Before she opened her own “organic Sephora” on the Plaza and now Brookside, herbalist Stephanie Simkins was teaching people about a nontoxic, chemical-free lifestyle through her nutrition and catering companies. Now, at Skin KC, she’s bringing safe products to the masses, one moisturizer at a time.
KCS: What made you decide to create your own line of skincare products?
SS: One of the things I would do for my nutrition clients was try to find other brands for them—for their body or skin care—so they wouldn’t have to use toxic chemicals. But I couldn’t find anything. I started making things, like lip balm or hand cream, and giving it to them. I had always made my own recipes for people, so I already knew how to emulsify and mix. At the time I was doing it, I didn’t have a name for it.
One of my connections through my nutrition company sold all-natural skincare products online, and she asked me to come up with a name and labels for my products. In 2008, we launched Skin on her website with just a handful of products, and I became her highest-selling brand.
KCS: Now, more “all-natural” brands have emerged in the skincare market. What sets Skin apart?
SS: Everybody’s trying to do a natural product, but they’re not all doing non-synthetic non-chemicals. If you are using organic ingredients, it’s different from what I do. I don’t add synthetic fragrance to my organic ingredients. My brand is certified with PETA, we’re all plant-based. I keep everything clean.
KCS: What would you tell people who haven’t made the switch to all-natural?
SS: It’s so easy to switch over and see a difference right away. People don’t understand that a lot of times when they’re using something from the drug store, and they’re having an irritation or it’s not working, that what they’re using has so many added things that aren’t real ingredients. Plant-based and organic ingredients, they’re the best healing ingredients on the planet. But you have to know what’s right for you.
KCS: Now that your brand is established and you opened the new store, what are you focusing on?
SS: Now what I’m concentrating a lot on is in-store events. We do events a couple of times a month where we bring women together. At least once a month, we have a makeup artist come in and do complimentary makeovers. We do yoga in the store. We’re trying to make it a way of life for people, where they can get educated on chemicals and wellness.
Try it Out for Size
For people who want to dip their toe into the all-natural skincare pool, Skin carries two trial-size kits that are both travel and wallet-friendly.
The kits, one for anti-aging and the other for combination skin, feature four to five products including face wash, toner and moisturizer.
“It’s just easy, because people don’t have to think about it,” Simkins says.
Each kit is available at skinkc.com for $34, or at Skin’s Brookside shop or Made in KC stores.