OY-L is an all natural skincare line based in Akron, Ohio. We love this brand’s commitment to creating sustainable products and never testing on animals. We interviewed owner Andrea Pierce-Naymon to learn more about her amazing local business! Meet OY-L at our Spring Maker Mart on April 7 at Red Space in Cleveland!
Tell us about OY-L.
I am the CEO and Founder of a natural skin care line called OY-L and my mission is Beauty Without Secrets. I have been a med tech, in pharmaceautical and medical equipment sales, mother of two amazing daughters and a buyer/owner of a clothing boutique in Cleveland.
What drew you to your craft?
When my youngest daughter got sick as a junior in high school, no one was able to diagnose her for two years. She was even misdiagnosed! I became so frustrated I started reading the labels on everything in our house, thinking it was something she was exposed to. I was horrified when I started googling all the chemical ingredients. Most were toxic and carcinogenic. I got a app called Think Dirty and started scanning products. That's when I said to myself, there has to bee a better way. All the skin care products I was buying in the department stores were toxic. I didn't want to use them anymore and certainly didn't want my kids using them. So I turned the kids old play room into a lab and OY-L was born.
What is your favorite thing you have ever made?
That's a hard one! I'd have to say my body butter. It was my first product, it took me a long time to perfect and now I can't live without it. It was the product that got me an investor from Cincinnati and enabled me to grow my business and move into a real lab at Bounce, a business Accelerator, in the old B.F. Goodrich plant in downtown Akron.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be an ER doctor.
What is your creative process?
I listen to my customers and read everything about the skincare market and determine what I can do to make a cleaner product that is also effective. There is a lot of chemistry involved and a lot of trial and error to make sure the products I bring to market are safe and effective.
What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?
Prioritize your life. Decide what is important and what you have passion for. Even though you have to pay bills, make sure you have a least a hobby you enjoy.
Why is it important to support local artists & makers?
It is important to support local artists and makers because we are the ones that can grow, hire, expand and support our community. Indie brands in Ohio put a lot of heart and soul into their craft and supporting them supports Ohio. I can't tell you how exciting it was to go to a national beauty expo and show the country what was happening in Akron, Ohio. By doing that I was asked to bring my line to New York and show the Saks Fifth Ave buyers my products. Six months later, I was on their website and selling my products locally and nationally. Kudos to Saks for wanting to showcase and sell products made in Akron that will help our local community.
Why do you love doing what you do?
I love coming up with products that are helping people live a less toxic life. I love when I read the reviews of my products and see how much they are helping. There is a "clean and green" revolution going on now in this country. Europe is way ahead of us in the market. People don't want toxins in there products anymore. And I love teaching people what all those chemicals are and why you don't need them in our products.
What advice do you have for other people who want to start their own businesses?
Just do it! It's a rollercoater ride, but if you are passionate about what you are doing , it is worth it. There is so much to learn and you need a good support system.
What is your favorite thing about exploring Ohio?
I grew up in Cincinnati and have lived in northern Ohio my whole adult life. I love seeing how the different cities are different or even the same. I loved the hills of Cincy and the lake in Cleveland. The park system in northern Ohio is beautiful. I went to BGSU where is was flat and we rode our bikes everywhere. It's a great place to grow up.