We had the good fortune of growing up in a small city. It was called The Crossroads of South Texas, where it bridged the farms and ports to the major cities, Houston, San Antonio and Austin. We lived in the "city" for the most part, and made it to the real cities, like Los Angeles, New York, Washington D.C, and Miami, not because we had an affluent family, but because we excelled in school and made it to those kinds of places via contests, musical competitions, dance, and academics. This was way before the internet, and even cell phones, so it was quite a challenge, yet very rewarding!
Along with busting brain cells, we all worked part-time jobs after school and weekends. Somehow, though, we managed to squeeze in trips to the beaches of Matagorda, farmlands of our ancestors in the plains of Texas, and even participated in rodeos, water ski competitions, and worked on our own cars, bikes, and cleaned our own home! Our parents had jobs, mostly, rather than careers, as we say now--shiftworkers at the chemical plants, managers at the grocery stores, even owning a "convenience store/beer joint/burger shack/gas station," food delivery services, and water cooler services, gave us more than just work ethics--it showed us a world of diversity that keeps us connected to the real world. In other words, we were regular people. Oh, yes, we're also a "blended" family. Divorces, disfunction, -aholisms, and such (back when it was not chic to talk about) were the background for our family. That was also back when the Texas Oil Boom of the 70's-80's seemed to make everyone rich, but us.... It didn't stop us then, and because we seemed to keep our eyes on the next competition, fundraiser, project or whatever, we enjoyed a great life and learned more about who we were and that passion makes the difference still today.
So, while our family and small city thinking seemed at times to be a disadvantage, we realize today, that it was part of our training and development! It set us up for today, and how we have such knowledge and fortitude for pulling together something that we didn't know we were out to create! So, thank you to our family for the education that they didn't realize they were providing us! Who realized, customer service at a grocery, a beer joint barmaid, a burger shack burger flipper, a nurse, a few types of -aholics, an obsessed fisherman, a farmer, a rancher, a dance hall owner, a shiftworker, and loads of "friends and family" who shunned us for being different would be such an integral part of making an amazing contribution to the world!
So, how do we make it? We didn't wait for the right time. We didn't wait for the money to be available. We didn't even wait for all of our family to think we were sane, either!
When we realized that the chemicals that we were using in our salons were on the surface nice, and pretty and smelled good, but were costing us our health and wellbeing, we knew that we could not wait for the "stars" to align. So rather than putting together a business plan, hiring designers, marketers, packaging geniuses and all, Cheryl and I, during an overeating frenzy, laughed and said to each other," wouldn't it be great if we could feed our hair the way we feed our bodies, with natural foods and good things?" And , that began the real work! Yvonne, who ran the salon for us, kept running the salon as we went off on a formulation tangent for the next phase! We still served our clients, but the salon was a mess in the back, with beakers, tubes, burners, containers, lids, blenders, thermometers, crates, bottles, jars, and messes that no kitchen had ever seen! Yvonne, was trying to keep the salon a profitable and clean salon, but with our madness at full tilt, we finally enrolled her into allowing us to overtake the back of the salon and drape things with huge table cloths during the day to cover the mess and disarray of yet another miracle formula! To this day, those hardwood floors in our original salon are the most gorgeous and healthy wood floors in the world!
Soon, with our miraculous chemist, whom I met on a plane ( in the heavens as we like to say) we were fine tuning our formulas with someone who knew how to refine our recipes into patent-pending components that are blended into all of our Belegenza products to this day! It was no small feat, either. Like a genius, he'd say things that zoomed over our heads, and yet, Cheryl could understand some of the lingo, given her pharmaceutical expertise, we knew just to follow his instructions to the tee. Like...." Go to Home Depot and buy a gas grill with at least 80,000 BTU's. Go to the sports store and buy an oar. Go to the Restaurant Supply and buy cheesecloth and a margarita blender. Do you have an electric blanket? Go buy some now! Can you meet me at the Emeril's? ( More explanation later...)
