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Tania is currently the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of The Hudsucker, and Senior Editor at the Nashville, Tennessee based PopCulture.com. With past writing and editing credits with Womanista, Quietly, the International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF) and NBC Newsvine, she is currently a member of Indianapolis based, Society of Professional Journalists — one of the oldest organizations in the U.S. that promotes and represents journalists. She is an avid Indianapolis Colts, Elvis Presley and baseball fan as well as a lover of pancakes and fine cheeses, film, and music. Tania is a Hoosier at heart with a passionate wanderlust for always traveling and giving back to those in her community. She is currently studying at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Follow Tania on Twitter: @westlifebunny.

Making the Competition Sweat: Chatting with PiperWai’s Co-Founders

{Image Credit: PiperWai}

{Image Credit: PiperWai}

Between working that hard deadline to running a 5K, to agonizing over that coveted date with the cutie from work, there’s no denying you’re going to sweat it out — quite literally. While sweating is an effective and healthy biological process that keeps us cool and prevents overheating, it can be a bit of a nuisance to your overall appearance.

According to a study from the scientific journal, PLOS ONE, when you’re sweating from intense amounts of stressful activities that put you under pressure, not only can others see it on you — but they can smell it too.

Staining your favorite top and emitting that intense bodily odor is a real world problem that sends so many of us in the pits. But a new innovative and gender-neutral product is making waves with consumers who are seeking a healthy and all-natural option to traditional antiperspirants.

After debuting Piperwai, the first naturally powerful, aluminum-free deodorant on ABC’s award-winning series, Shark Tank last December, Philadelphia-born founders and creators, Sarah Ribner, 26, and Jess Edelstein, 27, are taking their entrepreneurial venture to new heights with the highly anticipated stick applicator version of their popular product on Dec.15.

The brilliant minds behind PiperWai: (L-R) Jess Edelstein and Sarah Ribner. {Image Credit: PiperWai}

The brilliant minds behind PiperWai: (L-R) Jess Edelstein and Sarah Ribner. {Image Credit: PiperWai}

As one of the fastest growing companies ever featured on the show, sales have increased for PiperWai tenfold in three quarters, helping the product evolve from a small deodorant company to a brand quickly becoming a household name.

With a $50,000 investment for a 25 percent stake in PiperWai from real estate maven, Barbara Corcoran, the two set out for a dream debut in a tough-selling market. But the two young women aren’t sweating it—they understand the health-conscious consumer more than anyone and believe this pull in a more mindful route is not some flash in the pan.

“Consumers today are savvy about what they put on and in their bodies,” Edelstein says. “Our culture’s obsession with clean eating and healthy living isn’t just a trend — it’s the direction the food and cosmetic industries are going.”

And it was a direction the two saw clearly when Ribner turned to a healthier lifestyle after diving into a high-stress job straight out of college. With the stress bearing down on her, she made a sensible effort to include all-natural products into her diet overhaul, including a nontoxic deodorant as a major priority for her skincare routine.

Edelstein hopped on with the idea, setting out to make a product comprising of all-natural ingredients straight out of her kitchen. With a scent that dissipates throughout the day so you smell nothing at all, men and women can benefit from this slightly minty, slightly citrusy vegan-friendly product that is not at all overwhelming.

Made from all-natural ingredients like organic coconut oil, shea butter, and pure vitamin E to soothe even the most sensitive skin and an exclusive blend of 11 therapeutic-grade essential oils for a scent ideal for every body, PiperWai’s stain-free formula rubs in clear and won’t discolor clothes. Moreover, it’s a product truly different from the drugstore brands because it’s the first clay-like, cream deodorant to use activated charcoal — an efficient way to neutralize odor and absorb moisture.

“Some people have dismissed natural deodorant as ineffective or irritating because the majority of natural deodorant formulas on the market lack innovation,” Edelstein and Ribner say. “[But] many of our customers boast that Piperwai works better than their clinical strength antiperspirant.”

It’s a remarkable feat considering it’s a product that’s not just sourced naturally, but contains no parabens or synthetic fragrances.

Yet, as a company that sold out of their inventory early on with a five-month back order thanks to a staggering interest from consumers after their television appearance, PiperWai couldn’t work if its founders weren’t a solid pair.

Since first selling lemonade together the summer after 4th grade at a park in Philadelphia, Edelstein and Ribner have been able to truly support each other through PiperWai’s rise.

{Image Credit: PiperWai}

{Image Credit: PiperWai}

“The reason we work so well as co-founders is because we are exact opposites in every way,” they say. “We have complementary skills, strengths, and personalities, which allow us to view many different sides of a problem before figuring out a solution.”

However, as they collectively point out, this also makes them more prone to butting heads from time to time.

“We resolve it by meeting in the middle,” Edelstein and Ribner say. “If we argue, we debate at length and eventually come to a compromise that is usually better than what each of us was originally arguing for.”

As consumers head into a more health-conscious lifestyle forcing brands to come up with all-natural alternatives, it’s unmistakable that innovation and creativity are critical skills for achieving success. Starting out as a personal need for Ribner and Edelstein, PiperWai is rooted deep in inspiration that pushes boundaries for the betterment of our well-being.

“I’ve always enjoyed creating functional items from handbags, to clothing to personal care products,” Ribner says. “I find inspiration in handcrafting items that improve the way people look or feel.”

With the two building the product themselves in kitchens and testing on each other, family and friends, Edelstein, a self-professed “Broadway nerd” with a rich background in theatre shares the same sentiment as her business partner.

“A lot of my inspiration and motivation to success comes from stories I’ve seen on stage about characters who never gave up and achieved their dreams against all odds,” Edelstein says.

But the best kind of motivation Edelstein reveals is when talking to customers who say the product she made in her kitchen just a few years ago ahead of Ribner’s volunteer trip in Central and South America changed their lives.

“Especially when the stress of running a business takes a toll — our business is making a tangible difference in people’s lives and that isn’t something I take lightly,” Edelstein says.

Edelstein and Ribner demonstrating the effectiveness of their product, PiperWai on last December's Shark Tank. {Image Credit: PiperWai/ABC Broadcasting Company}

Edelstein and Ribner demonstrating the effectiveness of their product, PiperWai on last December’s Shark Tank. {Image Credit: PiperWai/ABC Broadcasting Company}

With their customers as big motivators, the two share how they received messages prior to Shark Tank from the likes of cancer survivors to parents of brain-damaged children who experience premature body odor, to even single mothers who struggled to find an effective deodorant among mainstream brands.

“Hearing these personal stories help us realize how much of a difference we can make by providing this product,” the two share. “This is a product that people both desire and need on a regular basis.”

With the highly anticipated stick applicator version of PiperWai releasing just in time for the holidays on Dec. 15, Edelstein and Ribner completed their Aromatherapy Certification and are now ready to formulate a full-range of new PiperWai products for launch in 2017.

From PiperWai’s inception in a kitchen to appearing on Shark Tank, it’s no secret that the world of entrepreneurship and organic innovation is all about taking risks — and of course, the two spirited young women see it as an effective learning experience.

“Sometimes when you get really clear about what you want, the Universe has a way of making it happen for you — you can’t be afraid to dream out loud,” Edelstein and Ribner say.

While they know there will be failures and challenges in life with downright terrifying situations for those looking to innovate or create their own start-up, Edelstein and Ribner reveal that it boils down to self-trust.

“When things get tough, try to remember why you started and what you can learn from the challenges.”

* * * * *

Built and packed in the U.S., PiperWai is now available in 150 boutique retailers in North America, with plans to expand to over 300 boutique retailers by the end of 2016. Piperwai is now available in over 3,500 GNC locations nationwide.

For more information on PiperWai and its highly anticipated stick application releasing next month, check out PiperWai on the web, and follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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