Meri became an entrepreneur because she had a problem she was trying to solve. She was simply trying to find a makeup to smooth her complexion and in the process, she started Terra Firma Cosmetics. She had tried everything she could think of to resolve her acne problems, which persisted into her late 30’s.
One night she was up late and caught site of an infomercial selling Bare Minerals makeup.
Meri tells how it all started.
“I saw that Bare Minerals makeup was on and was intrigued. Makeup! And it’s something new. They were saying how healthy it was and how beautiful it makes your skin look. I had really bad acne and was always trying to cover up my skin. I thought maybe this would help. It looked like it goes on so good. I wanted to try it, so I ordered it.”
Meri was excited to try this new makeup, which she expected to beautifully cover her skin’s imperfections and solve her problem, but when it arrived she had a different experience.
Meri continued, “I put it on and – okay- so I’ve got oily skin, big pores and breakouts and this makeup highlighted every pore in my skin and it made me itch. I could not wear it.”
The makeup sheen brought out every imperfection in Meri’s skin, but rather than giving up, it gave her an idea. She decided to look into this further and find out what she could do to make something that would work for her skin.
Meri explained her thinking, “I wanted to make this product, but something in it was making me itch and I didn’t like that it was shiny. I researched companies that sold raw, cosmetic grade mineral ingredients. I had to educate myself on what each ingredient did, what property it brought to the formulation or recipe. It’s like a cake. There are ingredients. The end result is a cake. I wanted the end result to be a makeup that I could wear.”
From there she made tiny batches of foundation, carefully measuring everything, writing it all down and using a coffee grinder she bought specifically to mix her makeup experiments. She wanted the perfect looking skin with the perfect colors for her skin tone and she succeeded. In fact, she was so successful that her friends began to notice the changes in her complexion and starting asking her to formulate makeup for them too. This was when she knew she was onto something, so she continued working on various formulations.
Meri has beautiful skin now, so I asked her, “What caused your skin to clear up?”
She responded, “I don’t know if it’s the makeup I was wearing. I don’t know if my hormones changed, but when I started wearing my makeup and using my skincare, my skin changed.”
She has also seen this with some of her customers and told me, “I can’t change their hormones, but if it’s their makeup, a lot of women’s skin clears up when they wear my makeup, if it was caused by their makeup before.”
Many women with skin problems and acne don’t realize it that their makeup might be contributing to their skin problems.
Meri explained, “Silicones suffocate your skin, which leads to clogged pores and fools your skin into thinking it’s hydrated, when in fact it dries it out.”
If you are using something on your skin that is causing a problem, there is a good chance that getting rid of the ingredients causing trouble and replacing them with something that nourishes your skin and lets it breathe is going to help resolve the skin issues. If you think your skin is acting up due to what you are putting on your skin, you might consider switching to one of Terra Firma Cosmetic’s products. They are formulated to nourish your skin and give you a flawless look, whether you have large pores and oily skin or tight, dry skin or something in between.
Once Meri began to research how to make her own foundation, she immersed herself in the process of research and development for her own skin. She learned all about how to formulate makeup that was safe and non-toxic. One thing led to another and she began to formulate skincare and other types of makeup to enhance her appearance and to nourish her skin. It became a passion that she shared with her friends and once she realized that her makeup was better than anything she had found on the market and other people were thrilled with it too, she knew she could turn it into a business.
This is how Meri tells the story.
“It was fun and I was really obsessed with researching how to make all this stuff and giving it to my friends to try and asking for feedback. Feedback is so important. At that time, my sister became partners with me and we were feeding off each other. She’s more of a computer person. She built the first website. I was more research, development and formulator. That’s my favorite. Going back and formulating products. I was working as a Teacher’s Aide during the day, going home and putting additional time into my new passion. I still had to help support the family. Bring in an income. Putting money back into the business, because once on-line sales started picking up, we had money coming in.”
“We did that for a couple of years. For a while it was a lot of hours and work.”
“We decided to do wholesale and pickup up accounts. There was more coming in and we just expanded more and more and more into the business until we just physically could not do both anymore, so we had to either stop Terra Firma or quit our jobs, which was hard because I loved my job before, but it was also exciting.”
And eventually, “We both quit and went full time with Terra Firma Cosmetics.”
Meri had two laundry rooms in her house. They tore one apart and turned it into a Terra Firm Cosmetics room. They worked out of the small room until, “We were bursting at the seams. Raymond had a building, a facility on the port there for us, so we moved in there and opened up our new manufacturing plant and boutique.”
Things went well right from the start. “All our local ladies absolutely loved the idea that they now had Terra Firma Cosmetics in their hometown. We had awesome support from them. I still do. A lot of them order on-line or come in and visit and get their beauty supplies.”
Meri’s sister has since left the business and Meri moved Terra Firma Cosmetics to Olympia, Washington. She has a cute little storefront right in the heart of the downtown core where she continues to do research, development and formulating, but now she is has also taken over where her sister left off by running the business side of things as well. Her next big goal is to get Terra Firma Cosmetics into Whole Foods and be a presence in other large retailers that carry natural, non-toxic makeup.
I am so glad that Meri took hold of her dreams to create makeup that will not disrupt hormones and doesn’t include any harmful ingredients. She is a signer of the Compact for Safe Cosmetics. The goal is to provide customers with safe, non-toxic, and pure personal care products that make your skin look and feel beautiful. The quality is amazing, especially when you see her prices. All of her makeup is affordably priced.
If you would like to check out the ingredients in her products, you can go to the Terra Firma Cosmetics website and find products that you might be interested in. The ingredients are listed on the website. You can check those ingredients against the ewg.org/skindeep database, which gives each ingredient a score and an explanation. The lower the score, the better. Meri uses this rating system to formulate her products as safely as possible.
Meri’s is a story of finding and following a passion without letting negative thinking get in the way. Meri says, “I don’t ever go back and regret things. I mean that’s just not the way I am. I don’t. I can go through something. I recover fast. I don’t look back. I don’t dwell.”
Not only is Meri a positive, up-beat person, but she believes in the potential and ability of others as well.
This is her advice to women starting out in business. “Do it! Don’t let that small negative voice stop you, because that will stop you. If you don’t listen to it, you’ll do it. That’s what stops the most people, believing that they can’t do it.”
You can visit Terra Firma Cosmetics here.
By Cynthia DeWitte
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