There’s something about becoming a mother for the first time that gets many women thinking carefully about their family’s lifestyles, well-being and health. New mums often start to scrutinise both food and personal care product labels for undesirable ingredients to ensure their newborns get options that are as natural and healthy as possible.
Formula Botanica graduate Shelly Ann Winokur relished this challenge as a mother, and as a chemical engineer with experience in the pharmaceutical industry she knew exactly what she was looking for on those labels. Finding nothing suitable that was already commercially available, she set about developing an entirely new concept in skincare for new mothers and their babies.
In her natural, organic skincare brand Kiss Kiss Goodnight, she went further than just creating a line for babies and young children; she realised that mums too needed self care. In our interview, she explains how her range acts as mums’ perfect helper too.
Hi Shelly Ann, tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m founder of Kiss Kiss Goodnight which I created based on my experience as a mother of three, my years of experience as a chemical engineer and specialised training in organic skincare. Kiss Kiss Goodnight is the product line that I wished existed when my children were babies.
Before launching Kiss Kiss Goodnight, I spent four years as a process engineer in the pharmaceutical and consumer product industry and three years as a cosmetic and skincare formulator. I recently graduated from Formula Botanica’s International Organic Skincare Entrepreneur Program. I also hold a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from Columbia University, a Master of Engineering in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University and an MBA from the University of Maryland.
I am a native of Trinidad and Tobago and I currently live in Maryland with my husband and three children. To me, Kiss Kiss Goodnight is more than just a line of products; it’s a way to support and empower mothers. I want to give mommas the peace of mind that comes from knowing they’re using pure, gentle and natural products on their children. Through Kiss Kiss Goodnight, I also plan to give mums a way to treat themselves, to wind down their own day using the same gentle care they show their children.
Tell us more about your business.
Kiss Kiss Goodnight is natural, nighttime skincare for baby (and mums). Our products are developed with one goal in mind: a sleepy baby and a happy momma (because we know, at the end of the day, all mothers wish for is a sleepy baby and a few moments to themselves.) We use only gentle, premium ingredients selected with the care of a mother and the knowledge of an expert formulator.
We’re here to help create a comforting bedtime experience that relaxes baby and nourishes momma; so baby can drift off to sleep with ease and momma can too.
We launched the brand with our signature product, the 3-in-1 Baby Bath Gel. It’s the ultimate simplifier of baby’s nighttime routine; a natural massage gel + gentle milk cleanser + moisturizer in one. So, there’s less fussing with the bath routine and more time for the moments that matter.
Our 3-in-1 Baby Bath Gel is among the first of its kind in the baby skincare segment. I developed it with the science of baby’s skin in mind. Furthermore, it encourages touch and bonding through baby massage and the nourishing experience of a milk bath.#Formulabotanica graduate Shelly Ann Winokur created #kisskissgoodnight as a well-being brand of #naturalskincare to help both mums and babies get a goodnight's rest! #babyskincare Click To Tweet
What inspired you to create Kiss Kiss Goodnight?
I developed the 3-in-1 Baby Bath Gel while completing the Certificate in Organic Anti-Ageing Skincare and while I was having a great time formulating an oleogel facial mask. I have always loved the gel-to-milk chemistry of oleogels.
As a mother, I am constantly thinking about skincare products for my children too. I thought the oleogel chemistry would be perfect for baby skincare. The massage application and transformation into a milk bath are both soothing and gentle. The oil-based gel suits the needs of babies’ sensitive and developing skin. It also combines three products in one to make bath time simpler from a mum’s point of view too.
After months of pondering it, I made a prototype and shared it with my family. Everyone loved how excited I was about my new product. I decided to rebrand my then current skincare business, which I launched on Etsy six months after starting the Formula Botanica courses and re-launch under a new name with my premier product. I received some coaching from Melinda Coss and ran a small beta test with friends and family. I knew I needed to develop the brand as much as the formulation and spent the next year and a half doing both.
Why the name Kiss Kiss Goodnight?
The name Kiss Kiss Goodnight did not come to me all at once. It is a combination of experiences that finally led me to choose the name. When I started the branding process, I knew I wanted to find a name that conveyed emotions. I remember pondering the concept of the product and brand while lying in bed with my son thinking: “I love you, we’ve had a great day, now please go to sleep…momma has so much she wants to do”. One of the children’s books I read for my kids ends with the saying “Kiss Kiss Goodnight” and I have always loved it. It’s a kiss for momma and a kiss for baby, and both are happy and content at the end of the day. Baby is getting some rest and momma is getting some “me-time”. Let’s celebrate that.
