For Suzanne Stonebarger, skin care is a primary concern. After all, she spends a lot of time in the sun as a professional beach volleyball player on the AVP Tour.
But Stonebarger also is a trained makeup artist. That led her to start her own company, Manhattan Beach-based Signature23 Skincare.
The company this week will release its debut products line, featuring an exfoliator, skin creams, elixirs and a cleansing gel. The products are aimed at healing sun-damaged skin. The name of the company refers to the 23 active extracts and oils in each product. Ingredients exclude fragrance, dyes and chemicals.
Stonebarger, 28, grew up in the Northern California countryside. She was interested in natural beauty treatments from the time she was a child.
"As a little girl, I would make concoctions out of mud and things from the orchards," Stonebarger said.
After college, she moved to Southern California, where she traded playing in the mud for the sands of Manhattan Beach and became a pro beach volleyball player. As a second career, she worked as a makeup artist in the entertainment world.
Four years ago, Stonebarger found a research team that she hired to develop her products. She is involved in every step of the process, from mixing natural extracts to proofreading the labels on the bottles.
"When I wasn't traveling on tour, I was in the lab. We went through a lot of formulas," she said.
Her family provided financial backing.
Initially, Signature23 products will be available online. She is trying to get the line carried by high-end day spas, department stores and boutiques. She plans to release a cosmetics line and natural sunscreen next fall.
It might be as difficult as sprinting in soft sand. Celebrity-endorsed products in the skin care and perfume sectors have flooded the market, and experts expect sales to decline by as much as 25 percent in the United States over the next few years as a result of the proliferation.
However, playing on the AVP Tour with her partner Michelle More they're called "Team Gorgeous" might help get the brand name out there. Women's beach volleyball got a big lift this summer thanks to the dominance of Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh at the Beijing Olympics. The sport's higher profile certainly won't hurt.
"I have meetings set up," Stonebarger said. "I'm excited to work with different investors and companies."
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