They say that grandchildren are the reward for having kids. For Carmen DePasquale, grandkids can also act as living laboratories to develop effective personal care products for children with sensitive skin. After becoming a stylist more than 30 years ago, and raising four kids with his wife Janice, DePasquale has developed a knack for building companies too. His beauty empire, the DePasquale Companies, encompasses six subsidiaries including
DePasquale The Spa, DePasquale Salon Systems, Artistic Academy of Hair Design and Aesthetics, ECRU, Lakme USA and Cures by Avancé.
His newest creation is Little Green, a collection that includes all-in-one shampoo and body wash, moisturizing body lotion and conditioning detangler for kids and babies. Prices range from $6 for the shampoo and body wash to $16 for the conditioning detangler. The idea for the line came after DePasquale found out his grandchildren—which now number 10—each relied on myriad sunscreen formulas and personal care products due to various skin sensitivities.
“I would put the wrong lotion on a grandchild and a rash would develop,” recalled DePasquale. “(I thought) what if I could formulate a collection so that they could all use the same thing? Wouldn’t that satisfy most kids?”
DePasquale is quick to point out that no formula is truly hypo-allergenic—somewhere, someone is allergic to something. Still, by carefully selecting the right ingredients, he developed extremely mild formulas that contain ingredients intended to soothe and heal skin; ingredients such as highly concentrated freeze-dried aloe extract, gluten-free oat extract, licorice root and vitamin B5. What Little Green doesn’t contain are things like sulfates and parabens.
“It’s been a long difficult process; some products took two years to develop,” he recalled.
When DePasquale was confident that he had created the right formulas, he tried them out on his own grandchildren.
“Look at my ingredients. All of them have some kind of soothing and calming characteristics,” he said. “For over two years, I tested the products on everybody from the babies to the older kids.”
The Little Green Collection includes shampoo and body wash, body lotion and conditioning detangler.
After the Little Green formulas passed DePasquale’s grandchildren test, he opted for conventional testing methods and was not surprised to learn that the line caused no irritation whatsoever in test subjects. But while Little Green can be used on every body, it’s not for everybody. The shampoo and body wash retails for $15, while the body lotion and detangler are $17 each.
“It’s not for Walgreens, it’s not priced for that market,” he admitted. But for parents who have kids with sensitive skin, the price is right.
“I can’t see a parent who has a child with sensitive skin issue not spending the money to buy a product that works,” he said.
For now, Little Green is available online at www.littlegreencares.com
and other websites, in 300 salons on the East Coast of the US, as well as in Brazil, Germany and Switzerland, with plans to be in 14 countries by year-end. Back in the US, the Little Green team is in talks to distribute products in Bendel’s.
“We are carefully meeting with the right people. I’m not in any rush, the quality of the location is important,” said DePasquale. “I’ve been careful to create a brand that parents can trust. But if you sell things in certain places, parents don’t immediately have that trust.”
DePasquale is building trust with new parents too. By January, every new mother will get the Little Green Collection to take home with her baby at Saint Clare’s Hospital in Denville, NJ. At the same time, Little Green is working to get the brand into 1,000 pediatrician offices by the end of 2012.
As it expands distribution, DePasquale and his team are expanding product offerings as well. In September, Little Green added a face stick to soothe kids’ cheeks in cold weather.
“My grandkids’ cheeks would get red and chapped when they were out in the cold, so we made a soothing balm for the face that you can use everywhere.”
In development for 2012 is a sun care collection and three-item lice and tick prevention line that will repel, but not kill the critters.
And while DePasquale’s interests in consumer products are wide ranging, he insists that Little Green is the closest to his heart.
“We have big plans for this collection,” he told Happi.com. “(But) I’m not concerned with dollars at this time. I need to do the right thing marketing-wise and connect with mothers.
“I have six great products that can be put on every one of my grandchildren and they feel great and have no adverse reaction to them,” he explained. “It’s a small collection, but I know what it will become over the next couple of years as I create products that parents can trust.”