Real Simple Soaps, LLC was founded in Freda’s kitchen in Chicago in 2017. Her background is in fitness and holistic nutrition. While she has many certifications in the fitness world, it was her declining health that was the catalyst to push her into alternative, holistic health, and wellness.
She started making her own skin care and cleaning products when she became sick and discovered all the toxic chemicals she was exposing herself to every day. Enlightened, she started throwing out everything and exploring how to make her own products for skin care, hair care and even cleaning.
Before long she was making products for her family and friends and with a little nudge from those people Real Simple Soaps, LLC came to life. She now sells nationally.
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
I have always been into health and wellness and I had suffered from terrible acne in my teens and again in my twenties. In my teens, we tried everything from Retinol to Tetracycline and antibiotics which destroyed my gut bacteria and left me with terrible stomach problems.
When the cystic acne returned after I stopped breastfeeding my son, I went the alternative route and tried everything I could but nothing worked. I just kind of grew out of it eventually but the few years I did break out it really impacted my self-worth and self-esteem.
I was very ashamed and thought there was something really wrong with me. I didn’t understand why I was breaking out so bad and no one else did either. It was always, “Here, take this prescription.” and I just wouldn’t do that.
I enjoyed clear skin for a good 10 years until I reached my late 30’s and I started breaking out again. My hormones were changing, stress and it all caught up to me. I was too exhausted to try anything alternative and was embarrassed and humiliated.
It really made me feel small, ugly and depressed. So I accepted the dermatologist’s recommendation to take Spironolactone. It was only supposed to be temporary but it ended up being 3 years and a high dose.
When my health really took a turn for the worst and so many things were happening to my hormones and my body, I started researching and immediately quit taking it. The side effects were terrifying. I’m lucky I didn’t destroy my kidney’s and liver.
When I quit, I broke out with a vengeance and it was humiliating but my body started healing. At this point, I realized I wanted my health back and would commit to the process of healing my body from the inside out. By this time, microbiome and gut health had made a breakthrough and I was starting to put my puzzle together.
While researching I learned about our toxic load and “Body Burden” and it changed my life. I went through ALL my cabinets from medicine to cleaning and threw out everything. I was dying my hair black and I had no idea that black is the most toxic color of all.
You are putting those chemicals right on your scalp and they are absorbing into your brain, tissues, blood and more. It scared me. I was using a brand from Wholefoods but when I ran it by Environmental Working Group App, it got a really bad rating and that was when I realized nothing is what it seems.
So, at that time I started experimenting with my own concoctions and making all my own products from masks to scrubs to shampoo and conditioner and my own cleaning products too.
Tell us about your business.
I have a very unique product that has Mother Nature’s built-in Probiotic Technology. Goat Milk & Kefir are loaded probiotics amongst other healing properties that powerfully heal the skin without the use of toxic, harmful chemicals.
Acne, eczema, skin dysbiosis, psoriasis are all due to the war going on inside of you between bacteria. 90% of all the cells that make bacteria live in you and on you. The bacteria on your skin is equally as important as the bacteria that live inside of you.
When you harness the power of your skin’s bacteria using Pure Goat Milk & Kefir Probiotic Soaps and Skin Care Products you have the power to improve your skin! Real Simple Soaps Skin Care products have natural probiotic technology built into each formula that naturally restores bacteria on your skin using food-grade, premium, organic ingredients.
Each product is Gluten Free, Corn Free, Soy Free, NON GMO, NO paraben’s, petrochemicals or phthalates. Even the colors are from clays or made from scratch infusions of organic herbs and spices! No heavy metals, synthetic fragrances or ingredients, mica, dyes, pigments, cosmetic pigments or artificial ingredients!
I make everything out of my kitchen with my own hands. I source my raw, fresh goat milk from an award-winning goat milk dairy farmer in Anderson, South Carolina called Split Creek Farms. This small goat dairy is based on traditional pasture grazing and farming methods. Their ladies are incredibly happy because of these farming methods and because they live on pasture all the days of their lives.
This makes superior goat milk which makes my goat milk soap and lotions superior. I pick up milk on a weekly bases and hand make each batch of Goat Milk Kefir with this fresh, raw goat milk and with heirloom kefir grains I brought with me from my co-op farmer in Indiana.
These kefir grains have been passed down from one generation to the next! Combined with this superior goat milk, they produce a refreshing and delicious goat kefir. It’s loaded with powerful, beneficial bacteria! I use a lot of both goat milk and goat kefir in my soaps and lotions because of the unique properties and benefits they add.
Are you currently running any promotions?
Use promo code LadyBoss10 for 10% off!
Where is your business based?
