words Kari Levine
photography Alicia Kompar & Johnny Kompar
For Marisa Kompar, the most essential part of a successful business is the why. “It’s not a material thing,” she says. “You have to ask yourself why am I doing this? You have to believe in your reason why. And you have to love it.”
Marisa started M+A Naturals—an organic skin care line based in Phoenix, AZ—along with her sister Alicia (the A in M+A Naturals) in the summer of 2016. They offer a full line of handmade products, including salt scrubs, bath bombs, body sprays, even an organic deodorant (that actually works)!
“We really want to inspire people to live holistically. We believe in caring for yourself, listening to your body, and listening to your intuition. So we decided to start an organic skin care line that promotes self-care and self-love.”
Marisa’s why runs deeper than her passion for holistic, natural living. In her words, these lifestyle practices helped her “choose happiness” after one of the most difficult times in her life.
Before M+A Naturals was founded, Marisa’s husband, Richard, was tragically killed in an accident. They had two children together, both boys. At the time of our interview, they were five
and a half and two, but when Richard passed away in early 2016, their little one was only nine months old.
“My late husband Richard,” Marisa explains, “marched to his own drum.” She shares that Richard worked as a chef, and though he loved his job all the hours away from his family was a constant pull on his heart. He wanted to do something he was passionate about, but he wanted his sons to be able to see and experience that passion.
“When I decided to start a business, I really wanted my kids to see all of these things that I loved about him. I wanted to embody them so they could continue to have that in their lives.”
For Marisa, her husband lives on through her dedication to M+A and through keeping him a part of her and her children’s daily lives.
“Kids are resilient,” she explains, “and we incorporate him and honor him in our day to day… like at night before dinner we always have a toast, and we cheers to him and happiness. So even though Dad isn’t here, he is spiritually.”
When it comes to M+A, Marisa literally has her hands in every aspect of the business—from connecting with the
community at local markets to developing and testing products, to hand cutting each label for their packaging. “I just love putting my heart and soul into the company,” she says “and I want to do as much as I can.”
“I love going to markets. I love meeting everybody and hearing their stories. Everybody is so loving and caring and so positive about the business and what I’m doing with the cards that I was dealt. And that’s really what keeps me so motivated to continue to do this. It really brings joy to my heart.”
When Marisa isn’t being “Lady Boss,” as she puts it, she does “parent life…both mom and dad stuff” with her two boys. She explains that finding a “happy balance” is key, which for her means that most of the work for M+A gets done when the kids are asleep.
With such an incredible story, we asked Marisa what she thought Richard would say to her if he were here today. After a long, thoughtful pause, Marisa replied, “Good Job, Mama.”
“He’d keep it short and sweet,” she said.
We couldn’t agree with him more.