Using Success to Help Others
Using Success to Help Others
Jaime Schmidt, founder of Schmidt’s Naturals, uses her expanding influence and resources to lift up aspiring entrepreneurs.September 24, 2022
Pregnant with her son in 2009, Jaime Schmidt adopted a heightened awareness of the ingredients in her skin-care products. After doing her research, she concluded that the cleanest products would come from her own kitchen.
She explored new ingredient combinations over a large pot on her stove and stirred them together herself. It wasn’t long before Schmidt concocted natural and effective hygienic products like soap and deodorant free of aluminum salts and other commonly used chemicals.
At that point, she had spent years building an “unsettled” career in human resources. With a newfound passion, she launched Schmidt’s Naturals in 2010, selling her all-natural products at local farmers' markets.
“Turning my hobby into a business brought the exciting potential to do something I enjoyed, while also changing my professional life,” Schmidt said. “From managing a fast-growing team to finding new ways of leveling up against the competition, there were endless challenges in building the business.”
A 2000 Eli Broad College of Business graduate, she persevered through adversity and pivoted when necessary. In order to better market herself to retailers, she initially focused solely on the production of deodorant.
As the business grew, Schmidt recalled lessons learned at MSU. She lacked prior manufacturing experience, but because of her undergraduate studies, she understood invaluable concepts like lean manufacturing.
“It taught me that the fewer times you touch something the more efficient your manufacturing process is,” Schmidt said. “I was running my own factory. Part of that was setting up our production lines and trying to figure out the most efficient way to get things made.”
Eventually, Schmidt’s Natural Deodorant became the first deodorant in the U.S. to be Certified Natural by Ecocert, an organic certification organization founded in France. Today, the company sells more than a dozen deodorant scents, along with soaps and toothpaste, online and at major international retailers.
In 2017, Unilever acquired Schmidt’s Naturals and Schmidt transitioned from CEO to company spokesperson.
With immense influence and resources, her new mission is to help aspiring entrepreneurs.
She offers practical advice from her experiences in her book “Supermaker: Crafting Business on Your Own Terms.” She’s also co-founded Color Capital, which invests and partners with entrepreneurs specializing in consumer products and emerging commerce platforms.
“I’ve since expanded my mission and launched my new brand, BFF, earlier this year, with a plan to break down barriers preventing women and nonbinary people from staking their claim in evolving technologies,” Schmidt said.
She grew up in Frankenmuth, Michigan, a small town known for its Bavarian pretzels, but Schmidt longed to expand her horizons.
“There wasn’t a whole lot of diversity in terms of economic status, race and political views,” she said. “That was something that I was excited to have more of in East Lansing.”
In 2021, Frankenmuth High School named Schmidt alumni of the year and the school district inducted her into its hall of fame. She recently purchased a second home in the area.
“My real home will always be Michigan,” said Schmidt, a California resident. “I now have the special opportunity to see my family regularly. Of all the benefits that came from building a successful business, the privilege of now being able to spend more time with my loved ones is the greatest gift.”
Contributing Writer(s): Drew Mentock