You know that the nature of commerce has radically changed when this happens: Two moms are shopping for skin-care items, and in particular are looking for products for one mom’s 11-year-old daughter. They can’t find products specifically for “tweens”—that developmental and often difficult time between childhood and teendom—so they decide to launch their own company and make their own products. Now, not only do they have what they need for their own daughters, but they can provide this for the rest of the world’s tween daughters as well. The end.
Well, okay, it wasn’t quite that simple—but close.
Kim Grustas, co-founder and owner of Good For You Girls skin-care products, told the story to Natural Vitality Kids. “I have a very dear friend named Grace Hvasta-Petrarca, who is now my business partner in this company. She and I were having lunch at Whole Foods one day, and after lunch she said that we needed to get some skin care for her 11-year-old daughter, Olivia. Olivia had been using Grace’s products, but Grace realized that they just weren’t right for her skin because they were focused on anti-aging. They were harsh, didn’t smell right and were expensive as well.
“We went to the health and beauty aisle and started reading labels and realized that even the products that were completely natural still focused on anti-aging.”
It was literally a “light-bulb moment” for Grustas, who owned her own advertising agency. She figuratively looked one way and saw baby care and then looked the other way and saw adult products, and realized no one was addressing the tween demographic. She ran back to her office and conducted considerable research and discovered she was right.
“I think for most large skin-care companies that focus on adult skin care the tween market certainly wasn’t a big call,” Grustas said. “But for Grace and me, two moms with a combined total of six daughters, it was a huge opportunity to really do something good. It meant introducing them at a key age to the beauty of totally natural skin care.”
Prior to forming Good For You Girls, Grustas had lived and breathed the natural products industry for more than 15 years. She’d been instrumental in the growth of some of the country’s largest nutrition and supplement companies as a graphic designer, creative consultant and marketing adviser. Most recently, she has owned and operated an advertising and design agency in Connecticut, working exclusively with companies that have made a commitment to natural products and services.
Hvasta-Petrarca is a certified practitioner of Ayurvedic medicine—a system of traditional medicine native to the Indian subcontinent and practiced in other parts of the world as a form of alternative medicine. She promotes an integrated approach to good health through lifestyle changes and natural therapies. She also has extensive training in herbology, yoga and diet, which gives her specific insight into the body’s processes as well as natural remedies and holistic healing. All of this experience was of great assistance in guiding the formulation of Good For You Girls products.
For girls in the tween years, natural skin care is especially important. Mainstream skin-care products are chemical based—which Grustas and Hvasta-Petrarca found to be a problem. “Sixty percent of what you put on skin gets absorbed right into the bloodstream,” Grustas explained. “When girls are prepubescent, the brain is waiting for signals to trigger estrogen production and puberty. We now know that girls are entering puberty two years earlier than they were in the 1940s. There are many reasons for that, but because this age group is experimental at much younger ages, they’re slathering on the body shop products. The main ingredients from these products are building up in their systems, and there is now emerging research that suggests that these ingredients are negatively affecting hormone development. If it were simply that they were walking around with breasts and hips, we’d just be jealous and no one would care. But the fact of the matter is that the earlier a girl goes into puberty, the greater risk she’s got for cancer and disease as an adult.”
So, Good For You Girls was founded. They knew they would have to be self-financed, so they created a pitch to their husbands. One closing argument was the experience Grustas had had in running her own advertising agency and the successful brand development she had accomplished with other products.
Grustas and Hvasta-Petrarca then decided to begin with a basic product—a starter kit consisting of a cleanser, a toner and a moisturizer. They worked with a leading natural formulator and then made absolutely sure they had the specific balance between cleansing and non-irritation, along with ingredients for addressing bacteria. “These girls are very active,” Grustas said. “They’re doing ballet; they’re doing horseback riding, soccer, basketball—you name it. They pick up a lot of grime, dirt and environmental toxins. So they do need the antibacterial.”
As the products were being developed, they were tested thoroughly against the target demographic, and feedback was obtained on everything from colors to scents to ease of use.
Aromas turned out to be especially important. “The scents were key because tweens’ olfactory senses are not as developed as ours. They don’t really gravitate toward the eucalyptus and lavender smells that we like as adults; they’re coming off fruitiness—you know, the strawberries and the fruity flavors. So our products have a citrus blend—a very uplifting, very fresh type of aroma.”
On top of that, the aromas come from natural sources—essential oils of grapefruit, orange, lemon and bergamot. The remainder of the product is completely natural as well and environmentally friendly. There are no dyes, no genetically modified ingredients and no animal byproducts. No animal testing is done either with the products or the ingredients. Even the packaging is totally green, printed on recyclable material with safe, water-based inks. The bottles can also be recycled.
In addition to providing entirely safe products for tweens, Grustas and Hvasta-Petrarca consider their products also help form healthy skin-care habits. “We believe good habits start at a young age,” Grustas remarked. “It is our responsibility to educate our children about the dangers of chemicals in the world and in the products they use. We are committed to making truly effective skin care without harmful or questionable ingredients. Our products contain good-for-your-skin ingredients that are both beneficial and beautifying. With these products, we hope to give girls the confidence to face the world, knowing how truly beautiful they are on the inside and the outside.”
Since their 2008 launch, the response to the Good For You Girls line has been outstanding. “The responses have ranged from a simple ‘Thank you,’ which makes us feel good, to ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t wait to try your products! Thank you!’” Grustas said. “In some cases it’s a plea such as, ‘I really want to help my daughter and I don’t want her slathered with chemicals.’ They not only recognize the beauty of the product and what the product is going to do, but they really love the fact that it’s 100 percent natural. You know, at this age children are still parents’ babies. We even have several celebrity moms.”
Good For You Girls products are available from 250 retailers across the country (and the list is growing) as well as from the company’s website: www.goodforyougirls.com.
It just goes to show what people who care can, today, go out and accomplish.