Growing up, Rene’ Bartosh had severely dry hands, “They would often crack and bleed. In the winter, I would go to bed wearing gloves and lotion on them in an attempt to soothe my skin. It was awful. Some people outgrow the condition and their skin heals. I never did.”
After getting married and having her first child, Rene’ still struggled with her skin. It was a prompt from her husband that changed her life forever.
At the time, Rene’s husband was going to school for his bachelor’s degree in environmental studies. He came home from class one day declaring Rene’ should make the switch to natural makeup. “It was so unlike him to comment on this,” recalls Rene’. “He is a former Marine, not one to bring up skin care or makeup. At the thought of switching to natural makeup, all I could see was dollar signs, but his comment sparked an idea in my head and I began researching coconut oil.”
Using down time during the day as she worked as a bank drive-up teller, Rene’ learned everything she could about natural skin care and began experimenting in creating her own sugar scrub exfoliator at home in the evenings. Today, that product is her moisturizing exfoliator line at Pure & Coco.
“When I used that first batch, I couldn’t believe it! I was shocked. I couldn’t stop touching my neck. My skin had never felt so soft,” says Rene’ in awe.
After she had been using it for a few days, a co-worker of Rene’s commented, “Your hands look so good!” That motivated Rene’ to begin giving samples to her co-workers for feedback.
Soon those samples were passed to friends, neighbors, and customers in the bank drive-thru. “They kept coming back for more and more!” giggles Rene’, recalling how her products suddenly took off.
While Rene’ began receiving raving feedback about her new product, she was experimenting at home with how many ways she could use it. “I like to be able to use one product for multiple things. With this in mind, I developed five different ways for people to use the moisturizing exfoliator.” says Rene’. She named her skin care line Pure & Coco and just a couple of months later quit her position at the bank and jumped into working her business full time in 2014.
During this time, her husband was still in school and their son Lance was four years old. The family would go to markets, traveling all over western Washington and northern Oregon to share about Pure & Coco.
“One time we went to a fair for 12 days,” remembers Rene’. “My husband Steven and I would take turns manning the booth and entertaining Lance with carnival rides. During times when there were multiple markets happening at the same time, we would divide and conquer, each going to a different location.”
In the early seasons of her business, the most challenging aspects were learning what worked the best and navigating growing pains. One example Rene’ shares is, “We started using mason jars to hold the product. Sourcing the jars was a hurdle. It also took time to find systems and routines that worked for us so we weren’t constantly scrambling to prepare for the markets. Even things like creating and printing labels had to be figured out.”
A couple of years after launching Pure & Coco, Rene’ began to see a need to add an additional product to complement her 5-in-1 Moisturizing Exfoliator — a moisturizing creme.
“Everyone’s skin is different,” explains Rene’. “The moisturizing exfoliator was a game changer, but I felt like I could use just a little something more to seal it all in.” A conversation with her 91-year-old grandmother led her down the path of creating a moisturizing creme.
Rene’s grandmother had diagnosed eczema on her hands. She had been using a prescribed creme that was not helping much. Because she had paper thin skin, she was unable to use scrubs like the moisturizing exfoliant. Rene’ took it upon herself to create something better to fit both her grandmother’s needs and her own needs.
The 6-in-1 face and body creme is made with mango butter to calm the skin. Water beads off the creme, so it doesn’t easily wash away like other lotions but rather locks in the moisture.
“It’s like Rain-X for your skin!” exclaims Rene’. “It is a one-two punch now, you use the exfoliator first and then the creme after.”
Today Pure & Coco has two main products in its line: the 5-in-1 moisturizing exfoliator and the
6-in-1 face and body creme. Everything is created for dry eczema and maturing skin. Different scents for the exfoliator and the creme are created using essential oils.
The products in Pure & Coco’s skin care line are created by Rene’ herself in her workshop space attached to their home in Montesanto, Washington, where she lives with her husband, Steven, and their kids, Lance and June.
Pure & Coco products are available in select retail stores and at www.pureandcoco.com. Shipping is available nationwide.
Pure & Coco is also part of the Sparrows Grace network, a curated collection of Christian shops. “I like the connection,” says Rene’ about her experience as a Sparrows Grace vendor. “Melissa [of Sparrows Grace] is always working on new aspects to improve the membership, such as co-op office hours, and holiday guides. It is good to work alongside other Christian business owners.”
How to use the Pure & Coco Skin Care Line:
Start with the moisturizing exfoliator. Put a half of a spoonful into your hands and add water. Rub it on like a lotion. Rinse it off. Pat dry. Then, put on a pea-sized amount of the cream to lock the moisture in.
The 5-in-1 Moisturizing Exfoliant works as an exfoliator, moisturizer, face wash, makeup remover, and shaving oil.
The 6-in-1 Moisturizing Creme can be added into your skin care routine as a daytime moisturizer, a nighttime moisturizer, eye creme, neck treatment, chest or decolletage care, and hand creme.
Learn more about Pure & Coco at www.pureandcoco.com or discover them on Facebook and Instagram.
Originally published in Gritty Faith Volume 15 as part of the Sparrows Grace feature. Written by Jessy Paulson.
As published in Gritty Faith Magazine, Volume 15 (www.grittyfaithmag.com)