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Conversations with the Inspiring Michele Hanson

Today we’d like to introduce you to Michele Hanson.

Michele, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My path to small business ownership was born out of necessity. I spent the first 40 years of my life trying to manage the symptoms of multiple misdiagnosed skin issues. In the last 10 years, the situation became intolerable. My skin was in a constant state of compromise. Rashes and dry patches that were once limited to my hands started to appear on my legs, arms, and face.

After trying skin analysis, steroids, biopsies, light therapy and a painstaking review of my personal products-no relief. My dermatologist helped me to manage the symptoms by prescribing an immune suppressant. Like steroids, it felt like a miracle at first, but still didn’t get to the bottom of the issue.

Ultimately, the mystery was solved with a simple patch test for diagnosis of allergic contact dermatitis. The test involved an office visit, where the panels were applied to my back. I returned in 3 days to get my results. The test showed that I have a severe sensitivity to both Isothiazolinone and Bronopol. The diagnosis was the beginning of a life-changing journey for me.

Armed with the names of the culprits I researched what was already in my house. It was everywhere: shampoo, conditioner, lotion, face-cream, foundation, dish soap, laundry detergent, cleaning products and more. I was under attack in my own home and everything had to go!

Next, I had to replace my products. It was more challenging than I imagined. The reality is that most commercially produced products contain harsh chemicals that are included to extend shelf life and profits. In my case, there’s no safe exposure, so I needed to find alternatives.

Sources of clean, chemical-free products were not easy to find and that was the inspiration for Seaworthy Naturals. You don’t have to use products that contain chemicals that you can’t pronounce. All our products are made in small batches, from real ingredients.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
When my partner, Steve Sapir, and I first started the company we were both still employed in corporate roles that required us to work excessive hours. As much as we loved the idea of building a company from scratch, it was difficult to find the time and energy required. We kept working at it and eventually brought the concept to market in 2017.

My advice to all potential new business owners is that if you have faith in your idea then you must make it a priority to make it a reality. It’s easy to get comfortable doing something that you don’t love, but life is too short to spend it wishing that you could be doing something else. Running your own business can be scary, exhilarating, and overwhelming all on the same day. We wouldn’t have it any other way!

What should we know about Seaworthy Naturals? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
We are part of a growing American maker’s movement. We take pride in making our products by hand, using traditional artisan techniques and responsibly sourced ingredients. We love to create new and unexpected scent-profiles that are made with 100% essential oils. We never use chemical-based fragrances.

We are New England born and bred and wanted our branding to reflect that vibe. After rejecting hundreds of potential names for our company we agreed that Seaworthy Naturals was perfect. Seaworthy means fit for voyage, and that’s what our products do, get you ready to face whatever your day has in store for you. Look for our distinctive seaworthy soap sacks, unique scent profiles, and ultrasonic aroma diffusers online at www.seaworthynaturals.com, on Amazon, and coming too soon to specialty retail shops near you.

What do you feel are the biggest barriers today to female leadership, in your industry or generally?
After 30 years in Financial Services/IT, I can say that there are more leadership opportunities for women than when I started. However, there’s still a long way to go. One of the biggest barriers for women is that the executive leadership of most companies is still primarily male. Although there are exceptions, many men still cling to outdated notions of a woman’s role and that carries through to their decisions when it comes time for promotions.

Although I learned a lot in those 30 years, it took me a while to understand that you don’t have to wait for someone to tell you’re ready to take the next step. My advice is that if you know you’re ready and your boss/company doesn’t recognize it, then maybe you’re at the wrong company. Don’t wait for people to give you permission to move forward. If you’re ready, find a way even if it means leaving a comfortable situation behind.

Pricing:

  • All natural, hand poured, soap- 4 oz.- $10
  • 100% pure essential oils-15 ml- $15
  • Ultrasonic aroma diffusers-$49

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Michele Hanson

Getting in touch: BostonVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Kathleen Thompson

    January 26, 2019 at 1:27 pm

    Just a note to all that I have tried some of these products and they do help to maintain less skin problems as I have also fought this problem for the last 55 years and have tried every medical prescription that never had lasting results. If you suffer after washing dishes, your hair or skin, please give these products a try like I did and have had outstanding results.

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