Devera Naturals launches at Celebrate Local thanks to ECDIECDI Spotlight — By Amy Szabo on October 25, 2012 at 8:00 am
After 30 years of entrepreneurial experience as the founder of Sport Deco Inc. and Linda Joffe & Associates, cancer survivor Linda Joffe undertook the task of turning a line of all natural, home-produced skincare products into a cosmetic line that is shelf stable.
Joffe dug out her college chemistry and microbiology textbooks, and enlisted the help of her mentor, a former research and development specialist who worked for several national cosmetic brands. Devera Naturals launched in 2011.
Joffe realized the unique value of the core products, which a family friend made and introduced to her in 2000, after using them to sooth and moisturize her ravaged skin during chemotherapy treatments.
“Launching a new line in the middle of a recession was challenging, but I was like a dog with a bone,” she says. “I researched and reformulated the products until they worked exactly like I wanted them to.”
Joffe introduced Devera Naturals, named in memory of her mother, at the Celebrate Local store at Easton Town Center, a partnership between the Economic and Community Development Institute, Easton Community Foundation, and Global Gallery.
At Celebrate Local, Joffe found that the public loved her products. In addition to accessing a huge market that she wouldn’t have been able to reach otherwise, Joffe has used Celebrate Local as a test market for new products.
Due to the economic downturn, finding funding was one of the most significant challenges she faced when growing Devera Naturals. Through Celebrate Local, Joffe was introduced to ECDI’s Small Business Loan program.
In July 2012, Joffe was approved for a loan, which she used to buy additional equipment to make her products, and to contract with a consulting group to connect her with brokers and distributors that will help her launch the products nationally.
Joffe runs a business, but is also focused on maintaining the core values of the original products she used on her skin while she battled breast cancer. In addition to all natural ingredients, Devera Naturals features environmentally friendly packaging compromised of recyclable containers, environmentally safe ink labels, and boxes made from recycled material.
Her experience as a breast cancer survivor also led Joffe to donate a portion of Devera Naturals’ sales to The Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research, to help stamp out breast cancer going forward, and the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Patient Assistance, giving financially disadvantaged women access to prostheses, wigs, garments and other care products.
Deveral Naturals can be purchased at Celebrate Local at Easton Town Center or online at DeveraNaturals.com.
For more information about ECDI’s small business development programming, call 614-559-0115 or visit ECDI.org.
Amy Szabo’s foray into microenterprise development began in graduate school as she researched microfinance as a response to human trafficking and poverty. She holds a master's degree in Slavic and Eastern European Studies from The Ohio State University, as well as a bachelor's degree in English from Oklahoma State University. From 2002 to 2004, Amy did humanitarian work in the former Yugoslavia, helping Kosovar Serbs who had been resettled in Belgrade Serbia after the Balkan wars. She also spent time in Athens, Greece, where she designed and built a human trafficking resource and response kit targeted for use by a humanitarian organization with staff throughout Eastern Europe. Amy is the Economic and Community Development Institute’s resident wordsmith (aka Director of Communications and Development). She is happy to spend her days applying what she learned about microenterprise development as a poverty alleviation strategy internationally to her hometown. In her (vanishingly-small) spare time, Amy is a voracious reader, trained labor doula, part-time craftswoman, and full-time stepmother.
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