Taking The Leap with Cindy Barberes

October 13, 2022

Hosted By Caryn Saitz
Conversations with Women 40+ Who've Created Their Dream Business and Changed Their Life
Find the interview on YouTube

Caryn: I always start out with how we met.  We met at Conscious Beauty Collective, a new popup started by Lynn Power at Natick Mall, in the suburbs of Boston. It’s a beautiful, fabulous store there until December 31. It brings together 32 amazing founders, 95% women, who together share conscious beauty products. Cindy and I met there. She’ll tell you about what she does, what inspired her, what does future look like. Welcome to Take a Leap.

It’s a beautiful, fabulous store there until December 31. It brings together 32 amazing founders, 95% women, who together share conscious beauty products.

Can you tell me a little bit about what inspired you, what your business is, and what inspired you to create it. Was this your dream? 

Cindy: I was in corporate for a long time. I knew when I left financial services, I really wanted to do something I could be passionate about, that I could sink my teeth into, and create something that was real and tangible that would make people feel good. So that’s the back story.

As far as clean beauty with H. Honeycup, I refer to it as “body care with a cause”, because we had a family member who suffered from addiction, and we were doing clean beauty, so it made perfect sense that we donate products to recovery centers. They are trying to live a clean lifestyle. So, it was important for me when I started my own company to be able to give back to the community.

As far as clean beauty with H. Honeycup, I refer to it as “body care with a cause”, because we had a family member who suffered from addiction, and we were doing clean beauty, so it made perfect sense that we donate products to recovery centers.

Caryn: So, you started with a purpose right out of the gate. Tell us a little bit about the products that you create. Tell us what they are, how you came up with them, how you chose the product line, and how you chose the name.

Cindy: Ah, the name. Well, you know it’s not easy. You want something that means something to you. Of course, a lot of the fun names are taken. I finally settled on the name Honeycup because I love honeysuckles and buttercups, so I combined them to form Honeycup. With the H, I thought it was fun, the alliteration.

I finally settled on the name Honeycup because I love honeysuckles and buttercups, so I combined them to form Honeycup.

My formulator is my husband. That’s a big plus and he’s a manufacturer. So, I had a business background. He knew the regulations. It was a way for me to enter the industry and learn faster.  I wanted to do body care instead of the face. When you take care of your body, that form of self-care is written all over your face. So that’s what I started with.

The nice thing about our labels is that on every single label we have our “Take Care” message, and it talks about how with every purchase, the customer is supporting someone who has struggled with addiction.

Of course, we always have our products close by. Our best seller was our first product, a body scrub, orange sunflower. The nice thing about our labels is that on every single label we have our “Take Care” message, and it talks about how with every purchase, the customer is supporting someone who has struggled with addiction so it’s very integrated. With the body scrub, you use it in the shower. With orange and sugar, it melts off and leaves skin smooth and soft. It’s a best seller because people come back and buy two at a time and say, “I can’t take a shower without it”. So that’s kind of fun. It’s one of four products that are MADESAFE® Certified. That’s a recent third-party certification.

Caryn: What does that mean and how do you get it?

Cindy: It took a year and a half. MADESAFE® is a really high-quality organization. They screen all the suppliers and all the ingredients, everything that you do with your product, so they are verifying that your products are safe for humans, animals, aquatic and the environment overall. It’s a very rigorous screening. They require a lot of documentation. 

It was a great exercise. We really had to look at our suppliers very closely. Some suppliers did not have the documentation we wanted and needed so we moved on. We replaced some suppliers; we replaced some ingredients. So, in the end, we felt like we really were offering products to the consumer that were higher quality and really trustworthy.

MADESAFE® is a really high-quality organization. They screen all the suppliers and all the ingredients, everything that you do with your product, so they are verifying that your products are safe for humans, animals, aquatic and the environment overall. It’s a very rigorous screening.

The second product of the four is Palmarosa Pomegranate Body Oil. It’s so luscious. You put it on after the shower to stay so moist. It’s like a spa. Those two products and the next two are waterless. That enables a safer formula.

Caryn: Really?

Cindy: There’s no water so no preservatives. Sometimes with the preservative system ingredients are not as clean. It’s more of a challenge.

Caryn: The certification is for clean beauty. Do you see a difference between clean beauty and conscious beauty? Or do they come together as one in looking at the supply chain. Is it really up and down the entire supply chain that has to meet the rigorous research and certification? 

Cindy: That’s very true. Clean beauty is the beginning of conscious beauty. With conscious beauty add the elements of giving back to the community, helping to educate people on how to make good choices. You’re learning along the way so share all that information so people can make good choices. Transparency is also important in clean and conscious beauty. It’s a movement.

Clean beauty is the beginning of conscious beauty. With conscious beauty add the elements of giving back to the community, helping to educate people on how to make good choices.

Caryn: When did you start H. Honeycup? 

Cindy: About 5 years ago now. We’re well into it. We started with one product. Every year we added more and now we have 10. One product that’s a lot of fun is our lotion stick. It’s the same as lotion but it’s a stick, a solid. It’s spill-proof so just take off the cap and apply it wherever you need it.

