It’s been smooth sailing for FOFs Nancy Donahue and Susan Anton Pasanen since they launched their HoneyBelle® bodybuffer, a hand-held oscillating tool, designed to diminish the appearance of cellulite. The gadget appears to be doing the impossible: actually working. In tests, 70% of women who tried it report that it actually reduced the appearance of their cellulite. It was recently named “Best Beauty Tool of 2011” by Neiman Marcus and the first run has been flying off the shelves.
How did two regular FOF women do what thousands of giant beauty companies couldn’t? Read on.
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Tell me a little about your lives before you created the HoneyBelle® bodybuffer.
Nancy: I grew up in Lowell, Mass. I was a model in the late 70s and 80s in New York. I did covers of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Self, Mademoiselle. Then, I moved back home to Boston and went to culinary school. I became a chef for nine years. At the same time, I was a personal trainer and later I taught yoga, pilates, and was a fitness director at a high-end country club.
What made you leave modeling?
Nancy: I got divorced. I moved home with my son. At first, I did a little bit of modeling out of Boston but there was not much opportunity there.
What about you, Susan, what were you up to before working on the HoneyBelle?
Susan: I grew up in Chelmsford, Mass. I was a stay-at-home mom for a number of years and also did volunteer work. For nine years I sold the Worth Collection clothing line. That gave me tremendous insight into women and their bodies. I left Worth and started giveBeauty.com, a gift card beauty site.
And how did you two meet?
Susan: I was on the board of a theater company in Lowell with Nancy’s mom. Also, our youngest children went to high school together.
Nancy: Susan and I did a lot of charity events together. We’d see each other out and she would always ask me, “What’s the latest exercise?”
And how did you get the idea for the HoneyBelle® bodybuffer?
Nancy: I was running marathons and doing personal training at the time and a client gave me this quirky oscillating massager. She had been using it to get rid of scar tissue after lipo but told me to try it to soothe my muscles after training. It made them feel great. I told Susan to try it while I was on vacation…
Susan: It was this crazy little makeshift device. I used it a couple times a day because it felt good. By the end of the week I noticed my legs were smoother. I called Nancy up and left a screaming voicemail that said, ‘We are on to something here! We have to make this device bigger, better, stronger, more beautiful…’
When was this?
Susan: Four years ago…
So what did you do next?
Susan: I called a friend who is a plastic surgeon and asked him for a medical explanation. He told me that the technology, which is not new, is called random orbital oscillation. Cellulite is nothing more than fat locked into place by dermal bands or connected tissue (picture: fish-net stockings). This device doesn’t remove the fat, but when it spins and zig-zags over the skin, it stretches out the dermal bands and releases the fat from where it is. The dermal bands settle back into a normal configuration and reduces the appearance of cellulite.
So how is the HoneyBelle® bodybuffer different from the original device you tried?
Susan: It’s not new technology, it’s technology that we’ve reinvented. We changed the industrial and mechanical design of the gadget and made it bigger, better, stronger and prettier. We also made it safe for body use. There’s a lot of testing involved for products you use on your body.
Are there cases you shouldn’t use it?
Nancy: You shouldn’t use it if you are on blood thinners. And you can’t use it on the cervical spine, the breast or the face.
Who designed it?
Susan: We worked with a Slovakian industrial designer. She’s also a sculptor, so she has an eye for beauty.
And the technology–was it patented?
Nancy: Yes. We patented it. We worked with a team of MIT and Harvard engineers and doctors for the last four years to develop it. They helped us come up with a motor that is powerful yet small.
When did you officially launch the HoneyBelle® bodybuffer?
Nancy: In January of 2010 we launched. By May 2010 we had an exclusive with Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman. They recognized that it was the only beauty and wellness tool for the body. There’s Clarisonic and other tools for the face, but nothing for the body.
There are these creams though, tell me about that…
Nancy: They are loaded with caffeine.
Susan: They work for a short period of time, a minute, a day…
Nancy: We have a cream that comes with the machine. It has green, white and red tea in it which helps release the toxins.
Do you have to use the cream with the bodybuffer?
Susan: No. You can use it with what ever cream you like.
When do you use it? Before or after you shower?
Nancy: Use the bodybuffer on dry, clean skin when completely undressed. Use in the morning before your shower and then afterwards apply the cream. Use at night before going to bed, and, again apply the cream afterwards.
How long before you see results?
Susan: I saw results within the first week.
Nancy: But you have to keep using it. You don’t go on a diet for just a day, you don’t exercise for only a day. It’s a regime. It’s a body buffering experience.
Is it just for cellulite?
Susan: For me, it’s all about cellulite. It’s bathing suit prep. But, a lot of women are buying it for relief of sore muscles. Or really, you can use it for any type of edema–fluid build up. I do my shins, calves, soles and tops of my feet every night. It’s amazing. It makes my legs feel so energized.
Does it do anything to the muscle?
Nancy: It brings blood flow back into the muscle and it gets rid of the toxins and metabolic waste that builds up after a lot of exercise.
If you’re heavy and have cellulite, will this device work?
Nancy: It won’t make a heavy woman thin, but it will make them smoother.
How often should you use it to see results?
Nancy: For five to ten minutes, twice a day.
Do you have plans for the next level of bodybuffer?
Susan: We are coming out with our Babybelle™ this month. It’s for travel. You can throw it in your gym bag.
How much will those be?
And how much is the original bodybuffer?
How has it been working together on this venture? A lot of women have trouble doing business with their friends…
Susan: We work really well together. If we hit a roadblock, we powered through it. We have a lot of positive energy.
Nancy and Susan are giving away Bellecore Honeybelle ® bodybuffers to 4 lucky FOFs. Enter here. Contest ends June 14, 2011.
Visit Nancy and Susan’s website.