Where did you come up with the idea for Brooklyn Alchemist?
After moving to New York for my music studies I found this amazing climbing community at Brooklyn Boulders and was involved with it very closely during the community’s evolution throughout the years.
I was introduced to those solid hand balms which seemed to contain no chemicals, so I tried it and liked the way it was made and how I could apply it to my hands and skin. However, I discovered that there weren’t so man eco-friendly or vegan products out on the market, and most of them were made with beeswax, which is destructive to that crucial species for life on this planet.
I knew that this could be done in a better way, and wanted to create a company that benefits everybody. Back in the day, me and my step brother Zorbey Aktuyun, a pro climber, used to use oil blends of our grandmother’s special recipes to create balms for our skins. Everything was natural, fresh and handmade. I got in touch with my friend Eray, who’s more on the business side, and then Brooklyn Alchemist was born. All of our products are sustainable and 100% biodegradable — it’s exciting to be part of a company driven by the idea of being able to help people because I want to share what we have for a better future.
Awesome back story. What makes this product better than the standard climbing balms?
So, there are many different properties makes this product unique. My favorite feature is the built-in skin & nail pumice file on the top, made of a natural light and porous volcanic rock. We studied different kinds of bonding agents and found a biodegradable solution.
When we say eco-friendly, we mean it 100%. Our products are harmless to the environment from inside out!
- The shrink wrap we use on the outside of the container is biodegradable
- The push-up containers are biodegradable, compostable and recyclable
- The sticker on the container is a water activated gum tape. It has a plant plant based resin and printed with plant based inks
- The skin & nail file on the container is biodegradable
- There are no chemicals, no fragrances, no synthetics, no phthalates, no petroleum by-products, no mineral oil in our products
- Cruelty free, not tested on animals
- Handmade in USA
Love that. We’re super psyched about this product, and for you! How has it been launching your own company? Any advice to those who want to do the same?
Well, my friend Eray launched the company and Ii have been helping him with many different aspects. It is a long process if you don’t have a huge budget. We’re a small start up and kept it going no matter what happened. There are so many details in this process from the designs, packaging, the legal processes, the business plan, partnerships and so on….so having a good plan before everything starts is really helpful.
I think having improvisational skills (I do, from being a musician) combined with Eray’s business knowledge kind of changed the game so we could move forward everyday even though we had lots of questions and lots of different processes we didn’t understand at first.
We strongly recommend for anybody who wants to start a business to do thorough research and after that, just like in climbing, to have a good plan. And that doesn’t necessarily mean a business plan, but more of a road map or idea of where you want to go – a big goal – and how you will reach it.
What inspires you, on and off the wall?
I get most of my inspiration from music. I feel like a lucky person to be able to find that in me, so it feeds my soul constantly: create, try, experiment, improvise and experience.
Life itself and where we are right now inspires me constantly as well, on and off on the wall. I believe humanity is experiencing a shift or a transition right now, which is inspiring. Nature also keeps me inspired at all times – the beauty of nature and how it provides life on this planet, and how poorly we treat it inspires me to do better things for our future. We keep on trying to find sustainable practices to continue what we are doing, and those who are doing the same inspire me as well.
Get your own Climber’s Edition balm at Brooklyn Boulders today to support Omer and ease your rough skin. Also, check out another newly launched sustainable climbing company, Kush Climbing — they’re currently running a Kickstarter for crash pads made out of hemp & recycled nlyon!