Boss Lady is a series that shares personal insights from creative women in business. This week we chat with Frances Thrasher, creator and founder of Kindred Skincare, a Wilmington-based company with 100% organic oil cleansing skincare products. Frances shares with us the journey that led to her passion for health, which ultimately became a successful skincare line.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your career?
I went to Georgia Tech and studied Textile Engineering. One summer I was overexposed to chemicals in a polypropylene plant, and this created a lifetime of skin sensitivities and allergies. The change in hormones during my pregnancies intensified the problems. By my second child, I couldn’t even use any soaps or shampoos. I was developing allergies to additives, thickeners, and foaming agents. I did some research and I started using olive oil. I got tired of smelling like olive oil all the time so I took an online bio course and started playing around with soaps and moisturizers (all oil based). Eventually I created the Kindred Skincare line. I just made it for myself and then I realized that there was a big market for it. My plastic surgeon friend used the products during her pregnancy and saw amazing results. She, along with my mom and sister pushed me to create the line.
Where did your name and brand come from?
The name Kindred symbolizes the extension of family through kindred spirits and our universal interconnectedness. The look and feel of the packaging reflect both the science and the personalized customer care reminiscent of a classic neighborhood apothecary where the local practitioner knew the name and the families of the each and every person in need of effective holistic healing remedies.
What is a typical workday like?
There is no typical workday. I am a one-woman band so it really depends. It depends on the amount of orders I have, the amount of supplies I have to work with, and everything else that I have going on in my life. I hand batch everything and that takes a long time. I could also be in my shop dabbling in other products, delivering local orders to stores like Houppette, or I could be sending my products at the post office to my clients in Brooklyn, Florida, or Oregon. My family is incredible and helps me if I’m ever in a pinch.
Where do you get your ideas and inspiration?
I get my inspiration from all over the place. I’m always taking in feedback from clients and trying to work with them to develop new ideas. I also love to go horseback riding in my free time and that is a big influence for me. Being in nature really inspires my whole lifestyle. One of my favorite practices is Shinrin-Yoku, a term that translates as “tree” or “forest bathing.” Research has determined that when you immerse yourself in nature by “walking through the woods,” the body responds, practically communing with the surrounding environment, giving way to a host of benefits: a reduction in both stress and blood pressure, an improvement in mood, energy and sleep as well as an accelerated recovery from illness or surgery. I believe in natural and organic approaches to caring for your body. Your skin is your largest organ, therefore what you put on your body Is just as important as what you put in your body!
Who is a Boss Lady that you look up to and why?
I can’t choose just one. I have so many. Everyday I meet such talented and passionate women. They’re in the stores I go to, they’re clients, and they’re all so different. They all have had completely different paths that I am just in awe of. I have really grown to love and have deep friendships with these women. To me, you don’t have to be a flag-carrying woman. We’re all little pieces of the bigger picture. We are all empowering with our shoulders back and our heads up. I have so much respect for these women that I interact with every single day. They’re all juggling a lot, and yet they are keeping a good attitude and just doing it well.
What is your best form of marketing?
I definitely use Instagram to gain traction with my company. I’m not super into Facebook or Twitter or even hiring a sales team. On Instagram I’m able to not only showcase my products but who I am as a person. I think it’s really important that people invest in that aspect as well. I can really show them that I live up to the lifestyle that I’m so passionate about. It shows a real-life aspect to my company so people know I’m not just a business tycoon. I’ll make cold-calls to people to get their input and throw my name out there. I also get a lot of business through my website and e-commerce. After people buy products they’re always telling their friends. Word-of-mouth has helped my business tremendously.
What do you think is in store for the future of your company?
I like the small, apothecary feel to my line. I’m a small business so I’m looking to build smart growth that won’t be too overwhelming. It’s a big market and I know the more I open people’s eyes to the magic of oil based skincare products, the more they’ll be all over it. I’m starting small with the Indie Beauty Expo in Dallas where I’ll show off my product. I want others to see the necessity and power of good oils. I am so excited for what the future holds because I really took a leap of faith with this line and it has given me so much.