Elevate Your Brand

Elevate Your Brand with Bonnie Giangrande of RENU Naturals

June 23, 2022 Laurel Mintz / Bonnie Giangrande Season 3 Episode 40
Elevate Your Brand
Elevate Your Brand with Bonnie Giangrande of RENU Naturals
Show Notes Transcript

Bonnie Giangrande started RENU Naturals nearly a decade ago out of a personal need for clean healthy selfcare products. At that time, Bonnie was recently diagnosed with an auto-immune disease called Hashimoto’s, and wanted to lead a healthier lifestyle. Bonnie started seeking out natural products for herself and her family and was surprised at the “green-washing” that was taking place in the industry. Bonnie knew that she had to be part of the change, and create a line of pure, healthy products that do not incorporate fragrances or other toxic ingredients. Bonnie launched Renu Naturals because she was adamant to use only the highest quality natural, organic ingredients, creating formulations that are healthy and effective.

Laurel Mintz, founder and CEO of award-winning marketing agency Elevate My Brand, explores some of the most exciting new and growing brands in Los Angeles and the US at large. Each week, the Elevate Your Brand podcast features an entrepreneurial special guest to discuss the past, present and future of their brand.

You're listening to the Elevate Your Brand podcast, where we talk to some of the smartest entrepreneurs and fastest growing brands in the market, today. I'm your host, Laurel Mintz, a reformed corporate MAA attorney who founded award winning LA based marketing agency Elevate My Brand. We've elevated some of the world's biggest brands from Facebook, Paw Patrol and Verizon to innovative startups you haven't even heard of yet. Are you ready to elevate your brand? Keep listening.

Hi, everyone, and welcome back to another episode of Elevate Your Brand. Of course. I'm your host, Laurel Mintz. I'm joined today by Bonnie Giangrande, who is the founder of RENU Natural. Bonnie, thank you for joining us today. Thank you so much for having me, Laurel. So tell us about RENU Naturals, what it is, how you invented it, and the benefits that people receive when using this awesome product. 

Oh, absolutely. Thank you for the opportunity. Yeah. So I started the company nearly a decade ago out of a personal need for clean, healthy, selfcare products. So at the time, I had been recently diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto's. 

Pretty rare. 

Yeah. I hear more and more women having this autoimmune disease, and it's where one's immune system just attacks healthy tissue and it's very random and we don't know what exactly causes it. But I was quite surprised when I received the diagnosis because I was considered myself to be quite healthy. But then I really started looking at my health habits, and I realized that I wasn't really checking labels. I didn't really understand ingredients at the time, and I wasn't really paying much attention to what I was putting in or on my body. So when I received the diagnosis, I knew I wanted to lead a healthier lifestyle. And I started seeking out at that time natural products for myself and, of course, my family. I had young children, and I was really surprised the more I looked at labels and understood ingredients, the green washing that was taking place out there in the industry. And for those that are not familiar, can you just tell us what green washing is? Well, what I was finding was there were a lot of products out there, personal care products that were definitely touting the natural ingredients, and they would say natural on the front of the label. But when you really start looking at the list of ingredients, there would be hidden synthetics parabens and other nasty ingredients hidden in there. So they would call out a couple of natural ingredients, but again, they would be mixed in with a lot of synthetic ingredients, which is just not healthy for our system over time. 

Not to mention the fact that so many consumer consumers now are much more aware of it. A decade ago, maybe not so much. When you started, people were really excited about the fact that founders like you were creating more green products. But I think the idea of green washing wasn't as well known. And so consumers back a decade ago were a little bit kind of wool over their eyes. 

Right. Because they were like, oh, it says natural or it says organic, or it says all natural ingredients. And like you mentioned, they wouldn't really look at all of the ingredients on the back of the packaging. And that's exactly what green washing is, really putting the green foot forward when you're really kind of full of, you know what. Exactly, right. Exactly. So I knew we could do better. And so I wanted to be a part of that mission. And RENU Naturals was born sort of out of a mission just to use only the highest quality natural, organic ingredients and then put them together in formulations in a way that our skin and bodies benefit from them. Pretty simple. But at the time, we had other requirements for ourselves as well. Like, we are passionate about our planet. And so we knew that we wanted these products not only to be healthy for ourselves, but also for our planet Earth. We created them with the natural ingredients and so that they're biodegradable as well. 


