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Winter 2010 - Customer Focus


Kristin Fraser Cotte of The Grapeseed Company
(Santa Barbara, California)

Although more famous for its Pinot Noir, Santa Barbara is also known for its environmental stewardship. So much, in fact, that it is one of the primary reasons Kristin and her husband, Peter, settled in Santa Barbara after their two-year adventure sailing around the Caribbean. Although Kristin was taught to respect the earth from a young age, the couple’s travels ingrained in them an even deeper conviction for treading lightly on the planet. While living on their 30-foot sloop, they used solar power and harvested their food from the ocean around them by spear fishing and conch diving.

Kristin’s travels also gave her further inspiration for launching The Grapeseed Company. She learned about the benefits of natural oils and plants from Caribbean women using coconuts to make soap in the islands they visited, and studied herbs, essential oils, and the art of making natural skin care products during the long ocean passages.

In 2004, having settled in Santa Barbara by then, Kristin launched a line of premium eco-friendly vinotherapy spa and skin care products. The Grapeseed Co.’s products are 100% paraben, sulfate and phthalate free, and use local and certified organic ingredients. The company’s wine-based product lines are The Grapeseed Company Vinotherapy Skin Care, Bath & Spa, Wine Bar Organic Soaps, and The Grapeseed Company 100% Pure Soy & Grapeseed Candles. The company also has a product division just for men, Mojito Man Skin & Shave, as well as one for pets, Dirty Dog Organics Grooming Products.

Although the almost six-year old company is thriving, some things have remained the same and probably always will. For instance, at the company’s new location in downtown Santa Barbara, Kristin and her production assistant, Abbie, still make all of Grapeseed’s products by hand. Kristin and Peter, who is her business partner as well as a full-time teacher, plan to keep the company small enough so that they can keep it that way.

Something that Grapeseed has changed over the years are its product labels. Like many startups, The Grapeseed Company initially printed all of its product labels in-house before turning to Lightning Labels.

“That was just plain crazy,” Kristen recalled. “When you are running your own business and wearing so many different hats, the last thing you want to think about is labels.”

The Grapeseed Company has been very pleased with the high quality of the labels and service of Lightning Labels. When asked if she had tried out any other label printers, Kristen seemed a bit surprised by the question. Why, after all, would she go anywhere else?

(Christy Correll)