Aspen LaPierre is definitely a product of her environment. She blossomed amidst the crisp Pacific Northwest amongst farmland and Douglas fir trees.
“I grew up on a cattle ranch in Eastern Oregon. There wasn’t much out there. We had to drive an hour for groceries,” she says. “But I had a pretty diverse upbringing. My dad did a lot of healthy stuff, hiking and what not, and my mom worked with my step-dad on the ranch.”
The natural world played a huge role in her path. It first started when her aunt sent her a story about clean beauty products.
“I was going to school for psychology. I really didn’t have a ton of interest in skincare or beauty,” she says. “But my aunt just randomly sent me an article about how women use 265 harmful chemicals in their products every day. It’s everywhere ... even in the candles we burn.”
It made a real impression on her and LaPierre started picking up products that scored in the green zone on the EWG Skin Deep database, a site that ranks toxicity of skincare and beauty items.
But even more than swapping brands, she also started doing more research. Eventually, it led to the decision to create her own clean beauty line — Aspen Natural Skincare.
“I just used a simple Google search to research clean beauty manufacturers, initially with an interest in clean cosmetics. I ended up finding a clean skincare manufacturer in Canada whose standards aligned with what I was looking for,” she says.
“Vancouver, British Columbia, where the products are made, is still often considered part of the Pacific Northwest, and they were sourcing clean ingredients as close to home as possible, using some eco-certified ingredients. They were wonderful to work with, and once I began conversing with them, they worked with me closely until I had product in hand.”
She created sleek, fresh packaging to accompany her marketing, targeting women who enjoy active, healthy lifestyles. As of now, LaPierre has 11 products including the Kombucha Energizing Cleanser, Avocado Basil Intensive Moisturizer, and Invigorating Spearmint Moisturizing Mask, among others.
“My favorite ingredient throughout my products is the kombucha — hands down. Everything that is kombucha-based has come out with an amazing, fresh scent that I love,” she says.
As someone who enjoys trying out new and exciting skincare, LaPierre jumped right in. She was able to find a space in the market by using herself as her primary demographic.
“.... above 30, concerns about aging, hydration, and brightening — and very active
toward the outdoorsy, wellness. I didn’t see any products marketed toward the outdoorsy wellness crowd,” she says with a laugh.
Many of the products’ active ingredients are “wildcrafted,” which means they are foraged. LaPierre says these ingredients specifically are more potent and more effective.
“They were fed and watered by nature instead of man making them more resilient. Some examples are the fucus, or seaweed extract that shows up in many products, especially our Restoring Herbal Mist. It is actually harvested right out of the bay in Vancouver,” she says.
“The wild cherries in our Wild Cherry Regenerating Peel grow naturally throughout the northwest as well. We use meadowfoam, a flower that grows all up and down the west coast. The plants and ingredients that are not foraged are still harvested sustainably. I tried really hard to channel the beauty and bounty of the Pacific Northwest into the products and the branding.”
LaPierre wanted to find other ways to make a lasting impact, doing something beyond just sustainable beauty. That’s when she discovered Operation Underground Railroad. The non-profit works to support victims of sex trafficking. Five percent of her company’s proceeds go toward the cause.
“They are a highly effective and transparent group of people that rescue and rehabilitate victims of sex trafficking and modern day slavery. They really bust in and make things happen for these children, so I really hope that as the brand grows, we can become a major contributor to their effort,” she says.
After taking the leap of faith on her company, LaPierre and her family took another. A mother of four, she and her husband decided to move from their home in Oregon to the beaches of the Southeast.
“We moved here in July. We’d been talking about moving to the South for a while and it’s so beautiful here. It feels similar in the way that people love nature ... but the weather is much better,” she says with a laugh.
Now, LaPierre is working to make more connections and possibly expand her product line. While the brand is available online at aspennaturalskincare.com, LaPierre is looking to partner with brick-and-mortar stores locally.
“I do have my products in a clean beauty store in Fernandina Beach. It’s called Willow Beauty. It’s been pretty cool because we actually connected before we moved, so it’s been great to get to know her,” she says.
And while she’s still figuring out how to balance being a mother and a beauty entrepreneur, LaPierre is always quick to encourage other women to take a chance on their dreams.
“You can learn everything by trial and error, worst case scenario,” she says. “But you just have to get out there and start trying.”