READ OUR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH JONI SIEGEL, FOUNDER OF PUREMEDY!
Photography: GREY & ELLE
WORDS: Joni Siegel, Nazz Ebrahimi
What motivated you to start a business and how did you choose the name of your company?
From the time I was a very small child, I knew the reason I was born was to make this natural medicine available to everyone in the world who needs it. So I learned all that I could from my ancestors about the properties of each ingredient, and everything this salve can do. I studied Business and Finance at WSU and tried to start the company in 1987. But there wasn’t yet a perceived need for an alternative to antibiotics at that time. So I was guided to continue my education by working on Wall Street which I did for 15 years. I started hearing more and more about MRSA, and the words of my mother stayed with me. She used to say, “Joni you need to remember. This salve LOVES staph infection.” As I heard more and more tragic stories of people dying from hospital acquired infection, I knew it was time to begin. I also knew in order to get FDA approval for something like this I would need close to $100 million and about 10 years for clinical trials. Instead, I quit my job on faith, worked nights waiting tables and started my business one batch at a time. At the time I was a practitioner at a non-denominational spiritual center. In a visioning session in 2006, the name Pure Remedy came to me. I saw it as not only a great name for my medicine, but the perfect name for a lifestyle company that would one day incorporate other Indigenous medicine, and other forms of pure remedies as well like organic food, powerful supplements, even music, poetry, organic clothing, essential oils, and daily rituals for self care. So I started building my customer base, one local organic store at a time. Now, 11 years later, I am on the verge of receiving FDA approval to sell our Original Healing Salve as a medical device for wound care, skin infections, scars and burns.
Who are your ideal customers?
My ideal customers, truly are anyone with skin. My branding message is centered around the idea that we live in divisive times. But let’s focus on our similarities. We all have skin, and our skin all works the same so matter race, religion, culture, political party, or citizenship. Every home should have a jar of my Original Healing Salve for nicks, cuts, burns, and skin infection because it naturally kills bacteria, even MRSA and it acts quickly. My number one goal is to help us decrease our use of antibiotics. This natural medicine is one important tool in helping us achieve this goal.
What kinds of skin issues do your products cater to?
I have a product for just about any skin condition. My Original Healing Salve is really a natural alternative to topical antibiotic creams and gels. Then I have products for eczema, psoriasis, skin and nail fungus, a black salve for moles and other tough spots, cold sores, warts, severe rashes, and even hemorrhoids. I also have a beauty line, as well as mild products for babies. One of my favorite formulations is my Feminine Moisturizer which is excellent for menopausal dryness. That’s my next FDA product as I hope to put a dent in the sale of Premarin, a horribly cruel drug that extracts urine from pregnant mares, and is a leading cause of cancer in women over 50.
Your formula has been in your family for over 150 years! Can you share with us your extraordinary history?
Sure! I never get tired of telling the story :) My ancestors on my Mom’s side are from Quebec. In 1863, my great great grandfather realized that his 3 year old son had been badly burned on his foot. Infection set it very quickly, and began to spread up his leg, turning his skin and tissue black. Their town doctor insisted on amputating the boy's leg at the hip in order to save his life. Instead, my great great grandfather took his son to see a dear friend of his, a medicine man in their community who gave him a powerful topical healing salve. His burn and infection were healed in just a few weeks leaving no scar. This formula is our Original Healing Salve! I still have a recipe framed in my office dated January 1904, written in French. The salve also saved my Mom’s life 5 years before I was born. I mentioned before from the time I was very young, I knew I was only alive because of this medicine so I dedicated my life to making sure everyone on the planet who needs this salve can get it.
Puremedy has been your life's purpose before you were even born. Tell us about your mother's delivery experience with you, and how that got you to where you are today.
