Scene one: It’s a quiet morning in the offices of Annie James Skin Care Products. There’s a faint scent of orange and of lavender in the mountain air. The founder, Katie Bostrom, is doing exactly what she has always done in her 18 years as a neonatal nurse practitioner. As husband Joel has observed, she’s like the proverbial duck on the pond, serenely floating on the glassy surface while paddling with vigor underneath.
The brand-new company’s director of inventory, Miller, enters the pristine laboratory, heads straight for the hand sanitizer and begins her work. The director of delivery, Tilly, who completes the three-woman team, is nearby, considering the amazing largess of their earliest days in business: 300 bottles of Annie James magic sold in the company’s first two weeks.
It’s impossible to underestimate the value of the fourth team member, Joel Bostrom, who has been Katie’s best advocate for years. (How could he not notice the fresh-faced beauty of his wife, who created her skin care formula 13 years ago, for her own use, to simplify and to save money?) “You should make this for other people,” he often told his wife, honoring what Katie laughingly describes as “the chemical nerd in me” who concocted the formula.
Scene two: Now consider another perspective. It’s a quiet morning in the home in the woods on the back of the mountain, surrounded by green. The gentle patter of rain on the tin roof is the only sound. Miller, 9, is at the massive walnut countertop made by her father, eating a bowlful of breakfast. Tilly, 12, is upstairs getting ready for the day, not too young to be using her mother’s formula.
The home itself is worth another story and photo spread. Joel built it, and in his role as a custom furniture maker he has a dream: to create every piece of furniture in the house – not just tables and chairs, but sofas, too.
He is well on the way to fulfilling that dream.
Striking artwork ornaments the home on walls and wood, each one with a story. And above Katie’s well-used sink there is a wooden sign with a simple word: Believe.
Katie smiles as she quotes Mark 9:24: “I believe; help my unbelief.” And then she goes to the office . . . a few steps away.
Early this year, the Bostroms set about combining their home of dreams with this new dream of an organic home business.
So wisely and simply was it done that the home continues to be a comfortable nest for the Bostrom family, while it provides a birthplace for a new line.
Katie’s exercise room is near the kitchen, so she removed all its contents except for the treadmill and a row of weights on the hardwood floors (remember the serene duck, paddling nonetheless). This new office is light and airy and contains an orderly desk and a shelf of products. A diminutive bottle on the desk bears the name “Frankincense” and costs $100 a vial for the pure grade stuff. It’s a reminder to Katie that “those Biblical wise men knew what they were doing.” She’ll use a dropper to infuse the bottles of her oil-based product. The name on the logo, Annie James, honors five sisters: her paternal grandmother and her four great-aunts, women whose lives still anchor Katie in all she does.
Katie works part-time as a neonatal nurse practitioner in Rome, Ga., as she continues the birthing theme with her home business. And that brings us to the reason for it all: an ingenious skin cleaner, pure as it can be, that simplifies skin care with one nightly cleaning that is a breeze.
“The oil-cleansing method,” she begins, uses “a mixture of natural oils. It works with the concept that ‘like dissolves like,’ meaning oil dissolves oil. In the proper combination, bacteria and impurities go and are replaced with beneficial oils to heal, protect and nourish your skin. This is different from traditional face washes that strip the oil away from skin.”
The great thing about this method is that you only need one daily cleansing with Annie James, and it also becomes your makeup remover and moisturizer.
Here’s the plan: A bottle of facial cleanser is $16 and lasts four to six weeks. You massage a dropper of oil in your palm and apply to your face in circular motions for a couple of minutes. Then you put a washcloth under the hottest possible water, wring it out, cover your face and steam until the cloth cools completely. Use that washcloth to gently wipe away any excess oil.
A day’s work done.
At Anniejamesproducts.com, you can order their small-batch facial cleanser in two scents, or design your own scent with essential oils. Katie offers other oil-based products, as well. Although it all started with her sharing her own regimen with friends in their 30’s and 40’s, now she covers the spectrum of needs from adolescence on, going all the way to the eldest of us with her wrinkle roller (use morning and evening after cleansing). The acne roller is $12.50 and is designed to follow the facial cleansing process. It works its magic with coconut oil, tea tree oil, and the wise man’s (or woman’s) frankincense.
For one young customer, a visit to the dermatologist was on her schedule, as nothing was helping the pesky presence of acne. Her skin was “red and angry,” and then she tried the Daily Cleanser and Acne Roller. Two weeks later, she greeted Katie with a joyful hug and perhaps a grateful tear in her eye. Dermatologist appointment cancelled, her skin had gone from red to rosy and healthy.
Who needs a better recommendation than that?
(Use the promo code LOOKOUT for 10 percent off of your entire order.)