It was five years ago that concert pianist Angela Jia Kim found herself about to walk on stage with achingly red and annoyingly itchy hives. After putting on what she thought was “natural lotion” from a brand everyone is aware of and uses on a regular basis, Kim performed on stage literally grinning and baring it.
“After the concert this lady comes up to me and says that I looked as red as my gown,” said Kim. “So, I looked at the ingredients when I got back to the hotel room. At the time the names were all Chinese to me with all these chemical names and technical terms. I was really surprised to see that the first ingredient was water. The fifth ingredient (out of 55) was a preservative that releases formaldehyde.”
Kim explained that two members of her family has or had a form of cancer so she decided to immediately clean up her act and become proactive in carefully analyzing everything that came in contact with her body – inside and out.
“I wanted to find an organic beauty regimen and I couldn’t find anything luxurious and organic,” explained Kim. “I just started to make products for myself in my kitchen. It was a hobby that I had no intention of taking anywhere. I’m a pianist so I’m very disciplined. I made the creams a thousand times before I was happy. I gave it to friends as gifts. Friends were buying it and giving it to their friends. Then strangers are using this so I thought I better send this to a cosmetic chemist to test it and make sure it’s OK. They were surprised to see I did it myself.”
After having her husband Marc play “guinea pig” for a few test runs in their kitchen, Kim received the seal of approval. OM Aroma & Co. or the “sexy green” launched a little over a year ago focusing on taking the natural approach to beauty as one would to eating. In the last year Kim has taken the beauty industry by storm with OM Aroma & Co. To sweeten the aroma, her company won a national award, beating out the brand that gave her hives in the first place.
“I’m much more concerned about my organic beauty regimen,” explained Kim. “So that I think when you use quality people sense it, you know? There are no fillers in the formulas. I want the best for my own skin so I want that to translate to other men and women. When you sense integrity everyone else does, too. If you want it there’s a good chance others want it, too.”
A quote from Kim – “Live life beautifully inside and out” – as well as a sample of Kim’s music greets consumers on her company’s website. Her belief is that to create a “skin care company with soul” you have to believe that beauty truly does come from the inside and expresses itself out.
“I think it’s really important to be empowered and educated,” said Kim. “We read the ingredients on our labels like we do when we buy food. We will not have the cosmetics companies pull the wool over our eyes. You really need to know what you’re getting yourself into. I like to take it further and explain why we use what we use and what the purpose is behind it. I feel very passionately that women know what the ingredients are so that they are empowered when putting it on their bodies. My company grew out of integrity and ethics, a company that digs deep. That’s what’s been missing in the beauty world.”
Kim lost her father when she was 13-years-old leaving everything up to her mom. Being raised by a single mother taught Kim the importance of integrity. The packaging of OM’s products is done in conjunction with the Dollars & Sense Program that helps people, especially women, transitioning into the workforce after being absent for an extended period of time. Many mothers take time off to raise their children and need the help getting back into the groove of full-time employment.
“My mom had to raise her kids on her own,” said Kim. “She couldn’t find a job with an employer who was sympathetic to the fact that she had three young children.” Kim’s company is committed to helping mothers get back in the workforce.
Her other project, Savor for Success, is a boutique social networking site for female entrepreneurs. There are “Six Degrees of Separation Events” that are sponsored by the website focusing on networking, learning, connecting, building, and abundance together. The online network allows women, some being entrepreneurs, to connect with everyone from within the States to Europe.
“It’s really difficult for women to go from the launch phase to actually breaking events for new entrepreneurs,” said Kim. “I can relate to that. I needed a place to go where I could learn how to build my brand. This is my way of giving back.”
OM Extrait de Caviar (Caviar Age-Defy Eye Crème) repairs and redefines the eye area with Caviar extract, organic honeysuckle and CoZ10 for “youthful radiance.” Used as an anti-aging cream that purifies, hydrates, and repairs. To buy click here.
*check out the edited version in the next issue of Organic Beauty magazine hitting newsstands this fall
Photos thanks to Inna Shamis at AvantGarde Communications Group.