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Origin Story

From the Founder:  In 1999, I taught myself to make soap the old-fashioned way, combining oils and butters, water, sodium hydroxide, and the magic of chemistry to create something entirely new.  This, of course, blossomed into an obsession with science, formulating, and ingredient technology, a welcome escape from studying law. 

Over the next decade, I made so much soap that I started offering it, and other hand-made products, at my local farmer's market.  My offerings were simple, less-is-more bath and body goodies.  Eventually, my customers began asking for skincare products, but I did not think it would be responsible to dispense skincare advice or provide more complicated products without a proper education.

Thus, while practicing law in New York City, I went back to school to become a licensed esthetician, completing a program developed by The International Dermal Institute, the global leader in professional skincare education.  Eventually, I traded the courtroom for the treatment room, full-time, because, in law, there is always at least one side that ends up disappointed.  With skin therapy, there's a chance for everyone to be happy.

As an attorney, I valued nothing higher than research, facts without editorializing, and citation-worthy sources.  As a licensed esthetician, my goal is to bring the same principles to skincare.  Unfortunately, I often found myself wishing for more straight-talk about ingredients and for products that did not already exist.  I ached to provide my clients with information, education, and products that were natural as possible, while still being safe, enjoyable, functional, effective, and accessible.  My initial frustration was with cleansing oils.  I searched and searched and searched for a PEG/PPG-free cleansing oil that did not feel greasy but was emollient enough for dry and sensitive skin; that turned into a light, milky emulsion with the addition of a manageable amount of water; and that rinsed clean and fresh, especially for combination and oily skin.  Eventually,  I decided to turn my frustration into action by combining my formal education and research passion with my preexisting ingredient technology and formulation obsession.  Next thing I knew, I was freighting barrels of ECOCERT-approved ingredients from Europe!  After nearly two years of research and testing, Step One Cleansing Oil was born. 

Gramercy Skincare came into being shortly thereafter.  The word "gramercy" comes from the Anglo-French "grand merci," meaning "great thanks."  It is my goal that the products we create embody a quality of thankfulness -- for our skin, ourselves, and our planet.