Yeah. And of course, they are cruelty free, and we carry a lot of vegan options. So that was how the business started about, like I mentioned, nearly ten years ago, and we consider ourselves a modern skincare brand now that aligns with Skin and Planet Health, like I mentioned. And we create skin care for people who care about what goes into their products, but they also want to see results, of course. Yes. And that's always been the big issue. Right. Well, first of all, I want to mention that making skincare products by Degradable is a really big deal. Good for you and good for the planet is a big deal. 

But it's also really important because people don't think about your skin is the largest organ, and we happen to be in a beauty category. We have a lot of beauty brands on the podcast. And so every time I talk to one, I want to just reiterate the importance to our audience that your skin is your largest organ. So what you put on it is equally, if not as important or if not more important than what you put in it. So I love that you focus on that. 

Yes. And an example of that, just so people really can understand the significance of that is when you think about medicinal patches that are out there that we use, that we can apply to our skin today, and that goes into our systems, and that's through the medical industry. So that just goes to show you that really what we put on our skin is going into our system. It does work. Totally. So you are creating this product out of necessity for yourself because you had been diagnosed with Hashimoto's. But what is your background? Share a bit about where you came from that you thought, oh, I can create a skincare line and execute it well, right? 

So my background basically is in marketing, actually. And I have a long history of working for large companies as marketing and admin professional. And what brought me to starting my own business was shortly before being diagnosed with the Hashimoto. I went through a really difficult divorce, and my children were very young at the time, and of course, I was concerned about them. I also was laid off for my job after ten years being at a company. So I was really going through a lot. And I knew at that time I had to find another full time job to pay the bills to live in the house for me and my children. And I started working for an organic company called Life Alive. I don't know if you're familiar with them, but it was in the food industry for organic foods, and they were just doing amazing. Again, this is going back ten years. So there weren't a lot of the options that are out there today, but like the OG Thrive Market, it sounds like exactly. And I was excited. And so I sort of just fell into this and I was like, wow, this is what I want for myself and for my life to be about. And I see that other people are really interested and excited about this, and it was gaining traction. So I was always sort of a do it yourself person, and I would make like, my own little shampoos and body wash formulas and that sort of thing. So I said, I think I'd like to be a part of this. And then like I mentioned, when I was diagnosed with the Hashimoto, I was like, okay, how can I put this all together and make this leap for myself? So I started doing it as a hobby, more or less on the side. And that was really fun for me. I started actually with a Tween shampoo. It was called Good Girl Shampoo. It was really cute because I had young kids and I started touting that just around the local markets where I live in Massachusetts, and the businesses were interested. We got them into a couple of stores, and people were loving them. And then I wanted to approach Whole Foods because I was getting such great feedback. And Whole Foods, of course, had a little bit more of the requirements to get products into their stores. So they said, well, this is all great, but we would be interested in skincare if you're able to go back to the drawing board. So that's when I stepped back a little bit, I was still doing this part time. And I aligned myself with an amazing formulator. And she is out of British Columbia, and we've been working together for ten years. So all these formulations are mine for the business, and we created this line together. She is a master herbalist. So she grows most of the medicinal herbs and extracts that are found in relations today. Yes. And that's why they're so pure, beautiful. And today, our company also has onboard a certified esthetician. So she works to assist us with the formulas that will offer our clients the best approach for their skin type. And then we create these amazing products. So that's how we first started the line. And it really evolved over time from just a pure, all natural young shampoo line into this more sophisticated skincare product line. 

Fascinating. I love the story of the evolution of it, and I want to dig into it. Let's take a quick break and we'll be right back. Today's episode is brought to you by Mexicraft Tequila Seltzer. It is a top shelf tequila seltzer made with craft tequila from Jalisco, Mexico, real juice and sparkling water. Each can contains a shot and a half of premium Blanco tequila, which you all know is my favorite and no more than 3 grams of sugar. For those of you watching that, you can get it in Whole Foods in Southern California or order it online at www.mexiseltzer.com, follow them on IG @mexiseltzer and use podcast20 for 20% off your first order. Thanks for sticking with us. If you're just tuning in, I am chatting with Bonnie Giangrande, who is the center of RENU Naturals. So again, going back, you started this because you had your own kind of need to dig into the organic space. You started with one product line and then so do you then credit Whole Foods for pushing you to create the skincare side? 

