Fridays are fabulous for many apparent reasons (hello, weekend!), and at BG HQ, Fridays are special because it’s a day to celebrate some of the AMAZING female founders we’ve chosen to partner with. Simply put, Adina Grigore, founder of S.W. Basics, is a badass. We love Adina because she’s innovated a pure skincare line that we absolutely adore. We love her because she’s recently written an empowering book, Skin Cleanse, that teaches us how to move to a true natural beauty regimen. Adina Grigore is a powerful, real, and honest lady who connects-in to women close to our heart, like Patti Smith and Lena Dunham. Just by her beingness, she embodies the true essence of entrepreneurship: resilience and passion. We hope you enjoy this interview as much as we did. Find inspiration for your own life, as we did, in this lovely interview!
Inspiration and advice to entrepreneurs and women
On your website you tell us we’re awesome, and we’d like to return the compliment! We’d love to learn more about your personal journey with sensitive skin and what inspired you to create your amazing line S.W. Basics, especially with your background in holistic nutrition and wellness.
Why thank you! My whole life I’ve been really sensitive, constantly symptomatic with no apparent cause. It’s a super frustrating way to live. I studied nutrition after not finding answers anywhere else, and was able to soothe so many of my issues by eating healthier and living more holistically. My skin issues didn’t get better until I cut back on my product list and my ingredient list, and that’s what led me to create a super simple skincare line without a long list of ingredients that can potentially cause reactions. Cutting back helped my skin more than anything else!
What does it take to be a successful entrepreneur, especially when first starting out?
So many things. I’m still learning! For me it’s been perseverance. It’s been very, very difficult to grow our brand. We’ve dealt with a lot of disbelief, negativity, and rejection. It’s super painful, and it’s hard to overcome the emotional side to running a business. But if you really believe in what you’re doing (and better yet, if lots of people and customers seem to believe in it too), then it’s really important to keep trying.
What is your #1 mentoring tip for female entrepreneurs, young girls in school or women graduating from high school?
Do your ideas and do them shamelessly. Women doubt themselves so much, we’re all so afraid. Just go for it. It doesn’t mean you’re arrogant or silly. Be smart, stay in school, but if you have an idea and you like it, go for it.
What's your superpower as a boss?
Haha! This is funny, because I’m going to say that my superpower as a boss is thinking I’m a terrible boss at all times. I hate being the “boss.” So I’m always trying to be better.
Creativity and Innovation / Brand Philosophy / Product Development
Your Instagram is so real and so inspiring. Amen to your quote from Jessica Murnane’s One Part Podcast (which BTW everyone should listen to). Here’s the quote: “You’re a human that has one trillion amazing and incredible things about you.” Tell us more!
I believe that the wellness industry is so phony and rigid that it’s stifling. Fitness gurus and nutritionists, especially on Instagram, want you to believe they are perfect robots, and that if you eat kale and drink hot lemon water, you’ll be perfect too. (And on the flipside, if you eat French fries and pizza, you’ll fall apart and die.) None of this is true. Think about the thigh gap trend. What is that shit? I never even thought about that in my entire life, now I’m obsessed. It’s insane. Humans and all of their flaws, to me, are amazing. People are beautiful because of their imperfections, and because of their personalities, and their minds. Not because of their weight or what they eat.
We’d love to hear about your progression from founding S.W. Basics to writing your book, Skin Cleanse. Why write this book? Tell us about your philosophy about “minimalist skincare,” and why you think our skin needs a break, sometimes.
I got my start teaching classes and working one-on-one with clients. I loved it and I’ve really missed it. I’ve always felt conflicted about selling a product line because of how much I believe less is more. So I wanted to put all of my thoughts in one place, and I wanted to be able to tell people, “You don’t have to buy our products, you can read about how to clear your skin and do your own DIY products at home.” Good skin is about so much more than your products, and it’s silly to preach anything otherwise. And to me, more than anything, it’s about cutting back. When you eat simple, clean foods, everything gets better. The same is true for your skincare routine. Your skin needs a break to refresh and reset itself sometimes. We are way too addicted to our products. Buying skin care should be an exciting hobby, they’re like supplements.
The majority of your items are packaged in glass. Give us the down-low on your intention with this!
I felt like it would be a huge contradiction to sell the cleanest products on the market and then put them in a really dirty package (plastic). Glass is super eco-friendly, it doubles our shelf-life, prevents the chance of chemicals interacting with the product, and is infinitely recyclable.
You buy only from organic, Fair Trade, or small-farm sources. This approach feels central to the way you create and innovate. Tell us more about why this is important to you.
It’s sort of similar to why we package in glass, we can’t have a truly natural good-for-you brand and then do things that don’t have integrity. If I tell you I’m using the best rosewater on the market in our cleanser, I’d better mean it. The way we prove we mean it is by sourcing from top-quality suppliers, looking for certifications, trying to keep things close to home or from people we know and trust.
Your website notes, “For us, less isn’t just more; less is everything.” That feels very 2015, very forward-thinking. Why do you think many people are craving the simple life AND simple products?
I think people are starting to realize that a more-more-more lifestyle is taxing on your body, wallet, and soul. It sounds so crunchy but I think it’s true. Happiness does not come from things you buy, and everything gets better when you realize that and start only spending money on things that make you feel really good and really happy. We have spent decades filling our lives with thoughtless goods and foods and we’re all sick and unhappy. It’s time for a change.
Your blog is awesome. And guess what? We binge-watch John Hughes movies, too. We love the idea of a slumber party! So, if you could have a slumber party with 3 female artists, icons, politicians, authors, wellness aficionados, spiritual leaders, or any person alive today or not, who would they be and why?
1. Patti Smith – I would just ask her question after question, since I feel like she knows everything about life.
2. Hayley Williams – She is the most hardworking, down-to-earth, and talented person. Plus, she’s a rock star.
3. Julia Louis Dreyfuss – Because she is hilarious and I’m obsessed with Veep.
How do you define beauty? What’s your “beauty philosophy?”
Beauty is something really personal – and it goes way beyond how you look. My beauty philosophy is not to overthink it.
What are the 5 life rituals you do daily to stay happy and healthy?
1. Watch music videos on Vevo.
2. Work out!
3. Eat homemade food.
4. Text my sister.
5. Stream Veep on HBO.
Who’s on your playlist right now?
Taylor Swift, Paramore, Marc Maron Podcast, The Startup Podcast.
What blog, Instagram account or Tumblr inspires you the most?
@kayla_itsines for workout inspiration.
@Inspiralized for delicious, veggie-based food ideas.
What quote do you return to again and again for lady inspiration?
This quote by Lena Dunham is one of my favorites.
What’s next for S.W. Basics?