Kissing sustainably + another good use for your mouth

Founding Mother, Chard & Stripes

I found a website I liked clicking around on Twitter. I backtracked to tweet the website’s owner—Jess Hunt-Ralston—that I liked what I saw. She kindly tweeted back, and we wound up meeting for tea.

These days, …

Jess (with husband Chad) sells handmade skincare the way it “otter be.”

Use code GLOWUP for 20% off up to 3 products at Little Otter.

During tea, Jess gave me blogging and Twitter tips, but more importantly said something that helped shape Chard & Stripes. Here’s what I heard:

Some friends were making a smooth-drinking whiskey at their trailblazing distillery. That caught the attention of a well-known publication that wanted to do a story. The whiskey makers were stoked.

Then they learned the publicity would cost thousands of bucks.

Uh, game over.

I want good publications to make money, really, I do. But I wasn’t OK with small businesses paying thousands to share their stories and determined to create another way.

The basic Little Otter story = plant-based, fairly-priced face oil & lip balm that support clean water initiatives. Add to that first-rate quality, and you’ve got yourself some earthly delights!

What’s even better, the balm has plastic-free packaging so you can kiss sustainably.

Use code GLOWUP for 20% off up to 3 products at Little Otter.

Eventually, I hatched a 3-step plan:

  1. Start a blog (which you’re reading now).
  2. Grow an audience.
  3. Find sponsors to foot the bill for introductory small business stories.

Folks, this blog is still a one-chick show, and I’ve been focusing on laying the foundation of my work.


I haven’t actively tried to grow an audience, which is crucial for attracting sponsors.

Eventually, I tweaked my plan: Enroll what audience I had to help me.

Don’t worry, this isn’t a plea for cash, but it is a request:

Beyond kissing sustainably by using plastic-free lip balm, please use your mouth—a powerful advertising tool—to spread positive small business stories & reviews.

Nothing fancy required, and your fingertips can be a proxy for your lips.

A ten-word tweet or a review on a business’ website will do and be hugely helpful:

A study by PowerReviews showed that after price, reviews are the most important factor impacting purchasing decisions.

Unless you’re hoping for just a handful of retailers in the world (with Amazon at the helm), support small businesses with your buying power and feedback. And don’t insist on free, lightning-fast shipping—it’s hard on the environment and risks running benevolent retailers out of business.

Use code GLOWUP for 20% off up to 3 products at Little Otter.

Jeff and I are in different cities so we’re not doing any kissing for now. But we’re oh so ready to kiss sustainably once we’re together: We both have Little Otter balms, which we LOVE. And that’s saying something because we’re lip balm connoisseurs.

As for Little Otter’s Golden Light Face Oil, it will make you glow, or that’s what it does for me. And it’s got a perfect weight: not as light as some serums that leave my face parched and drawn, but not so heavy I think of when my mother put Vaseline on my face to go play in the snow 🙂

Use code GLOWUP for 20% off up to 3 products at Little Otter.

The code is good through Feb. 28th, so you can glow and kiss like you “otter be” even after Valentine’s Day.

Dr. Mary-Elizabeth Harmon is a scientist turned storyteller and Founding Mother of Chard & Stripes, a “school” of prosperity making and word-of-mouth marketing platform for kind people, products and businesses in food, fashion & more. Subscribe to her newsletter here.