Possibly one of my favorite aspects of TAE is learning how some of my favorite products and brands came to be. Last month, I had the opportunity to chat with Adina Grigore about her line, S.W. Basics, and I was especially lucky to be able to meet her at the American Made Market the next week (per usual, I overstayed my welcome and hung out for about an hour, trying to help sell product to the market-visitors!). Adina is this amazing, hysterical woman (with incredible skin!) who is so committed and passionate about her work but also incredibly real and honest. I’ve been particular about what goes on my skin and focused on natural, effective products for the past several years, but my last corporate role focused on Consumer Product Goods (CPGs) and I was shocked at the green-washing tactics often employed in order to make consumers believe their chemical-laden products are natural and even good for them (it’s so sad how many consumers believe green packaging means a natural product!). I’m so thankful that there are people out there, like Adina and her team, who are committed to proving that products can be natural, simple, and affordable – while also incredibly designed and enjoyable to use. No trade-off necessary.
Adina Grigore started making her own skincare when she couldn’t find anything on the market that was gentle enough for her sensitive skin. With a background in wellness and nutrition, she knew what her skincare should be, but couldn’t find it, so she realized she’d have to make it herself.
After finding a solution, she started teaching workshops on how to make simple skincare products. After each workshop, students came up to her and asked her where they could buy her line. She realized that not everyone has the time or is willing to make their own products, but felt strongly that simple, natural products should be available and started S.W. Basics.
Adina’s goal for S.W. Basics is to educate consumers but also make them feel good about what they are buying. As consumers, we’ve been trained to buy items that are cheap and, in the case of skincare (and food), filled with artificial fillers. But it doesn’t have to be that way. People deserve better. We should all be able to go into a store and know that what we are buying is safe, good for us, and good for the economy.
S.W. Basics products are made with five ingredients or less and the belief that simplicity is better when it comes to skin care.
My favorite S.W. Basics products – the toner and the organic, reusable cotton rounds! The idea for the cotton rounds came from an intern who was focused on living a waste free life – S.W. Basics found a way to provide a simple, organic and reusable solution.
WHAT MAKES YOUR DAY? YOUR WEEK?
We get tremendous emails every day from customers – people who are exactly where I was when I started and who love the products. This is motivating because as an entrepreneur, you know that you think your product is great, but you wonder if other people feel the same way. The idea that people would actually be upset if we stopped is incredibly encouraging.
We have a great team, and that is very motivating – they remind us to keep going.
WHAT ARE YOUR STYLE ESSENTIALS?
A flannel plaid shirt – this is Brooklyn! Flip flops, way past the date they are technically allowed.
WHERE DO YOU ESCAPE?
South Florida – to the beach! We went to France for our honeymoon and loved it, but it really made us appreciate New York, so now we are trying to do more of the things that make New York an awesome place to visit.
WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU’VE RECEIVED?
This is not even as bad as it’s going to get. What you are going through is normal and it’s not the worst thing you are going to go through.
Do you remember were six months ago? You were in a completely different place. Every small step is more meaningful than people give themselves credit for. You will never arrive and be where you thought you’d be.
WHY DO YOU MAKE YOUR PRODUCTS IN AMERICA?
As you grow, the concept of local changes. From made by hand and sold at markets to manufactured and sold internationally. We don’t want to local-wash, but it is important. Products can be made ethically when manufacturing locally, because it’s easier to regulate production. Products should also be made close to the end consumer, because it’s important that they are fresh. Eventually all products should be localized, it’s sustainable, better for the environment, and better for the consumer.
The gorgeous S.W. Basics team!
Thank you Adina for making amazing products and for taking the time to speak with me!
[Disclosure: S.W. Basics sent me products for review. I have since purchased additional products and only share products and brands that I believe in.]