Just as Tiffany & Co.’s little blue box is iconic, customers of Fig + Olive, a skin care company in Bloomfield Hills, have come to trust its little blue bottle of face and body serum. While the business works to offer the highest quality products using simple, natural ingredients, the owners say they don’t want them to be thought of as too pricey.
Fig + Olive was started by best friends Andria Bojrab and Joann Gordon in 2015. The two had skin issues and say they were tired of spending money on expensive, natural skin care products that they found ineffective. The pair now offers items for all skin types, regardless of sensitivity and user age, and they donate a portion of their proceeds and products to local nonprofits.
Rounding out the team are Bojrab’s daughter, Adrianna, who works in New York City for the corporate side of fashion company Ralph Lauren, and Gordon’s daughter, Stephanie, who works in Denver for Education First, an international education company. Operationally, the mothers work on product development, production and distribution, customer relations, and account management. The daughters’ focus is on product concepts, partnerships with nonprofits, and marketing and brand development.
“We both have families on top of it, so we really had to keep it convenient for us,” Bojrab says of the company’s location and operations. Fig + Olive’s products are designed to reflect that convenience and simplicity, offering familiar products made of ingredients customers recognize such as aloe vera, vitamin E, and jojoba oil, which Bojrab says help skin heal, reduce dryness and redness, and reverse the effects of environmental pollutants. Other ingredients include essential oils, olive oil, salt, and sugar.
Bojrab says she drew inspiration from her father’s homeland for the company’s name. As a young boy in the Middle East, her father tended fig, olive, and lemon trees with his family on an organic farm. The family learned natural remedies through its work, and when Bojrab visited as a young adult, she says she was moved. While there, she met three elderly sisters who had flawless skin and asked them what products they used. Their answer: olive oil. As a result, Fig + Olive’s bar soap is made entirely from olive oil and is safe for all ages, including newborns. Customers also use it as a shampoo and some, including Bojrab, even use it as a dog shampoo.
Fig + Olive’s first product was a lavender salt body scrub. Based on initial orders, customers — mostly women — embraced the product, and their husbands, sons, and boyfriends gave it a try. As satisfaction with the scrub grew among both men and women, Bojrab and Gordon rethought their marketing, packaging, and scents, and decided to offer more gender-neutral products.
Over time, the founders noted that customers asked if there was a less abrasive alternative for face scrubs. In response, Fig + Olive’s second products were limoncello, and rose and eucalyptus sugar face scrubs.
Soon after, the duo developed the company’s iconic body and face serum, which comes in a little blue bottle. The serum, designed to nourish and revitalize the skin, is made from six ingredients: lavender and myrrh organic essential oils, vitamin E, organic jojoba oil, mineral oil, and 100 percent pure aloe vera.
Before long, customers began using the serum to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy. They also used it on their babies when they were born. Others use it as a bath oil, or put it in their hair to moisturize and fight frizz caused by humidity. Bojrab says her 83-year-old mother uses it every day and looks 63. During the holidays, some customers order as many as 50 bottles at a time to give as gifts.
“It doesn’t live within one specific age range or skin need,” Adrianna says of the serum. “It really addresses a range of skin needs.” One of Fig + Olive’s goals is to simplify daily routines by reducing the number of products people use, she adds.
One of Adrianna’s experiences speaks to more than just skin. She recalls that she and Stephanie brought along a bottle of the serum on a weekend vacation at a shared summer house and accidentally left it there. When they went back later that summer, they found the serum had been used up, and each person who had stayed in the house said they’d used it for something different — sunburn, hair moisturizer, under their makeup, as a moisturizer at night, and more.
Such customer feedback helps drive product development in more direct ways, as well; regular buyers have asked for travel-size options and packaging that’s more eco-friendly. Both requests have been met, and the Bojrabs now use their empty serum bottles to store herb cuttings. The team says customers frequently ask for product updates or changes, which led to the creation of an eye serum based on the face and body serum. “Whatever they want, we’ve produced,” Andria says.
Adrianna shares that she often meets models through her work with Ralph Lauren, and many have become repeat customers.
Other Fig + Olive products include foot scrubs and soaks, body balms, and lip scrubs. All products are made in small batches; the team doesn’t want to mass-produce, in an effort to keep inventory fresh. Along with online orders at figandoliveproducts.com, the company offers its products at Franklin Boutique in Franklin, and Thrifty Florist and The Colore Room salon, both in Birmingham; many other salons buy Fig + Olive products for their customers. Bojrab and Gordon say they plan to launch their products on Amazon in the near future.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, product bottles and containers have been trickling in as they become available, but Fig + Olive hasn’t slowed down. The company has dedicated the downtime to ramping up its philanthropic efforts, which are developed and implemented year-round. By selling mostly direct to consumers, costs are cut, keeping prices low and allowing more to be donated.
While recent donations have been dedicated to feeding doctors and nurses on the front lines of COVID-19, the company sent a batch of free moisturizing products to the cancer unit of a hospital in Canada after a nurse wanted to buy them for her patients, as radiation and chemotherapy can cause skin dryness and burning.
“We like to keep our ear to the ground and take the lead from our consumers, so they really feel connected to the causes,” Adrianna says.
As part of its nonprofit mission, Fig + Olive supports Lighthouse’s PATH program in Pontiac, a safe house for women and children who are homeless and often survivors of domestic violence. Along with providing shelter, the two-year transitional housing program offers wrap-around services. In addition to supplying its line of offerings, Fig + Olive donates other hygiene products. “It’s been a passion of ours because they come with nothing,” Andria says.
The company also partners with Humble Design in Pontiac, which helps families and veterans emerge from homelessness by providing furniture and household items. So far, Fig + Olive has used its proceeds to furnish five apartments.
Other organizations receiving support include Ascension Health, the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, the Holley Institute, the Children’s Leukemia Foundation of Michigan, Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak’s neuroscience labs, and cancer clinics across Michigan.