Last Update: Thursday, April 17, 2014

Chatsworth Company Takes A Natural Approach PDF Print E-mail
Written by Diana Martinez   
Thursday, 02 January 2014 00:00

Debra and Hugo Saavedra

Hugo and Debra Naturals, a Chatsworth-based company named after the husband and wife team Hugo and Debra Saavedra, have turned what began as a cottage business selling herbs and later handmade soaps to local farmers markets into a thriving business now offering a full line of natural body care products sold at major natural retailers, including Whole Foods Markets. In eight years, the company – now with an estimated $15 million in sales – embraces its mission to keep the products healthful and its work force in America.

“We believe in abundance and want to give to our country. We want to create jobs and don't want to go to China and mass market everything,” Hugo said. “No matter what, we are going to stay in America.

We feel responsible for our [80] employees, and our business has grown year after year without compromising our core values.” Their products are free of the laundry list of ingredients that most consumers can’t pronounce but are typically included: petrochemicals, animal fats, parabens, silicones, formaldehyde, hydroquinone, phthalates, propylene glycol, and synthetic surfactants, The couple is adamant their products are never tested on animals.

And the ingredients include flower, herb and fruit extracts, aloe vera, argan oil, dill powder and oats. They describe their business philosophy passionately, listing commitment, creativity and love as the virtues for their work.

“Our company was created by the vision of two people, which evolved into something incredible, very special and unique,” said Debra. Creatively, they define their equal roles in the management of the business; Debra is the CEO, and Hugo is the Chief Innovating Officer. The switch from an herb business into first making soap came after watching a late night show about a woman who started a lipstick line out of her bathtub.

“The light bulb went on over Hugo's head and our soap outsold our herb business at farmer’s markets. They completely sold out,” Debra said. Perhaps their work can be compared to the romantic partnership that first began at their by-chance meeting at a restaurant, where Debra was a customer and Hugo worked running the place.

“I came to eat and I got more than lunch that day,” Debra laughed. Hugo said that, like many immigrants, he had a dream for a better life and a desire for success. When he first came to the United States from Argentina, he was told that he would have to start as a dishwasher. But Hugo was fortunate that he was able to sidestep washing dishes, thanks to a chef who took him under his wing.

So it’s no accident that food ingredients would still be center stage in the creation of their line of body products. In fact, they refer to their factory as “the kitchen” and Hugo demonstrates to visitors how safe his products are by taking them on a tour, dipping into the bowls of ingredients, and giving them a taste. “You can taste our lotions and they would be safe to eat. Anything you put on your body you should be able to eat and put into your body,” he said. “Your skin is an organ and it's important to feed your skin.”

(Hugo added the company now sells every kind of body product including shampoos, fragrances, bath scrubs, fizzy bath balls soaps, lotions and even has a line for babies called Baby Hugo. “Our promise is to produce the most pure and natural products that we can make for the consumer.

We are pioneering body care by making luxurious, 100 percent Natural, Certified Gluten-free, Vegan, Cruelty-free products from only 100 percent Food-Grade Ingredients,” Hugo said. “It’s our vision that everything is 100 percent natural and our business has grown year after year without compromising our core values.

We are very blessed and are pinching ourselves that we have had so much success.” The couple have opened a factor store for the public at their company's location at 21800 Nordhoff Street, Chatsworth.

Last Updated on Thursday, 02 January 2014 18:42

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