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Out West With Alpyn Beauty Founder Kendra Kolb Butler
Our inspiring chat with the mastermind behind one of our favorite brands.
In 2015, Kendra Kolb Butler swapped her high-heels for hiking shoes, moving west to Wyoming in search of open spaces, fresh mountain air, and serenity—husband, baby boy, and German Shepherd in tow. She became instantly enchanted with the wild forests of arnica and chamomile, and the fields of lavender and sage which make up her new backyard, and became the basis for Alpyn Beauty.
We recently chatted with Kendra as part of our ongoing series of exclusive Q&As with female founders that inspire us (and happen to make products we LOVE). Read on for insights into Kendra’s story, process, life mantra, and beauty tips. Warning: you’ll likely be tempted to try her products by the time you’re done!
Your story is quite an inspiration and we know that it could help so many other people out there! What was the defining moment where you realized that you had to take that leap of faith, quit your job, and move from NYC to Wyoming?My husband and I both wanted a drastic life change. We wanted to get away from the stress of city life and get some fresh air. We needed a “reset” button, and one morning, as I was driving, I heard on the radio, “Sometimes you have to jump off the cliff and build your wings on the way down.” I took that as a signal from the universe. We both quit our jobs the next day and moved out to Jackson, and 3 years later, we’re still here.
Do you have any advice for someone out there who may be conflicted about making a similar decision?I’m a big believer in the phrase, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” If something inspires you, keep letting your mind dream, and see what doors open for you. Find mentors along the way who can support you and nurture you so you can keep harnessing your strength.
Can you tell us what “wild-crafting” means?Wildcrafting is the sustainable practice of harvesting a plant as it grows in its natural environment. The plant is never harmed or killed because we only take what will grow back. Seeing how the native plants survived the harsh mountains of Jackson Hole, I was inspired by the ways they could help our skin, and that’s how Alpyn Beauty was born.
You have the most adorable family! What are the whole family’s favorite activities to do together?We are an outdoor family for sure! In the Summer, we bike, hike and take rafting trips down the river. In the winter we ski and climb snow piles (the latter being the favorite pastime of my 2 and 4 year old!). ☺
Wyoming looks absolutely beautiful. What do people just HAVE to do when they visit? How about Jackson Hole specifically?Wyoming is full of National Forests and Parks, but the Grand Teton National Park is a must-see. It’s right outside of Jackson Hole! The Teton Mountain range is incredible for hiking and camping in the summer and it’s full of incredible biodiversity. Alpyn Beauty recently made a pledge with 1% for the Planet to donate 1% of all brand revenue to the Grand Teton National Park Foundation to preserve the park’s unique ecosystem.
It looks like you spend quite a bit of time outdoors (can't blame you after seeing photos of those beautiful landscapes!) - what are your go-to hiking shoes to trek those beautiful Wyoming mountains?
I am a Merrell girl. You need really good, grippy treads or you just slide on all the pebbles and dust.
What is one product you would recommend to someone who is new to Alpyn Beauty and wants to try it?I love all the babies the same, however, the Survival Serum has a special place in my heart. Pink and sparkly, like a sunset in a bottle, and it’s also full of good-for-you ingredients like vitamin C, natural exfoliants, and natural moisturizers. It gives your skin an illuminated sunlit glow from the inside out, and I always get so excited to see how amazing it looks on everybody.
In your opinion, what crucial skincare step is an absolute must for everyone?Living in Jackson Hole, I’ve definitely learned the importance of moisturizer. So many clients would come into my store Alpyn Beauty Bar complaining that their skin had been put through it because of the extreme mountain climate. To help, I dreamt of a moisturizer that would deeply nourish, heal, and moisturize while feeling comfortable and lightweight enough for the active lifestyle people here in Jackson have – that’s how my PlantGenius® Melt Moisturizer was born!
If you were stuck out in the middle of those mountains (and had all the food, water and shelter you needed) what 3 items would you have to bring?Sunscreen, my dog and a REALLY good book.
What has been the hardest lesson you have learned on your journey with Alpyn beauty?Building my own skincare line, I had to quickly learn the importance of wearing multiple hats at once. I was initially taken aback by how quickly the brand took off, and I was doing everything from sending out USPS packages to talking with big retailers. It really takes a lot of patience and humility to start your own brand.
What are your go-to beauty must-haves that you absolutely swear by?UM, how long do you have? I have been a beauty junkie since age 10 so I have millions of products surrounding me at all times. I have to say, I would be lost without my EVOLVh SmartVolume Leave-In Conditioner.
Having your own brand and being a mom and a wife - it’s no doubt that you’re a busy bee! What’s your favorite thing to do in your down time?
I know it sounds lame, but I just want to SLEEP! ☺