Friday, January 19, 2018

refresh, reset and recover : navigating running a business through natural disaster

I had the wonderful opportunity to tell the story behind The Grapeseed Company this past week on Indie Cruise in Ixtapa, Mexico.
Sunset in Ixtapa, Mexico
 This could not have come at a better time for me, as I was feeling beyond hope due to 6 weeks of crazy and historic natural disasters in the Santa Barbara area, where we are based. We lived through the largest wildfire in the history of California...
Downtown Carpinteria      photo credit: Alain Julfayan
Followed by the aftermath of horrific mudslides in Montecito -- a small, gorgeous town located right in between Santa Barbara and Carpinteria. We are extremely fortunate that our entire team is safe, and did not lose their lives or homes. Many were not so lucky. Our community is grieving heavily as over 20 have died, and hundreds have lost pets, homes and businesses due to the fire and mudslides. People are still missing. Our community has also been divided by the physical devastation of the mudslides shutting down all road access between Carpinteria and SB.
Montectio and the 101 freeway     photo credit: unknown
The 101 freeway is flooded with mud and has been closed for 11 days with no reopen date. The only way to transport product between our stores is a 5 hour drive around the mountains (it's usually 15 minutes!) The Grapeseed Co. has 3 physical locations: our flagship store and scent bar in downtown Santa Barbara, The Guilded Table collective shop in the Funk Zone in SB, and our warehouse store and production kitchen in Carpinteria, CA.

Our staff has been stuck on either side of this disaster trying to keep the business running the best we can as we usually move product between locations and ship wholesale and online orders daily. It's been stressful as we try to keep perspective of those that have lost everything while we operate day by day trying to keep things going with the roads blocked off. Transport has been limited both shipping our product and receiving ingredients and packaging to continue manufacturing, which we do daily.

I didn't think I'd even be able to make Indie Cruise due to the roads being closed to LA right after the mudslides hit. While the 101 North remains closed, they luckily opened the freeway South out of Carpinteria the day before our flight out of LAX. I felt extremely grateful, but also guilty leaving my community when we are hurting so badly. There was also little I could do staying here a week ago. First responders are the only folks being let in to help right now as the aftermath and cleanup is so dangerous. We've donated both as a business, and personally monetarily, but that didn't feel like enough with the great immediate needs in our community.

Leaving home turned out to be the best possible way for me to refresh and reset my mind so I can help Santa Barbara recover, both personally, and with the power of my company. Honestly, I showed up to Indie Cruise a bit in shock. We went out sailing together the first day. We got to know each other, went snorkeling and even saw whales! Water (especially warm ocean water!) has always been a healing force for me. Being in this beautiful, cleansing environment with such amazing entrepreneurs started to help me breathe again. Instead of just feeling thankful we were alive and didn't lose everything, I began to start thinking how I could help Santa Barbara recover.
The theme of Indie Cruise was Emerge, Engage, Evolve and Expand. My talk was about the Expand Phase. With the craziness of the past 6 weeks, I felt, "who am I to go speak about expanding when I made these huge decisions, signed leases, had to close our stores and now we are floating in the world of unknown in the aftermath of these natural disasters?!" 
We have been in business since 2004, and opened 2 more retail locations in the past 6 months; The Carp location opened at the end of the summer, and The Funk Zone location right before Thanksgiving. I had visions of this being a great growth move as our company is so rooted in the community with what we do upcycling grapeseeds to create our natural skin and body care products. 
I had recently moved from SB to Carp, and was excited to open our 2nd shop in my hometown where we needed to get our own warehouse since we'd grown out of our SB office and had been subletting warehouse space prior to fit our growing company. The Funk Zone is the new "hot spot" in SB that tourists and locals alike are flocking to. I had a grand plan of this being the best holiday season ever! 

