I started Botnia because I wanted to help people. I know it sounds clichéd, but it’s truly what drives me. More specifically, I wanted to help people with their skin. As an esthetician with fifteen years of experience in the treatment room, I’d seen so many clients using the wrong products for their skin, and I’d also found myself using the wrong products on these same people because I was limited by the skincare lines the spas chose. All too often, my clients left the spa with their skin even more red and inflamed, and I knew it was because the harsh, stripping, and overly-fragranced products were working at cross-purposes with the skin’s natural ability to heal itself. I wasn’t helping anyone’s skin problems, and that was a major turning point in my career. My solution to create a line of clean, effective, plant-powered skincare that I understood and trusted also had a deeper mission of nurturing the frustrating and often emotional relationship so many people have with their skin. But in truth, the origin of Botnia goes back much further.
When I was fourteen, I started to get painful, cystic acne. My mom did what most moms do—she took me to the dermatologist, a natural next step. But when I followed the dermatologist’s advice (a prescription of internal and topical antibiotics plus Dial soap), I ended up with over sensitized skin that looked red and inflamed all the time. It was the worst I had ever felt about myself. And it’s particularly poignant to me that so many skin problems begin around the time we’re teenagers, when emotions and insecurities are already on high alert. “Why can’t my skin just be normal?” was my refrain—and I quickly realized how confidence and skin health go hand in hand. Caring about how our skin looks may sound like vanity to some, but I know firsthand the emotional impact that skin has over us—it’s 100% connected to our self-esteem, our attitude, even the way we make eye contact. Our skin does so much that we take for granted: it protects us from the elements and environmental pollutants, it’s our first line of defense against bacteria, it reflects our internal imbalances– and yet I rarely find a person who isn’t critical of their skin. I’ve been there and I can still go there. I believe a lot of healers are driven by something challenging in their own personal histories; it’s certainly been true for me and skin.
I was desperate for a solution to my problem skin, and one thing was clear: it was time to learn all I could about cosmetic chemistry. Welcome to the start of my obsession with all things skincare!