products and today her company works with leading raw material suppliers to create safe, new and improved green ingredients. As a result, Jessica is nationally recognized as an expert in natural living.
BB: You started your thriving business by experimenting in your kitchen? We’re curious about this process…can you give us more details?
In the beginning, it was very much trial and error in my kitchen. When creating skin care products, a percentage change can make a big difference to the finished product, so I spent a lot of time working to understand what my preferences were, such as thickness, foaming and amount of scent I thought worked best.
BB: Back in 1995, there was no such thing as a “baby organic market”. You must have realized that you were creating a niche market. Did success happen overnight or were there setbacks along the way?
In my mind I was working to fill a need for a product that I felt was very important and completely overlooked. I wasn’t thinking that I was creating a whole new category that didn’t exist, nor was I looking to start a business, for me, it was a passion project. The product was immediately successful in that people loved it and bought it, but I purposely did not try to expand too quickly, I wanted the product to find its own way and market. To grow in a natural and organic way. I didn’t have setbacks per se, but I did have to spend a lot of time educating people on why my product was so much better and healthier for the skin than the products that were on the market, even in a natural food market! As a big believer in organic, I also worked to educate people on its merits and why it was worth the extra cost.
BB: What was the best advice you received along the way to creating and growing your company?
The best advice I received was actually more in the form of encouragement. I was talking to a lady who was in the beauty business and was very sharp and I had a lot of respect for her. She asked me how many years I had been in business, and at that time, I hit my five year anniversary. She said, oh, you’re fine—you’ve passed the “go out of business mark.” That gave me great confidence and was definitely a milestone for me.
BB: With such a busy schedule, do you have any go-to healthy snacks or meals that you prepare regularly?
Yes. I have a whole system! If you saw my kitchen cabinet, you would see it is filled with Life Factory glass bottles and stainless steel thermos. Every morning I prepare drinks for the day and carry them in our California Baby insulated cooler; I usually tote around 6 bottles. One will have a smoothie that contains dandelion greens, soaked raw almonds, and various super green powders. Another will be a cucumber and mint drink, water with a tincture of Echinacea and garlic, a small bottle of pressed juice that I make and freeze, and finally, a thermos of green tea or bone broth.
BB: Can you share a few of your favorite natural beauty remedies?
I always remind myself that our skin is a direct reflection of our health and lifestyle. So first, I work to stay healthy and well hydrated. A light daily exfoliation is also a good idea—for face and body. I don’t like scrubs as I think they are too harsh. I created for our kids line a light yet effective facial cleanser, kids #superclear face wash that contains the natural exfoliate taken from willow bark. Use it everyday with a natural konjac sponge and your skin will glow.
BB: How do you maintain the Balanced Babe lifestyle?
For me it’s very important that I have time to re-charge because I output a lot of energy and am constantly on-the-go. I make sure to exercise 3-4 times a week—this is key to keeping my stress level in check. I eat zero junk or packaged food, which means that my diet is clean and supports an active lifestyle. I’m also a big believer in massages whether deep tissue or lymphatic massage. Meals with family and friends help to keep me connected and remind me to relax, be giving and have gratitude.
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