Irina Gottesman and Sam Kandhorov of House of GRŌ: Five Strategies Our Company Is Using To Tackle Climate Change & Become More Sustainable

An Interview with Penny Bauder

Penny Bauder
Aug 16 · 8 min read

Realizing and reminding younger generations of the life cycle taking place within our own personal ecosystems will help translate the same ideas to our global ecosystems.

part of my series about companies who are helping to battle climate change, I had the pleasure of interviewing Irina Gottesman and Sam Kandhorov, House of GRŌ.

House of GRŌ™ is founded by siblings Irina Gottesman and her brother Sam Kandhorov. Irina and Sam have been building brands together for decades; they have a 25 year track record in the luxury market, both with their own passions for wellness — Irina in beauty and Sam with a doctorate in Eastern Medicine. After the pair found themselves in the CBD space, Irina and Sam learned about the skincare benefits of CBD and finally decided to dive head first into the cosmetics industry, thus House of Grō was born. This dynamic duo now own and operate the 1st CBD brand to be certified Microbiome-Friendly. Irina and Sam are truly trail blazers in the Microbiome skincare movement. The Microbiome-certified seal verifies that House of Grō products are luxe, honest, and of the highest quality.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

ouse of Grō is a brother, sister & father entrepreneur trio (a tripod if you will) with a 25-year track record in fashion, retail, and hospitality. They all have a personal passion for wellness and one of the three, Sam, has a degree in Chinese Medicine. Initially they suffered with the imposter syndrome coming into the beauty space…but then were reminded that they weren’t born into a fashion house and didn’t have a formal education in hospitality. Like most entrepreneurs, they jump out of the plane first and figure it out as they go.

What is the mission of your company? What problems are you aiming to solve?

House of Grō is the first Microbiologist-Certified Skincare brand featuring CBD and Chaga Mushroom. Our ingredients are proven to balance the skin’s microbiome and restore health and vitality for all ages and skin types. Our minimalist formulations are derived from 3rd generation family wellness practices. Our products embody wellness inside and out, and we are dedicated to sustainable practices which maintain environmental balance — from our ingredients and harvesting methods, which improved soil and preserve land, to our recyclable boxes and materials.

Additionally, as a brand we want to emphasize that the consumer should stop layering countless products and start listening to their skin. We aimed to create the best products we could make by adding to the skin only what it needs: Minimal ingredients, Microbiome-Friendly, balance homeostasis, minimal steps, solutions to support the natural Microbiome. More Is not the answer. Less is more when it comes to skincare especially when treating the Microbiome and caring for the planet. It’s less complicated than we as a society are making it. Buy less, use less, waste less.

Can you tell our readers about the initiatives that you or your company are taking to address climate change or sustainability? Can you give an example for each?

All of the packaging components come from recycled materials and are recyclable. No foams or foil materials used in the packaging. Our packaging partners use clean production technologies and best practices. Green Thinking & Design Consciousness is what makes up House of Grō. The glass for the House of Grō packaging is made with PCR Materials (meaning pre-used by consumers, properly disposed, recycled, re-treated & put back on the market). Glass is the perfect packaging as it is 100% recyclable and doesn’t hurt its beautiful!

Other known facts about glass packaging:

  1. Inert & Guaranteed Purity: Glass, unlike plastic doesn’t release substances into the product contained in it therefore making it pure & hygienic.
  2. High Value Appearance: values sustainability and premiumization
  3. Why Glass?: 100% recycled; less raw material (glass recycling closed-loop system) and no additional waste or by-products

They are also Ecocert certified!

How would you articulate how a business can become more profitable by being more sustainable and more environmentally conscious? Can you share a story or example?

House of Grō’s business model is less is more. We are anti-shelfie, anti-fast fashion, and anti-trends — “skinimalists,” if you will. By being curated and mindful throughout production and development, our brand highlights how it is environmentally conscious within the collection which boasts 12 ingredients or less in each product. Our brand is dedicated to sustainable practices which maintain environmental balance — from our ingredients and harvesting methods, which improve soil and preserve land, to our recyclable boxes and materials. We choose to have our 3PL located in Maine, where we source the Chaga Mushroom, one of our powerhouse ingredients. This has alleviated our carbon footprint and the cost of doing business; with the environment in mind, in this instance has helped with our bottom line.

