Local Indie Biz #3: Small Manufacturing

ImageI own a small skincare and cosmetics company, specializing in producing high quality, healthy, non-toxic skincare and makeup products. We manufacture all our products in-house, so we are a mix of light manufacturing and retail. Because I make my products in-house, I’m able to provide Seattle with fully customizable skincare, which means I can help folks with really intense sensitivities who would not otherwise be able to use skincare or cosmetic products. 


In addition, I am extremely active in the Capitol Hill community; I am currently in the process of mobilizing a block watch patrol (called Out Watch) in Capitol Hill on the weekends to try to protect its denizens from the skyrocketing crime rate. I also regularly donate to local theater/drag/burlesque events. I do all of this because I love Seattle, Capitol Hill, my clients and my employees.

I feel like I should emphasize that I am just like many of the 15Now proponents, in that prior to opening this business, I worked at many crappy, minimum wage jobs for years. I worked my way through my undergraduate degree while supporting two children as a single parent. In order to pay the bills, I waited tables. In grad school, I took a massive pay cut and still managed to support my children on $18K a year. I am intimately familiar with a life that involves too many bills and not enough money. There were months I had to choose between child care and rent. Or between feeding my children and paying the electric bill.

I am all too familiar with life on the other side. However, despite this, and despite my desire for everyone to have a livable wage, I can only say that raising the minimum wage in the way our legislators are considering will only serve to hurt those people they want to help. You’ve heard from scores of small business owners about how they will have no choice but to pass this increase along to customers. This is absolutely true for me as well.

I don’t speak for my fellow business owners, but I have sunk every penny I have saved, every penny my husband has saved, and every penny of my children’s college funds to open this shop and keep it going. However, if a $5.68 minimum wage hike is enacted, I will be forced to move my entire operation elsewhere, most likely out of the state. With my absence, Out Watch will go with me. So will my support of the arts. So will my support of the community.

Seattle will be less for losing our small businesses.

Jennifer Dietrich, Dr. Jen’s House of Beauty