Yes, I really sort of do. I'm glad that they had the patience and they believed in us at the time and said, sure, we'll work with you if you can start to create these other formulas that we would like to sell at our stores. So that's how it evolved into more of a skincare line. I mean, cut to ten years later. Now it's everywhere. And I cannot tell you how many skincare products that get sent to me on a daily basis. Not all of them are great. Not all of them smell great, and not all of them are efficacious. 

But this is a category that is just exploding right now. It really has. And I'm excited to see that again. They're everywhere. But that's what our mission was. We wanted more of these options for people. So I'm happy to see that finally. I mean, ten years ago, consumers were just starting to really understand the importance of clean ingredients and they were starting to seek them out. But now this next generation of kids that are there out there and my children, they get it. This is what they are demanding. It's table stakes for them. If you're not doing good for the planet or you're not organic, they're not interested. They really do not believe in products that are damaging our future. And I think that that's amazing. They're going to save the world. I really believe that. 

I agree. Yeah. So things have really changed over the past year, but being in the clean skincare market just isn't enough anymore. I mean, people want their products to include active ingredients as well that address and treat some of their skin most troublesome skincare needs. So we've addressed that. At RENU, we are all about purity and performance at a comfortable price. We try to keep our prices mid level because we believe that everyone should have access to clean, healthy products and feel good about what they're using and putting on their bodies. So we recently upgraded our formulations and we've added some new products as well to enhance the line. But now we infuse our plant based products with effective like actives and peptides and retinols for increased results. Obviously so exciting because that's always been the big issue. At least a decade ago when you started, that's why someone would not make a purchase decision typically in this category, because it frankly didn't work right. It was like, oh, it's great that it's green and it's maybe moisturizing, but it's not wrinkle fighting or it's not renewing in the way that my typical, I don't know, Doctor Dennis Gross or something like that would be with all the heavy chemical ingredients that are doing, like daily peels on your face and really not that great for you. I love that you're leaning into more of the application side of it or the efficacy side of it, which I think is so critical to a successful brand. Oh, absolutely right. That's exactly what we wanted to do. And so we include, I think it's the vitamin C serum. You may have received one of our vitamin C serum. So fantastic. So it's great. We do include Matrixyl 3000 in that and peptides in that formulation. And vitamin C, if you look at it, it's the second ingredient in there. So, you know, with these products, you are getting true efficacy. There's no fillers in them. We also use Tripeptide Five that's in our pure Radiance moisturizer. So those combined, we like to call them like cell communicating ingredients because the results are similar to injected dermal fillers over time, but without the need for needles and foreign substance under the skin. So it's much less invasive. We like to take the natural approach, but it's like nature and science, and it's a good balance. And these are still beautiful, clean products that are not going to harm your body in any way. 

What does cell communicating mean? I've never heard that before. 

I know. Isn't that exciting? I love it. So cell communicating would be the peptides that are telling yourselves to rejuvenate and renew, and they actually do that. This is what some of this science is backed. If you look up the efficacy and what Matrix 3000 can do for your skin, it's incredible. It's really amazing. Well, I used it for a week at a time. And I did notice it even in a week. It was really great that the products work. I really like the texture. I'm a beauty Queen when it comes to skincare. Like I said, I get sent a lot of products, and not all of it is great.

But I think between the packaging, the scent profile, and the texture and the efficacy, of course, I really, really didn't enjoy the product very much. I love that. 

Thank you. Yeah. And all the scents are all natural scents. They're made with just essential oil blends that we put together. So we try to stick with earthy scents that are just very calming. Except our beautiful gel cleanser has a real uplifting grapefruit scent because I feel you need that in the morning. 

Yes. Slap your mom and wake up kind of situation. 

So there's no synthetic fragrances in any of the products. And I don't know if you had a chance to try the Hydro. Wep exfoliator, but that is like nothing else you'll try out there on the market. Incredible. Yeah. That formulation is really different. It's an exfoliator, so you only need to use it, obviously, a couple of days a week. But it's very gentle. And we make it with a Walnut shell powder and combine that with almond oil and grapeseed oil. And it just cleanses your pores without stripping any of the natural oils. But it really smooths your complexion. And a lot of people use it and swear by it, like on their neck and decolletage on their chest area as well. It just gently polishes and washes away any dead skin cells. 

