Many entrepreneurs set out to build a better mousetrap. For Ingrid Chuley, finding a better way to deal with her husband’s skin condition led her to strike out on her own in the competitive personal care industry.
Born in Peru, this Cranford, NJ mother of two is the founder of Caseb Naturals, a small, but growing brand of hand-made natural personal care products. Prior to striking out on her own, Chuley worked in the pharmaceutical industry for Celgene Corp and in personal care at Cepham, Inc.
“Early in my marriage I learned that my husband, Mike, had a skin condition— seborrheic dermatitis—which caused redness and flakes on his skin," Chuley told HAPPI. “He had very sensitive skin and had been using steroid ointment on his face daily to address the symptoms of his skin issues, like redness, flakes, irritated skin, but he was not getting to the root of the issue.”
So, she began making batches of natural products based on her grandmother’s recipes. She started with soap and moisturizing cream.
“His skin improved significantly and he no longer needed the steroid ointment,” Chuley said. “Realizing that I had helped him by exposing him to products with organic ingredients blended with some exotic extracts from the Amazon Rainforest of Peru, I wanted to do the same for others who have a desire to use truly natural products without synthetic fragrances or parabens.”
Chuley then turned her attention to solving rashes that plagued her baby’s skin (she suspected the irritation was caused by fragrances in diapers and wipes). Soon, friends and relatives came calling with own skin care concerns such as blemishes, acne, psoriasis, eczema, and dry and chapped skin.
Now, Caseb Naturals is available to everyone, not just friends and family. The range includes a number of bar soaps, (Peppermint Fresh, Rainforest Red, The Exfoliator and Thyme to Clean Up, for example) as well as Brazil Nut Oil & Lavender Whipped Body Butter and Dragon’s Blood Body Balm, the latter of which Chuley describes as her hero SKU.
“It’s the one that I get the most success stories with and it spans all ages,” Chuley said, noting that women with eczema have used it on their own skin, moms are applying the balm on their kids, and she herself uses it to zap her own pet peeve—dry elbows.
“Dragon’s Blood Body Balm is great for anyone who has very dry skin, chapped or cracked skin, and desires to get rid of it for good,” she said.
Since Caseb’s debut in November 2012, Chuley has been selling SKUs online at www.casebnaturals.comand more recently on Etsy. This Spring, she secured her first brick and mortar retailer—Artemisia Artisan Gift Shop, in her hometown of Cranford, NJ, a store that carries organic and natural skin care products that are made in the USA.
Chuley is eager to expand distribution into other brick and mortar retail locations nationwide and also plans to be on Amazon before the end of the year.
Chuley is also rolling out new products. Most recently, the firm debuted a natural deodorant called Healthy Pits Organic Deodorant Cream ($10). It is an all-natural, organic and vegan, deodorant cream that’s been “Zumba-tested,” according to the company. Also in the pipeline is an acai face moisturizer.
As the only one at the helm, Chuley’s has been working around-the-clock, and forging savvy alliances. For instance, Caseb recently became a member of ICMAD and she’s already part of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists—a move that has enabled her to perfect her custom blends.
“I have had the fortune of working along side many elite cosmetic chemists who specialize in blending natural products,” she said, “and this has enabled me to be able to bring to my loyal customers and friends, products that are safe, reliable and that work to treat their ailments and keep their skin healthy.”