Journal Record Staff Reporter
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. When life gives you
diabetes, make products for diabetics. That's what Anastasia
Marie Chehak did.
A characteristic of diabetes is dry, cracked skin, especially
on the feet, caused by changes in the blood vessels that supply
skin with nutrients. It's easy for bacteria and fungi to get into
damaged skin, and diabetics run a greater risk of infection and,
ultimately, of losing their feet.
Diabetics are supposed to monitor their blood sugar several
times a day. They repeatedly prick their fingers with a tiny
lancet, which can irritate and harden their fingertips. Then it
hurts worse to stick their fingers, because the skin thickens and
toughens itself in defense.
A diabetic herself, Chehak thought there must be solutions to
those problems, and she dedicated herself to finding them. Now,
she's got a company, Anastasia Marie Inc. Laboratories, which
markets a line of skin-care products especially for diabetics,
although non-diabetics use them too.
Begun in 1990, Anastasia Marie Inc. has increased sales by 53
percent from its first year of business, and has customers in all
50 states and Puerto Rico. The company also exports products to
Canada, South America and Saudi Arabia. Some 80 percent of sales
are to repeat customers, according to Chehak's mother and
business partner, Tomme Chehak.
The Chehaks have managed to accomplish all of it from their
offices, located at 6520 N. Western Ave., using contract
employees. They figure sales would be greater if they pumped more
money into promotion, but they prefer to spend their money on
product ingredients and research.
"People who buy our products are paying for value, not
promotion," Tomme Chehak said, adding that 80 percent of the cost
of most skin-care products goes toward advertising and
The product line includes Hand Body Cream, "Diapedic" Foot
Cream _ a trademark coined and registered by Anastasia Chehak _
Day Protection Formula facial moisturizer, Night Repair Formula
facial moisturizer, Aqua Mist Bath Body Oil and Diapedic Foot
Oil. Prices range from $10 to $21.
"They were the first products developed exclusively for
diabetics," Tomme Chehak said, although competitors are following
"We're still the only company that has done research,"
Anastasia Chehak said. "We've been recognized by our customers
for our excellence in product quality and customer service."
Anastasia Chehak is a certified diabetes educator by the
American Association of Diabetes Educators. "That's equivalent to
a master's degree," she said. Part of the certification
requirements are 2,000 hours of direct patient education in
counseling, plus endorsement by a professional person who has
seen the candidate's work, she said. Diabetes educators also are
required to pass an examination every five years.
Chehak has a bachelor's degree in therapeutic nutrition and
clinical dietetics from the University of Oklahoma Health
Sciences Center, and she is a licensed dietitian and clinical
nutritionist. That differs from most certified diabetes
educators, who tend to be nurses, she said.
"I also am a medical provider for Rehabilitative Services in
the (Oklahoma) Department of Human Services," she said.
Anastasia Marie Inc. Laboratories specializes in diabetes skin
Unlike typical dry skin problems, the dryness reaches deeper
into a diabetic's skin, to the inner lining, she said. "We lack
nutrients being supplied by the blood, because our circulation is
not as good. A typical skin care product on the market is a
moisturizing lotion that just lays on the surface," she said. …