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Arlington resident formulates sustainable, non-toxic skincare from France with love

Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that highlights Arlington-based startups, founders, and local tech news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring 1515 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn. 

Arlington-based entrepreneur Elodie Cally will be in New York this week showcasing her clean, sustainably made products at a trade show focused on non-toxic beauty brands.

Cally will be displaying the cleansing balm, serum and men’s aftershave from her brand, Elodie’s Naturals, at Adit Live, which connects makers like Cally with retailers as big as Costco and Saks Fifth Avenue.

The chance to network with household-name retailers is a big opportunity for Cally, who currently sells her wares at Virginia Mercantile in Clifton, Slow Down Market in D.C., Atlas Bodyworks in Falls Church and Pura Piel Skincare Studio in Annandale. Her eventual goal is to sell through third-party platforms that focus on sustainable products, such as Credo.

Cally started Elodie’s Naturals in response to the need for clean, non-toxic skincare in the United States, getting her start by running camps teaching children how to make organic skincare. Now, she offers classes to kids and adults as well as ready-made products, which she began developing in the last two to three years.

A French lab has tested all her products to ensure they meet standards for products sold in France. It is a high standard high in her home country, where people talk of le bombe toxique when discussing the list of chemicals and hormone disruptors in everyday products — from skincare to furniture glue to cleaning supplies.

In America, by contrast, skincare brands are not similarly regulated or have as stringent product testing requirements.

“When you put a product on the market, there’s no regulation in the U.S.,” she said. “In France, you need to go through so much testing.”

That is starting to change, however. She is starting to see a shift among her American customers, who are beginning to care more about what goes into their products and the packaging they come in.

“People want to know it’s healthy for them and good for the planet,” she said. “It’s a good trend, I love it.”

Elodie Cally of Elodie’s Naturals skin care (courtesy Elodie Cally)

She notes that her customers 50 and older frequently request details about ingredients, as they want to know what they’re putting in their bodies.

That may be plum oil, shipped directly to her door from France, but it won’t be the more than 2,000 ingredients banned in Europe, of which most are permitted in the U.S.

“The less you use, the better (the product) is,” Cally said.

Her younger customers, meanwhile, are attracted to the sustainability of the packaging. Many send their used products back to her or by way of the stores where she sells her products.

“Almost every week, I have a bag on front of my porch from people giving back to me the containers so I can recycle them,” Cally said.

She says her minimal ingredient list and sustainable packaging will be points in her favor at Adit Live. The retail expert assigned to Elodie’s Naturals by Adit Live told Cally the brand will stand out among other clean skincare businesses attending the show, where she hopes to land a contract with a retailer as well as press from attending magazines, including Glamour and Elle.

For Cally, going to New York City culminates months of work.

“It’s challenging to be honest, it’s been a year and a half to make this product,” she said. “Not only developing a formula but also the manufacturing process — it’s very difficult, very technical.”

Elodie’s Naturals hyaluronic acid serum (courtesy Elodie Cally)

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