Caryn: Is it a roll-on or waxy substance?

Cindy: It’s a waxy substance. It immediately soaks into your skin. It’s very popular. Throw it in your gym bag, in your purse. This product and most of our products are unisex too. Our scents are essential oils, we don’t use any chemicals to create our scents. A lot of our scents are citrus. Men favor citrus. It goes on and it’s refreshing. Then it dissipates quickly. Men don’t like to be perfumy all day. Well occasionally some do.

The last is the CBD Body Oil. We have a whole line of CBD: lotion, bath salts, oil. If you choose a CBD product, you may have some aches and pains after going to the gym, or sore joints, so you rub it in wherever you need it. 

Caryn: CBD seems to be a modern panacea for anything that ails. By adding it to these products, is it more helpful, it takes it up a notch?

Cindy: It depends on what people are looking for. Yes, if somebody would like a natural pain reliever, I do CBD topicals, so use that instead of aspirin. With the focus on natural with customers, it’s appealing, and you can get pain relief in a natural way. 

Caryn: And not harm myself. There are not that many regulations around clean beauty in US, yet more in Europe. Do you see that changing or is it almost a free for all?

Cindy: It has been a free for all. You’re right Caryn. And it’s really unfortunate because it makes it challenging for the consumer. They don’t know how to read labels and they don’t know what to believe. So, we don’t know what’s going to happen in the US. We’ve been slow to catch up with global regulations.

That’s why I feel like a MADESAFE® Certification, a third-party validation is helpful. MADESAFE® doesn’t just certify beauty. They do pet care, home products like mattresses, candles. They do everything. When you see their seal, you know that the homework has been done.

Caryn: It’s like a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval, or the Better Business Bureau. “Oh, I see that’s approved.” It would be great if there was something like that saying this is genuinely clean. I was reading an article on shampoos. The list is huge with the number of shampoos they are recalling for one thing or another. I have one in my shower. It’s on all the shelves and you don’t know. You think, “I’ll take this.” 

It’s been an eye-opening experience in meeting all of you. I had an opportunity to meet you in person and speak about the products. Since then, I really take a major discerning look at what’s in my bathroom and on my shelves. Wow, because there are so many that have ingredients that we would never think are bad or would even look to see if are in the product.

It’s been an eye-opening experience in meeting all of you. I had an opportunity to meet you in person and speak about the products. Since then, I really take a major discerning look at what’s in my bathroom and on my shelves. 

What problem are you solving and what impact do you want to make on the world? Self-care is something that you’ve been studying and learning about. Share a little about that.

Cindy: That was really part of the transition from corporate to having my own company. It was a real transformation. To me it has its basis in self-care. There was so much intensity with what I used to do. I didn’t take the time to take care of myself. We all know the issues that come with too much stress and not enough sleep. To help educate people between using clean ingredients and being transparent, it’s also to take some time to focus on yourself. Because then you’re better at work, you’re better with your family, you’re just better all around.

Caryn: So, you hope your products inspire self-care. Take the time to have that great bath and use those products on yourself. 

Cindy: Think about what you’re doing, how you’re doing it. Take a couple of deep breaths and it has a huge impact.

Caryn: So even though you have a business background, and your husband is in the industry, what have been the challenges as a woman entrepreneur? You decided to take this leap. It’s a big switch, a big transformation. It’s major.

Cindy: There are a ton of challenges. The first thing you have to realize is that you have to do everything in the beginning. Eventually you’ll be in a position to determine what you’re good at and what you’re not good at and outsource. But in the beginning, you’ve got to do it all. Product development, packaging, establish the tone for your brand. That was first.

Eventually you’ll be in a position to determine what you’re good at and what you’re not good at and outsource. But in the beginning, you’ve got to do it all.

I had to learn this new industry and I was responsible for everything. Something else that I learned is “there are no shortcuts.” Yes, I had a formulator and a manufacturer. And then I thought, “I’ll hire a PR firm”. I had one or two products.  “And I’ll fast track this whole thing”. It was too soon. I needed to live and breathe my brand. Know about what’s happening, how the brand evolved, and get packaging that articulated our mission. That was an expensive lesson to learn. There are no shortcuts.

 “I’ll hire a PR firm”. I had one or two products.  “And I’ll fast track this whole thing”. It was too soon. I needed to live and breathe my brand. That was an expensive lesson to learn. There are no shortcuts.

Caryn: Now, what is the distribution of your product? Besides the Conscious Beauty Collective, here in the Boston area. I recommend you go in and try it and smell it. So where can people find your products? What does your distribution look like at this point?

Cindy: Other than Direct to Consumer and the Conscious Beauty Collective, we do work with some wholesale companies. TheWMarketplace on-line, all women, with a section for beauty. And Meeschell Beauty, also clean beauty online, ecommerce. And a number of boutiques. We also work with some beauty boxes, coming up in the fall. And finally, we’re just now talking to some larger retailers. Cross your fingers on that.

