Meet Detroit Mompreneurs :: Rustic MAKA

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Rustic Maka :: Kasia Rothe and Monica Stakvel

“Our philosophy for pure, simple and organic products came from the phrase “less is more”.  ~Kasia + Monica

Meet this hard-working MOMpreneur duo, sisters, Kasia {momma of a 7 + 4 YO} + Monica {momma of a 6 + 1.5 YO}.  These ladies are on a mission to educate us women on the harmful toxins that can be lurking in our daily routines.  “As women, we tend to use a lot more products in the bathroom and unfortunately most of them contain dangerous toxins. In addition, having breast cancer in our own family and among friends, we felt that it was important to carry the message of prevention and also provide support to those that have been faced with the disease. We think of ourselves as moms-on-the-mission,” as said by Kaisa.  

I just LOVED talking to Kaisa, she is full of hopeful energy about sharing her love for healthy living and bringing awareness to what we should avoid putting in and on our bodies. Her and Monica have a beautiful story to share about how they came about becoming Mompreneurs.  It wasn’t something they knew they would be doing one day, it came about during their journey to better health and understanding of what a simple life is all about.  They truly are passionate moms and entrepreneurs.  

Unfortunately cancer may be closer to home than we want.  As a mom I am always looking at labels, I want to find products with the least amount of ingredients and I try to avoid products with ingredients that I can’t pronounce or that have numbers and abbreviations!  I now look at food labels every time I shop, and can easily pick the right kind of peanut butter, I look for no added sugar and simple, pure ingredients.  Simple, right! But when it comes to body care products I haven’t done as much homework yet!  And I tend to feel naive when I choose products off the store shelves.  It is scary how much information is lacking about the products that are most accessible to us.

I am happy to have now been introduced to this amazing local MOMpreneur duo who make natural products that are safe for us and our families, and the best part is I won’t have to try a Pintertest DIY to get what I know is best for my family, after all I am a DIY’er at heart and always looking for ways to keep life simple.  You can find their products in stores throughout Metro-Detroit and of course online.  So without further ado, check out these inspiring MOMpreneurs as they share the story behind their journey to bring us natural, simple, pure, organic, MOM-approved, body products.  

   Business Pow-wow - Monica and Kasia Kasia and Monica Discussing Skora Line

What inspired your passion?

KASIA:

Let’s just get this out there. Seven years ago, while pregnant with my oldest son, Hunter, I was stinky! And I’m not talking about your ordinary, after-a-long-day-of-work, kind of stink. This was a whole another dimension of armpit odor.

Bad body odor is definitely not something easy to face, but when you develop something so embarrassing that it’s evident to not only yourself, but to everyone nearby, you become very determined to find the solution, fast. And boy did I try. I tried every brand available, clinical strength, other handcrafted ones, and all of them failed to deliver. At that point I truly gave up thinking I will never “not” smell again.

The major changes in our household started after watching the movie “Food Inc.” I was horrified and the very next day I “de-junked” my kitchen and started to research and check the ingredients in foods and personal products I was buying. I began to uncover what is truly in them and where they come from.

Growing up in Poland, it was never necessary to check the labels, as most of the things we used were of natural orgin. My mom, Anna, even though she was a registered nurse, loved using natural ingredients to battle many bodily ailments. She used chamomile tea to wash our sister’s sensitive skin or sour milk to soothe our sunburn. When we came to the U.S. we never thought to look into the ingredients so closely and most of the time we assumed things on store shelves were good for you. I was surprised, however, by how many people consumed them without asking any questions once I realized that we should be paying more attention to what goes on and in our bodies. It was a true wake up call and a great reason for a fresh start.

When our son was born, educating ourselves became a way of life with organic, un-processed and wholesome in the forefront. In addition, these changes also transformed and improved my own health as I suffered from hypothyroidism, adrenal fatigue syndrome and discovered several food intolerance’s. Since then, passion for organic, simple, and healthier living became an obsession and morphed into an idea and birth of Rustic MAKA. It might’ve taken almost 7 years to actually get here but I enjoyed the journey.

 Kasia Anna Monica

Tell us about your business and the product/service you provide.

From the very start we’ve decided that everything we do will have a reason, a purpose, why it is the way it is. For the company name we chose rustic for its meaning and to make sure, we actually Goggled it and it was perfect. This definition came up:

rus·tic, adjective

  1. of or relating to the countryside; rural.
  2. simple, constructed or made in a plain and simple fashion, in particular.

