Posted on February 28 2015
Horst Rechelbacher died this past week at 72. Mr. Rechelbacher founded Aveda in 1978 based on Indian Ayurvedic medicine which he shortened into “Aveda.”
His company transformed the personal care business into a more mainstream approach to natural, premium products.
I remember experiencing my first Aveda product in 1994. I was actually visiting my college boyfriend at the BioSphere in Arizona where after graduation; he worked as an environmental researcher. The BioSphere was the place where in the 80’s, people lived in an enclosed bubble as a scientific experience. It seems quite crazy now looking back at it. Later, the facility became a think tank for environmental research.
There was a gift shop on the premises full of natural products and there on a wooden shelf were several brown travel sizes that read “Aveda Cherry Bark Shampoo” I opened one up and smelled the exquisite aroma of blended plants and herbs. “This is sensational,” I thought and my love of natural personal care was born.
For many years, I had been making soaps and candles out of honey and beeswax, but never did I think of putting herbs and flowers in my concoctions. During my childhood, I had a soap collection (I recently gave my 5-year-old daughter my collection). We just went through it together and,there was only one soap from Crabtree & Evelyn that seemed inspired by flowers.
Now, seeing Aveda products. Smelling them, feeling them, experiencing the intoxicating aroma, I was sold. I knew that development of natural products was going to be my passion.
15 years later, I finally had the experience, support and financials to develop my own line of products, Babo Botanicals. I also had the knowledge and passion – and felt like I wanted to develop an Aveda-like line for children or any individual who wanted a line for sensitive skin based on plant science. A hair, skin and sun line that used the power of plant and herbal science while delivering quality, high performing products.
I must say that I was saddened by the death of Mr. Rechelbacher. I would have loved to have met him as he pioneered and fought for safer products. He had the highest principles and values as a business leader and I, too, hope I can continue to carry the torch. He encouraged and supported many consumer groups like “The Campaign for Safer Cosmetics” which has been instrumental in creating change among personal care companies. I will do my best to continue to walk in his footsteps.