The inspiration for Ruda lies primarily in the belief that everything our bodies need, mother earth can supply for us. This ancestral teaching has been with me since I can remember, and became very relevant after my mother survived life threatening health issues and I began having health difficulties of my own that were affecting my day to day. I realized it was time to rethink what we allow into our bodies, not only in our diet but also through our skin. I began creating my own self-care rituals in a sustainable and conscious way, in balance with our environment and with the purpose of healing, and feeling healthy.
I started by making my own deodorant, toothpaste, face oils and moisturizers; having absolute control of every ingredient I put in the mix and monitoring closely where those ingredients came from. This way, I knew I was giving my body what it deserved, in harmony with the environment and helping myself in reducing consumption of synthetics and plastic packages in which body care products usually come. The idea caught on quickly among friends and family, and before I knew it I was making deodorant for everyone in my immediate community!
A few years and many deodorants later, inspiration met determination and so Ruda was born.
My family migrated to the United States from a small village tucked away in the mountains of rural Colombia. I was 11 years old.
I wasn’t able to return for 13 years, and when I finally did —now an adult— I marveled at the timeless and unalterable beauty of «vida en el campo» that I had left behind and held even more dearly to the teachings and philosophy I had taken with me from the beginning and had continued to fit in my distant life as an immigrant in the U.S.
This fire echoed again in 2017, a very difficult year for my family and community. The city of Boston had been undergoing very aggressive gentrification for years —still to this day— and my parent’s rented home for the past decade was sold to a developer who had no intention on renewing their lease, but rather dress up the property and lease again to a family who could afford life in “A culturally diverse and trendy neighborhood, right at the waterfront and only minutes away from downtown”.
This is the current and harsh reality of many immigrant families in the neighborhood of East Boston, who face constant increments in rent and eviction notices are distributed like greeting cards.
I was already shuffling jobs to afford my own rent when my parents received their eviction notice, and as I helped them pack away their last few boxes I saw how a lawn mower indiscriminately plowed through my father’s home garden. That very same garden he passionately worked on and harvested day in and day out, with the same love and determination that made him bring all of us to this country; Now to be left as an empty lot for a new and deceptively green lawn. I felt rage, desperation and fire. But in my culture fire is also strength, and that strength made me determined to find ways —a project— to support my parents, now in their sixties, in yet another migration. This time they were heading down to Austin, TX, where they could meet my brother and his family, and I would join them with my partner a year later.
The project involved selling sugar scrubs and bath salts made with entirely organic ingredients and packaged in recyclable and reusable containers. With this project I was able to raise enough funds to finance my parents’ move, and once I realized it was a sustainable way to further support those around me, I began formulating and rethinking all those products I had been making for years, and putting them in the format you can find today.
In team with my life-partner Juan, carrying my heritage in a family of «campesinos» and inspired by the ancestral wisdom shared for generations by «yerbateras» in the Colombian Andes, I continue to formulate products that will make a difference on how you take care of your body.
It is our hope to continue to empower our loved ones and as we grow, give back to our immigrant community and bring accessible products to the general public, creating a bridge to take us back to simplicity, to what is essential —back to our roots.