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From Punk Rock Girl to Female CEO: How Deva America Transformed 25 Years of Vegetarianism Into a Trending Vegan Soap Start-Up

With a background in the DIY punk scene and a big vegan recipe contest win under her belt, 39 year old soap CEO pushes vegan body care to levels of luxury with premium ingredients and hipster designed packaging.

 

Gainesville, FL -- (ReleaseWire) -- 07/15/2014 -- One walk down the body care aisle at Whole Foods, and the question, “Do customers need another vegan bar soap?” is easy to answer. No. The shelves are loaded with them. But Deva America, the 39 year old CEO of C% Pure, has captured the Kickstarter community’s interest in premium vegan soap by partnering with graphic designer, Aaron Scamihor (who’s work includes gig posters for the band Cake, advertisements for Dollar Shave Club and branding for Indiana City Brewing Co, a mid-west microbrewery with a following) and developing soap formulas so rich in anti-oxidents, they could be the new super-food for the skin.

Deva America (she legally changed her name with her divorce in 2012), grew up in the punk rock/hardcore music scene of suburban NJ. At 14, she skateboarded, snuck out to shows at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, and, influenced by the Positive Force scene down in DC, became a vegetarian. Her skateboarding days are long gone, but after 25 years eating an animal-free diet, she has gained her veg street cred.

In the mid-2000’s, she blogged at the now defunct Sabjimata, sharing her original vegetarian recipes, canning tips, and experiences raising 2 kids (she now has 3) vegetarian from birth. Her kitchen remodel was featured in Food and Wine Magazine’s January 2011 article, “Food Bloggers’ Best Kitchen Design Ideas.” And in 2012, she won the grand prize in Earth Balance’s first Spring to Life Recipe Contest, including a trip to New York City and her recipe on the menu at Candle 79.

“As a stay at home mom to 3 kids (her 3rd child was born in December of 2012), I thought winning the Earth Balance contest was it. That it wasn’t going to get much better than that. I mean, a few days in New York without the kids? I made it,” says Deva from her warehouse studio in downtown Gainesville, Florida.

“But then, after getting back from the trip, I started thinking, what’s next?”

Later that year, Deva got crafty with her love for baking and began making pastry stands from vintage china. From there, she cut her chops on starting a small business. Things started taking off after her first sale event on Fab.com. She expanded with an all natural candle line, now available online and in select Urban Outfitters, as well as cotton tea towels, which were featured in the April 2014 PopSugar Must Have Box.

But with an eye on diversifying her product line, and getting into commercial manufacturing, she began researching the bar soap industry. Bar soap appealed to her because it is a utilitarian product people purchase multiple times a year. After seeing all the soaps already on the market, she thought deeply about how to make hers better. And how to make the packaging stand out.

Immediately, she committed to using the best possible ingredients in the highest concentrations. RSPO palm, argan oil, kukui nut oil, cupuaca butter—these ingredients are in good soaps out there but they are not found together in one singular bar. Deva decided these would form the base that the entire line would build off.

For each soap she created character profiles, which she and her fragrancier transformed into scents. Her collaboration with Aaron produced packaging with bold graphic portraiture and minimalist text. A signature style for the brand emerged.

On July 7, 2014, the C% Pure soap project launched on Kickstarter. Within a week, the brand achieved 77% funding to meet the goal of supplementing orders for the first production run of 80,000 soap bars.

Kickstarter Page: http://kck.st/W4M7Ds

For Deva, the soap is a natural progression from the DIY punk scene and cruelty-free ethos she grew up in. “I’ve always been around people who made stuff happen. If someone wanted to put out a record, they figured out a way to hustle it. I want to add style and quality to the soap scene. Kickstarter’s my hustle.”