NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — The Rugged Co. has seen its business grow since its humble beginnings five years ago.
Owner Corey Cole says the business that started in his basement eventually reached people all over the country and across the world. Bath bombs, oils, lotions, bath salts, shampoo, hair oils and more total up to 85 different products offered by Rugged.
“Basically anything for the skin you can think of, we make it,” Cole said. That was until the COVID-19 pandemic brought their booming sales to a halt.
“We were going to double our sales from last year, and all of our major contracts got pulled,” Cole said. “We’ve lost 80% of our business.”
However, Rugged has a chance to survive because they have two items in supply that are in great demand: soap and sanitizer. With many people using a lot of both as defense against the virus, Cole says they could present another problem when used so frequently: dry skin.
“If you get to the point where your skin is cracking, raw and bleeding, the soap can’t actually do its job,” he said.
That’s where Rugged’s product may be different from what you can get in stores: “We’ve actually infused our body oils in them, so not only are you getting the protection that you need, but you’re getting moisturized as well,” Cole said.
Cole, a Haughville native, originally started his own business specializing in skin care because of his own struggles with psoriasis.
“Originally when I started making the product, it was for myself,” he said.
Cole became motivated to help himself and others with skin conditions so he took courses for six months, and a year later, he created his first body and beard oil and started The Rugged Co. His products reached all over the country to major manufacturers and they even captured clients overseas.
With COVID-19 expected to have a devastating impact on many small businesses, Cole hopes the community supports him so he doesn’t have to be one of them.
He says the company is selling every item at wholesale price just to keep the doors open.
“That’s all we need,” he said. “I put my heart and soul in this business. I’d like to see it around.”
Cole’s wife and his two daughters are also depending on the business to make it.
“This is all we have,” he said. “We don’t have anything else. This is our sole income. We want to get products in people’s hands that deserve it and need it.”
Rugged is delivering products safely to customer doors throughout central Indiana without contacting people.
They are also encouraging Hoosiers to participate in their “Buy One Give One Stay Healthy Kit.” If you buy one of their skin care kits, they will deliver a kit to a medical professional working on the front lines for free.