Kim Rollo Emanuel likes taking matters into his own hands and making a difference where he can. When his wife, Priscilla, began suffering from debilitating migraines, they realized she was allergic to synthetic fragrances and couldn’t find skin care products without synthetics. So, Kim started tinkering at home, making soaps. He bought emulsifiers, natural fragrances and even did research at the Stanford Library.
After much trial and error, Kim had a product – natural soap that worked well and didn’t cause his wife headaches. On this journey he began hearing from others looking for good soap made from natural ingredients. Thus, Luminance Skincare was born. Kim started pedaling his concoctions at East Bay farmers markets and quickly built a growing base of loyal customers. One of these customers, Elena Saxton, liked the products so much that she became a business partner.
One day a few years back, Kim, Elena and Priscilla ended up in a conversation about foster care and the many hurdles that foster youth have to overcome.
“The problems that kids face on a daily basis are ginormous. But I believe that no matter how big a problem is, there’s something I can do to help someone.” Elena explains.
Their business was still in its infancy – Kim wasn’t even paying himself at the time – but, Kim, Elena and Luminance like taking matters into their own hands and making a difference where they can. So, they cooked up an idea. Literally. They’d make a special soap, an exclusive flavor – Ginger Peach – and offer it once a year to raise funds for foster youth, for Beyond Emancipation and our GROW program.
Supporting B:E and our GROW culinary training program was a natural fit for Luminance. At B:E’s GROW culinary training program, youth artisans start with raw ingredients and create masterpieces. They’re given flour and butter and learn how to make a roux – a gravy that forms the basis for a multitude of dishes. At GROW we teach young people not only how to cook from scratch, but they learn firsthand how their bodies feel eating whole foods and less preservatives.
Like the confidence Kim and Elena’s customers feel lathering up with Luminance soap, the young people in GROW gain an understanding of what they’re putting in their bodies and what effects it has on them.
“When we saw the artisans in action, it was life affirming,” Elena says of attending a B:E luncheon catered by GROW. “We’re humbled to be a part of this work.”
Luminance started small with a big vision. Every good idea, every good meal, starts like that. And at B:E, we remind every young person we work with, to dream big. In 2015 Luminance raised $300 for GROW. The next year, $500. The next year, $900. And this year, $1,800. We’re grateful for this partnership, may it continue to grow.