The youth led climate strikes of September 2019 showed an impressive degree of activism and initiative by young people on behalf of climate change. This was great, and there is still plenty that needs to be done. In your opinion what are 5 things parents should do to inspire the next generation to become engaged in sustainability and the environmental movement? Please give a story or an example for each.

To start, the easiest thing we can do as parents, children, and human beings is to fall in love with nature. Simply talk to the plants in our homes and the trees in our backyards. We need to reconnect ourselves to Mother Nature as this concept has gotten so incredibly lost in our ever-evolving world.

Additionally, we can …

  • Stop using plastic water bottles, and replace with a sustainable, reusable alternative (again, a simple concept that is overlooked)
  • Encourage the next generation to respect the ocean and realize how daily occurrences (littering, etc.) can affect marine life
  • Be conscious of reading the labels of products you’re putting into your body or applying to your skin
  • Realizing and reminding younger generations of the life cycle taking place within our own personal ecosystems will help translate the same ideas to our global ecosystems
  • The most environmentally conscious decision is always to reduce your overall consumption and to buy less whenever possible

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

We always knew from previous business ventures that overnight success is a myth — but in the beauty industry it appears to be more like a 5-year plan to be recognized and respected and we wish we knew this prior. We started our journey in 2016, and never thought that CBD would still have a long way to go with federal advertising restrictions in 2021 (i.e. Instagram, Facebook, Apple Pay, etc.). Another topic for concern is the looming gray area surrounding sourcing sustainable packaging and the difficulties that come with researching credible third party sources. Likewise, the cost of placing orders regarding minimums and MOQ’s on customized packaging, especially since we are still establishing ourselves in the beauty industry, has been another hurdle to overcome. Lastly, we now realize that strangers will support your brand more than friends and family — who expect things for free.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

We can think of two notable mentors that helped our brand along the way. The first is Keith Miller of Goode Partners LLC and Supreme, who was an advisor to us from the very start of our rebranding. His advice was to scale down the amount of skus to launch with — his thought process was to do a 2-step solution inclusive of one day and one night product to get the consumer excited about future launches (hence, the launch of WOKE Rejuvenating Face + Neck Oil and AFTER DARK Anti-Aging Night Serum). Our business plan ultimately revolved around this concept, and the plan moving forward is to roll out a new sku twice per year.

The other influential mentor turned colleague is Linda Wells, founder of Allure Magazine. Linda and I met because I had asked her for a quote for our business deck; she was so gracious and agreed to try the line. Later, after setting extremely high goals for ourselves, and in the midst of an entrepreneurial panic attack, Linda sent me a text expressing that she was obsessed with AFTER DARK Anti-Aging Night Serum. I told her how I was feeling and she said, “Don’t stop. Go! Go! Go!” and really confirmed to me that we had created something amazing.

You are a person of great influence and doing some great things for the world! If you could inspire a movement that would bring the greatest amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

Well, thank you! If we could inspire a movement, it would be to spread the message worldwide to Grō with love. We want our brand to symbolize being comfortable and confident in your skin and to be the reason why people believe in good hearts, pure vibes, and kind souls. House of Grō embodies wellness inside and out. We are inclusive, genderless, clean beauty for all ages and skin types and our adaptogenic formulas maintain your skin microbiome for healthier-looking skin. I want to inspire our community to take their healthier looking skin and translate that to a healthier, positive lifestyle of love, light, and peace.

Do you have a favorite life lesson quote? Can you tell us how that was relevant to you in your own life?

One of our favorite life lesson quotes is “Find a job you love and never work a day in your life.” Being passionate about a job, project, task, whatever it may be — is a must in any path we’ve chosen over the years. The end goal is always the same — to leave the customer feeling inspired and looking great. Our company mantra is to Grō with love and in order to translate that love to the consumer, us as producers have to feel and exude that love as well.

What is the best way for people to follow you on social media?

IG: @houseofgro

FB: https://www.facebook.com/HouseofGro/

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.

Authority Magazine

In-depth Interviews with Authorities in Pop Culture, Business, Tech, Wellness, & Social Impact

Authority Magazine

In-depth Interviews with Authorities in Business, Pop Culture, Wellness, Social Impact, and Tech. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

Penny Bauder

Written by

Environmental scientist-turned-entrepreneur, Founder of Green Kid Crafts

Authority Magazine

In-depth Interviews with Authorities in Business, Pop Culture, Wellness, Social Impact, and Tech. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.