Small Business Spotlight (SBS) – Rain Organica
Have you heard of Rain Organica yet? They just launched a few weeks ago and are already making a big splash in the skincare industry. They are a skincare company for women who are on the go from travel to hiking and everything in between? Say what? I know that is exactly what I thought.
Rain Organica is the brainchild of Brandy Searcy and she wanted to fill a niche of skincare “essentials” for women who like to spend their days’
backpacking, rock climbing, hiking, snowshoeing, or even skiing yet want their skincare on the trails. Since these products are meant for travel, each one is strategically crafted to hold absolutely as many skin nourishing ingredients as possible to help minimize the number of products a girl needs whether she’s on the trail, at home, or jet-setting.
Let’s find out more about Brandy, Rain Organica, and her vision behind the passion.
FTW: Growing up, we always have thoughts about what we want to be when we grow up. Do you remember what you wanted to be when you were 5 years old?
Brandy: I dreamed of being many different things as a child but an astronaut is the first career choice I remember. My astronaut dream eventually developed into the dream of being an astronomer. I thought it would be so cool to explore space and visit unknown galaxies even if it required a telescope.
FTW: What one piece of advice would you give your younger self?
Brandy: I was definitely a late bloomer and was picked on constantly throughout grade school, middle school, and high school. By the time I was in high school, I was so shy and purposefully hid my real self from others. The night I graduated I finally realized that I would likely never see any of these people again, so why on earth did I care so much what they thought of me the last four years?
FTW: What was the vision/the WHY behind starting your business?
Brandy: I wound up becoming a chemical engineer and went deep into organic chemistry. My brain is bent towards an analytical mindset and having an understanding of organic chemistry means I knew WAY too much for my own good when I looked at product labels. On top of that, I struggled with acne throughout my teens and 20s. I still remember the feeling of complete helplessness when I looked in the mirror. In my battle to gain control over my breakouts, I even resorted to Accutane. I experienced side effects from Accutane in my body that caused me to turn an about-face on how I approached my acne. I stopped treatment mid-course and vowed I would stop being so harsh on my body AND my skin and start to use products that were kind to my skin. When I made this vow, I had already tried topical and oral antibiotics, oxidizers like benzoyl peroxide, extreme exfoliators like prescription strength retinoids, light therapy, and as a last resort, Accutane. I don’t think we think about it, but all of these things are just terrible for us. Antibiotics disrupt our natural microbiome. Oxidizers and extreme exfoliation promote inflammation within the skin, and inflammation is part of the acne pathogenesis cycle. In the course of about a week, I went from embracing the harshest chemicals used for acne treatment to using only products with the cleanest ingredients I could find. I wanted silicone-free, fragrance free, petroleum free, PEG free, formaldehyde free products that were also free of any ingredients that may be photosensitizing (like benzoyl peroxide). This was back in the early 2000s, and I honestly cannot remember if the paraben scare had happened yet, but yeah, I also wanted skincare free of endocrine disrupting ingredients. Over the span of the next few years, my list of wants grew from “must be free of these things” to “must be free of these things and also contain all of these things”. I wanted a single lotion to do everything – to literally be packed with so many active ingredients that I only needed that one lotion. Finally, in 2008, frustrated by the product selections available to me in stores, I decided to start making my own skincare. I loved what I was making. My family and friends loved it, and the idea for a business blossomed from there.
FTW: Was there an aha moment that got you rolling on this dream?
Brandy: I am not sure there’s been a single aha moment. I knew I was onto something when my aunt who suffers from rosacea started raving about how great her skin looked after she started using my products. Of course, that was years ago now. I dabbled with the idea of starting a skincare company, and then I landed a day job with a pharmaceutical company. Part of their product line was topical prescription acne treatments, and even though I wasn’t in that department, I still felt like a fraud working for them while having a business that conflicted so blatantly with that product set. So, I set the business idea aside until 2016 when I left that company.
FTW: What was your biggest hurdle to get you to this point? How did you overcome it?
Brandy: In 2016, I got serious about starting a business marketing the products I had created. I took a 2-year deep dive into creating the absolute best products I could make complete with stability testing and microbial testing per regulatory guidelines, and then I realized I had no earthly clue how to market my products. I knew I didn’t want to spend my Saturdays at Farmers’ Markets. I wasted a lot of time in 2018 and early 2019 trying to force myself into the market with no clear brand and no cohesive message. Finally, the stars aligned in 2019, and my path crossed with a business mentor, more specifically, a brand mentor, and my education really began. The last half of 2019 and early 2020 was spent learning how to market products and realizing how important it was to carve out a niche within the very crowded skincare market. As an outdoor girl, there’d been countless times when I found myself in need of a product that didn’t exist, and one of my best friends loves backpacking. By this time, we’d had many conversations about the skincare products she wanted most on the trail, and I’d already started developing some of those products. Deciding to create skincare that seamlessly transitions from indoor to outdoor use, just made sense, and I realized that I had haphazardly arrived at a brand.