Daufuskie Island, SC.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
My mom loaned me $5,000 to buy everything I needed to get started. Once I had the materials I just started experimenting and making products and then would have everyone I knew try them and give me feedback.
As the feedback came in I was able to change things to get me where I am now. I was also able to change my direction the more I experimented and became comfortable working with Goat Milk & Goat Kefir.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
It started out with word of mouth and face to face. I would tell anyone I met about my products and gave a lot of free stuff away in the beginning.
Then I moved to Social Media (mainly Instagram) and would post testimonies and do collaborations with people who had experienced my products and loved them. That is very powerful!
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
I have an awesome product but if people don’t know about it, no matter how awesome it is, my business will not take off. My greatest challenge is awareness!
How did you overcome these challenges?
Every penny I earn goes right back into marketing. I’ve recently hired a really nice boutique PR company to start our PR campaign which will really spread awareness about Real Simple Soaps.
I also hired a Social Media Marketing company to handle all my social media. 95% of all my sales are internet based and come through Social Media and Word of Mouth.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
Great question. People often think that when you are self-employed you are “Living the American Dream.” I laugh. It feels more like “The American Nightmare.” Especially in the beginning when you are wearing all of the hats and you are being pulled in a thousand different directions.
When you have everything on the line financially and you feel smothered by the idea of “OMG I could really fail at this and then what! I’ve just sunk every last penny into my passion.”
People today want “fun, fast and easy.” We praise the “success” on Social Media without really seeing the hard work, limitations, sacrifices, and tears that go on behind the scenes.
We live in a culture or period of time where we deny that people have struggle and any real limitations to overcome to make it. It is like if you are not positive 100% of the time, there is something wrong with you.
I stay motivated by staying authentic to myself. I live for testimonies and I’ve had to disconnect my self-worth, who I am as a human being, from what I do, how much I produce, and how much money I make.
That was huge for me because everywhere we look we are constantly being told how we should look, what we should drive, how big our house should be, and how much money we should be making in order to “be” successful. 99% of us can’t fit that bill and it leaves so many disillusioned and confused about what it really takes to make it today.
We give up way too quickly because we think, “Oh, this isn’t easy therefore I must really suck at this or it’s not my gift so I should just quit.”
My hobby is Contortion/Flexibility and Pole Fitness. If I had that mentality I would have quit in the first week. The body refuses to move any quicker than it is ready to move. You have to stay committed even when you see little to no progress.
You have to be patient and keep doing the same moves over and over and over until one day you wake up and your like, “HOLY COW, look what I can do.” That is work. That is something we’ve lost.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
I love this question. I don’t fib about what goes into my products. I don’t “greenwash” my products. I’m really transparent about the ingredients in my products and I’m not trying to be the cheapest company out there so I purchase ingredients from very reputable and the “gold standard” sources.
You can understand every ingredient on my ingredient list and I have minimal ingredients. I also use very gentle processes when creating my products in order to ensure all the beneficial bacteria and healing properties stay in tact. My products work awesome and I have the testimonies to back it up as well as it is as close to nature as you will get.
If you want chemicals and are ok with that then there are certainly other products that you will be happy with and will not only provide you with results but a toxic load to go with it. My products are aimed at people who want to eliminate their toxic load but at the same time is decadent and luxurious!
What is the best advice you have received recently?
Own what’s inside of you or what’s inside of you will own you and live authentically. When you try to live opposite of your values and your beliefs it causes a great divide within your soul and depression, anxiety and all sorts of mental health issues are sure to follow.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Find an awesome support network where you can share everything; your fears, your doubts, your insecurities as well as get advice on things you can do to improve and forward your business.
So many times entrepreneurs are broke, working with shoe-string budgets, are all things and are exhausted, they get so in their head about “surviving” they can’t get out of their own way and see the trees from the forest.
That will kill your passion, your spirit and could be your downfall. It is absolutely necessary to find a support group who gets all that and get you out of your head and out of your own way.
Disconnect who you are a person from what you do. You are enough just as you are today whether your business takes off or flops. Pat yourself on the back that you had enough courage and were able to overcome your fear in oder to take a chance on yourself. Most people won’t do that but they will critique, criticize and judge you every step of your journey!
What are your favorite business tools/resources and why?
I love social media platforms because the feedback and returns are immediate. I don’t even advertise I just work them and I always get good results. It is a lot of work though!
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
- I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t): Making the Journey from “What Will People Think?” to “I Am Enough” by Dr. Brene Brown
- Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul by Dr. Stuart Brown
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
The power of PR and Marketing.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
My biggest goal is to launch our PR Campaign and continue to grow our Social Media platforms and awareness.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.