Then we were hit by natural disaster and shut down for a great portion of December due to the Thomas Fire, and the heavy smoke and ash that lingered afterwards. Santa Barbara is a huge tourist destination, and tourism has basically stopped since Dec. 5, 2017. Even with 3 stores, we didn't scratch the surface of what we normally do in December sales. Again, perspective... we have our loved, ones, home and business locations still in tact. I learned no matter how much you plan, you can never plan for natural disaster. While I was listening to the 4 other speakers, and even to myself up there telling my own expansion story, something started happening...
@grapeseedco on instagram "Such an pleasure and honor to tell the story of expanding #grapeseedco this week on @indiebusiness @indiecruise and share the stage with these lovely ladies! Together we represent 4 important stages of building your business: emerge, engage, evolve and expand. Each story was amazing, heartfelt and inspiring!"
I felt a new sense of inspiration from this amazing tribe of people in the room with me. I sat alone late that evening on the deck of our room listening to the healing waves lap on the shore, reflected, and made a small step from Mexico to help those that lost everything.

@grapeseedco on Facebook & instagram: We are beyond heartbroken for our community and the tragic loss of lives, homes and businesses in #Montecito ❤️ We’re giving anyone that lost their home a free #organic #shampoo and #conditioner set at our #Carpinteria or #santabarbara stores! If you are stuck on either side of the #mudslide, visit both our main #Grapeseedco locations in Carp or #downtownSB and we’ll hook you up, and give you a hug! #montectiostrong #santabarbarastrong #carpstrong #sbstrong #805strong #community #locallove #givingback
On the trip home yesterday, I knew I needed to research what else we could do to help. Everyone who lives and works in the area is struggling and in different levels of trauma right now. Most have not been as fortunate as I was to escape the madness and are still in day to day survival mode. In addition to the greater loss mentioned above, people have lost their jobs, can't get to work and are worried how they are going to make it. Businesses have had to lay off their entire staff and close. We luckily are healthy enough right now to make it through with our current team in tact, and will actually be hiring another employee and providing a job in the area. Another little step to help the community. Small, local business like Grapeseed Co. provide jobs! 

I spent the travel time reading stories of amazing ways people are coming together and helping our community heal, from candelight vigils, to the Montecito Mud Angels, to registering to become a Red Cross helper. I'm coming back renewed with more energy I can put into recovery efforts. Part of that is sharing my perspective and ways you can help here. I shared my research on how we can help with some of our staff this morning. It touched my heart to see they wanted to volunteer and register with the Red Cross to help or find locations to donate clothing and personal care items. Each person doing what they can, and this is what it is going to take! Each and every one of us reaching out, lending a hand, giving a hug to our neighbors and helping in any and every way we possibly can. 

Since many of our wholesale and retail customers don't live in the area, this is to help you understand what's going on, and why we have been slower in response. We are also extremely grateful for you, right now (and always)! 

I am listing some resources on how to help the recovery efforts here, including ways to donate for those not in the area. Please LMK others in the comments as you come across them.

Register for training and volunteer with the Red Cross: Sign up for a disaster bootcamp- emotional advocate, crisis management, and shelter training.

Direct Relief International- This locally founded non-profit is providing relief fund directly to locals affected by the mudslides. 

Search Dog Foundation - The search dogs have been critical in the mudslide recovery efforts. They lost their building in Santa Paula during the Thomas Fire and are in great need.

United Way of Santa Barbara - In Santa Barbara County, the Fund will serve the long-term needs of Santa Barbara County families and individuals, as well as the short-term needs of Santa Barbara County nonprofit organizations helping evacuated individuals displaced by the Thomas Fire and floods caused by the fire scar. direct donation link HERE

Montecito Mud Angels - I've known Eric since he started the first TedX conference here in 2010. This guy knows how to rally and has a big heart. He is making sure donations go directly to those in the greatest need! The stories of how they are helping will bring a tear to your eye.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, and your concern. To our wholesale partners and online customers, thanks for your understanding! Please be patient and kind with each other as we wade through this. The road to recovery here will take years, but I'm staying positive as I see our community coming together in beautiful ways. We will come out so much stronger from this! 
my baby... photo bombing our Indie group shot
And lastly, a special thanks to everyone at Indie Cruise for listening, sharing and helping get me out of that deer in headlights feeling, finding ways to take action, loving my baby, and motivating me start blogging again ;)! You are all amazing people and I'm lucky to have met you.


