Rene Bartosh is wife, mama, business owner, entrepreneur, and coconut-oil-magician! We've bumped into each other as business owners in the past (and also because her sugar-scrub is da-bomb). Recently, we met up and between both of our one-year olds squealing and using us like jungle gyms, I was able to pick her brain about running a business from home with two kids.
Rene started her business with her husband Steve in 2014. Their sugar scrub was developed out of necessity since Rene's hands would crack and bleed badly in the winter. It kept getting worse each year despite constant attention and lotion application. "It was a constant battle, it was embarrassing, and it was painful," says Rene (who, by the way, has beautiful hands now).
Her husband had just gotten his degree in environmental studies and one day suggested Rene take a more natural approach with her skincare. It was Rene's lightbulb moment and the beginning of trial and error with coconut based sugar scrubs. Rene explains, "I had no previous experience with sugar scrubs before. I eventually found something I liked and started using it and was amazed at how soft my skin was. I used it twice a day for the first month and my coworkers noticed the improvement and asked what I was using."
Rene started making samples to share, adjusting the consistency of the sugar scrub until she obtained the texture the product is today. The feedback encouraged her to keep going and she began selling the scrubs in mason jars. From there, Rene and Steve began packaging the scrubs more professionally, eventually creating several other coconut-based products. "We wanted to create a brand and make it available to people who would purchase it online. My husband (Steve) and I started doing pop-up-shops at various events in an effort to get the word out there. The largest factor in selling for us was that we knew the product could help people," says Rene.
As the business grows, Rene's most productive part of the day is during her kids' nap time. She works in small batches to keep the product fresh and catches up on messages and social media activity in the morning. "It's not terribly exciting," chuckles Rene. "Saturdays are usually days that I go do demos or shows." Rene has two kids, one of whom is a son old enough to help out with her one-year-old on the days she's super busy. "Sometimes, t.v. is the babysitter though I try not to do that," Rene says honestly. "It took a while, but I have a system that functions and areas set up for me to do my work. It's not glamorous, but it works."
Running a business from home with two kids sounds intimidating to me, but Rene insists it's all about figuring out what will work with your lifestyle and running with it. "The big thing is learning to be flexible about what needs to get done when," reflects Rene. "It's ok if something doesn't get done on the day you planned and it's important to go with the flow."
Rene hopes to come out with more coconut-based products in the future, continuing in the vein of natural, environmentally friendly products. And while she hasn't announced it yet, she hopes to come out with a line of body wash by Christmas. "I have some ideas up my sleeve and anyone who follows me on social media knows I am obsessed with Witch Hazel. I'm hoping to incorporate that into things as well."
If you'd like to find and browse the Pure and Coco line of products, check out Rene's website at www.pureandcoco.com. She will also be making an appearance at the Seabrook Saturday Markets this summer if you would like to meet Rene in person and sample some of her products.