FTW: Tell us a little more about your business and the product line
Brandy: Rain Organica celebrates simplicity and the joy of experiencing nature. I opted for the name Rain because I feel it represents full immersion and growth. Organica just sounds like a magical place, which for me is where I’m transported almost any time I am outdoors. Rain Organica’s mission is to simplify your skincare routine, remove confusion around product selection, and provide you the opportunity to take your routine with you wherever you go. This may seem trivial if you have problem free skin, but if you’re like me and live with breakout prone skin, sensitive skin, or simply have realized the importance of skincare, this may be welcome news.
Product Line: The products can be easily broken down into just a handful of categories with blissfully few products in each:
· Pack Essentials – complete skincare routine in just 3 products: This collection contains three products, a rinse free cleanser, a toner with vitamin C & cucumber hydrosol, and a lightweight lotion packed with protective ingredients, moisturizing ingredients, and skin nourishing and soothing ingredients & can be used both day and night.
· Trail Essentials – 2 Pocket size products: If you’re spending all day on the trails or on the slopes (or otherwise out in the sun), these two offer a hands-off way to apply skincare midday. The antioxidant mist can be used as a protective facial spritz even when your hands are dirty, and the botanical oil rollerball is a lifesaver for chapped hands (especially when you want to keep your palms slip free).
Custom Collection – 3 products: If your skin needs special attention based on the season or specific skin concern, you can pick up one of these. Mix a few drops of I am Enough facial oil, a blend of fragile botanical oils rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, with any face lotion to craft an exquisite eye cream or heavier facial lotion for winter time. The oil free serum Rain Lily can be substituted for facial lotion if you have extremely oily skin. And, if you’re worried about a dull complexion, Eventide night cream works wonders to help brighten skin.
FTW: If someone wanted to start with just one of your products, which one would you recommend?
Brandy: That’s a tough question because I use so many of Rain Organica’s products every day. If I had to just choose one, I would pick the one that started it all: First Light Day & Night Lotion.
The beauty of this lotion is its lightweight, perfect for all skin types, and literally packed with just as many skin beneficial ingredients as I could stuff into a single product. I wanted to be sure this lotion was suitable for use in sunshine or in moonshine, so I really focused on skin protective ingredients like antioxidants and peptides that help reverse the effects of UV exposure and took special care to exclude any ingredients that might even possibly be a problem in sunlight.
FTW: What has been your key to marketing your product authentically?
Brandy: Well, I’m not a marketer, so for me, marketing is just the hardest part of running a business. I’m definitely still working on marketing strategy, but I really focus on the things I value most from companies.
The biggest highlights of Rain Organica’s authentic marketing are:
· Treating customers well regardless of whether it’s your first purchase or your fifth – Rain Organica is still small enough so that I know all customers pretty well and talk with them regularly across different platforms. At some point, the company will hopefully become too large for me to manage that, but I don’t think that’s an excuse to stop paying attention to customers or an excuse not to hire someone that can manage this part of the business.
· Creating a unique unboxing experience – the unboxing experience is different for new customers than it is for repeat customers, and that is intentional because I want returning customers to feel recognized and appreciated. (note from FTW..we absolutely loved our box..wow)
· Designing a customer loyalty program with some rewards designed for the singular purpose of celebrating you
· Offering valuable information on Rain Organica’s blog about hiking trails, butterfly migrations, best places to see California poppy blooms, and sustainability practices that can be easily implemented to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle. Yeah, there’s a lot of information on the blog about skincare and ingredients as well, but that’s a given for a skincare company.
FTW: Share some words of advice from your experience for others who are either planning to get started on their entrepreneurial journey or struggling with all the pandemic challenges currently.
Brandy: If you’re planning to start a business, start now. I waited far longer than I should have to start Rain Organica and constantly kick myself for not beginning years ago.
One other piece of advice for entrepreneurs – find mentors for your weaknesses. There are so many companies out there who prey on start-up entrepreneurs because of our sheer lack of knowledge, and there ARE mentors out there for wherever your weaknesses lie, and those mentors do not cost an arm and a leg. I’m more than happy to share my resources with anyone who’d like leads in this area. Also, If you’re struggling with the pandemic, remember, you are not alone. I have been diligent about exercising, meditating, finding a friend to talk to, and lastly humor. If you can’t change a situation, make fun of it!
FTW: Now, tell us a little more about you. What is your favorite/last book you read or are reading?
Brandy: I am currently reading Yvon Chouinard’s “Let My People Go Surfing”. I love that the business owner of Patagonia is so intensely sustainability minded.
My favorite book hands down is Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall. Mantel portrays the story of Henry VIII’s advisor, Thomas Cromwell. The book is just hauntingly beautiful – poetry in prose.
FTW: So share with us one of your favorite quotes?
Brandy: I actually really like two:
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Honestly, you cannot go wrong with being yourself”-Normani Kordei
Thank you Brandy for sharing your and Rain Organica’s’ story with us. Please do not hesitate to reach out to her with any questions you may have regarding products or resources she mentioned in her post. Also, do subscribe to her blog on sustainability that will give you actionable tips and measures. “Tiny actions repeated daily can change the world” – Brandy Searcy.
I am sure our readers are excited to try some products. Please use the code FOOTPRINTTHEWORLD15 on https://rainorganica.com/ to get this limited time 15% offer.