That’s a lotta mamas! But if there’s anyone who’s up for the challenge, it’s Nathan Kerdachi & Angela Venegas. Their brand I’M FRESCA will take off faster than one of the United Airlines jets they see every day working on the ramp at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport.
When their son Xander was a baby, he had really bad eczema. Know what doctors advised? Steroids. For an infant. Yikes. That was a no go. Is it any wonder that the eczema market is valued at $6.4 billion?
See, Angela grew up in Colombia, where folks typically try herbs and other natural remedies before turning to over-the-counter or prescription medicines. Makes sense, when you consider how easy it is to grow all kinds of plants there. Lots of big brands have made their way south, and while their products are convenient, you’ve got to wonder whether that tradeoff is a good one.
That’s exactly the problem Angela and Nathan aim to solve, starting with an all-natural eczema cream for kiddos. How they got it formulated is a testament to their tenacity. As Nathan says, if there was a backwards way to do product development, he did it.
He emailed 30 formulators and heard nothing back. He scoured YouTube and Google and kept coming across the name Luisa Fanzani, a formulator who was featured on a Netflix Original, in Forbes, and other places. When he reached out, she replied and offered to send samples of her formulations. As a renowned chemist, Luisa had about had it with the big cosmetic companies’ lies, so she resolved to work with other entrepreneurs who want to do good for the world.
Formula? Check. But what about a manufacturer? They’re working with Novian Skincare, owned by The One Percent community rock star Scott Cartwright. And tubes for the packaging? And testing in Canada for like 7 months? Each hurdle they crossed landed them right in front of another. But they kept going. Even though they’d left their comfort zone far, far behind.
But not their sense of humor. Angela says now when she sees tubes on the shelf in the grocery store, she wants to tell them, “Hey, you went through a lot to get here. Much respect.” (And yes, this lady lights up any room she’s in.)
That’s how it all started, but how’s it going now? Well, I’M FRESCA is now taking preorders. People who’ve gotten samples to use are asking for more. They love this product and report that not only does it provide relief, it also moisturizes and stays on for 24 hours after application. Powerful stuff! But wait until you hear how they’re planning to scale this brand.
I’M FRESCA will partner with latina influencers. But not the way most brand owners do it. They’ll partner with them to co-create new products. The influencers will document their journey and share equity in the products they create. BRILLIANT!
Prediction: Investors will want in on this brand. But Nathan and Angela are bootstrapping for now, even looking at selling Angela’s car to keep this brand going. “Honey, you said a year from now we’re going to be rolling in it. So, go ahead and sell it. You can give me a Mercedes later,” she says.
Their long-term plan? Think The Honest Company, but for latina moms. Nathan has a beautiful vision for serving moms in all four seasons of motherhood: pregnancy and babies, toddlers through teens, teens through college, and then empty nesters (we’re still moms!).
How about a bit of parting advice from this duo? Nathan says the best bit he’d pass on to you is to make decisions. Don’t allow yourself to get stuck pondering - just decide and then go over, under, around, or through any obstacles in your path. Just keep making the next decision along the way. Angela says, “Keep going. LIfe is always happening to you. There’s always a reason to stop. Just keep going - because if you want to change the situation you’re in, you have to keep going. It’s going to get hard, but if you keep going, eventually it gets smoother.”
Angela and Nathan work together at the airport, parent two littles together, and are building an exciting brand together, too. Too much togetherness? Not a chance. (Though that doesn’t mean they don’t occasionally feel the urge to throw Snickers bars at each other.) They say that building this brand together has made their marriage even stronger.
Awwww. Capitalism even makes marriages better. <3
We'll keep you updated on Nathan and Angela's progress on their road to $1 million. They're off to a great start, and we hope their story inspires you as much as it inspires us.
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