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Sans - Skincare Without Chemicals

American Made Since 2013

Renan Kennedy

Potomac, Maryland
Made with pure, natural plant oils & butters, Sans is the healthy alternative. We must trust in nature just as people have for thousands of years
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Tell us about your business.

My path was forever changed when my wonderful mother was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. She was put on heavy chemo. One of the affects of the chemo was the drying of her skin. I wanted to find a natural lotion that I could apply to her skin, but at that point, like many, I didn't know what all natural was. So I started researching. I was mortified to learn of the, KNOWN carcinogens that are in the beautifully packaged lotions we use. I found that when water is used in a product, it MUST contain a preservative and there are no known natural preservatives. It was then that I decided to formulate something for my mother. That one formulation grew into an entire line of products! I pick every ingredient myself. Every ingredient matters, every ingredient is important and must be nourishing for the body or I won't use it. I will not use any ingredients that have not been fully tested for safety. My goal is to build trust and become a big player in the inevitable all-natural space.

Tell us about your workspace, shop, or studio.

As I look out my studio window right now I see the tops of trees in fields that are spotted with black cows! With the windows open I can often hear the cows and their bells. What an inspiring place to be creative! It is here that I have my computer, my product photography area, and an area that is designated for the design and development of marketing materials. All of my product research, web development, design development, and photography is done here. Downstairs I have a kitchen that is equipped with several Kitchen Aid mixers and a plethora of other utensils that are strictly designated for formulation. While new formulas are put onto paper in my studio, the kitchen is where all of the R&D happens. New products are created and tested here. The area is for me, like a candy shop would be for a child! The first thing one notices upon walking into this space is the amazing, natural scent of the butters and oils that are stored here. It is a wonderful place for me!

What inspires you?

Sitting on an empty white beach with the rolling waves in front of me, my goodness, there is nothing more restoring. As the wind blows in from the ocean a light, cool, salty mist sprays my skin. I sit back in my chair, the sound of the waves, the seagulls, and the ruffling of the cloth of my umbrella is absolutely intoxicating. The soft, warm, powdery sand on my feet is like a cloud. The sun warms my skin but the breeze, with it's cool and warm spots never lets it get too hot. I close my eyes and take in a deep, deep breath. The scent of the salt air is wonderful. I can breath in so deeply, it feels so good. I hold it, then breath out, long and slowly. I smile, everything feels so perfect for that moment! That wonderful cleansing breath is what inspires me. To be in a state of relaxation and peacefulness created by the smells, the sounds, and the feel of everything around oneself is what inspires me to create products that create an experience to allow one to take that cleansing breath

What makes your business stand out?

I think Sans stands out for many reasons. First I believe in what I'm doing. I live what I put out there-natural. I realize that all natural comes with a learning curve. Many people don't actually understand what all natural means. I do educational sessions in the DMV area to help people understand how important natural is to our health. Second, my products ARE actually all natural, there are many products that claim to be but are not. Many companies use ingredients that have a low toxicity rating, but often that rating comes from the fact that many ingredients do not have enough research behind them to warrant an accurate rating. I will NOT use those ingredients. I just won't. Third, Sans stands for trust. The most important thing to me is that I never break the trust I have earned from my customers. I believe what you put out there ultimately comes back to you. I always try to put out kindness, and happily it has always come back to me! I love what I do hopefully that shines through.

What advice would you give an aspiring creative entrepreneur?

I would say do what you love because if you plan to make a business of it, you'll be doing a lot of it, 24/7! Also be smart. Nobody knows everything, be smart enough to know when you don't know something and ask for help. There are many resources to help a new business succeed. Realize that EVERYTHING you put out there represents your company, from a shipping label to the product itself. Make everything special, perfect and inline with the message of your brand. There should be a consistency and that consistency should be perfection. The success is in the details, because the details make up the whole. I had an internship when I was in college at a design firm. I hated it because I thought I'd be designing works of art right off the bat but they had me getting coffee. But I learned something that I've carried with me throughout my life. The strict rule of that firm was that NOTHING absolutely nothing left that firm unless it was perfect, even a stamp should be placed just perfectly.

What does American Made mean to you?

This is a hard one for me to express, I have so many feelings about American made. I believe in American made with all my heart. I check everything, it's actually very hard to find things that are all American made. There was an experiment that was done some time ago, a TV show was given permission to go into a family's home and actually remove EVERYTHING that was NOT American made. You know the only thing that was left in that house was a single vase. This is so sad. And it speaks volumes. We must make the effort. We must help our neighbors, our friends, and those who we don't even know to have a chance to work, take care of their families, experience joy, and feel pride. We must take care of our own country first. You know, they tell you in the event of an emergency on a plane to put the oxygen mask on yourself first so you can help others. It is the same with our country, we must be strong so that we may be able to good elsewhere. We MUST all stand for American Made.
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    Oct. 17, 2014

    2014 Award Winner and Audience Choice Winner announced.

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