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April Kirsch and Spring Fowler grind up raw minerals in their food processor to make an assortment of products and colors, which are all 100 percent natural.

DL family creates own makeup line

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Detroit Lakes mother Spring Fowler and her daughter April Kirsch are cooking up a storm these days, but you won't find any cookies in this colorful, immaculate kitchen.

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Only makeup.

The mother-daughter team has launched their own cosmetic line called "Pure and Natural."

The products are just that.

"We don't use any chemicals or parabens (preservatives)," said Kirsch.

Neither woman had any experience with makeup before, "I wore it," laughed Fowler, but about five years ago, began to ponder the idea after seeing the price of big-brand mineral makeup.

"I wanted to wear it, but it was so expensive," Fowler explained.

So after giving an Internet kit a quick try ("that wasn't good," said Fowler) the ladies began researching how to make their own from scratch.

"We came up with the basic formula of what was good to use; did research on different minerals and what they were good for," said Kirsch. "Then we looked at other products and decided what we wanted in ours and what we didn't."

What the women wanted was a high-end, high quality, pure product that contained no fillers.

"A lot of brands that say 'mineral makeup' are made with minerals, but there is a lot of other stuff in there," said Fowler, adding, "It's like saying a cake is made of eggs."

So, Kirsch began experimenting and mixing colors, while her mother got busy tweaking some recipes and putting together a marketing plan.

Together, they began cooking up their business.

"We have aprons and scales that weigh to a hundredth of a gram because it's very particular to reproduce a color -- if you get something off by like half a gram it throws everything off," said Fowler.

The ladies say even blending time is very precise as blending the minerals too long or not long enough can change the color.

But while the couple does literally blend the minerals in a food processor, it's not always as easy as pie.

"There are a lot of guidelines we have to follow for FDA, packing, labeling ... and we have to adhere to it all very closely," the women explained.

They concocted a total of 34 eye shadows, four blushes and a bronzer, 19 foundation shades, finishing veils (powder), several lip colors and balms, moisturizers and facial serums, cosmetic brushes, and homemade facial and shampoo/body bars.

The women say their products are 100 percent natural, which makes it nice for people with sensitive skin, allergies, or just people who want to avoid unnatural products.

"Regular makeup soaks into your skin, which is your largest organ," explains Fowler, "so as it all goes into your body you could be absorbing toxins. But minerals stay on top of the skin."

In fact, all their raw ingredients, which they get online by the pound, are listed in their brochure next to each product.

"Because we're really proud of what we have in there; they're very good ingredients," said Kirsch.

And they priced their products to sell.

Comparing it to top brands you see in department stores, Kirsch and Fowler say their Pure and Natural products are often half or even a third of the price, while providing more makeup.

The mother and daughter duo promote their products by packing them all up in a Winnebago and hitting the fairs and craft shows.

"We go all around Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin..." said Fowler.

In fact, one might have seen them at the Detroit Lakes Street Faire.

"We're always in the same spot -- right in front of Ace Hardware," said Kirsch.

The ladies say when they have a big show coming up, their family business ends up needing more of the family.

"We'll have April's mother-in-law, my niece, and we've had our husbands help us," said Fowler.

Now, after five year years, these local entrepreneurs are ready to take their baby to the next level.

With a billboard on highway 10 East, a television commercial, and growing website sales, they are now beginning a consultant program.

It is similar to Mary Kay, where people can buy their kits and sell the Pure and Natural products through home parties.

"And then the lowest percentage of profit they get starts off at 30 percent and goes up from there as they sign up someone under them, and so forth," said Fowler.

Their goal is to one day be able to sustain the company solely through consultants and online sales, while letting the top consultants take over the fairs and craft shows.

"Our husbands would love it if they we got big enough so that they didn't have to work," laughed Kirsch, "That's the goal!"

Kirsch and Fowler believe in that goal, too, because they believe in their products.

"Once people wear minerals, they don't go back," said Fowler, "and we've had a lot of people tell us that they like our stuff even better than those big brands."

Check out Pure and Natural products or become a consultant at www.PureAndNaturalMinerals.com.

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