Which is your favourite Kiss Kiss Goodnight product?
Kiss Kiss Goodnight launched with one hero skincare product, our 3-in-1 Baby Bath Gel, and it is still one of my favourites even now we’ve more in the range. It is a massage gel plus gentle milk cleanser and moisturiser all in one. I feel there is no other product in the baby skincare market like it. It is perfect for baby’s sensitive and developing skin and it promotes a simpler bath/night time experience.
Which courses did you take with Formula Botanica and how did they help your business?
I signed up for Formula Botanica’s International Organic Skincare Entrepreneur Program three years ago when I finished my Master’s in Business Administration. I wanted to start a skincare company where I was the lead formulator.
My favorite class has been the Advance Diploma in Organic Skincare Science. It not only provided instruction in formulation but also in-depth knowledge about the science of the skin. Understanding the science of the skin is vital when formulating. As I grow my nighttime skincare brand for both baby and momma, I am sure I will be utilising all the varied knowledge I gained on my Formula Botanica courses. I have already added other products to the range including a belly oil for mums and a massage oil for babies. In future, I plan to make gentle cleansers, mists and moisturisers for babies and older children and relaxing spa-like products for mums.
What really inspired you to start your own skincare business?
Kiss Kiss Goodnight was inspired by my passion for product development and formulating, my experience as a mother and my desire to help mothers and girls around the world receive an education.
Ever since high school, I have loved formulating. I remember working on projects about soaps and lipsticks. After graduating with my masters, I worked as a lipstick formulator at an international cosmetic company and learned to appreciate the art and science behind formulation. Formulating grew to be a passion and I started focusing on organic skincare after my kids were born. My passion for formulation lead me to develop a product that I believed was missing in the baby skincare segment.
In addition, I have a business degree with a focus on entrepreneurship and always wanted to start a business that supported mothers and girl’s education. Through our products and our commitment to giving, we make it possible for mothers and babies around the world to sleep easier. For example, we source our melon seed oil directly from southern Africa, which makes an impact on the women who harvest the ingredients – their employer provides them with financial freedom and allows them to provide their children with food, clean water, clothing, shelter and an education. We also support the Room to Read campaign to fund girls’ education. For our launch campaign, we are committed to funding a year of schooling for four girls. Having such a powerful mission makes running a business much more meaningful.
What was the hardest thing about launching your own skincare range?
The hardest part is the realisation that every decision made is not going to be the right decision or even a good decision. Poor decisions sometimes cost time and money, but they are also learning tools. For example, deciding who to hire and what tasks to outsource are decisions I struggle with constantly.
I now realise that my strengths as a founder are very different than most skincare founders. My strengths are my vision and expertise in product development and manufacturing and I need help branding and marketing. It’s tough when you realise you have made some wrong decisions, but you keep going because you also know you have made a bunch of right ones too. You also need to learn to take action when you make a mistake and pivot.
As I work on my marketing strategy, I also now realise how difficult it is to enter the market with a “unique” product. I need to spend time educating my customers on why my baby skincare product is the first cleanser they should use on their baby’s skin. It’s been a challenge but it’s a conversation that I love having.
What advice would you give to aspiring skincare entrepreneurs?
In the early days, whenever I came across a hurdle, I thought, this may be the end. How am I going to overcome this? Now, I have overcome so many hurdles, my mindset has changed. I know I will overcome (or at least walk around) every hurdle that comes my way. I’ve faced and overcome problems that could have devastated the core of my business. I don’t waste my energy on thinking this is the end anymore. I just focus on finding the solution. You need to believe the solution is out there and you can find it. Confidence is key, and confidence sometimes takes time and experience to acquire.
Thank you Shelly Ann for sharing your inspiration and experiences in creating your brand. If you’d like to follow Kiss Kiss Goodnight online, head over to:
If you would like to follow in Shelly Ann’s footsteps and start a new career or sideline business with the support of a like-minded community of natural formulators, take our free, organic skincare formulation sample class and you’ll be on the road to starting the organic skincare business of your dreams.
Find out more about the International Organic Skincare Entrepreneur Program Shelly Ann opted for or browse one of our many other organic skincare formulation courses.
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Lorraine Dallmeier is a Biologist, Chartered Environmentalist and the CEO of Formula Botanica, the award-winning online organic cosmetic science school. Read more about Lorraine and the Formula Botanica Team.