You know, it reminded me of back in the day. I'm going to date myself here. But that scrub that we all used to do, we were really young. It was super intense, and I'm sure not good because I'm sure it's stripped way too much. But this was like a really elegant, sophisticated version of that. Do you know, it was definitely not organic. Definitely not green in any way, shape or form. But it was that scrub that I used, and I want to start in College even. 

I wonder if it was the apricot scrub. 

That's exactly it, right. 

Yeah. And that is a little bit more harsh. But we didn't know better at the time. Exactly. We were young. Our school eliminated. Exactly. Yeah. And we have some really fun organic lip balm, too. I don't know if you had a chance to look at those, but we have organic tinted bombs that come in three different beautiful shades. So we have iridescent Frost. We have a pink champagne and a Crimson Crush. And those are all created formulated with natural minerals and micas. So those are all natural as well. And then we have delicious organic lip balms that are yummy. And we have a bunch of different flavors as well. We have iced pear. We have sweet citrus, coconut, strawberry lemonade and those come in SPF and zinc options because you got to have it. You got to protect yourself. And I do love being out in the sun. 

I love your pitch here. It's, like, so clear that you're a marketer because you really dig in on the products and the efficacy and the flavor profiles or the scent profiles and everything. It's very clear that this is a category that you were born to be in. So I'm really glad to have you on the podcast today. Before we take our next break. What is the biggest lesson that you have learned on this journey? If you could point out one or two? 

Oh, gosh, yes, thanks. I would have to say there's so many lessons along the way, but one that stands out is thinking that once you get into Whole Foods or one of these stores, you've reached it like you're done. You've done everything there is and you're successful. And it doesn't work that way. That's when the work actually begins. When you get those products into the stores, that's when the work begins. And you have to really engage with people. But you also have to educate people. There's such an educating process to this, and people are getting there and they're understanding it. But we still have a ways to go with informing people about how their skin and how their bodies will really take to the product. Yeah. Really take to them and just beautiful, amazing results. So, yeah, there's still a lot to learn and a lot to do. And we're constantly learning. We're constantly trying to listen to our customers and our consumers and hearing what they're looking for in these clean products today and trying to answer their request. 

That's awesome. Thank you so much, Bonnie. We're going to take another quick break. We'll be right back. Hi, guys. Me again. I wanted to take a quick break to tell you more about our award winning agency Elevate My Brand. We're a full service digital and experiential agency, meaning we do it all from event management to content creation, branding, web design, social media, you name it. We got you. We're a small and scrappy team of both Data Nerds and Quirky Creatives, and we're here to make you look good. After this episode, let's chat about how we can elevate your brand and take you to the next level. All right. Chatting with my friend Bonnie Giangrande, who is the founder of Renew Natural. I don't know if I told you, but my grandmother's name was Bonnie, so I have a special affinity for your name. I love that too often, so it's definitely a little older school, but there's something about it reminds me of her. So I instantly like you. 

Thank you. I feel the same way about you, Laurel. Love it. So a couple of fun questions we'd like to ask most of our podcasts, which is if you could wave a magic wand and make this brand do or be anything or anywhere in the world. What would you want to see for the brand? 

Oh, wow. Thank you. I would love to expand on the brand and the products that we offer. I often have to rein myself in because I go everywhere with what I want to do with this brand. I would love to add some products in here for men. We rebrand line extension, so that's next steps. 

Got it? Okay. Absolutely. Line extension. 