Actually the salve saved my Mom’s life about 5 years before I was even born. When I first heard the story, that’s when I realized that I owed my life to the medicine. She had to get an emergency appendectomy. Unfortunately she got a hospital acquired infection that quickly turned into gangrene of the lining of her stomach and Peritonitis. She was deathly allergic to the antibiotics and there was no other treatment option. She was given about 3 days to live. My dad snuck some salve into her room and applied it liberally to her incision after the last nurse rounded that night. The wound began to drain about 4 hours later. They reapplied the salve the following night, and she was fully recovered and released in 3 days. The doctor called it a medical miracle. My parents didn’t share with him what they had done.
How and why do you incorporate Pine into your products?
Pine is one of natures most powerful antibacterial elements. However the pine is only part of the picture. We also incorporate fir and elderberry extracts that create a perfect blend that is effective against all bad bacteria that we have tested.
What is the "Superbug" MRSA and how does Puremedy help fight against it?
A Superbug is a bacteria that has mutated and is resistant to antibiotics. The World Health Organization and the CDC have both warned that the Superbug epidemic poses an enormous threat to human health and life. It is estimated that more than 1 million people die globally and that number will spike in the years to come. Antibiotics trick a bacteria cell into not reproducing. But bacteria are incredibly resilient and quickly mutate in the presence of antibiotics to figure out different ways to replicate themselves. This method of action is directly responsible for these life threatening bacteria. However, the method of action of our Original Healing Salve is different - the bacteria are trapped and suffocated in a no-water no-air environment thereby not allowing the bacteria to mutate. Our Original Healing Salve has been shown to kill a very broad spectrum of bacteria, including MRSA and other Superbugs very quickly - about 90% in just the first one minute.
How do your products increase blood circulation and why is that important?
Blood circulation is imperative for healthy skin and tissue. Once circulation begins to diminish, then you are at risk for things like edema, even chronic wounds, brown spots, wrinkles, etc. Keeping blood circulating is key to great health!
What is bloodroot and how did you choose to incorporate that in your Acne Relief product?
Bloodroot is very common in the SW states and is traditionally used by Indigenous medicine men. It increases blood circulation and is very antibacterial so it’s a great ally in fighting more serious acne.
If you are not a "people person", but have great ideas, can you still run a business?
Everyone has their own strengths! Rely on yours, and bring in partners that can help round out your areas that might not be as strong. A great idea that helps the world be a better place will always find it’s way.
Do you think you can start a business if you don't have a degree from a University?
Oh sure. Some of our biggest and best businesses were started by people without a college degree. Live your life full out, don’t let anyone tell you you can’t do something if it’s really in your heart.
How many retailers can Puremedy be found in? Any advice on how to get your product in front of retailers?
Our products are sold in about 3000 stores right now, soon to be many many more!
Your 3 keys tips for negotiating a deal:
Know what you want going into negotiations.
Leave yourself room to meet halfway.
Look for a win win.
Your advice for young entrepreneurs?
My best advice is, do what’s in your heart. There is a reason each of us are here, and that reason is different for us all. Find your own path. Strike out on your own. Be your own person - you do not need to live a life already lived by others. Most importantly, find a cause that is related to your business and run your business in order to benefit that cause. You will find more passion when you need it, and others will be more likely to get on board with your company and vision. Mostly, it’s really hard work but nothing will ever be more gratifying. Go for it!
How would you like men and women to think about health and beauty?
Truly beauty and health should be a holistic inside-out approach. I’m all about common sense when it comes to nutrition, lifestyle, health and beauty. My #1 goal is to help people feel comfortable in their own skin. So that might mean healing up some skin issues like eczema or acne, but also realizing that inner strength and inner peace are two huge components of real health and real beauty. We will be blogging about this much more in the future!
You are in the process of starting a Non-Profit. Can you share with us what your mission is?
My mission is to build infrastructure, health and wellness centers, and aid children on Native American Reservations in the US and Canada which will receive 100% of the profits from Puremedy, INC.
VISIT THEIR OFFICIAL WEBSITE AT WWW.PUREMEDY.COM & FOLLOW THEM @PUREMEDY