When Karla Diringer retired from a career spent in the California Governor’s Office it certainly wasn’t her intention to start a second career. Rather, what started as a leisurely exploration of her interests led Karla from recreating her grandmother’s homemade cleaning products to experimenting with skin care. A growing awareness of the chemicals within traditional products and growing raves for her homemade holiday gifts inspired Karla to bring her natural, nourishing products to a larger audience.
What started in her kitchen became Spa Essence Natural Body and Skin Care. Committed to creating products that are as good for the environment as they are for the skin, Karla loves knowing she has a part in brining out the natural beauty in her customers. For her it’s really about the “endeavor to empower folks to take some time out of the rigors of life.”
And though she’s a once retired, back to the grind business owner, Karla still takes time to live her mission. “I make a conscious effort to take time out to breathe … and soak in a tub of hot water with some relaxing lavender bath salts,” she advises. “It’s important to prioritize, set boundaries and know that tomorrow is another day.”
It’s important to prioritize, set boundaries and know that tomorrow is another day.
What inspired you to launch your own skin care line?
After retiring from a fabulous job, I took time to relax and to pursue hobbies and interests. One of those interests was aromatherapy and all things natural and beautiful. I began making natural cleaning products based on my grandmother's vintage recipes, which then led to creating mineral bath salts scented with organic lavender essential oil that I found to be very soothing to the body, mind and spirit. This endeavor expanded into additional research that made me aware of the harmful chemicals commonly found in skin care products. Finally, at this stage, I was inspired to create a sophisticated, nourishing and effective skin care line made with natural and organic plant-based ingredients. I started out by giving my creations away as gifts and was humbled by all the positive feedback and encouragement to market them.
After about a year of setting the groundwork, Spa Essence Natural Body and Skin Care was launched to make my products more widely available and to provide a healthy alternative to products currently available. We create skin care products that are vegan, animal-friendly, paraben-free, petro-chemical-free, phthalate-free, synthetic fragrance-free, formaldehyde-free, alcohol-free, and vacant of water and fillers. We aim to create skin care products that are good for both you and the environment.
We also strive to empower others to take some time out of the rigors of life, to take time to pause: to relax, indulge, soothe your mind, feed your skin, inspire you spirit and let your natural beauty shine, inside and out.
What does your job involve on a daily basis, and what types of responsibilities do you have in your position?
As a small business owner, I fill many different roles that include research and development, Web design, graphic arts, product formulation, branding, manufacturing, photography, marketing, sales, bookkeeping /accounting, as well as managing the company’s finances and budget.
What is your favorite part of your job?
I love interacting with my customers and clients. They truly inspire me. I also love having my daughter work with me during the busy season. We have so much fun creating and selling the products that our customers and clients love.
What challenges keep you awake at night?
The challenges that come with growth concern me sometimes, but I quickly remind myself to take things one step at a time, plan and budget properly and remind myself that everything will work out OK.
Is work/life balance ever a problem with you? If so, what is one no-fail tactic you use to create balance?
Balancing work and life is challenging. It’s important to prioritize, set boundaries and know that tomorrow is another day. It’s also very important to prioritize some healthy “me time” into the equation. I make a conscious effort to take time out to breathe, unplug from technology, enjoy the outdoors, listen to the sound of silence, work out several times a week at the gym and soak in a tub of hot water with some relaxing lavender bath salts. I’ve learned that it’s not worth getting stressed out or burnt out, and a conscious effort must be made to avoid it.
Was there ever a moment in your career where you’ve thought, “I can't believe I have this job?" What was it?
The first time a customer came back to buy more products, because it was the only product that actually helped her daughter’s eczema, was very rewarding. There’s nothing more fulfilling than to hear that my products have made an amazing and positive difference to the condition of a customer’s skin.
What are some of the rules you live by?
Keep things simple.
Love what you do.
Always maintain a high level of integrity.
Treat everyone the way you want to be treated.
Know that everything happens for a reason.
Always maintain a positive attitude and look at the bright side of things.
Smile and laugh … a lot.
Do not allow fear to limit you.
Life is short. Enjoy it.
What qualities does one need to possess to be successful in your line of work?
Patience, diligence, passion, focus, a positive attitude and being a self-starter are some of the most important qualities to possess.
What one piece of advice do you wish you could tell a 21-year-old version of yourself?
Have faith, be patient, put your passion into action and trust your heart and intuition. Should you stumble, don't view it as failure. Everything happens for a reason. View it as a valuable learning experience and move forward with grace, passion and compassion.