And we feel that this brand right now, these products really can be used and appreciated by everybody out there. And that's what we wanted to be. We wanted it to be an approachable brand and for everybody to have access to it. And that's where I think we'd like to see it go, is just add more products to it, reach other markets, as many people to try these products and really see the difference and what it can do for their skin and how it can make them feel. That's fantastic. And like you said, it opens up a whole new market. It basically gives you 50% more potential market share. It's funny, because I do receive a lot of emails from our customers saying, oh, my husband, he used up the exfoliator. I keep the cleanser in my shower, and he's used that and this and that. So I think it's great. But maybe if we did a little bit of marketing of their own products, they would leave their wives and girlfriends products alone, because I know how that can be. Well, I think the product packaging isn't necessarily it feels a little bit more ubiquitous in terms of its targeting. I don't think it feels like it's gender specific. So I know you just mentioned that you did a rebrand. We share a little bit about that. Sure. Yeah. And I'm glad you can see that, because that was really important to us. I wanted it to be really gender neutral. Prior to this rebrand, we were the Laughing Tree Organics, and it was a beautiful, lovely brand of, again, just all natural products. And it was very feminine and it was very whimsical, and it had a lovely logo and it was fun packaging. But as we grew and matured, we just felt like we had to change some of the brand along with that as the products evolved. So we decided about a year ago, less than a year ago, it was time to really rebrand the entire Laughing Tree brand over to renew natural. And that's what we've been working on for the past six months. So we did all new packaging, an entire new website. Again, we took our current formulations and we enhanced them and we made them better. And we just wanted them to speak to a larger audience of people because we know that this brand is for everyone, and that's what we wanted it to represent. Well, again, speaking to the marketing side of it and what we're seeing trend wise, there are so much non binary clothing categories out there. 

There's just a lot of focus on degenerating products and services. So I think you're absolutely heading in the right direction. And again, you're just a very smart marketer. So this makes total sense that you're like, we got to get stay ahead of the curve. Yes, absolutely. Well, thank you for that. All right, last few quickfire questions. Number one, what is the one thing you could not live without during the pandemic and you can't say your own product? Oh, my gosh. During the pandemic. 

That's a tough one. Laurel. Is it bad to say Netflix and my coffee? Not at all. We were very busy during the pandemic, though, like, getting this brand positioned, the new RENU brand and getting all the packaging together. So we were busy. But I can honestly say in my spare time, I spent a lot of time on Netflix watching some great series. So thank God for that. I am totally there with you. So no shade on that one. What is your favorite word and why? And this could be something that pops into your head during this conversation or something that's had real meaning to you over time. 

It's not so much a word, but I would have to say a phrase. And my father always said it. It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice. I know. And he lived by that, Laurel. He was one of the few people I know that was so genuine and just so friendly and respectful to everybody. And he said, you treat everybody the same and you treat everybody with respect. And I hope I can make him proud. 

I'm sure that you are, because you just seem to have that same positive, all inclusive, really great energy. I can hear the sparkle in your voice. 

Thank you. 

Well, in the last few minutes that we have, I know that you've got a coupon code you want to share with our audience and then share where they can find your making products. 

Yeah, it's great. So we have a special code for your audience to use. It's called Elevate. 20 is the code, and they'll receive 20% off their products purchased on our website. And that's Renunaturals.com, and it's spelled RENUnaturals.com. And they'll also receive free shipping. So I hope they take this opportunity and try them. And if anyone has questions, please reach out to us. We can be reached at info, at RENUNaturals.com. And we always get back to our inquiries. And like I said, we have an esthetician that's on our staff as well. So if anyone has questions about their skin type and would like to talk to us about what would work best for them, please just shoot us an email. We'd love to hear from you. 

Fantastic. And then last but certainly not least, any final words of wisdom for other entrepreneurs in this category that you want to share and as final take away. 

Yeah, this category, like you said, actually has just gone gangbusters over the past couple of years. But the global skincare market, like in 2021 it was $6.7 billion and so it's projected to reach 7.3 billion this year. So that's quite a bit of an increase. So, you know, you can't say it's a saturated market because I just think that people are always looking to try new things and we love our skincare and we love our clean products. So if you're looking to get into this market, find a niche and just do it and don't give up and you have to really, really be persistent. We got our products into Macy's and they'll be launching with Macy's I would say within the next month and that didn't happen by just sitting back and waiting for Macy's to come and find our products. We are constantly, constantly reaching out to businesses and to people and putting our name out there in our products because we believe that they are the best. I mean, I have tried so many different products like yourself and so you have to believe in what you do and just don't give up. That's all I can say. Keep going. Trust me, I've been doing this for 13, almost 14 years. 

So I feel you so much when you say that don't give up. No one's going to do it for you. You've got to show up every single day, put 1ft in front of the other and make it happen which clearly you've done. Bonnie, thank you so much for spending some time with us today. Thank you so much. I enjoy your social media pages. I love seeing you on there. They are so entertaining and fun. So thank you for that too. Thank you and thank you to everyone who tuned in. Tune in for more from Elevate Your Brand coming up next.