SNEWS Qs: Martha Van Inwegen, founder Action Wipes

SNEWS chats with Martha Van Inwegen, founder of Action Wipes, which makes natural cleansing wipes for ultra marathoners and stage racers without access to a shower, or gym-goers who want to freshen up before running errands.
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SNEWS recently chatted with Martha Van Inwegen, the founder of

Action Wipes, which makes natural cleansing wipes for ultra marathoners, athletes and gym-goers who want to freshen up after an activity. Most recently, Van Inwegen forged a partnership with fitness company Harbinger to distribute Action Wipes. She said the partnership will allow her to grow and execute more ideas she has for the company.

Tell us about the history of your company.
I started Action Wipes in 2005 to develop a natural body product for the entire family. Over the course of a couple years, I did a lot of research on and mixing of ingredients, as well as testing with friends, family and local athletes. In 2007, we sent cases of Action Wipes to Burning Man participants for testing in the harsh conditions of the Black Rock Desert — extreme heat, whipping sand, limited (if any) access to showers — where they proved their effectiveness. In May 2008, we officially launched at the Wildflower triathlon. The rest is history.

What is makes Action Wipes different from other products like them on the market?
They work. Our proprietary blend of 100 percent plant-derived ingredients includes pure essential oils of tea tree and eucalyptus that naturally clean away sweat, grime and odor, and leave you refreshed. We don’t have to bombard our bodies or environment with harsh chemicals, synthetic fragrances or alcohol to get clean. It’s nature’s shower alternative.

Our premium fabric is unique as well — it’s a strong, durable material that can be washed and repurposed for other uses once you’re done cleaning your body. The composition of the fabric works with our formula to create a sudsing action that works to remove odor-causing bacteria. I put my time and resources in to developing Action Wipes, and then testing it in the lab as well on the trails and in actual users hands.

What have been some of the challenges in getting your business up and running?
The biggest challenge has been me. I am the chief of all things — from product design to production, sampling at events and working with sponsored athletes, knocking on retailers’ doors, setting up tradeshows, packing and shipping orders, running social media campaigns. You name it, I do it.

Along the way, I’ve made so many friends that have inspired me and customers that loved the product so much that they keep me going. And this is where Harbinger comes in. I recognized long ago that I’m not a CEO, CFO or marketing guru. I’m an idea person. Having Harbinger as a partner is a dream come true. They bring the expertise and resources to turn Action Wipes into a smooth running operation providing great natural products and exemplary service to customers around the world. And they appreciate me in the role I do best — chief evangelist of all things Action Wipes.

What are your goals within the next five years?
To see Action Wipes in the hands of every athlete, adventurer, fitness and outdoor enthusiast. And I’m full of new product ideas, so I will be working with Harbinger in launching product extensions that I didn’t have the resources to develop. This is where my partnership with Harbinger will have a huge impact on our ability to innovate and better serve Action Wipes customers.

Tell us about your products.
Action Wipes rock. We have so many stories from customers that have used them from the peaks of Mt. Everest and cross-country trails of Cyclocross, to the battle fields of Iraq and Afghanistan. My focus has been on athletes, fitness professionals and outdoors enthusiasts, because those are my and my family’s personal passions. We also hear how they help survivors of natural disasters cope and parents looking for a safer alternative for their families. Action Wipes are made to clean every inch of the body gently and effectively, so they can be used by anyone anywhere.

What is the best feature of your products?
There are several but if I had to choose one, it would be the natural sudsing action that removes sweat, dirt and odor, and leaves no residue. It leaves the user feeling naturally clean and refreshed with no rinsing needed. A strong second is the premium, proven durable fabric holds up from beginning to end without leaving lint or falling apart.

--Compiled by Ana Trujillo

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