Friday, September 9, 2011

Looking back on how The Grapeseed Co. began...

It's hard to believe that 11 years ago I moved onto a 30 foot sailboat and left for a 2 year adventure sailing the Atlantic & Caribbean. Also, when I started making and studying natural skin care! Time flies....
I've been reflecting quite a bit on where that voyage has led us, and found the perfect post to revisit. Here's how The Grapeseed Co. turned from a dream during star lit night passages at sea to reality.


product testing inside the boat

Long before GREEN was hip, cool and happenin' it was a part of my life. One that I actually resisted at times as a child. My mother and her earth-loving friends had a food co-op that operated out of our barn. They would place orders directly with farms and vendors, and a delivery truck would pull around our gravel driveway and unload the goods in our barn. Co-op members would drop by to pick-up their orders. I wondered why we couldn't just get stuff from the grocery store like normal people? and yuck, why did I have to eat whole wheat cake with cream cheese frosting for my birthday? Today, I greatly appreciate growing up with a healthy diet and learning the importance of green choices.

I deepened my understanding of our impact on the earth during the two year voyage with Peter in our small sailboat on the open ocean. I became acutely aware of how much water I was consuming, how much trash I was creating, the energy that was needed to run our systems, and what a luxury fresh food from the garden was! For food, we stocked the boat with dry goods, fished with spears and traditional lines, dove for conch and lobster, and grew sprouts on the deck. Boat systems run off of batteries, and the batteries are usually charged by running your engine. Given that we did not have a "real" engine, and just a 15 hp outboard on our tiny ship, this clearly was not going to work for us. Sailors are much like entrepreneurs, savvy, creative and welcoming to other like-minded birds. Through the Internet, books and chats at the dock and boatie bars, we found solutions. Solutions that were very green, and DIY. We fixed our electricity and fresh water deficits by installing solar panels, solar spare water tanks that ran off a gravity system and water catchment systems. We conserved, energy, water, and resources every moment of every day on that sailboat.
Harmony Under Sail
I've mentioned how small our boat was, and will never forget the look on my mom's face when she first saw the good ship Harmony and envisioned her daughter out on the open ocean! Well, due to the Harmony's limited size, she could only hold about 50 gallons of water. We sometimes had to make that stretch past a week! To put things in perspective, the average American family uses around 70 gallons of water a day. Not only were we strictly conserving our fresh water supply, but on extremely remote islands, we ran into some eye opening situations. We actually would spend the entire day lowering buckets into the town well and filling our tanks with jugs and funnels the old fashioned way! It was amazing to see and experience first hand how people lived like this. Yes, I'd say we became hyper aware of our use of resources and impact on the earth.

caught myself thinking twice about choices I was making, things I was buying, gifts I was giving and what I was consuming and putting on my body. I had done some research and knew there were going to be times we'd have to bathe in the ocean due to our 50 gallon limitations. It's called a salt water wash, fresh water rinse and is practiced by many who live the cruising lifestyle. Sailors have a great affinity for liquid lemon joy- and seem to think it's the cure-all from washing your hair to swabbing the deck and of course, dishes. Something in my gut told me it was not cool to be using this bright yellow stuff on my bod in the ocean. Thus began my fascination, research and formulation of natural skin and personal care products and ultimately, The Grapeseed Company.

This is part 2 in a 3 part series. Check out Part 1: A Lifelong Entrepreneur and Part 3: Creativity if you liked our sailing story.

1 comment:

  1. Valuable information, thank you very much, I will follow.