A Conversation with a Skincare Kitchen: Blendily
Blendily is a skincare kitchen based in Portland, Oregon. We got to chat with founder, Ivy Chuang, who was motivated to create Blendily by her daughter’s birth. She noticed the news was filled with stories about the toxic chemicals present in traditional baby products and in the hospital, on the day of her daughter’s birth, were those very same products. Read this conversation to learn more about her skincare company’s story and mission.
Before having her daughter, Ivy says she had never really looked at the ingredients in the grooming products that she used. She described this vivid scene when she was on the floor of her bathroom in 2012, surrounded by baby products, and feeling powerless. “I felt really betrayed. I felt some level of despair for these large corporations and had a level of distrust because of these articles raising questions.” She went on to read the labels on everything and was floored by how much the chemistry was beyond her level of understanding.
She launched Blendily in 2014 after a move from Hawaii to Oregon for her husband’s job. Moving across the ocean was another opportunity to re-examine the products she was using, but she still didn’t feel like she was in control of what she was putting on her body so she signed up for online classes to learn about aromatherapy and natural product formulation.
She decided to quit using traditional products and described how challenging that process was for her. “I broke out in ways that I hadn’t since puberty. My hair was oily one day and dropping out in clumps the next.” Through this process, she realized the products she was using were inhibiting her body’s own natural cleaning defenses. She transitioned to only using singular raw ingredients to get back to basics.
She held her very first popup shop in 2014 which was hosted in a garden shed on street she lived on. It was when strangers that she had never met before found her shop and purchased her products that she gained the confidence to continue forward with her idea. She eventually moved into a little maker studio. It was very much a lemonade stand sort of beginning for Blendily and now they’re six years in existence.
Ivy’s long-term vision for Blendily is to have locations all around the world that are tied to directly to farms to create seed-to-skin products. They’re also moving into products that can be consumed internally to further commit to their narrative of holistic wellness.
Tell me about the term “skincare kitchen”, what that means to you, and what it says about the ingredients you put into your products.
Ivy Chuang: We started using the term skincare kitchen because that succinctly described what we were and what we did. It’s skincare made in the kitchen and here we are. We are transitioning to the idea of a wellness kitchen, again with that aspect of it could be made in your own kitchen. There is something special about the handmade process, to give that full intention from start to finish to what we’re making. I feel in the industrial process, a bit of soul is lost when our artisanal processes have been taken away. There’s something for us to be able to succinctly describe to people what we did.
What is your favorite product that you have ever made and why?
Ivy Chuang: I love our Ruby Skies Facial Oil Serum because of the color. The base of the oil is St. John’s Wort infused in sunflower oil and I use a solar infusion process over the course of six weeks or longer in the garden. The color changes into this beautiful ruby red from yellow and it truly does feel like magic.
Is there anything else that you’d like to share?
Ivy Chuang: On our website, you will see in the founder photo that we’re standing next to this little manifesto that’s a decal in our store. I remember when we moved from my maker studio to the store, I wrote this manifesto to embody all the values that I wanted the company to embody. It’s funny that it doesn’t mention skincare at all. It’s a constant reminder that no matter what type of turn we may make, that is going to be our ethos. What is Blendily? It’s an invitation to be well and live splendidly and everything that we do as a company will be with that in mind.
[Interview edited for brevity and clarity. This blog post is sponsored by Blendily.]