This article was originally published in ColordoBiz Magazine. You can read the full feature here.
glow + gather is a family-run business, co-founded with two young entrepreneurs from Castle Rock. They promote self-care and a healthy lifestyle through their natural body and spice products. Best for Colorado spoke with co-founders, Sarita Parikh, Kerala (age 13) and Jaxon (age 11) to learn more about this small business’ story.
Best for Colorado: Can you tell me a little bit about how your company got started?
Kerala Parikh: glow + gather started all because I couldn’t use any of the products on the market for my skin. Anything that I would use would cause me to breakout, and I would itch my skin so much it would bleed. My aunt, Sarita, got the idea to make my own body butter, and together we researched and created our signature body butter. Lucky for us, this was also close to Christmas time which meant that it would be the perfect Christmas present for family and friends. They started using our products and we only got good reviews. So, after years of asking our aunt we finally coaxed her into going into business with us.
Sarita Parikh: Kerala and Jax tried to convince me to go into business with them for a couple of years and I said no a few times. About two years ago, I was really struggling with epilepsy and managing my seizures. I shut down my pediatric physical therapy private practice because I needed a change of lifestyle. Then, glow + gather seemed like the perfect new venture. As a pediatric therapist, I found so many clients with sensitivities or many medical conditions where they couldn’t use the products on the market. Between my healthcare background, my epilepsy and then Kerala’s eczema it was perfect timing. We’ve learned how to create our own path in building this company. We’re not following a traditional path, but it’s working for us. We give ourselves grace, we give ourselves lots of flexibility, we give ourselves space to take care of ourselves. I think it’s really nice to see that [business] can be done differently.
BFCO: How long has glow + gather been around?
KP: We just turned three years old! I was 10 when we started and Jaxon was seven!
BFCO: Congrats! Has your company’s flexibility helped you adapt to COVID-19?
SP: It has. One of our founding principles is to create connections and help our community thrive, which includes giving back to our community. During COVID, there’s been so much small business support, which has been amazing. We’ve actually seen a lot of good come out of it: community, nonprofits and small businesses coming together to support each other and help each other thrive. It has helped reinforce what we already believed in and what we’re already doing. During this time, we’ve been working with SafeHouse Denver to help fill their food pantry, and we’ve been donating self-care packages to frontline workers.
BFCO: What initially inspired your commitment to your community?
KP: In Indian culture we have Diwali parties. People usually bring gifts, but our family would ask guests to bring toiletries and canned food to donate to different organizations, like SafeHouse Denver and students in need in Jefferson County schools. We’ve always incorporated charity into our lives. At our house, when we earn money, we have to put aside a certain percentage toward charities like the Malala Foundation.
Jaxon: Just watching people in our community struggling caused me to feel bad for them and to try and help them in the best way that I could. We started with our family and continued with glow + gather to help food pantries, raise money for animals, and child trafficking.
BFCO: What are some of the most rewarding and challenging aspects of this business?
KP: I get to meet a lot of people and prove that even though I’m a kid, I know what I’m talking about. Some of the negatives though are getting talked down to or not being fully understood by adults.
JP: Getting to use my creativity to make new recipes for food and drinks. I agree with my sister, it is hard being talked down to especially when I know what I am doing with my business.
SP: Getting feedback from customers about how the products have made a difference in their lives, the community connections that we’ve built and the impact we’ve been able to make in the community are all really rewarding. It’s also been really rewarding to see Jaxon and Kerala grow and succeed in this business. Common challenges we face as a start-up are brand recognition, marketing, financing and trying to find a work/life balance.
BFCO: How did you first connect with Best for Colorado?
SP: Through Anna Castello and her company, Ship Sunshine. She uses some of our products in her gift boxes. At the time, I thought you had to be in business longer to even consider joining B Corp or Best for Colorado, and she was the one to tell us that we could absolutely start participating. I love being part of Best for Colorado because you meet amazing people who share similar values.
BFCO: What does success look like to you, say in five years from now?
KP: Five years from now I’ll be starting college, so hopefully I’ll be taking on more responsibility and continue being able to use this business to support my college fund. In mid-February, I started talking about wanting to take glow + gather down the advocacy path and organizing panels for diverse people to come together and talk about what’s going on in our world. Speaking for justice, advocacy and diversity is glow + gather’s overall long-term plan in my eyes.
JP: I have been creating recipes using our spice blends. The spices are my part of the business, and I would like to keep growing this part of the business, especially since food is one of the best ways to bring people together.
SP: Of course, I would like greater brand recognition and a greater market reach, but I would also like to see us create more significant community partnerships and see us making a greater impact on the world and in society.