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Make Your Own Skincare at The Grapeseed Company Scent Bar

The Grapeseed Company offers the option to customize your own natural personal products with over 100 oils that you can mix and match to get your desired scents.  For Santa Barbara locals, it is as easy as walking in and choosing your product and working with the very knowledgeable Grapeseed associates to blend your customized scent.  We also offer the option to create your own personalized product online through our virtual scent bar.   In the video below is an illustration of how fun, easy and simple it is to customize your own product.

Friday, March 17, 2017

PRESS: The Grapeseed Company Showcased in National Craft Beauty News Feature

The Grapeseed Co. was chosen to be featured in a national news clip on Craft Beauty, and the rise of consumer awareness and demand for craft and handmade products. Watch as one of our customers, Dianne Duva, talks about why she chooses to shop at The Grapeseed Company for natural, organic skincare on ABC news...

Friday, December 18, 2015

Join Us at The Grapeseed Co. for a Holiday Open House this Weekend

and let us take care of the gift wrapping (for free!)

Join us this weekend
for a Holiday Open House at the Shop

The Grapeseed Co.
21 W. Ortega St. Santa Barbara

Saturday 10:30-5pm
Sunday noon-5pm

Enjoy holiday cookies, hot cocoa & tea, free gift wrap and samples with your purchase

~ 25% off body scrubs
~ $15 and under stocking stuffer tree (all discounted gift sets exclusive for the holidays!)
~ Free Shipping to your out of town friends and family with your purchase of $49 or more!
(it will go out Monday and get there by Christmas!)

Our team can put together custom gift baskets, create personalized products at the Scent Bar, or help you with suggestions for that "tough to shop for" person on your list... Hope to see you there!

Cheers from all of us at

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Last Minute Holiday Gift Ideas


Are you looking for the perfect holiday gift for everyone on your list this season? Well look no further because The Grapeseed Company has a variety of gift sets for everyone on your list! ORDER BY MIDNIGHT SUNDAY 12/20 for Christmas delivery. And don't forget, we offer FREE SHIPPING with your purchase of $49 or more!

Our Mojito Man Travel Set is perfect for any guy (or gal) on your list that is on the go. This set includes a 2.5 Oz. shaving prep scrub, 2.5 Oz. shave gel, 2 Oz. moisture mist, and full size bottle 2.3 Oz. aftershave balm all conveniently wrapped in a woven sheer travel bag.
Show your appreciation for the gals on your list with our California Dreamin' Gift Pouch. The California Dreamin' Kit combines a few of our favorite skin care products with our relaxing travel tin sized soy candle.  Let her indulge herself with these Grapeseed goodies and watch her skin radiate as she relaxes this holiday season.


Our Baby G gift bag is great not only for the babies but also for moms! The Baby G gift bag includes our mild and gentle lotion and body wash; safe for delicate skin types of all ages. On top of the wash and lotion there is also a sponge loofah and your choice of unscented or lavender belly balm for moms.


Give your favorite furry friend or dog lover Dirty Dog Organics Clean Canine Kit. The kit includes your choice of 8 Oz. or 16 Oz. bottles along with either our "Itch" dog wash and conditioner or Dirty Dog Wash plus Shiny Coat Conditioner. This is the perfect gift to get your canine groomed and looking classy for this holiday season without having to head over to the groomers. 

The Grapeseed Lotion Signature 6 Pack can be used for multiple uses. Whether you want to gift the 6 pack for your favorite co-worker or friend to try out or split up these individual gifts and gift them to multiple people. Also perfect for the holiday traveling season to bring along and try all of our  favorite signature scents.


