FALMOUTH — Launching a business start-up is hard enough, but Jennifer Kosinchuk is also a single mother who once was homeless.
Kosinchuk, owner of Miss Moonmaker, a homeopathic bath and body line, said her story goes to show what people can accomplish with passion, perseverance and hard work.
With those tenets firmly in mind, “I learned you can survive even through the hardest times,” she said.
Kosinchuk, now settled in Falmouth, said the keys to being a successful entrepreneur include being a creative person who can think on their feet, along with having a “go-getter attitude.”
Recently Kosinchuk won the best booth award at the New England Made trade show at the Portland Sports Complex.
The juried wholesale show featured more than 350 home-grown businesses and attracted 2,500 national and international buyers looking for New England-made products, according to the trade show website.
Kosinchuk started Miss Moonmaker in 2009, and her first retailer was the Whole Foods Market in Portland. She remembers walking into the market with her young son strapped to her back, demanding to see the manager.
He liked the look of her product and then asked whether she had the proper insurance, permits and everything else needed for Whole Foods to offer her product for sale.
Kosinchuk assured him she did – and after leaving began the process of making sure she did indeed have all the necessary paperwork.
She now sells her products online, as well as at the Portland Food Coop, Handy’s Market in Yarmouth, Zeb’s Country Store in North Conway, New Hampshire, and Homeport in Burlington, Vermont. Even so, Kosinchuk still makes all the product to order by hand at her kitchen table, using all-natural ingredients.
Kosinchuk got the idea for Miss Moonmaker after her son was born. At that time, she said, “I immediately became more mindful of the things we ate and the products that we used.”
That caused her to take “a look around my household and I realized that 90 percent of what I was using was chemical-based and filled with potentially harmful ingredients; (ones) I could not even spell.”
Kosinchuk said her son was plagued with “continual sinus colds as a toddler and I didn’t want to treat him with chemical-based products or medications. So I created my first effervescent bath fizzie to ease his chest congestion and help to open up his sinuses.”
The concoction she created for her son became the “first custom-blended, all-natural bath fizzie created for my line.” That product is now known as the Eucalyptus Soother and it’s still one of her bestsellers.
“I started off with a line of eight bath fizzie offerings, (which) are wonderfully moisturizing for your skin and healthy for humans and the earth,” Kosinchuk said.
Bath fizzies are 3- to 4-ounce “effervescent balls you place in your bath water. They fizz, dissolve and release ingredients like essential oils, flowers, herbs and spices into your tub to help you relax, revive and re-center,” she said.
Her goal, Kosinchuk said, was always to “make a product using my passions for gardening and working with flowers and herbs.” She also said Miss Moonmaker is centered around her belief “that plants have the power to heal, soothe and center (us).”
The name of her company was chosen because she worked on her product line at night while her son slept.
When Kosinchuk was trying to decide what would be included in her product line, she noticed that many people were selling handmade soaps, but “I wanted to diversify, hit a niche market and create something no one else was really creating, so I chose bath fizzies.”
“I looked at many recipes online and tried many of them over and over, until I finally created a custom blend of my own,” she added.
The ingredients she uses are “common ones that most of us have on our kitchen shelves, including baking soda, vitamin E, pepper, salt (and) spices like cinnamon, thyme and basil,” Kosinchuk said.
She adds those ingredients to others, like rose petals, honey, lavender and calendula flowers, and includes sweet almond oil or grapeseed oil as a moisturizer.
“The fizzing action is created with another food-grade granule called citric acid, which sounds harsh, but it’s a natural ingredient derived from citrus fruits,” Kosinchuk said.
She said winning the best booth award at the recent trade show “was a huge honor and a reminder to me that perseverance and passion for what you do is one of the most important things you need to succeed.”
What tickles her about winning the award is that she constructed the booth out of items she found at a local Goodwill store. “I tied it all together, added light, sparkle and a great product and (came up) a winner,” Kosinchuk said.
What she most enjoys about making her product is “knowing that I help people relax and be mindful. I also enjoy creating my own hours and being there for my son.
“I am a maker at heart and I just can’t help but create new products and come up with new ideas, like allergen free bath fizzies and the new kid’s Blast Off bath kit” which includes “a little bucket with star-shaped bath fizzies, fizzing mini-planets and sparkling moon rocks.”
Kosinchuk hopes users of her product understand that “taking a bath is more than a bath; it’s a simple luxury that truly can turn your day around and can help reboot your body, mind and soul.”
Despite all her hard work, Kosinchuk said she could not have become successful without help.
Her advice for budding entrepreneurs is to “work with your strengths and find help and support during your journey.”
Even in this digital age, “be personable and present,” she said. “You are the best representative of your product.”
Jennifer Kosinchuk of Falmouth owns Miss Moonmaker, a homeopathic bath and body line.