Connect – Meet the founders of Sapelo Skin Care

Feb 2 2016

by Whitney Long

In this series on The Southern C, readers get to “meet” many of the interesting and creative Southern entrepreneurs we know online through our social network and also in “real life” at The Southern C Summits.  These individuals are the CEO’s, founders, creative directors, artists, designers, makers and doers that are shaping our landscape with their vision and ingenuity.  Take a peek into their day to day life, find out what they are working on, discover their “a-ha” moment and gain insight into what motivates and inspires their work and lives.

The subjects and their niche may vary but many share the paradoxical traits of creative individuals – they daydream, observe, ask big questions, people watch, seek new experiences, view life as an opportunity for self-expression, take risks and bounce back all while following their true passions.  We hope you will be inspired as we spotlight the creativity that abounds in our region.  According to Einstein, “Creativity is contagious”, and we are happy at The Southern C to do our part in sharing the creativity!


This week, I spoke with Stephanie Duttenhaver and Cindy Edwards,  founders of Sapelo Skin Care, a luxury line carefully crafted in Savannah from beginning to end.  Their story is truly an inspiration as they began their successful business with a dream, a handshake and a little help from the great Pat Conroy.  Intrigued? Read on…

In 2012, Stephanie and Cindy were serving as board members of the Savannah Book Festival. A friendship developed out of mutual respect and the joy of success and achievements. As they giddily watched Pat Conroy sign books and interact with his fans, they reveled in the festival’s growth and shook hands on what would become their next project together: a skin care line.

Using their personal experience, along with the knowledge of their physician husbands, they decided to create a skin care system that nourishes and replenishes skin without the harsh chemicals that are so prevalent in today’s products. As natives of the South, they looked to their own backyard for inspiration (think ingredients like gardenia stem cells, magnolia oil, oyster shell calcium, Southern honey and seaweed) and then turned to science for information.  Read more about these innovative entrepreneurs and how their products are changing the way we look at skincare…


Describe your brand/business: 

Sapelo Skincare’s mission is to provide a gentle system for skin rejuvenation that closely replicates the body’s natural healing process. Sapelo Skin Care is infused with gardenia stem cells, magnolia oil, oyster shell calcium, Southern honey and seaweed.

For three years, we worked with a cosmetic chemist and our physician husbands to develop a natural, high-quality, scientific product line. Sapelo is a simple, stand-alone system to continuously renew skin after UV damage and hormone depletion, and to repair skin after dermatologic procedures that burn or damage the skin, like chemical peels, microneedling, blue light therapy, Fraxel lasers, dermabrasion and surgery.

Sapelo’s Rejuvenating Cream, the heroine of our system, contains a high concentration of five bioactive peptides. The most notable is a platinum peptide that blocks UV inflammatory injury by shutting down production of interleukin 6, an inflammation driver.

Sapelo does not contain harsh chemicals, and to our knowledge, it is the only commercially available system that replicates the skin’s natural healing ability. Many consumers are embedded in skin care systems that contain retinols and glycolic acid, which are not the best option for long-term use. They are especially harmful after med spa treatments, when the skin is hypersensitive. Sapelo offers women a natural system that can gently rejuvenate their skin, collagen and elastin, so they do not have to rely on skin-damaging treatments.


Describe your typical day:

Our typical day lasts for 10 to 12 hours. We work together most days – we believe wholeheartedly in the old saying “Two heads are better than one.” Like all entrepreneurs, we are constantly juggling multiple tasks: sales, design, packing, negotiating, and writing for social media. One day, we can be sitting in high-heeled shoes in the offices of Dior Beauty in NYC and the next day, we are standing in walking shoes, packing product and shipping to customers.


What did you want to be when you grew up and how has your background influenced your work?

Stephanie: I wanted to be an astronaut! My family would wholeheartedly endorse the fact that I always dream big! Star gazing has continued to be one of my favorite past times. All my kids know that wherever we travel, my tablet and the Google Sky Map app are coming with us. With Sapelo Skin Care, I am reaching for the stars!


Cindy: I always wanted to be a journalist/writer.  I majored in Public Relations at the University of Georgia’s Grady School of Journalism.  This degree, and subsequent experience in that field, has been helpful in various aspects of my work with Sapelo Skin Care.

Sapelo Emily 5

Favorite business tool?

Stephanie: E-Commerce

Cindy: My i-Phone

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Where do you find inspiration?

Stephanie: In nature. Look at our backyards! Saltwater marshes and Spanish moss curtains surround and cocoon us.

Also a quote from Larry Page, CEO and Co-Founder Google, “It is often easier to make progress on mega-ambitious dreams…since no one else is crazy enough to do it, you have little competition.”

Cindy: In the beauty of my backyard – a Southeastern marsh exposure that overlooks Ossabaw and Wassau sound brings daily peace and inspiration.


The rare day off  –  what do you do to unwind?

Stephanie: Cooking is my number one form of relaxation. Give me a knife, a chopping board, a refrigerator full of food and some music and I can feel the stress falling away.

Cindy: A brisk walk on a beautiful day helps me clear my head, reflect on my life and re-evaluate my priorities.

Sapelo Emily 2 

Best business advice?

Stephanie: You must connect, connect, connect with people even when you cannot see the benefit. One random meeting can lead to endless possibilities.

Cindy: Dont let negative people get you down! Envision your success while still being able to accept constructive criticism.

Stephanie’ s Five Favorites: 

Book – The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Movie – The English Patient

Song – Ave Maria

Drink – Champagne

Indulgence –Eco-Travel


Cindy’s Five Favorites: 

Book – Katherine Graham’s Personal History

Movie –  It’s a Wonderful Life

Song – I’ve Got You Under My Skin by Frank Sinatra

Drink –Tanqueray and Tonic with a twist of lime

Indulgence – A great handbag or fabulous pair of shoes!

Whitney Wise Long, co-founder of The Southern C and The Southern C Summit, loves to connect with Southern entrepreneurs and learn more about their creative endeavors.

This Q&A series  offers her the perfect opportunity to do so! 

For more of Whitney’s Southern Creatives Q&A’s click the names below:

Elizabeth Adams

Michelle Blue

Danielle Mason Hosker

Emmie Howard

107 Market Street

Cathie Parmelee

Lauren Lail

Gunner and Lux

Katherine Sandoz

Deane Hebert

Katherine Frankstone

Caroline Reehl Boykin

Vaughn Dorrian

Emily Stroud

Jordan Jarvis Hughes

Heather Lancaster

Suzanne LeRoux

Sarah Schell Swinson

Julianne Taylor

Whitney Herndon

Barbara Cobb 

Andrea Gray Harper

Emily Bargeron

Katherine Mullins McDonald

Erin Gregory

Harrison Blackford

Amy Kinslow

Twine & Twig

Meredith Anne Sutton


Whitney Long View More Blog Posts from this Author

Whitney Long is co-founder of The Southern C and The Southern C Summit. Mama x 4, wife x 1. Entrepreneur, thinker, doer, writer, researcher, believer. Enjoys working alongside creative entrepreneurs to build community while supporting established and upcoming brands. Hobbies include travel, reading, bike rides and clever craft cocktails.

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