Synonyms: plain, simple, homely, unsophisticated”

The MAKA part was a bit easier. It’s actually an acronym of our names: M for Monica, A for Aleksandra, our other sister, K for Kasia, and A for Anna, our mom. Even though Monica and I run the company, we felt that all of us will have a role in making it successful but more importantly we wanted to celebrate how close we are with each other.

At the time, Aleksandra (we just call her Alex) was graduating from the MSU with a degree in Advertising and a talented writer so we knew we could use her skills. She always said it would be great if we all worked together so having her on our team makes that dream a reality. Anna, our mom, is the extra pair of hands when we need help with the kids, putting labels on, etc. but more importantly she is the inspiration for going back to simple things like she did in Poland. She is also a working mom, but she understands our needs and always finds time to help and be there for us when we need her.

From the very beginning we’ve decided we will base everything on a set of values in order to bring the best personal care products to our customers. Our philosophy for pure, simple and organic products came from the phrase “less is more”. Back in Poland we learned to adapt and use simple and easy solutions. That was the norm, be resourceful and embrace the simplicity in life. With Rustic MAKA, we wanted to continue and teach others that it can be done with personal care products as well. We wanted to change the established harsh industry-standards and provide clients with made-in-nature, organic and vegan products.

Pachy deodorants (it actually means underarms in Polish) were the first item we launched in May 2014. We wanted to incorporate our heritage along with something different and catchy for a name. Pachy are made with only plant-based oils like organic unrefined coconut oil and Shea butter along with organic arrowroot powder, candelilla wax and a bit of baking soda. For scenting we only use pure, high-grade essential oils, which makes them, perfume and synthetic fragrance free. We are now ready to introduce our Skora (it means skin) line containing many good for you ingredients as well.

 Monica and Kasia at Soho in Florida

Is there a story or an encounter that you can share to give us some background on the development of your business?

MONICA:

Rustic MAKA and Pachy deodorants came to my life when I was a stay at home mom and a freelance graphic designer. At that time, I was concentrating on raising my kids, Gabriela and Emmett, and trying to squeeze in a little bit of work in-between.

When Kasia gave me a container of a homemade deodorant to try I was rather skeptical. But, I figured, sure why not. Putting the deodorant on one underarm and nothing on the other, I went to work out. After about an hour of strenuous workout, I did the stiff test and I could not believe it! The underarm with the deodorant still smelled as fresh as an hour ago, and the other one was, well…let’s not go there. I called her to tell her how great it worked and suggested to maybe make a business out of it.

The next day she wanted to know if I could help her out with the label design. I asked, “What would you call it?” to which she replied “Pachy.” I thought it was a genius idea for the product name. We spent few hours debating the name of the company, colors, scents, what grade ingredients it should contain, and…then it was time for dinner so we had to “pause” our “little” pow-wow. Few days later we met up for a kids play date and continued the conversation. It made sense for us to work together since I have graphic design background and Kasia has the in-depth knowledge about natural ingredients. We both share, however, passion for wellness and drive to educate others about healthy products. Besides, we are sisters, we know how we work, we know our values, and how to bring out the best and support each other. It was at that moment Rustic MAKA was born.

Who do you target as clientele?

KASIA:

I always said, “If mom is not happy, nobody in the family will be happy”. I stand behind it 100% because I know first hand how much pressure there is to take care of a family, whether you are a working mom or stay at home one. I’ve been both. Most of the time, moms are the ones not only choosing their own personal care products, but also what the entire family uses. We go to the stores searching for the best for our kids, husbands, boyfriends, and significant others. We are the first line of defense against toxic chemicals that lurk in those products. Moms are often the decision makers and Rustic MAKA wants to help them healthier choices. We want them to know they have options and we are a company on a mission to develop truly healthy products for their entire family.

But, our customers don’t only include moms. We have dads too and everybody in between who values wellness through organic goods, prevention, and use of natural resources provided by our mother nature. We want to reach out to those who are as passionate about healthy lifestyle as we are, and to those who are seeking simple yet effective products.

Skora Rustic Maka in Store

What do you believe makes what you do unique?

MONICA:

To put it simply, we truly care what ingredients we use. We search and search, and then search some more to find the best quality components and ways to make our products as straightforward and effective as possible. We want to set a new standard for this industry and be transparent about it. There has been a lot of talk about natural and organic and there are so many misconceptions about these words and their meaning. We want to educate consumers to become more curious about what’s in their products but also give them the opportunity to try the old fashioned remedies, solutions that worked a long time ago and see the value in simpler way of life.

