Kelly Perkins’ quest to create clean skin care
2020 CEO of the Year Finalist: Perkins quit her job as a business analyst and started making natural, sustainable face and skin products
Kelly Perkins, Founder and CEO
Spinster Sisters Co., Golden
Spurred by a search for cleaner, chemical-free soap, Perkins, 53, quit her job as a business analyst for a corporate travel agency and started making soap full-time in 2012.
“It was the best move I ever made for sure from an employment perspective,” Perkins says. “I feel like I’m doing a good thing now.”
Spinster Sisters gained a fast following with its lines of natural soaps with ingredients like lavender, pomegranate and oatmeal, and expanded into moisturizers, bath bombs and other products made at the company’s “Microsoapery” in Golden.
A pivot in 2018 catalyzed sales. “We started focusing more on the natural grocery channel, because that’s where our tribe is — people concerned about sustainability, using clean ingredients and things like that,” Perkins says. The strategic shift meant slimming the catalog from more than 400 products to 85. “It’s certainly paying off.”
The 16-employee company’s products are now on the shelves in three regions of Whole Foods, after debuting in Colorado in 2019, and 2,000 outlets in all. After a solid 2019, sales are up 70% in 2020 with a big uptick in hand sanitizer sales and the launch of a new mask spray. “COVID has generated whole new worlds of products,” Perkins says.
Spinster Sisters is currently working toward B Corporation certification, which has increased employee engagement. “I’m really excited about the direction we’re going right now.”
Perkins’ words of wisdom for aspiring entrepreneurs: “Be brave and believe in yourself. There’s certainly days where I wake up and I know with 100% certainty that I have no idea what I’m doing. Then the day goes on and I realize, ‘Yeah, I actually do know what I’m doing here.’”
This article is part of ColoradoBiz Magazine’s annual CEO of the Year feature. Read more about this year’s winner Kurt Culbertson and the other finalists: