Career Diaries: Meet Nichole Powell, the Woman Who Founded Kinfield
Clean beauty has become more and more popular in recent years but one area of the industry that was seriously lacking is outdoor products. You can find a variety of vegan, natural cosmetics on the market, but when you go on a hunt for clean bug spray the results are a lot less promising. That’s what inspired Nichole Powell to found Kinfield, a sustainable, clean brand with a few essential products for the great outdoors. “The very first thing I did when we began working on Kinfield was to fly to Indonesia to personally source the citronella and clove oils,” she says.
Even if it’s just to drink rosé in the park, Powell wants to encourage people to get outside every day with her simple, clean and effective skin-care products. We spoke with Powell to find out more about her background, favorite outdoor activity and what advice she has for other female entrepreneurs, ahead.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I grew up in Minnesota as the eldest of three kids and knew from a young age that I loved to explore and create — though I didn’t know that I could make a career of that as an entrepreneur until much later. I’ve always been a really curious person and have been fortunate to be able to follow that curiosity through a few different fields — from studying the marketing of political campaigns in my undergrad, into the startup and tech industry, then into the world of e-commerce fashion, before diving into Kinfield.
What’s the story behind Kinfield and what inspired you to start the brand?
It started when I realized that there was an opportunity to make better outdoor products when packing for a camping trip to Yosemite. I was still using the same conventional products that I remembered from my childhood in Minnesota, and I had continued to use those products, not because I loved them, but because there weren’t any better options. There hadn’t been any innovation in those products or brands in years! It seemed especially strange to me to be using toxic ingredients in natural environments. After looking around and asking friends for recommendations, I realized that the products that I wanted to buy — clean, effective, modern — didn’t exist. Instead of giving up, I dug in and Kinfield was born.
Beyond making better, cleaner outdoor products, I also wanted to start a conversation that celebrates the many ways that we all get outside today. Encouraging the picnics in the park, the backyard BBQs, the day hikes, too. Studies have shown that even short bursts of time outside have incredible benefits to our mental, physical and emotional health, and Kinfield products are designed to make it easier to enjoy every day outdoors.
We have to ask, what’s your favorite outdoor activity?
I’m up for any adventure, even if it involves a 2 AM wake-up time to trek to the summit of a mountain in time for sunrise (Mount Batur, totally worth it!). Lately though, I’ve been cherishing quieter activities — getting to read and nap while swinging in a hammock on a sleepy day is my idea of heaven.
What’s your favorite Kinfield product?
I honestly couldn’t pick! I tend to use Waterbalm the most, because it’s such a great everyday moisturizer for on-the-go.
Where do you hope to see the brand in ten years?
I see Kinfield being a pioneer for sustainability in consumer products that are both clean and effective, while creating and celebrating an inspired community of people who love the outdoors. I hope that we can continue to set the bar on incredible products that are powered by plants, backed by science, and part of a happy, healthy outdoor lifestyle.
Do you have any advice for aspiring female entrepreneurs?
Surround yourself with good people — your community is everything. Find the people that celebrate, support and encourage you (and that you want to celebrate, support and encourage right back). Those confidants will be the ones that keep you going on the tough days and will be the first to celebrate when you get a win.