With laptop firmly on lap, brain fully focused in online concentration, I suddenly felt someone smearing something on my face. Before I could react to the surprise of it, a calm, luxurious feeling took over. As the smearing continued, I looked up at the smiling face of Shay. Being one who gets monthly facials, she has always advocated such a practice for men.
"Keep it on there for 15 minutes," said Shay playfully. "Then wash it off with water." I noticed from the chunk of it on my lips it really tasted like food, and the smell of it was actually making me hungry--blueberries, honey, some other vaguely familiar essences and odors. "What IS that?" I finally asked.
"Honey I Shrunk the Pores, it's from Barbara." That would be Barbara Rogers of Simply Divine Botanicals in Las Vegas.
"It takes me six weeks to make that product," Barbara told me later. "I get the honey from the local beekeeper who wild crafts it, and there is green papaya marinated in kombucha tea. It's a really cool product--and, it's delicious! It's probably cleaner than what most people are eating. I should put on the label, 'either wash or lick off'."
Barbara Rogers got a good start in the consumer products invention domain about eight years ago with her "Scuff Puff"--a car shoe heel saver. The niche being that a commuter's shoe heel gets worn down quickly from sand, and other debris deposited below the accelerator pedal. With simple elegance, she cooked up a sheepskin pad with a rubber backing and gripper teeth to put on the car floor under the accelerator. The pile of the sheepskin was deep enough and flexible enough to eliminate most of the grinding friction on the shoe heel, and a product was born. Nordstrom's was the first store to pick it up, and she got hundreds of orders from a feature on the QVC Shopping Network. "The cowboys loved it because it protected their boots," says Barbara.
A harbinger of much bigger things to come, but Barbara was battling a physical ailment. Diet and vitamins weren't bringing any relief, so she sought out the advice of a local healer. "She was a midwife and herbalist," says Barbara. "She made some tinctures, and worked out of her home. I walked into the room and I saw all the bottles of tinctures from fresh plant materials up on the walls, and that was it for me. I was hooked."
Barbara considers her experience that day to be a divine gift, and a true calling to her destiny. "I would buy stacks of books [about herbs], get up in the morning, take a shower, climb back into bed and read for 6,8,10 hours a day--just devouring. Sometimes I would read a book of a thousand pages, and one thing in there would speak to me. I would go by what I felt. My first client was my manicurist. One of her customer's husband was dying of diverticulitis and colitis. Within 3-5 days he was back better than he ever was. It is really a gift, and is definitely a calling."
Barbara then opened a raw food restaurant, which is still is going strong--The Raw Truth in Las Vegas. Desiring to deepen her understanding of herbalism, Barbara sold the restaurant. "I really literally got a calling to do herbal-energy healing work. I started reading about the chemicals that are in skin care, and that there really is no regulation. So I worked on making a skin cream for myself for about two years. I took it to two laboratories, and they both said I had to put chemical emulsifiers and preservatives in it. One day I said, I'm just going to pray about it. Two days later at eleven o'clock at night, I had the answer right down to the smallest detail. I actually had all the ingredients in my house, so I went down into my kitchen and made up the first batch of rose cream. That's really our signature product now--people just absolutely love that product. It has a five-year infused rose oil in it. It's wonderful for the skin and for healing the heart. After that I could just sit down and write out formulas. I always just have a knowing. I just know."
With her newfound ability, and what she considers divine intervention, a name was born for her burgeoning product line: Simply Divine Botanicals. "I was making herbal tinctures to take internally, too, and I made the You're My Everything product. I woke up one morning and the formula was in my head. I'd been taking the ingredients separately, but there was a synergy when taken together, and my clients just love the product. I've been making it six years now, and it's a huge seller."
Barbara also discovered a punny penchant for naming her products. With such monikers as Amazing Face Rejuvenating Moisturizer, Butter Me Up Moisturizer, Hot For You Analgesic Balm and Outer Body Experience Foaming Cleanser, Barbara has as much fun naming her creations as creating them. "I love naming these products. They're my children!" says Barbara. "These products work. They're not just chemical free--they really have an energy to them."
As part of the product manufacture in her lab, Barbara has trained Reiki practitioners energize her products. "People tell us they can feel the energy in our products, and that they feel better," says Barbara. "We hope that the high vibration in our products will enhance people's vibration."
Barbara's first partner, Rochelle Rosche, was a bartender who got turned on to Barbara's rose cream. Barbara relates, "Rochelle said, 'Well, you've got to sell this!' and I said, 'Well, how am I going to do this and my practice?' And she said, 'Well, I'll help you.' So I said, 'Well, why don't you become my partner?' and she said, 'OK!' Then I said, 'Well, if we're going to have a place to make it, why don't we just open up a storefront and we'll put lab in there and people can see us making it.' She said, 'Okay,' and she quit her job and we opened the store!"
Besides the herbal concoctions, infusions, creams and lotions, there is a full Pilates studio on the premises. And Simply Divine offers Thai massage, also known as "Ancient Massage," or "Yoga Massage," originally developed in Buddhist monasteries a thousand years ago.
Barbara has also taken over 5,000 people through her famous 21-day Cleanse--a combination of herbal formulas, raw foods, skin brushing, colonics, and hot Epsom salt baths are a few of the highlights of the cleanse.
Currently, Barbara has her focus on a new skin care line to be out soon. Media coverage from a Manhattan magazine will include two articles this year on some of the Simply Divine products, and several health food stores and raw food websites are featuring Simply Divine Botanicals as well.
Rochelle discovered an interest and skill in doing Reiki work, and now offers Theta Healing (DNA restoration and core-belief re-programming) for the store, and teaching classes. "Two of the women who work in the store right now--they never knew they were healers," enthuses Barbara. "They started out as clients. One worked with computers--hated her job, the other worked at a casino--hated her job. One I met after I opened the store, and the other I had worked on her mother five years previous. Now one of them is doing work similar to Rochelle's. The two of them intuitively have opened up so much it's phenomenal. One of their mothers is our bookkeeper, and her young teenage brother works in our lab making creams. And, her five-year old daughter, when she comes into the store, her job is to put caps on the product and label samples. Michelle, who also does incredible healing work, her son, when he comes into the store, he likes to work in the lab and mix the essential oils. It's really a great place especially for working mothers. They can set their own schedule."
Barbara is inspired by the people who have discovered their own callings after using the products and visiting the store space. "I've always said that it's part of my job to create places where people can come and express who they are," says Barbara. "The whole atmosphere is so supportive. We all talk about it all the time--since they were all in jobs they didn't like and were not treated very nicely. We also have three teenagers working who have three mothers who work. It's a place where you really have the love and the safety to grow. Whenever anybody has anything personal going on in their life, they don't walk around trying to hide it, or stuff it--they seek out support. We just love it!"
And that mood is infectious. "My customers say, 'I just love this place, and love coming here.' All of us here just love it. And that energy goes into the products."
Simply Divine Botanicals