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    After many frustrating doctor appointments that offered lackluster solutions, a local lady was inspired to create healthy, sustainable and effective products. Keep reading to see how they changed her health, and her family’s health, for the better -- so much so, you might see them soon on Shark Tank!

    Infertility was just the beginning in a long line of struggles for Erin Christen. Before looking into IVF, she found that a recent blood test revealed her thyroid levels were on the lower end of the “normal” range.

    “Accordingly, I proceeded to an endocrinologist, and there I was diagnosed with hypothyroid,” she explains. “As soon as I started medication, we immediately became pregnant.”

    However, after she gave birth to her second child, she felt like something was still off. “I was struggling to lose weight, I was extremely fatigued all day, and I was in a horrible brain fog,” she says. “I decided to switch doctors, seeking a more proactive, more Eastern Medicine philosophy.”

    Follow a year and dozens of blood draws, vitamins, and supplements, Christen was diagnosed with additional endocrine diseases including Hasimoto’s, MTHFR Gene Mutation, and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.

    Her experiences with these diseases, as well as her encounters with others who also suffer from them, inspired her to launch a company alongside her husband that focuses on showing people the healthier options of everyday and seasonal products called Earthganic Elements.

    “Many products produced today contain added toxic ingredients, affecting thousands of people everyday,” says Christen. “Whether it’s the aluminum in deodorants, deet in bug repellents, or chloroform in your dryer sheets, applying these ingredients over and over is disrupting our endocrine systems, organ functions, and can even lead to cancer.”

    In addition to treating her own health conditions, Christen says that she was inspired to launch Earthganic Elements because of the family she needs to care for. “To keep my husband healthy, so he doesn’t have too many doctor appointments. So my children will have the best possible opportunity and quality of life. To keep their slate as clean as possible for as long as I can,” she says when asked where she gets her inspiration.

    Christen officially launched Earthganic Elements in July 2016 after a couple of months of local and personal testing. However, she says, she and her mother have been making personal lip balm, sunscreen, and dryer balls for years.

    Earthganic Elements creates a variety of products. There are two formulas of deodorants, one with no baking soda and one with active charocal, chest rub, a plant-based healing stick for bug bites, bees tings, rashes, cuts, and dry skin, bug repellents, sunscreens, lip balms, 100% wool dryer balls, and tooth & whitening powder. Christen says she plans to soon launch shower bombs, eczema lotion, and a muscle rub.

    Earthganic Elements is growing rapidly, according to Christen, and is becoming more available in multiple retail locations throughout Cincinnati. Customers can also order and ship through the Earthganics website<www.earthganicelements.com>.

    Christen says she started off the New Year with a trip to Las Vegas where she auditioned for Shark Tank Season 9. “As much as that is a dream, one that I am hoping will come true, I continue to present the product line face-to-face in local retail stores and national chains,” she explains.

    Soon, Christen will travel to Alaska for more retail opportunity meetings and to learn more about plant oil extraction, which will soon bring forth the creation of an “Alaskan” line of products.

    “And we are not far from offering a monthly subscription,” says Christen. “The concept of the subscription service is to remove the burden of remembering to order or purchase products before you run out.”

    The monthly membership subscriptions will offer savings to the customer.

    To learn more about Earthganic Elements, visit www.earthganicelements.com or by liking them on Instagram and Facebook. Christen says you can subscribe to receive newsletters and be on the “First to Know” list. “We’ll be launching a blog very soon to keep everyone informed on news about toxins and product updates!

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    Erin Neace found her confidence and passion through spray tanning. See how that led her on a journey of weight loss, empowerment and entrepreneurship.

     

    101215BEAUTY1
    Erin Neace (right) at the Lady of Sun’s grand opening event
    Spray tanning had been a part of Erin Neace’s life since high school. It gave her a huge confidence boost by neutralizing out the redness in her face and fair skin tone. As the spray tan industry moved away from machine-operated booths, she began airbrushing her spray tan, which gave her a more natural appearance. “When I would get an airbrush tan, it instantly gave me a confidence boost,” says Neace. “It was a sense of freedom and confidence that I had never experienced.”

    Neace prior to her weight loss
    Neace prior to her weight loss
    After becoming pregnant at 16 years old, Neace dropped out of high school but wanted to provide a better life for her daughter. She pursued her GED and college degree with the dream to start her own business one day. That dream came true when she opened the doors to her new business, Lady of Sun Airbrush Tanning. “The beginning struggles of my life definitely created an ambitious attitude inside me that would eventually lead to the creation of my business and opening of our store,” says Neace.

    Before Lady of Sun, Neace was working as a strategic sourcing analyst and coordinator at Christ Hospital. “I oversaw a large portfolio focusing on sourcing in supply chain for medical/surgical goods at the hospital,” says Neace. “I loved the job, and the organization, but being an entrepreneur was really something I was starting to think about.” At the time, she had just started her MBA at Northern Kentucky University. Her husband was very supportive of Neace wanting to become an entrepreneur and wanted her to follow her heart and be happy.

