I Love Grain is a company created in 2017 by Justyna Borska and Barbara Onyszkiewicz-Belska. The brand creates natural products according to a zero waste philosophy. Their pillows and accessories are filled with grains, herbs and cereal hulls that have a positive impact on our health.
Kasia Szostak: The story behind the company's creation is quite remarkable. Where did the idea for the I Love Grain brand come from?
Justyna Borska: I didn't plan to open a business. For many years I was accompanied by pain and cardiac, neurological and multisystem symptoms. I was unable to function normally. In 24 years, I visited doctors of every specialty and never received effective help. I was eventually diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and neuroborreliosis. My only task and goal was to find the cause of my condition, as well as a solution for myself. Especially since I couldn't sleep. Neurological pain is one of the worst pains a person can experience, especially since the strongest painkillers don't work. Then I found the perfect pillow that supports my head in the right way and relieves pressure on my neck muscles. Thanks to it, I felt incredible relief. Of course, it was minimal relief and it took many years before I started to recover.
I still struggle with many problems, while it is already a different comfort of life. I can walk, I can not only go to the toilet on my own, but I function as a person who was no longer getting any chances from academic medicine. Of course, here the change in nutrition, the vast amount of knowledge I have since acquired - this saved my health and life, but the pillow and the concept of sleeping in a natural environment, without polyester, proper head support, muscle relief had a big part in this "health". I thought it would be good for people to be able to use such products and help themselves. That's how the idea for I Love Grain came about.
Then I met my partner, Basia Onyszkiewicz-Belska, to whom I told about the product idea. She liked the idea. At that time I was not yet able to leave the house so all formal matters that required visits to offices were handled by my, then living, most beloved mother. I did everything else via phone, email, ordered samples from different parts of Poland. I checked everything thousands of times. .. Finally I managed to move and start selling. It wasn't and isn't always easy, but we have a lot of successes to our credit.
Kasia: Where do you source your production materials from?
Justyna: Practically all the materials we use come from Poland, because from the beginning of the brand we were keen to minimize transportation and support Polish entrepreneurs. It's well known that if we produce and sell something, we can't be completely eco-friendly. Any production and transportation, will have a negative impact on the environment. However, we try to minimize these negative effects. That's why our products are natural and sewn in Poland from materials we source from local suppliers. We also buy our husks, grains and herbs from Polish partners.
Kasia: It seems that nowadays we are increasingly moving away from novelty gadgets to taking advantage of the beneficial properties of natural ingredients. One might be tempted to say that the skincare routine of a modern 20-year-old has more in common with what her grandmother or great-grandmother used than her mother?
Justyna: I wish that were true, and I certainly care a lot about that. Still, the vast majority of people use unhealthy products without even being aware of how much harm they do to themselves and nature.
Kasia: You became the winner of the 11th edition of the Businesswoman of the Year contest of Success Written in Lipstick in the "Startup Idea / Local Business" category Is it difficult to run a business being a woman?
Justyna: To be honest, I think it doesn't depend on gender. I have never thought about whether it is more difficult for me because I am a woman. Business in general is not easy. Perhaps I have missed the "easy markets". However, I can't speak for other companies. Looking at my own experience, I believe that different moments and aspects can threaten our business. Sometimes, despite the desire and commitment, something just doesn't work out, and suddenly something turns 180 degrees and we achieve success. However, is success an indicator of what kind of people we are? No. Each of us is someone, regardless of what we have achieved or failed to do.
Kasia: How did you establish a relationship with Joanna Czech, a beautician whose services have been used by Jennifer Aniston, Cate Blanchett and Kim Kardashian, among others?
Justyna: I wrote to her, requesting a meeting. We immediately caught a good contact. Joan was very open. We liked each other and I presented her with our pillow, which she liked. Much later, the topic of our cooperation in creating special brushes and washes came up.
Kasia: Marketing products to improve our health is treading on fragile ice. How do you show all the positive properties of a product without creating false hopes?
Justyna: Yes, this is true. Unfortunately, but the use of certain wording can be undermined by the recipient. Currently we have a very high inconsistency of communication about health. This is especially evident in TV commercials. We give permission to manufacturers to take advantage of people's ignorance, or to mammoth them with promises without coverage. We often resent the fact that the pizza box did not say "open before eating " . For everything, too, we would like to have the results of research, which intruded into our reality many years ago. I myself am not against research. However, we must realize that no one is going to study how salt, poured into a bag and heated, works on us, because no one will make a profit from it. Studies are mostly commissioned to multiply profit. I think that clinical research in the aspect of sleeping on natural pillows is something very necessary. I am curious about their results. On the other hand, having tested these products on myself and the opinions of many of our customers, I can say immodestly that the results look very good.