I became interested in Poofy Organics when I saw their sunscreen on the Environmental Working Group’s list of safe sunscreens. I looked the company up on EWG’s Skindeep database, which rates products on a scale from 0-10. Their scale is:
0-2 = low hazard
3-6 = moderate hazard
7-10 = high hazard.
The Poofy Organics products tested all score in the 0-2 range (low hazard).
After checking out Poofy Organics’ website, I saw that they make all of their own products in small batches in their Rutherford, NJ store. This seemed like a fun field trip for the boys. I reached out to the owner, Kristina, who said she was more than happy for us to come look at the setup and ask her a few questions about her products.
The store is small, but every inch is used: to display the range of products, to package the products, and, in a back room, to make and ship the products. Spread out as you enter is an inviting display of various body butter scents, complete with a container of disposable wooden spreaders, so that people don’t dip their hands into the samples.
While we were there, Kristina and two of her employees had two projects underway: (1) packaging eye makeup remover they made earlier that day and (2) making piña colada scented body butter.
Packaging: To package the eye makeup remover, they first applied the Poofy Organics label to the container, which they then filled with the measured amount of product. The containers they use for packaging their eye makeup remover, as with all their packaging, is both recycled and recyclable. In fact, they are working on getting packaging for some products that is biodegradable. Currently, only their body butter is offered with biodegradable packaging.
Making Body Butter: We saw the body butter come out of the freezer, still in liquid form (it must have a low freezing point). It actually resembled a large bowl of melted butter. The bowl was then placed on a Kitchen-Aid stand mixer, and whipped up to a frothy, white solid. G was very interested in watching the this process. He thought it was very cool to watch the creation of a product that was going to be sold in the store.
Kristina began creating personal care products after her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. One of her mother’s doctors said that he thought there could be a link between the cancer and her mother’s deodorant. After hearing this, Kristina did a vast amount of research into the ingredients in personal care products, including deodorants. She then examined her own family’s products, and created a list of the ingredients she was comfortable putting on her family. She threw out most of the products her family used, and when she tried to buy replacement products containing only ingredients she felt were safe, she was unhappy with the selection available. She decided that if she couldn’t find the kind of products she wanted in stores, she would try creating her own. She first made soap and body wash, and now offers over 100 different products, all of which use her own recipes.
When she decided to offer her products for sale, her goals were to make safe products for people to put on their skin, and to keep those products reasonably priced. It was important to her that it shouldn’t be only people with a lot of money who can afford to buy safe products.
Kristina’s background is in education. She has strengths in reading formulas and using necessary math skills, but other than that, she has not found formal education in chemistry or mathematics necessary. To develop her recipes, Kristina pores through online databases, including Environmental Working Group, and refers to her personal library of books. Through her research, she determines which essential oils should go into a particular product, and then begins testing her own recipes.
One recipe she was kind enough to share was how to make a simple scrub- combine brown sugar and canola oil, and then add a scent such as vanilla or orange extract, or an essential oil. Sounds fantastic! (And it’s a slight change from sugar scrub, which I love).
I found it especially interesting that she will work with customers to create custom products. If a customer comes in with a concern she does not have a product to address, she will try to develop something to meet that need. Also, if after buying a Poofy Organics product, a customer’s concern is not resolved, she will work with that customer to tinker with the recipe, or create a new product, to help them.
As we were talking, a customer came in, and selected a product to buy. As Kristina chatted with the customer about the use of the product, Kristina suggested that although the product the customer chose would help, before buying it the customer should buy aloe juice from another store, refrigerate it, and try misting it on to the problem area. This solution would be cheaper, and Kristina thought it would meet the customer’s need better. So, she actually gave up a sale when she thought it was in the interests of the customer.
While I was there, I filled up a bag of various products to try, and have been using them at home. We use the body wash and lotion at bath time every night, and G refuses to use any other sunscreen. When I am applying sunscreen, he can tell by the feel if I’m not using the Poofy Organics sunscreen. He says to me, “Mommy, I only like to wear Poofy.” When I asked him why, he said it’s because the other sunscreens I put on him are “too slimy.” This summer applying sunscreen to G has been a bit of a battle, so I am all for anything that will make it easier. Also, it is what we have been using while we are at the beach, and so far, no burns on either boy. So I am going to be sure to place an order for enough sunscreen to see us through the summer!