The Red & White Wine Bar Gift set is perfect for those people on your list that you're never sure of what to get. It's an unique gift to anyone on your list especially to the wine lovers. The set includes two full sized bars of soap; Harvest Crush Syrah and Summer Crisp Chardonnay, along with our handmade soap dish all carefully wrapped in our sheer organza gift bag! 

The Grapeseed Company has a variety of unique gifts to offer anyone on your list. We also offer custom gift baskets and custom labeled and scented products at our Scent Bar. Give a memorable, consumable and unique gift this season and come shop at The Grapeseed Company online or in our store at 21 W. Ortega Street in downtown Santa Barbara, California.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Don't miss out on our last big sale of the year!

DETAILS (please read carefully!):
*20% off retail purchases only; not valid on wholesale.
*Valid now through Monday November 30,2015.
*Applies to all Grapeseed Co. stock products in store and on the website.
*Does not include: Organic Essence Deodorant, Everyday Minerals Makeup, Custom Scent Bar items or Gift Certificates. 
online, or mention you are a newsletter subscriber in-store! 

For everyone on your list.....
California Dreamin' Gift Pouch
Includes: Cali Vine decadently rich face cream, sweet lips, pinot dreams whipped body butter & surf travel candle in a reusable hemp pouch.

with a purchase of $25 or more when you 
shop in our Santa Barbara store 
Friday 11/27 or Saturday 11/28

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Fall Favorites at The Grapeseed Company

Fall is Officially in Season!

Our fall favorites and Seasonal products are the perfect way to prep your skin for the change in weather! Grab a bottle of our Cali Harvest Serum, Pumpkin Pie Soap, or create your own Autumn inspired product to celebrate the season.

Cali Harvest Serum $30

The 2.3oz Cali Harvest Serum contains flax seed, cherry kernel oils, and organic pumpkin seed leaving the skin rejuvenated and replenished. Our serums are all oil based and have been infused with herbs and flowers for 30 days. Cali Harvest Serum is recommended for all skin types and ideal for this fall weather! Also available in a 1.2oz travel size for $18.

Seasonal Pumpkin Pie Soap $10

Our seasonal pumpkin pie seasonal Santa Barbara soap is perfect to kickoff the fall season. The dashes of pumpkin, vanilla, clove, oats, and cinnamon added to make this soap will remind you that the holidays are just around the corner. Pumpkin is rich in vitamin A and beta carotene while avocado, grapeseed & coconut moisturize as they gently cleanse your skin. 

Create Your Own Autumn Inspired Organic Bath & Body Products

Or, create your own custom fall scented product at our Scent Bar in the downtown Santa Barbara store, or the Virtual Scent Bar online! Create your own lotion, body wash, mist, bath salts, beard oil and more online or in our store. 
Check out some of our autumn inspired scents like:
Cranberry Spice, Clove, Cranberry, Honey Ginger Fig, Vanilla Fig, Atlas Cedar, Pumpkin Pie, Vanilla Chai, and Vineyard
visit our Apothecary Scent Bar at the flagship store in downtown Santa Barbara, California
{21 W. Ortega St. Santa Barbara, CA}

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Free SPF 15 sweet lips lip balm tube with $30 Purchase

SPF 15 sweet lips lip balm tube

Take advantage of this special offer for our valued customers!

SPF 15 Sweet Lips Lip Balm Tube 

($6 Value)

Free with any purchase of $30 or more

  While supplies last, receive a FREE SPF 15 Sweet Lips Lip Balm Tube with your purchase of $30 or more in our Santa Barbara store or at 

Our best-selling Sweet Lips SPF lip balm is made with a rich blend of organic coconut, olive and hemp oils leaving your lips moisturized and soft. There's also the added bonus of having an SPF 15 to make sure you're lips are protected from the UV rays.

