Introducing Alpyn Beauty: A Q&A with Founder Kendra Kolb Butler
Kendra Kolb Butler is the founder of Alpyn (pronounced Al-pen) Beauty – the first sustainably sourced natural skincare line formulated with wildcrafted and hand-cultivated alpine botanicals grown in the mountains surrounding Jackson Hole, Wyoming. She took some time to chat with us about her gorgeous line and how it came about.
CF: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
KKB: After a decade of working for major skincare brands in New York, my husband and I got to a point where we just knew that we needed a drastic life change. I remember the day we made the decision. That morning I was driving, and I heard somebody say on the radio “sometimes you have to jump off the cliff and build your wings on the way down.” I took that as a signal from the universe. We both quit our jobs the next day, despite our friends and family telling us that we were crazy. But it was a “life is too short” kind of moment—how were we ever going to know if we didn’t try? And it felt so temporary at first, like a reset. We wanted to just get away from the stress of the city and live in nature and breathe fresh air for a bit and Wyoming seemed like the perfect place. Three years later, here we are, still in Jackson Hole! It just felt right and we’ve never looked back.
CF: What inspired you to start Alpyn Beauty?
KKB: After moving from New York to Jackson Hole, I started two retail beauty locations, focusing on non-toxic, luxury skincare. My clients were constantly talking to me about the effects that our mountain environment had on their skin. I created Alpyn to address the needs of the active, outdoorsy women who shopped in our store: They were spending tons of money on pricey moisturizers and still couldn’t find anything that really delivered. I wanted to create products—for myself and my customers—that were clean, green, sustainable, luxurious and backed by the most cutting-edge science. I am fortunate to live in a natural wonderland that is wildly abundant in flowers and plant life! I still have to pinch myself every time I look out the window or drive down the street. It is so breathtaking, it almost looks fake. These plants were thriving in a harsh climate that was really taking a toll on my clients (and my own) skin. Clearly, they were onto something and they figured out a way to adapt and survive in the elements – we needed to follow their lead and maybe they would show/teach us something. We started wildcrafting these plants which are now the core of Alpyn Beauty formulas.
CF: What is something about your line that most customers would be surprised to know?
KKB: All of our formulas are made with wildcrafted ingredients. Wildcrafting is the sustainable practice of harvesting a plant as it grows in its natural environment. The plant is never harmed or killed. It’s like taking a strawberry from a strawberry bush. It grows back! I believe this practice is important because we are utilizing these plants in their most natural form- the way that nature intended them to grow. We are allowing them to develop a beneficial relationship with the forest soil and learn how to preserve food and water. They have to communicate with the animals and insects that nibble on them. My plants have to grow in altitude in extreme weather with low oxygen levels, really close to the sun. All of these challenges make them strong, resilient and incredibly hearty. I call them the “Olympians of plants.” And I love the sustainability aspect!
CF: What product would you recommend starting out with for people new to the line?
KKB: I love all the babies the same, however, the PlantGenius Survival Serum has a special place in my heart. It really works- plus it’s pink and sparkly! I can see it on the skin of my clients when I’m in a yoga class and in the grocery store. I know exactly who’s wearing it- their skin has this ethereal illumination/glow. I can spot it on them from across the room. I got the idea when I was looking at the glistening sunlit crystals on the surface of the snow. It made everything look so smooth and even- I wanted to bottle that phenomenon and I think we got pretty close.
CF: What’s the best beauty advice you’ve ever received?
KKB: Besides the obvious (wearing sunscreen, getting enough sleep, cleansing am/pm), I think the most important advice I’ve ever received is that only you know what is right for you and your skin. It’s not about trying the latest trends, it’s about finding something that produces results for YOU and makes you feel happy and confident about the way you look and the way you feel.