Aspen mompreneurs’ war on static gets Martha Stewart’s attention
The Aspen Times
The entrepreneurial wheels were spinning in the minds of Kristeen Church and her daughter, Whitney Foley, and their product needed a name.
The non-aerosol spray would be made with all-natural ingredients with the aim of eliminating pesky static from hair and clothes. Sure, there were other anti-static brands on the market, but none of them, the two said, were all-natural.
“We were brainstorming on the name, and Whitney came back with Static Schmatic, like Joe Schmo,” Church said.
That was the easy part. The mother and daughter often find themselves working until 1 in the morning on the home business, which launched in 2013.
The labor has yielded encouraging results. Static Schmatic is a finalist in the style-and-beauty category of the 2015 Martha Stewart American Made Contest. Voting started Sept. 21 on http://www.marthastewart.com and ends Oct. 19. Winners will be announced Oct. 23 and will be flown to New York City for the awards ceremony. Winners also will get $10,000 to invest in their business.
The Stewart accolade gives some bragging rights to Static Schmatic, which was created in 2013 and is available in 15 Aspen stores, 14 states, Australia, the company website and Amazon.com.
“Once you’re out there, it’s amazing how people find you, and it’s been a real exciting journey,” Foley said.
The creation of Static Schmatic also shows that necessity certainly can be the mother of invention. Church and Foley said static cling was prevalent in their household — they all live under one roof in Aspen, and that includes Foley’s four children and her husband Matt — but they had little confidence in other repellents because of their contents. They also wanted a static spray that wouldn’t harm sensitive skin or emit foul odors.
Static is especially common during the winter and when humidity is low.
“I was always annoyed with static when it got on my silk blouse,” Church said. “I couldn’t stand it.”
So, they started working with a Boulder chemist who identified an all-natural formula to wage war on static. Static Schmatic is comprised of aloe vera, coconut oil, vanillin, distilled water, glycerin, salt and plant-based soap.
They also brought Static Schmatic — which has products for adults, children and even pets — to local retailers and individuals to gauge interest and generate feedback.
“The community was so great here because retailers tested it in their stores and the Aspen Animal Shelter tested the pet formula, and they all gave us the green light,” Foley said.
Static Schmatic is bottled in Boulder and shipped from there, too. The chemist places an emphasis on hiring single mothers who get a flexible work schedule, Church and Foley said. The bottles come from the Midwest, and all products are American-made.
At the Aspen home office, it has been a family affair. Foley and Church work on the company website, product pitches, marketing, advertising, retailing and other strategies. Matt manages the commercial division for Related Colorado, the developer of Base Village in Snowmass, and brings his retail connections to the table, Whitney said.
“He’s equally involved in everything we do, from evaluating opportunities to expanding our retail outlets to juggling his work and our children when (Church) and I attended meetings or a trade show for eight days,” she said.
Their entry on the Stewart website also credits Foley’s children for being an influence.
“We want them to see that with hard work and vision, ideas become reality. We’re inspired by the unique opportunity to work together as a family,” the entry says. “We’re also inspired by the beauty that surrounds us in this little mountain town and the desire to maintain and even to enhance it by creating safe products.”
Aspen City Council approved a contract with Daniel Joseph (DJ) Watkins during Tuesday’s regular meeting to move forward with his intentions to operate his proposed “Aspen Collective,” which is currently occupied by Mia Valley’s Valley Fine Art.