Hi, my name is Charlene. My sister Debbie and I are the duo behind CeeCee & Bee. We develop and make pure and natural apothecary goods in sunny San Diego.
I developed a sensitivity to most soaps and shampoos when I was in my early twenties, but it took me years to figure out what was causing my breakouts. As I started eliminating products made with harsh chemicals and sulfates, my skin cleared up and was no longer dry or itchy. During this quest for pure and natural products, I started a family and changed my career path; I wanted to find something that I could do with my own two hands, using materials readily available to me.
Then last spring, while I was outside with my kids, inspiration struck. They were playing while I was doing yard work – trimming and discarding dead lavender and overgrown rosemary. That’s when it dawned on me: I’d always wanted to do something with these trimmings – why not harvest and dry the herbs? I asked my sister, best friend and creative partner Debbie to join me, and one thing led to another. Soon, we were making cold-processed soap with lavender and rosemary.
Ever since, Debbie and I have been working together to develop our products. We research each ingredient in-depth to determine the best combinations, keeping in mind what people need and like. Once we develop a recipe, we test it again and again until we love it. All of our scented soaps are made using quality sustainable oils, like unrefined cocoa butter and organic extra-virgin olive oil. The cold-processing method we use keeps the oils at low temperatures and preserves all the wonderful, skin-loving benefits.
Etsy has provided Debbie and me with a fully functional storefront at a very low cost. It’s given us the opportunity to test our business and see if it was something worth pursuing. For us, 2013 was all about learning and testing, and after a successful holiday season, we decided to take it to the next level. Our plan for the future is to refine and grow our product line, improve efficiency, expand our distribution to include more retailers, and continue building brand awareness. We want to be a brand that provides a healthy alternative for body, skin and home care products.
All photographs by Patricia Lucia.