We also work with some beauty boxes, coming up in the fall. And finally, we’re just now talking to some larger retailers. Cross your fingers on that.

Caryn: The concept I saw when I was at the Conscious Beauty Collective. It was bringing clean beauty products to the masses. Across from Nordstrom, in the mall. Average consumers are walking by. They may not shop at Whole Foods or another very small store. At the end of the day having all these brands come together. That’s been an amazing way to get the message out there that there are companies that are not only doing well but doing good.

At the end of the day having all these brands come together. That’s been an amazing way to get the message out there that there are companies that are not only doing well but doing good.

There are these great products, and they can still be good for the environment, good for the world, they give back and have a purpose. People may think that doesn’t exist. “Maybe it’s good but I don’t know if it smells good or if it feels good.” There’s no reason they can’t go hand in hand.

Cindy: Exactly, I agree with you. The Conscious Beauty Collective has been a platform that has been amazing to get the word out. As you know with one brand at a time, it’s hard to be heard. Then you collaborate with all these like-minded founders, mostly female founders. We all support each other; we add to the messaging. We are all very similar in our philosophies, and everything is already vetted.

You collaborate with all these like-minded founders, mostly female founders. We all support each other; we add to the messaging. We are all very similar in our philosophies, and everything is already vetted.

Caryn: Have you shared resources? Have you come together thinking, “I could use their resource”? Competitive but not competitive. Each has its own special product, reason, purpose, solves a specific problem.

Cindy: The way we look at it is if one of us is succeeding then we all succeed. A no brainer. And yes, we have started to share resources such as packaging. A few have gotten together and talked to one manufacturer (not mine). “We can bring you all this business. What can you do for us?” It becomes powerful.

The way we look at it is if one of us is succeeding then we all succeed. A no brainer. It becomes powerful.

Caryn: Now you have some buying power approaching companies with joint products. 

What do you wish someone would have shared with you before you started this journey that would have made it easier or, “do I really want to do this? Can I do this?” What didn’t you know that you know today that would have made it easier?

Cindy: Aside from the fact that there are no shortcuts. I can do much more. I would say that to anyone starting their own business. You can do so much more than you imagine. Forget Imposter Syndrome. Put all your reservations aside and dig in. Forget the naysayers. Just keep going. You will be amazed at all you can do. Social media, product development, pricing. You can learn all that. It’s more about staying in the game. Keep going. Get momentum. Join forces with your peers.

You can do so much more than you imagine. Put all your reservations aside and dig in. Forget the naysayers. Just keep going. You will be amazed at all you can do. It’s more about staying in the game. Keep going. Get momentum. Join forces with your peers.

Caryn: Did you have support? Were you part of an organization?

Cindy: No, not initially. I was on my own. I had a coach. I have a consultant right now.  I do a lot of networking. I just had a formulator and manufacturer.

Caryn: So, you had to look inside yourself and boost that confidence and energy. What does the future look like? What do you hope for the next year or two? Is it keeping the product line as is, is it growing it, expanding distribution, or all the above?

Cindy: Well, it’s definitely new products. We have a new insect repellent that’s natural and we have a lip scrub. We are hoping that we can move forward with some of the clean beauty retailers. That would be my dream and what we’ve been working towards.

Caryn: And you have the manufacturing capability to support all of that?

Cindy: Yes. That helps.

Caryn: So, to find you: Conscious Beauty Collective, on-line, buy direct, some boutiques around the country.

Cindy: Yes, they can buy direct, at https://hhoneycup.com/

Caryn: Thank you. It’s been great to learn more about your products, hear your story, learn from you.

I actually have your CBD Body Oil downstairs front and forward. So, I’ve been trying it. It’s great. I think one of the perks of meeting all of you is I love testing products and trying products. Having the opportunity to touch, feel, smell in person before you buy. I encourage people to head over to Natick Mall, in the Boston area.

Caryn: Were you in the San Francisco version of the Conscious Beauty Collective?

Cindy: Yes. I was there for the last month in San Francisco. Then a segway to Natick. And I hope to continue wherever we go next year.

Caryn: Moving around the country. Exciting prospect. I hope they do have the opportunity to move to other cities around the country, so people get a chance to understand what conscious and clean beauty means. And get to try the products and incorporate them into their own routines!

Moving around the country, an exciting prospect. I hope they move to other cities around the country, so people get a chance to understand what conscious and clean beauty means. 

Taking The Leap is a series of conversations with women 40+ who have created their dream business and changed their life. It's hosted by Caryn Saitz, founder & CEO of MastHERmindEX/MastermindEX. The conversations are meant to educate, inspire and empower women who want to make career and life changes. Through the sharing of experiences and lessons learned by women who've Taken The Leap, women who want to take action and make changes, can find role models, information, inspiration and the confidence to move forward and follow their dreams. Today's Taking The Leap features Cindy Barberes, Founder and CEO of H. Honeycup, a clean and conscious beauty product company. Cindy's products are featured in the Conscious Beauty Collective. Cindy can be found at www.hhoneycup.com.






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