Kasia with Hunter and Sawyer 

Monica with Gabriela and baby Emmett

Tell us briefly about your family and your approach to balancing the roles of mother and business owner.

KASIA:

So this is me, Kasia. I have many aspirations, I am passionate and I am known for my relentless determination. I am a mom to two boys, Hunter Christopher, 7 and Sawyer James, 4. They are my little “creatures”, the troublemakers, the adventure seekers, the “let’s keep mom on her toes all day long”, the source of unconditional love, the reason I live every single day. I am a wife. My husband, Justin and I met almost 14 years ago in a dance club in Canada so the whole “you can’t find love in a bar” totally didn’t apply to us. He is an automotive designer, has an artistic touch, and a generous soul. He is my biggest fan.

Balancing motherhood and work has never been an easy task for me. Since Hunter’s birth, I wanted to be a stay at home mom but I also wanted to have a career. It might’ve been a little bit selfish to have something where I could get away from being a mom and a wife, but I knew that’s how I would keep my sanity and have something of my own.

Running Rustic MAKA has many challenges, especially since it’s a home based business. If I want to attend an event we need to cover our bases, such as “Who’s going to pick Hunter from school and who’s watching Sawyer while I am gone?” Or how can I keep my son occupied while I make a business phone call. The scenarios are endless but so are the solutions. I’ve learned that family and even my close friends are my best support, no matter the problem. There’s always someone who is willing to help, I just need to speak up and ask.

In our house we don’t have roles, there is no list of who’s responsible for what. We share the daily routines of cooking, getting Hunter ready for school, changing bed sheets, grocery shopping, taking out the garbage, fixing broken door hinges, or putting together a new bike for Sawyer. This is what married life is for us, being partners and being there for each other.

What are you most proud of as a MOMpreneur?

KASIA:

Does “never give up, never surrender,” sounds too cheesy? Nah. In our Mompreneur world that’s exactly how we have to live. We know that there will be times of trying to juggle multiple tasks, deadlines (even though we set them ourselves most of the time), and family responsibilities all at once. We push through it, knowing that at the end of the day we did the best we could, we worked hard and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I am most proud of the feeling I have at the end of the day, that I have this amazing opportunity to work side by side with my sister, provide a healthy lifestyle for my family, and make a difference for our customers. This is enough of a reason to be proud of.

What encouragement can you give to other women and mothers?

MONICA:

My life as a mom never feels balanced, so don’t beat yourself up if you are in the same boat. I don’t really remember last time I could say “Everything is done, and I can sit for the next six hours and watch a marathon of Friends.” As one thing goes smoothly and gets finished, there are five others that need my attention. Just the other day I was giving myself a pat on the back for finally seeing the bottom of the laundry basket and sending the final of Rustic MAKA brochure to the printer, when my son got sick and I ended up in the ER with him.

For me, life is about taking one day at a time, enjoying the moment, and tackling tasks that are most important. At the end of the day, as tired as I am, I can honestly say, I did my best and be happy I witness my sons first words or talk to a Rustic MAKA customer about how much they love our products. This is what counts.

 

For more information please visit Kaisa + Monica online at www.RusticMaka.com and on Facebook

Email them at [email protected]

Call them at 248-802-5242

You can find their products in stores throughout Metro-Detroit, visit them and see where you can find Rustic MAKA near you! 

RM-Logo

Special Offer for Detroit Moms Blog Readers

The mommas behind Rustic MAKA are offering YOU a special discount code for ALL Detroit Moms Blog readers.  15% off with code: DetroitMom valid until 2/14. 

Are you an organic-simple-pure loving momma??? Check them out, this is great product for YOU!!!

 

 

 

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Hi Detroit Mommas!!! I'm Annette Rioux, co-founder of Detroit Moms Blog. I'm a work-at-home momma raising my family in Novi. I am passionate about creating a healthy + happy life for the ones I love most in this world, my husband Joel and our 2 boys JB + JJ. I am working on getting my small creative business off the ground {annette's creation's}, I homeschool our 2 boys {age 5 + age 3}, and help run this wonderful blog {DMB}! I was given this opportunity to stay home with my family when I was laid off from my Interior Design career mid-January 20-13. I was a stressed, unhappy mom wanting more freedom in my life at the time. We made many sacrifices to do this, we work everyday to keep me home raising our family. I love design, DIY, creating a healthy lifestyle, entertaining, reading, learning, coffee and just being a MOM. I'm learning how acceptance, letting go, and choosing happiness can lead me to where I need to be.

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