BY MIRANDA MCDONALD | COURTESY PHOTOS
“I have really sensitive skin, and had to learn certain ingredients to avoid in skincare products and laundry detergents at an early age,” explains David Conrad as we stand in his workspace in the Portland neighborhood of Louisville. He has a bottle of essential oil in one hand and a pipette in the other.
Conrad is the creator of Beargrass, an all-natural skincare brand he launched a few years ago. He started the company with a single beard oil. Now, the company has expanded its offerings to include a facial and body cleanser that is charcoal-based; a hydrating body spray that can also be used as a bug repellent and deodorant; and a moisturizing serum that contains hempseed oil and goldenrod extract that are both sourced from plants grown in Kentucky.
This full transparency about where each ingredient is sourced is important to the company owner. “I want Beargrass to be a company that people can feel good about purchasing their skincare items from,” says Conrad.
This is why Conrad is starting to list the location information for each ingredient he uses directly on the Beargrass website.
Some of the plants these ingredients are extracted from are located in Kentucky and Indiana. He also hopes to use bottles that are manufactured locally from recycled materials in the near future. Conrad believes this honest and eco-friendly approach will help Beargrass stand apart from other skincare companies.
Beargrass is also unique in its approach to business because it puts a major emphasis on giving back to the local community. The company donates 10 percent of its net earnings to various local initiatives.
Conrad labels his company an eco-social enterprise because it is a business that values the environment and its own social impact just as much as it does its profits. This social impact includes donating to programs that provide essential work skills to youth in economically-depressed areas. AMPED Louisville and YouthBuild are just two of the programs that Beargrass partners with.
When asked why he chose these two youth organizations, Conrad quickly responds, “Giving young people important skills they can carry into adulthood is a good way to stop the cycle of poverty.”
AMPED Louisville – Academy of Music Production Education and Development – is a program on the West side of Louisville that aims to create a safe environment for kids to express themselves through music. This program started by teaching music composition, video production, web design and even marketing. Now, they have added computer programming and writing to their curriculum.
YouthBuild, which is another local organization aimed to arm young adults with essential life skills, is a program that provides counseling and support groups, and teaches productive processes for overcoming negative experiences.
One other local initiative Beargrass donates to is the Beargrass Creek Alliance. This alliance is dedicated to preserving local waterways through community involvement. Beargrass Creek, the inspiration behind the company name, is important to Conrad because he grew up next to it.
“I knew I wanted to work with an environmental cause, and the Beargrass Creek Alliance was a natural fit. Clean water is such an important thing. Water has such a wide reach. Whether it is trees, birds, plants, people hiking around it or the kids playing in it, water affects everything,” explains Conrad.
This idea of the waterways being a life source for the city is what inspired Conrad to use the name Beargrass for his company. “I needed a name that could sum up Louisville, and Beargrass does that. Beargrass Creek helped form the actual landscape of the city and continues to provide life to it.”
Over the next few years, Conrad plans to expand his product selection. He wants to create safe and natural cleaning products, pet supplies and more. For him, the Beargrass idea is more than a skincare brand. For Conrad, his company has become an an outlet for making real change in the community and how people do business.
Learn more about Beargrass at beargrass.co. or call 502.439.6419.