Memo Exclusive: An Interview with Earthly Body's Kevin Wachs
Kevin and Mare Wachs
Earthly Body has grown from a garage-based business to a company with distribution around the globe while continuing to honor their guiding mission of innovating and keeping their carbon footprint small. President and Co-Founder Kevin Wachs continues to combine his passion for philanthropy with producing products that fill a need in the market without filling up the landfill. Wachs shares an update on all the good things happening with his California company.
MS: How did you start Earthly Body and what did you see missing at the time that you thought Earthly Body would answer?
KW: In 1994, my wife Mare and I started creating quality, natural personal care products in our garage. We felt there was a need in the market for beauty products made from the finest natural ingredients we could find. We focused on making products that are 100% vegan and free of parabens, sulfates, phthalates, artificial dyes, mineral oil and propylene glycol. We developed our products by using Hemp Seed Oil as a base because the benefits to the skin and hair surpassed many of the synthetic ingredients on the market. Twenty years ago the use of Hemp Seed Oil was considered controversial, but today with a vast amount of education out there, the world has realized that Hemp Seed Oil contains high levels of essential fatty acids, provides nourishing protection, and has high moisture content that helps moisturize, smooth and soften dry, damaged skin.
MS: Please share a bit about your facility.
KW: In 2013 Earthly Body moved its corporate headquarters into a 50,000 square foot building in Chatsworth, CA that today serves as our manufacturing and bottling facility, shipping warehouse, corporate offices and International Education Center for all our brands. This building is a testament to the commitment we have made to our planet’s sustainability. All aspects of our organization reflect eco-friendly values, from the use of recyclable packaging and planting trees for the future, to the installation of both solar panels and electric car charging stations. Our company is committed to reducing our carbon footprint.
MS: What has been your biggest launch to date?
KW: I would have to say that our biggest launch has been the colorpHlex hair repair system. The colorpHlex complete hair repair system strengthens the hair and repairs damage in the salon and in the home. This specially formulated system is all made with our unique ColorStrong Complex, used in all of our professional, home care and styling products. This active ingredient repairs damaged caused during all chemical services, as well as, any damage that can occur from the environment and hot tools, after leaving the salon.
colorpHlex is one of the only bond builder product lines that is a complete system. We offer the professional products, the home care products and styling products, all with the same active ingredient, and for that reason, we really are able to stand out in the marketplace. Our users are able to enjoy the benefits of colorpHlex in the salon and at home. This has made us very successful in both the US and internationally. We currently have over 35 distributors domestically and over 40 distributors internationally that support the colorpHlex line.
MS: Where and how are you distributed?
KW: We are everywhere! We have distribution all over the world for all of the brands under the Earthly Body umbrella. It is very humbling as we started as a small family business and now, 20 years later, we truly have become a global leader in the beauty industry.
MS: You are a musician and a publisher--how have these two things intersected with your beauty business?
KW: Rock Cellar Magazine and our group, the Tribe, have intersected a few times. Most recently, we played a show called “California Saga” with band members from The Beach Boys, Jackson Browne and others joining us and one of the charities it benefited was Beauty Bus, which brings free beauty services to caretakers of the chronically-ill. Last year, a similar show benefited City of Hope's Rock the Cure. And one our of Tribe members is none other than last year's City of Hope Honoree and Pravana founder, my good friend Steve Goddard.
MS: Please talk about your foundation and why giving back is important to you.
KW: The Get Together foundation is a non-profit organization founded by the Earthly Body family. The foundation serves as an intermediary between donors and charities, insuring that all monies get to the intended beneficiaries. Earthly Body promotes fund-raisers, celebrations and events of all kinds throughout the year in order to raise money for charitable organizations. The basis of the Get Together Foundation is the fusion of the 60s mantra of peace, togetherness and love combined with the ideals of quality, intelligence, and technology today. We are the self-described image of the "New Hippie" trying to override the cynicism and pessimism that engulf our current environment. We long to have generations come together, work side by side and most importantly, make a difference.
MS: What is next for Earthly Body?
KW: Earthly Body's company mission is to always be innovating. We are constantly on top of what the industry is doing and what stylists are looking for. Not only are we in line to come out with a large number of new products by the end of 2016, but we are also focused on making sure we do what we believe works well for us. With new technology, social media, and internet sales, many people have gained accessibility to so many great products, but they have lost touch with the human aspect of building strong personal relationships. We always do what we can to maintain personal relationships with our buyers, to listen to their needs, to sample our products, to come up with new fragrances that people will love and to understand what our customers expect from the Earthly Body umbrella of brands. We always do our best to give them what they are looking for.