Balm Skincare is creating a cleanse-tone-moisturize routine free of chemical stabilizers, synthetics or preservatives, and full of raw and organic ingredients.
Two main products make up the first part of the routine: cleansers and buffing grains.
“They are typically used in combination with each other,” says Founder Lindsey Moeller.
Raw honey, organic aloe vera, vitamin E and citric acid make the ingredient list for the cleanser, while buffing grains are made up of things like organic oats, kaolin clay and almonds. A toning water with apple cider vinegar and witch hazel, and a face cream with organic sweet almond oil, organic apricot seed oil, aloe vera and cocoa butter round out the skincare routine. Herbs and active ingredients are added to base formulas to create variations for Balm’s products.
With raw and organic ingredients, “We have to educate our consumer base that there are shelf lives to these,” Moeller says. For that reason, “Everything is made fresh. It’s made to order.”
Balm is also transparent about what that costs, breaking down the cost of each product by ingredients, labor, eco-packaging and transportation. Moeller says she knows their prices might seem on the higher end, but much of it correlates to the high quality of the ingredients.
“That comes with a little bit of a price tag,” she says. “I just think it’s fair for our consumers to understand that.”
Balm products are similar to the ones Moeller was making for herself. Her path to more alternative lifestyles and natural products was forged following her mother’s cancer diagnosis. After conventional treatments didn’t work, “We just had no other option but to look somewhere else,” Moeller says.
While alternative treatments weren’t enough to cure her mother, she did see much progress, and it left Moeller with the realization this was her world. This is what she needed to be doing.
Moeller began studying herbalism, eventually transferring those skills into opening an herbal laboratory. One of the biggest issues she and her family found through exploring alternative medicine and visiting different institutes, was that it was easy to find products on-site, but when left to their own devices, it was difficult to find the ingredients, and even natural practitioners, to continue certain treatments. Calling on her degrees in biology and molecular genetics and experience working in a lab during school, and her cousin’s career as a pharmacist, the duo opened Botavi Labs.
Moeller explains that the lab provided essentially an herbal pharmacy where they could source and prepare herbal remedies for patients of natural practitioners. It also acts as the production center for Balm Skincare, giving the lab a direct to consumer outlet.
Moeller partnered with a previous coworker, Katie Schacht, who took on a marketing and operations role, to launch the business of Balm Skincare on Cyber Monday.
“I wanted to be a part of Balm because I believe in the mission of encouraging naturally healthy lifestyles, and skincare is a great first step,” Schact says.
The duo turned to many of the available local business-building resources to help get the bootstrapped operation off the ground, touching base with everyone from the city’s small business concierge, Ryan Schick, to SCORE, to ECDI, to Ryan Frederick. Moeller says that if one connection didn’t have the right resources, they’ve been able to refer her to someone who might.
For now, Balm’s products are available primarily online since they are made to order. Because of the shelf life, stocking at storefronts does present a challenge, but can be made possible through transparency and closely monitoring inventory.
Moeller and Schact are working on a few other ways to get Balm Skincare products to customers.
“I really want to stick with this line first and substantiate that,” Moeller says, but plans are in the works for sample packs so customers can more readily test the products, as well as a subscription service that keeps fresh products coming at regular intervals.
For more information, visit balm-skincare.com.