This phase of making it, started in 2005, essentially, and it took us quite a bit of that year to fine tune things, and then get our first set of products in bottles. Because we had started with Aloe from our very own garden, and different local nut oils, and things, the money part had not registered in our minds. We'd just buy what we needed, do the experiment, and move on. After a while, of course, the bills for ingredients started growing fast! This is what we meant, earlier, that we didn't wait for the money to be lined up! We had no idea how costly it would become as it was growing, either. Each extract that we realized we needed had a price tag, and because we needed it, we just found a way to grow up and afford it! Then, as you will see, we began ramping up the volume of things, and that's when we really got to learn some things!
We provide natural, safe, and effective products to stylists and clients. Based on a secret patent-pending formula, which includes proteins, nut oil extracts and sea vegetable elements. When uniquely blended, our proprietary formulas provide synergistic beneficial effects to your hair and scalp. The partnership of nature, science and technology enables us to produce high quality products without the use of harsh, synthetic, unhealthy and "green-washed" ingredients. Our approach to beauty is natural, extremely effective, and eco-responsible.
"Because we use Aloe Vera as our basis, we provide up to 33% active ingredients, without using water as our base. Typical professional and retail products only contain about 5% active ingredients in a base of water. Not only are our products super concentrated, the reduction of water weight decreases the costs of shipping and the carbon footprint."
At this point was where our attention to details and no questions kicked in. Remember the gas grill? Our hot plates could no longer heat the quantities evenly. We used the gas grill as our "heat source!" The margarita blender extracted our essences from the aloe and other veggies. The oar was our mixing paddle. Our electric blanket was our makeshift barrel warmer, because even though it's Houston, certain nut oils solidify below 70 degrees and must be warmed gently to liquefy! Along with this were tubs, funnels, kettles, stock pots, strainers, countless trash bags, tubes, work tables, separate washing machines, dryers, and even a separate dishwasher just for our lab equipment to keep things perfectly clean and sanitary!
Once we established our recipes in the "lab," we finally had our "START!" We had developed the first patent-pending component that we could test on our .....family! We are PETA approved and certified, but we understand when some ask if we tested on animals. From the description of some of our family, we will leave it up to you to decide!
Soon, we were getting awesome results, and with a few more adjustments, it was time to go to a "kitchen" that could make our recipe on a big enough scale. Our clients were loving the results on their hair, and each week, we'd have to make more. So, kettles and oars were just not big enough and that's when we sought and found our first ISO 5000 (International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards) labs! That means it is in compliance with all of the standards and practices needed--FDA compliant, and all that legal and sanitary, sterile, factory requirement, OSHA, etc., business. To us? It was so exciting to see vats, and conveyor belts, lab techs, forklifts, pallets, shipping docks, "microbiology" testing rooms, warehouses, hoppers, microscopes, centrifuges, incubators, labeling machines with continuously moving bottles, freight trucks.... well, this is the level that our gas grill level has gotten to! It's still the same exact formula every time. That's what we worked out over the years. So, if we make a 2 oz of the product, it's exactly the same as when we make 200,000 ounces and divide it up into 2 oz containers! Quite a scaling process, and we demand that perfection...for you, our customer and loyal user!
Belegenza Natural Hair Care products are the world's finest and original silicone free products, and are free of paba, parabens, phthalates, petrolatum, mineral oil, SD alcohol, sodium chloride and sodium lauryl sulfate/SLS.
Gently removing silicones and synthetics left behind by conventional shampoos and conditioners, you hair emerges cleaner each time, allowing for your scalp to do what it does best-grow hair. Weightless natural conditioners nourish and moisture, without suffocating or impeding your hairs' growth. Because of the compatibility of the food-grade ingredients with your scalp and hair, your hair gets better and better, month by month!
Part of the secret is that we use the extracts of some of the most important and potent ingredients in the world. Furthermore, we've found a way to blend them in perfect proportion for your hair to absorb better than other natural products and even chemically based famous products!
Here are some of our star ingredients:
Aloe Vera (healing)
Red Mapleweed (smoothes)
Hawaiian Algae (repairs)
Gulfweed Algae (strengthening)
Lemon (pH balances)
Beet (gentle cleansing)
Coconut (shines and cleanses)
Green Tea (anti-aging)
Apple (sleeking agent)
We welcome you to a new world of hair care!
We love hearing from you, so feel free to contact us!
(To be continued.....stay tuned!)