In May, Ogee won the LaunchVT contest, an annual entrepreneurship contest sponsored by the Lake Champlain Chamber of Commerce. The company received a $30,000 cash infusion plus $45,000 of in-kind services to grow their business.
While Burlington may not be a mecca of the beauty business, locals there know a good business when they see one; the town is home to a well-known start-up that grew to a globally admired brand: Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.
“Vermont is a great place to have an organic brand. There is so much organic understanding here,” Abbott Stark told Happi in a phone interview as his team was tweaking the final packaging ahead of their autumn launch.
For Stark and his co-founders, what makes Ogee different is that the line offers luxury products that are also certified organic—so discerning customers need not trade off between the two.
As for chemistry, Ogee leverages the power of jojoba oil, which company officials say is among nature’s best-kept skin care secrets.
Jojoba oil—a liquid crystalline wax—differs from other common plant oils (think coconut, olive, avocado, sesame, argan and almond) because it is extremely similar in molecular structure to the building blocks of the skin’s sebum. And thanks to its unique chemical composition, jojoba oil replenishes and balances moisture, while making skin appear firmer, smoother and supple, according to Ogee.
Ogee sources its jojoba seeds from an organic farm in the American desert and it cold presses them to deliver a “golden” grade of oil that contains the highest level of antioxidants and polyphenols.
The brand started off with a soft launch of its Daily Facial Cleansing Cloths ($20) over the summer, with three additional products that serve the face and lips making their official debut at the end of September.
In addition to jojoba oil, Ogee's Restore Face Oil also contains geranium flower essential oil, which gently refreshes the skin and increases blood flow to promote regeneration and nourish feminine energies, and ylang ylang flower essential oil, which balances oil production and promotes skin moisture.
“The face oil is the hero,” noted Stark.
Also designed for the face is the Seeds of Youth Serum ($65), which contains Edelweiss plant stem cells that Ogee says have been clinically proven to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles in 22 days.
The brand’s Sculpted Lip Oil ($16) has a next generation “lip oil in stick” delivery system that locks micro oil droplets into a soft matrix of organic waxes and butters. It is also formulated with organic peppermint oil that soothes and refreshes lips on contact.
While Ogee is just out of the gate, the company’s carefully crafted products are already garnering attention. For example, a Vanityfair.com beauty contributor recently called Ogee's lip oil and serum “Vanity Fair–tested and very much approved.”
Not too bad of a start for start-up.