Thursday, August 28, 2014

GG Interview Series: Will Reynolds Young of SKINourishment

On Tuesday, I featured an interview with Katie Vance of Wise Wife Soaps. In my second installment of the GG Interview Series, I'm thrilled to showcase one of the male followers/sponsors of our largely female community. 

I met Will Reynolds Young a couple of years ago at the Allegheny County Green & Innovation Festival. He was selling some of his company's wonderful toxin-free products. I approached him and asked him if he'd be interested in my doing a review. Without knowing me or my blog (although I think he did a quick check on his smart phone), he agreed and asked me to select a few products. I did so and a new fan of his was born. While I like many of the products, I am especially enthused about the deodorant, which I order again and again (a shipment is on its way to me right now, as a matter of fact).

Will did not hesitate to offer a $25 gift card for my 5th Blogiversary Giveaway (be sure to check it out here), not did he hesitate when I asked him for an interview. Here's a chance to get to know one of my sponsors:

Green Grandma Interview Series: Will Reynolds Young of SKINourishment

GG: What motivated you to get involved with SKINourishment?

Will: I literally grew up with what we know now as SKINourishment. As I was growing up, I would visit the offices that were originally in the back of my aunt's house. On my visits, I was able to see the passion and love she put into not just the product, but everything else she did. I knew that's exactly what I wanted. I wanted to share the love and passion she embodied with the world and put my own spin on it. I recognized the need for a technical mind to be added to the crew, and slowly paved my way. 

GG: So how long have you been with the company?

Will: Technically, I have been with the company almost two years in my current position, and about four years on a lighter basis. I would like to think I have always been with the company since I literally grew up as the company grew up in many ways.

A young Will was really interesting in mixing his own skin care products in shampoo bottles. Needless to say, I found out that I should stick to the technical side of things and leave the mixing to the master!

GG: What were you doing before you decided to work for them full time?

Will: Sticking with the entrepreneurial spirit of the family, in 2011 I started my own company to distribute SKINourishment products. Throughout 2011 and 2012, I attended over 40 events in the Pittsburgh region and acquired wholesale and retail customers. In mid-2012, I was approached by my aunt to join SKINourishment on a regular basis. You can read a bit more about that by clicking here.

GG: What is your favorite part of the job?

Will: I love interacting with fans of the brand via social media and in real life. In addition, I love to meet new people and have the opportunity to introduce them to the product.

GG: That aspect of your personality shone through the first time I met you. Your enthusiasm is evident, so what makes this company stand out from its competition and why is that important to you?

Will: When I think of natural skin care or organic skin care and the market that it has become over the last decade, I kind of giggle to myself.

Personally, I find our approach to skin care to still be way ahead of the curve across world markets. We don't use any synthetic ingredients at all. Today you will find companies not using synthetic fragrances, but that simply puts us at less than 1% of the skin care companies across the world. In addition, every synthetic ingredient is tested on animals. Therefore, companies that use synthetics can still claim they don't test on animals where their ingredients are still tested on animals.

GG: Really? I wasn't aware of that, but it makes sense. What you're saying is that a company can state they don't do animal testing, but the ingredients that come from somewhere else are tested on animals from the supplier.

Will: Right. And we don't stop there. Aside from not using any synthetic ingredients, we also don't use any fillers, parabens, or perfumes. And all of our products are free of GMOs.

The amount of knowledge I have gained about the cosmetics and skin care market over the last few years, is insanely mind blowing. I can't even begin to tap into the wealth of knowledge my aunt has about this subject, but I sure try.

GG: Of all of the products you sell, Will, what are your three favorites?

Will: That's a tough question. I have fallen in love with so many of our products for different reasons. I think if I had to choose, it would be climbOn Creme, RIDICULOUS! Spray, and SKINourishment SPA Face Tonic. I use the climbOn Creme for everything from out of the shower to wind burn. RIDICULOUS! is great for pre-workout, post-workout, after long days on your feet, long car rides, and more. Finally, the Face Tonic is insanely refreshing and energizing.

GG: These are great suggestions for the winner of the giveaway who will have a $25 gift certificate to spend on your site. Moving away from the products, let's get more personal. Who inspires you?

Will: I have been extremely fortunate to have several inspirations close to me in my life.

  • My mother: She ran a small business called Kate and Allie's Cafe and Catering. She loved to share her passion for food at work and at home.
  • My father: It's simple -- He will do anything to help his friends and family.
  • My Uncle Steve and Aunt Joette: They married young, started a family and a business and, against all odds, succeeded through love, passion, and hard work. They operate their business on trust and integrity, building it solely through word of mouth.
  • My Aunt Polly: She constantly and consistently overcomes all odds. From having a woman-owned business to entering the billion dollar brutal cosmetic market, through everything, she just does it.
GG: You're right. You are quite fortunate to be surrounded by such inspirational people. With your commitment to safe personal care products, I can't help wondering if it carries over to other parts of your life, such as your food choices, etc.

Will: Working for a company that values healthy living in terms of cosmetics has certainly changed the way I look at everything I do. From reading ingredient labels more closely to finding more ways to be active, it has truly helped me become a better person. 

In the last year, I started to tackle my long-term stomach issues, being far more aware of what my body wants and doesn't want. I find myself not needing caffeine to function, and generally making healthier choices.

I learned overall that being honest with yourself about your choices is the most important thing. Taking care of your body should always be a top priority.

GG: Good lessons to learn and impart. So what three ingredients do you avoid at all costs?

Will: Personally, I do everything in my power to stick to our company policy that if it's not something you can eat, then your shouldn't put it on your skin. It doesn't get more simple than that.

GG: I know you don't have any children at this point, but was wondering if you were to have kids, would you cloth diaper them?

Will: I have two cousins; one who did cloth diaper their child and one who didn't. I can't think about kids right now, let alone decide if I would choose to cloth diaper them.

GG: Before we close this enlightening interview, why don't you give us one fun fact about you?

Will: One time I slept through a fire alarm going off in our apartment complex. I woke to a firefighter and my father standing there. Needless to say, I am great at sleeping!


Don't forget to check out the 5th Blogiversary Giveaway for a chance to win some Wise Wife Soaps products and a whole bunch more prizes valued at $500+.

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