NO COUPON CODE NECESSARY! Just place your online order of $30 or more, and we'll include it for FREE. See details below:

*Every order of $30+ will receive a free lip balm included in their shipment, or purchase in our store until we run out!

* Valid on retail purchase only online or in our store; not valid on wholesale orders. 


Friday, September 25, 2015

Vine Eyes Anti-Aging Eye Cream Special: $10 OFF this weekend

Vine Eyes anti aging eye cream with eyebright

Take advantage of this special offer this weekend! 
is on SALE for just $16!
(Originally $26)
From now until Sunday September 27* enjoy the great benefits of our anit-aging eye cream for $10 off its normal retail price ($26)! Vine eyes is made with eyebright, grapeseed & acai all known to target bags, fine lines, and dark circles. On top of erasing all those marks from your eyes, it also firms and restores moisture to the skin.  

Swing by our downtown Santa Barbara store or purchase online this weekend and see the wonders that it will do for your delicate skin around the eyes! 

$10 OFF ONLINE CODE: eyebright 

*Enter code at checkout online or mention this promo at The Grapeseed Co. store
*discount is valid per purchase (cannot be applied to multiple eye creams in 1 purchase)
*Valid on retail purchase only online or in our store; not valid on wholesale orders
*Valid until midnight Sunday September 27, 2015 online

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Steam Distilled Essential Oil Kits: Get Creative & Save

The Bare Necessities Essential Oil Set features 10ml glass bottles of orange, tea tree, lavender and eucalyptus  oils for just $36.
This value set includes four essential oil favorites with a wide variety of uses and wonderful aromas. Mix, match and enjoy these premium quality, 100% steam distilled essential oils in an oil burner, bath & body preparations, aromatherapy and more. 

Each of these essential oils is host to a variety of natural benefits, get all of these premium essential oils at a great discount price of $36 for the set (a $41 value):

Orange- sweet citrus scent // energizing and uplifting // great mood lifter, alleviates anxiety, antiseptic, effective against acne, effective as a natural cleaning agent

Tea tree- herbacious scent // antibacterial, antiviral & antifungal properties // known to help clear up acne, athlete's foot & insect bites, topical disinfectant, promotes healing of cuts & scrapes, provides relief from coughs, colds & lung congestion

Lavender- herbal floral scent // calming & relaxing // an antiseptic known to help with burns, cuts & scrapes, relieves tension, promotes restful sleep, anti-inflammatory

Eucalyptus- woody medicinal scent // clearing and calming // helps relieve breathing & respiratory issues, antiseptic, antibacterial, mood stimulating, muscle relaxer,
natural pest control

The Grapeseed Co. Signature Essential Oils set includes 10ml glass bottles of our four best selling EO blends: Pink Grapefruit Ginger, Fresh Cut Herbs, Sunshine Day & Surf for just $54.

A set of great smelling natural fragrances with amazing aromatherapy properties. Get the set for $54 (a $60 value).

Pink Grapefruit Ginger- a does of fresh vitamin C mixed with ginger, known in ancient times as an aphrodisiac, warms the senses & soothes the soul

Fresh Cut Herbs- lavender, rosemary & mints mingle creating a fresh spa blend to relax & clarify
Sunshine Day- sweet, juicy orange & vanilla intertwine creating a nourishing blend great for evening skin tone, scars & stretch marks       

Surf- one whiff will take you to the beach...notes of fresh lime, coconut & clean sweet mint

Our essential oils are natural scents that are steam distilled from plants, fruits and flowers. All oils are 100% concentration (unless noted otherwise).  

The 10ml amber bottles are double the size of mainstream essential oils available (which are just 5ml) and offer fabulous quality at an affordable price. Since we buy oils in bulk to create all of the amazing signature scents for our product lines and Scent Bar, we're able to pass the savings on to you! The prices speak for themselves, enjoy!