- Jessica Kuhn, courtesy CSBJ
- Jewels Burdick keeps her products simple and affordable.
Jewels Burdick started making natural skin care products after a health scare in her family several years ago.
"My mother thought that she had Alzheimer's because she was having a lot of memory trouble," Burdick says. "It was very worrisome for our family and, sort of a long story short — she had an overexposure to aluminum chloride. That caused me to take a step back and research how she was getting heavy metal exposure."
That's when Burdick learned that aluminum chloride is often used in cosmetics and personal care products, she says.
"There is nobody that really regulates what goes on the outside of your body," she says. "I also found out that 66 percent of what goes on your body gets absorbed by it and goes into the bloodstream."
Burdick began making her own deodorant before slowly replacing all of her skin care products with ones she crafted.
Her first customers were friends and family. Then she began selling her products from a small corner at her graphic design agency, SuperFine Designs, in Old Colorado City.
"I would have all of these graphic designers in here working and people would come knock and whisper if they could get some deodorant," she says. "It was kind of like Prohibition-style body products."
About three years ago, Burdick opened her natural skin care products store, Simple Body, where the design agency was housed at 2616 W. Colorado Ave., Suite 5.
"I still have the agency but it's only me now," she says. "It was pretty scary making that decision and then worrying about if people were going to come in the store."
Located off the beaten path, Burdick said Simple Body doesn't get a lot of foot traffic.
"I've had to be pretty creative in how I set up the outside and where I put my sign," she says, adding finding money for marketing the store has been her toughest challenge.
"Advertising is expensive," she says. "I really have to rely on word-of-mouth and I'm fortunate because my customers don't just like the product — they love it and are passionate about it."
Burdick estimates that repeat customers represent about 70 percent of her business.
"And the other 30 percent heard about us from a friend or family member," she says.
The store sells facial care products, body lotions and butters, as well as massage oils and other skin care products.
"All of my products have to work," Burdick says. "They have to live up to what they say on the label, because I have bought so many things in this industry that I was just so disappointed in."
She recently launched the store's zero-waste body products refill station to help reduce the use of plastic. The station features glass jars for purchase that can be refilled or customers can bring their own sanitized container.
"One thing that I have realized is that the younger generation cares about the earth a lot," Burdick says. "They are super passionate about the ocean and our use of plastics."
It's also important to Burdick that she keeps her merchandise affordable.
"I was sort of disgusted with how much natural body products cost when I first started researching them," she says. "I always want to maintain a price point that won't create a barrier for people, such as the elderly who might live on fixed incomes."
People often associate the high cost of a product with higher quality, she believes.
"I want to help change that mentality," Burdick says. "I don't believe in that, and I think that people who make products like this need to stand behind them and be more humble and price their products a little more affordably for people."
Another priority of Burdick's is educating customers about her products and their ingredients.
"Some people don't know that what they put on their body goes in their body," she says.
Common ingredients found in Burdick's products include cocoa and shea butters, avocado and coconut oils, vegetable glycerin, vitamin E and cinnamon.
"The cinnamon is the preservative," she says. "But they are all ingredients that are great for you because that's all I use."