Geevie and Sophia Wood didn’t intend to be selling a line of homemade, sustainably sourced and packaged hygiene and beauty products. It just sort of happened.
When the twins launched their blog, Sustainyoself.com, and Instagram in April 2017, they saw it as more of a journal, a way to keep track of tips and products they found helpful in their own waste reduction journey. But it quickly gained steam. Today, Sustainyoself has more than 37,000 followers on Instagram and is selling a collection of small batch, sustainably made deodorant, lip balm and lotion.
“It’s kind of like a snowball,” Geevie said.
The Woods discovered the zero-waste movement during their freshman year of college in Savannah, Georgia. When they arrived, they found a city with little of recycling infrastructure they were accustomed to in Minneapolis. They began plastic-proofing their lives and searching for sustainable alternatives to products they used on a regular basis. Living a zero-waste lifestyle, the Woods say, requires a lot of planning ahead—bringing bags, cutlery, mugs and bottles when on the run. In blog posts and on their Instagram feed, they share their successes and failures on their path to waste reduction.
“We try to be really transparent about when we do create trash,” Sophia said.
In addition to posting about sustainable products they enjoy the sisters began crafting recipes to create natural products they use every day. It started with lip balm, which they make with beeswax from Minneapolis pollinator promotion group The Beez Kneez. Before long, they were creating at home recipes for body lotion bars and deodorant.
“We had no intention of selling at all when we started making them,” Sophia said.
But when the sisters started posting the products in their Instagram story, followers began to ask if they could buy the items and a business was born. The products are packaged in either glass or biodegradable tubes with compostable labeling and adhesives.
A big hit has been their natural sensitive skin deodorant, which the twins say is a product a lot of people don’t have much luck with. Like all their recipes, the deodorant was a product of trial and error. Eventually they settled on their current formula, which substitutes magnesium peroxide for baking soda.
The sisters post the recipes to their products online and encourage people to make their own.
“The purpose of it isn’t to make money,” Sophia said. “It’s to provide people with an option.”
Now living in Minneapolis again after transferring to the University of Minnesota, the Woods are hoping to eventually get their products into local co-ops and pop-up zero waste shops. For now, all sales are done online. Geevie and Sophia are both global studies majors with another year and a half of school left and plan to continue their blog and small-batch shop going forward.
“We’d love to live off it in the future,” Geevie said.