SmartyPits is the natural deodorant that gives back, working to make a difference both in everyday skincare as well as in breast cancer research. Developed by Stacia Guzzo, the daughter of a breast cancer survivor, SmartyPits is formulated with natural butters, oils, and waxes, and infused with prebiotics for maximum microbiome support, and hand-poured in-house by a team of strong women in Tehachapi, California.
This brand is committed to being part of the solution, donating $0.30 from every large stick sold to breast cancer research and education at City of Hope, a world leader in cancer research. To date, SmartyPits has raised over $35,000 for City of Hope, with ambition to raise over $50,000 by the end of 2019. In addition, SmartyPits just committed to donate over $150,000 worth of free deodorant to be included in chemotherapy bags being distributed in over 600 hospitals around the country.
What was the opportunity you saw in the marketplace that compelled you to launch a brand?
I formulated SmartyPits after a very personal experience with breast cancer. My mom is a survivor, and when she discovered the lump it was directly underneath her armpit—outside of where even most mammograms could reach. We had no family history of breast cancer, but it was a quick-moving and aggressive type of cancer which called for an aggressive treatment course.
Watching my mom go through her treatments was painful for all who loved her—and especially difficult for her. Now with breast cancer in my immediate family, I started to do some research to see what risk factors I could avoid—and that was the first time I learned about aluminum in antiperspirant as a possible risk factor for breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
I tried to go aluminum-free at the time, but I couldn’t find anything on the market that felt good, smelled good, and worked with my body (I was a clinical strength antiperspirant user at the time). So eventually, after studying skincare formulation, I created one myself.
I wanted to create a deodorant that was first and foremost effective and comfortable to use, but beyond that I also wanted to create something that made a difference. That’s why we also incorporate giving back at the heart of our mission, working to support people that are both going through breast cancer currently as well as trying to contribute to a future where breast cancer is no longer a diagnosis to be feared.
Which ingredients or parts of the formulation give the products their efficacy?
To understand how all deodorants work in general, you have to recognize the science behind it. Sweat is naturally odorless, but there’s a protein in our sweat that certain bacteria on our skin metabolize. This action creates an off-gassing, which is what we perceive as body odor.
Since the heart of B.O. is bacteria and not sweat, the way to solve body odor is by managing the bacteria, not stopping the sweat. Since aluminum is the thing in antiperspirants that stops sweat from exiting your body, you don’t want to use that as a method of control either. That being said, many people don’t want to feel wet all day! So how does SmartyPits do it?
In our formulation, we have a three-pronged approach to fighting odor-causing bacteria:
- A blend of vegetable-based powders and oils help to absorb & wick away wetness, separating it from your skin with a moisturizing barrier.
- Mineral ingredients like baking soda (in our super-strength formula) and magnesium (in our sensitive-skin formula) neutralize the environment where the odor-causing bacteria thrives.
- Prebiotics (plant-based food for good bacteria) contribute to the biodiversity & strength of your skin microbiome.
This is where it’s important to have a commitment to understanding your body’s unique, individual chemistry and subsequent needs. There is no one magic bullet for body odor that works for every single person—sometimes it takes time and effort to figure out the right formula for you. There will be some skin types that can’t tolerate baking soda, and others that need a formulation that packs a stronger punch than the gentle power of magnesium. But going and staying aluminum-free is absolutely worth the initial effort in the end!
Did you develop your brand and product with a particular distribution channel in mind?
When all is said and done, I truly want SmartyPits to help as many people as possible go and stay aluminum-free. Because of this, we’d love for it to be as widely available as possible!
Part of the challenge in distribution, however, is striking a balance between an affordable option for the consumer/buyer, and crafting a product with high-quality ingredients. It’s also crucial to our core values that our team members are paid a fair wage that allows them a healthy work-life balance (and I don’t want them to have to get a second job just to be able to pay their bills!).
Because of this, we’re working on chipping away at both of those pieces at a healthy pace: we’re working on getting wider and wider distribution, which will allow us to buy in larger bulk and lower our costs (which in turn can lead to us lowering our overall prices).
Would you share how you’ve funded the business to date?
To date, we’ve funded the growth of SmartyPits through personal finances as well as through some small business loans. We’re definitely interesting in pursuing investment in the near future; however, it’s incredibly important for us that we partner with people that value our mission, core values, and giveback program. We’re definitely excited to see how we can grow SmartyPits exponentially once we connect with the right people!
What’s been your biggest lesson in the process of building your brand?
There are so many lessons I’ve learned on this journey, and many of those lessons are common when reading the interviews of other entrepreneurs—knowing your target customer, understanding your costs, persevering through the toughest days. I’ve definitely had to learn many of those the hard way, but they’ve been so necessary in my formation as a good businesswoman.
That being said, I think one of the most crucial lessons on this journey has been to value the relationships formed along the way. You never know when someone you meet might change the course of your entire future—or you theirs!
What’s your vision for the future of the brand?
I’d love for SmartyPits to be a common brand name when people think of leaders in the natural deodorant industry—of course because of the quality and efficacy, but even more because of the impact we’ve been able to make within breast cancer research as a result of the sales of SmartyPits. I’d love for our brand to help raise awareness about the risks of using aluminum-based antiperspirants, about regular breast exams, and of the ways we can support friends and family who are currently going through cancer treatments.
What excites you about the future of the beauty/wellness industry?
It excites me that there are so many options out there—lots of businesses trying new and exciting things, lots of companies that are committed to a healthier way of doing things. There are so many different, unique needs out there, and it’s fantastic to know that there will be companies to meet those needs whatever they might be!
Even in the natural deodorant space, I’ve seen so many natural deodorant companies form since I made my first stick on my stovetop almost 6 years ago. I actually think this is a great sign—it means the aluminum-free movement is gaining traction, and that no matter what a person’s preference, they’ll be able to find an aluminum-free product for them. Knowing that “aluminum free deodorant” is becoming a common term now excites me more than I can say!
Content Created in Partnership with Unfiltered Experience