    Neace preparing to apply an organic spray tan at Lady of Sun
    Neace preparing to apply an organic spray tan at Lady of Sun
    With years of practice and education about spray tanning and the science behind it, she was asked to join a pro-team for professional spray tanning for the Miss America pageant. She had left her job at Christ Hospital only three months prior in December 2014. Neace and her husband felt as though God was helping them progress in the business. Now, they have a retail location that just opened up on October 1 in the Eastgate Mall.

    Neace wanted to focus on organic spray tanning after beginning a lifestyle change. She began reading into the ingredients that are in all of our food and products nowadays and even lost 100 pounds over a course of three years due to everything she learned. Spray tanning was also a safe alternative to UV beds and booth tanning.

    Quality service is something she really wanted to focus on, and she began to think of royalty and high-end service for the name of her business. “I thought of myself as the Lady of an extraordinary place, like Lady of Wales,” says Neace. Since the sun is not only a place but also somewhere people want to be, the name, Lady of Sun, was born for her business.

    Today, with more than 10 years in the spray tan industry, she uses her education and experience to inform her clients with the best ways to prepare and care for their tan and what not to do. Neace doesn’t only focus on physical beauty, but inner beauty as well. “Seeing the excitement on a first time client’s face when they see their tan- still never gets old,” says Neace. “At the end of the day- we are all the same. We all just want to be loved, be healthy, and feel pretty. No matter who or what you do.”

    To learn more about Lady of Sun, check out their website.

    Photos by: Anita Johnson

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    The fashion-forward minds behind Noble Denim are at it again. This time, creating organic, vintage-inspired athletic wear for men and women at an accessible price. Click for all the designer details.

    Victor Athletics hoodie
    Victor Athletics hoodie
    In 1980, America made 80 percent of its clothes in the U.S., but now it makes only two percent. Victor Athletics — organic, vintage-inspired athletic wear for men and women at an accessible price — was created to change this trend.

    The dream all started when Chris Sutton, Abby Sutton, Christman Hersha and Sam Wessner founded Noble Denim in 2012. “Chris was sewing raw, selvage jean by him and making each pair by hand until he couldn’t keep up with the demand by himself,” says Abby Sutton. “In 2013, we found Danny’s factory in Tennessee and have been partnered with them ever since. Our relationship with them is very important to us.”

    042015FASHION2Victor was born when their team stepped back and saw a gap. “There were people telling us that they were ready to buy U.S. made clothing at a more accessible price and factories were desperate for the opportunity to grow,” says Sutton.

    Their first collection focuses on updated fabrics and silhouettes of vintage inspired, everyday wear – incorporating details found in knits from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s such as elongated cuff, waist ribbing, larger V inserts on the chest and collar ribbing.

    “We start with 100 percent organic cotton, grown and knit in the U.S.,” says Sutton. “We also spent a long time with our natural dye house in Tennessee honing in on the texture and color of each garment. So much of what makes each vintage item great is how it feels, and with Victor, we’re able to achieve the vintage aesthetic through natural methods without compromising on fit.”

    Today, Cincinnati-based Noble Denim and Victor Athletics are both national brands. Although the guiding philosophy is the same for both companies, each brand approaches it in different ways.

    “Going forward, you’ll see even more of an emphasis on the details in our small runs of Noble products and the classic, high-quality basics at Victor – and will not compete with each other,” says Sutton. “Victor will sell all of the products that are easier to buy online and will operate on a fashion schedule, releasing new products each season for men and women.”

    Overall, Sutton says, Victor is raising the standard for what it means to be made in America. “We’re paying living wages to the clothes-makers and also giving five percent of after-tax profit back to the factories to be invested in their workers,” he adds. “We’re making highly detailed products and using entirely organic material sourced from the U.S. and Japan – and we are also simplifying online shopping while pricing clothes straight from the factory to you.”

    “We’ve always intended for Noble Denim to stay a small batch – but we want to see Victor grow,” says Sutton. “The more orders we get, the more jobs and profit we can push back to our factories. Growth for us means the potential to change the trend and see American manufacturing on the rise again.”

    According to Sutton, Cincinnati has been a wealth of support. “We love that our brands are based in Cincinnati and our team as definitely felt the support, especially through things like winning Artwork’s Big Pitch,” he adds. “There has been a renaissance of sorts in OTR and it has been great to see so many small businesses take root and feel the creative culture of the city getting stronger – we’re very grateful to be apart of that.”

    As for the future, Victor Athletics will be at the New York Pop Up Flea in May and will be releasing a few summer items on their online store, which will open up in the next few weeks for late-July pre-orders.

    “Our Kickstarter campaign may be done, but we are going to need continual support to make Victor long-term,” says Sutton. “We’re hoping that the 1,166 individuals who backed Kickstarter will become life-long fans and share their friends too – because at the end of the day, no matter how amazing our products are, the statistics won’t shift until people see this story as important and as a story that belongs to them too”.

    To learn more, or to view their online store, click here.

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