5 for Friday - Kari Gran, eco-Skincare Product Developer & Entrepreneur

I have the great providence of being surrounded by inspiring people. 5 for Friday questions will be asked of artists, farmers, curators, creators, innovators, entrepreneurs etc – all of the people that I find interesting. Everyone gets the same five questions. our-story1

I met Kari Gran (pictured left) through my dear friend Carilyn, who was hired to do PR for her then-new skincare line. She co-founded her company, aptly named Kari Gran, with her friend, Lisa Strain - two ladies moving' and shakin' to introduce their line of products. On the top floor of a gorgeous and airy loft overlooking Lake Union, Kari showed me how to wash my face with oils, talked to me about the benefit of using oil-based cleansers and moisturizers, and in general charmed me with her easy going yet educated approach to daily skincare. After sending me home with a small sample size of the line, I was hooked. Within two weeks, I received compliments from friends on how great I looked. How refreshed. My friend Nga actually said to me "Brooky, your skin is glowing." I was hooked.

Kari created her skincare products as a result of an auto-immune diagnosis. She found traditional ingredients in off-the-shelf cleansers to be irritants. After much research, she decided to create her own personal products using only simple, organic ingredients. After years of passing homemade concoctions out as small hostess gifts to friends, she launched the business. [I'm oversimplifying, but you can read the story here.] And isn't that always how the coolest companies start?!! It's almost as if she didn't mean to do it - one thing led to another and BOOM - she has a successful and growing business.

From the moment I met Kari she has been a shining light. She has AMAZING skin herself and is always so well put together, that I make a mental note every time I see her. (Ditto for Lisa - they are a force.) I go to the studio directly to buy their products, as I love the social catch up. We have often mused over event ideas, gardening plans and life's interesting twists and turns. One day we'll organize enough to have a dual herbal event of some kind - stay tuned. And of course, the products are available online. And as I learned late last year when I forgot to pack my products on an extended trip to NY - they ship. Meet Kari Gran…..

1. What did you eat for breakfast this morning? Leftover black bean chili and basmati rice with a fruit smoothie chaser. And coffee, of course.

2. What is one thing you do EVERY day, by choice? Meditate. Learned TM this summer and haven't looked back.

3. If you had all the time in the world and no budget restrictions, what one project would you take on just now? (Can be a hobby, business, trip, etc) I would love to simply have the time, in the crazy swirl of a start-up, to sit and think about it (all). But something that touched me recently in a very profound way, was the opportunity to meet with the founders of Wonderwork while in NYC on a business trip in April and get a peek at what they are doing with miracle surgeries. Many of (the surgeries) are so incredibly quick and inexpensive, but life altering for the children who receive them.  We made our first donation from the company of our gross (revenue) and as we grow, the money we donate will increase, as well.  At the end of the day, it really doesn't take much to make a big difference, every little bit counts.  It's our vision of real beauty.  I wish I could add another 24 hours to my day so that I could work for them in all my spare time!

4. Where is your 'happy place'? The last five minutes of yoga class, laid out flat on my back in Savasana with an eye pillow and blanket. My 45 year old version of the kindergarten nap.

5. What is your signature dish - something you make well and consistently? Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. I've been doing it since the late 80's and it's got a bit of a cult following!

[amyp note - Lest you leave here thinking I'm a high roller, I'll be the first to warn you that these products are not cheap. In fact, the first time I bought them I felt a little sick. BUT……..they  changed my skin, they last a long time (I only buy 3 to 4 times a year) and I'm almost 40 and consider it an investment. This is ONE of a very-few products I believe to be very-much worth the splurge.]