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San Francisco, California, USA
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Heliotrope San Francisco
Jonathan started Heliotrope San Francisco in 2009. They detail the beginnings of their company in their Starter Story interview: 
Q: How did you get started on Heliotrope San Francisco?
I started working in retail operations right out of school, moving from NYC to SF (more years ago than I care to admit). I got a job right away as an assistant buyer at Pottery Barn, which at that point had just been purchased by Williams-Sonoma, and stayed there, holding various positions, for almost a decade. After learning all about skincare at Bare Escentuals (now known as Bare Minerals), I ran operations for Restoration Hardware - back when the web was a new frontier - and then was the head of merchandising at Good Vibrations, a very reputable, well-known sex toy company in SF.
I had a small table selling stuff at every event that would have me. The more people I could meet in person, the greater the name recognition.
After my last job, I took some time off to think & travel, and then one fateful day I was searching for a shower gel that had no artificial perfume. I had developed very sensitive skin, and knew that perfumes (AKA “fragrance” when listed in your ingredients) was a trigger. I couldn’t find anyplace in SF that could help me until I stumbled on a little shop in Berkeley. And then I thought “wait for a second, why was this so hard?”
I called a few chemists with whom I’d worked back in my Bare Escentuals days, and they were all happy to start a conversation on working together. This reinforced what my Dad has always told me about being kind to people - these friends I’d made over the years were so supportive to me in those early days (and continue to be).
All my friends & neighbors became product testers, and I put together a band of creatives who’d all worked with me over the years - my copywriter and my graphic designer (who helped create our new logo) both worked with me at Good Vibes. I still work with some of these folks to this day.
I was lucky enough to have savings, and to be eligible for 2009’s federal stimulus package which extended unemployment benefits for 99 weeks - I mean, the timing was amazing for me, and I made the most of the opportunity.
Contributors to this article:
- Pat Walls, Founder @ Starter Story
- Wiki Updater