Gale Mayron’s biz origin story starts with what might be the best use of free swag ever. When she was growing up outside Philadelphia, her dad, David, was a developmental chemist, and he used to bring her home handfuls of new liquids and gels to play with. The happy memory resurfaced in the early nineties when she was working as a field videographer and came up with the idea of developing a hand sanitizer that wasn’t super toxic. David was up for the challenge, and together they spent two years combining classic ingredients like essential oils with newfangled gel technology, launching Jao hand refresher in 1997.
Herbal, super effective, and packaged in distinctive, cobalt blue bottles, the healthy hand cleaner was a hit—one that was followed up by their now-famous Goē Oil, a magically moisturizing blend of oils like rice bran and meadowfoam. “Our products are unisex and multipurpose because I don’t believe in having lots of things taking up shelf space,” explains Gale. These days, all 14 of Jao’s products are made by a team of five women in Pennsylvania, but Gale’s still all about only adding things to the lineup she think are truly essential. As she puts it, “Our mantra is the less you buy, the less you consume, and the less you throw away."