Meet Jessica, Our Founder
Born to make waves
Growing up in southern California, I spent much of my free time playing in the ocean and many summers harvesting vegetables at a family farm. In my early 20s, as a top buyer for a French fashion designer in Beverly Hills, I was constantly on the go. So when I became pregnant with my first child, it didn't occur to me to slow down. Some say I sped up.
Answering the new baby wake-up call
Like many expecting moms, I started scrutinizing my lifestyle. Okay, I admit, I took it farther than most! I initiated what has become an ongoing endeavor to purify body, home, and way of life with a mission to raise my family in a natural, eco-friendly environment. I became a vegetarian, eating only locally grown, organic foods purchased from my local farmer’s market. I stocked up on organic cloth diapers for my newborn and devoted myself to breastfeeding. I started gardening and composting. And for the first time in my life, I began scrutinizing labels.
Unable to decipher some of the ingredients in the baby shampoo I found in a local health food store, I consulted a chemical dictionary at the library and found that many of the cleansing agents and synthetic fragrances listed were not only harsh on the skin, but suspected carcinogens.
The story of California Baby® begins
Determined to come up with a gentle, safe baby wash, I began cold-calling chemists. For the next few years, my kitchen became my lab. I experimented with organic herbs and plants, essential oils, waxes, and powders until I discovered a key ingredient: Decyl Polyglucose, a gentle, biodegradable cleansing and bubbling agent derived from renewable and biodegradable plant sources. Here was an effective, natural replacement for the damaging cleansers found in the so-called “natural” brands at the time. My blends contained no harsh or harmful ingredients, no sulfates, no common allergens, and no pesticides. Scented solely with aromatherapy quality essential oils to promote a sense of well-being – a concept I pioneered in the baby products sector – I knew I was onto something good.
Finding a groove, and an audience
By the time my second son was born, I had turned my kitchen experiments into a thriving business. Introduced in 1995 with a single hit product – Calming Shampoo & Bodywash – California Baby® now encompasses over 80 pediatrician and dermatologist recommended products that span hair care, diaper care, mineral-based suncare, bath fun, wellness, and more. Celebrity moms such as Julia Roberts, Halle Berry, Katie Holmes and Courtney Cox, to name a few, are fans of the brand and it's achieved cult status in corners of the globe from Singapore to Switzerland.
I'm proud to say that California Baby continues to innovate and grow, going beyond green and committing to developing completely sustainable practices from formulas to processing to packaging and even the materials used in our LA showroom. California Baby has since set a standard far beyond what was possible when I started in my kitchen.
2013 NAWBO Leadership Award
I'm proud to have been recently recognized by the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) with a Leadership Award. The organization selects exemplary women entrepreneurs who are leaders and role models within their industry and community. The award specifically honed in on what we at California Baby have done to go "outside the box," taking risks, creating and then leading the market to ever higher standards for purity and sustainability in both ingredients and processes. It was indeed a great honor.