Organic Reverence is proud to be a cover story in the December 2013 issue of InnovateUs Magazine.
An Aromatic Affair
Want to ease your baby through colds, teething, colic and anxiety naturally with aromatherapy? Look no further. Certified Aromatherapist Jillian Kinsman-Barrett has founded Organic Reverence, a green business with a sole mission to create organic, fabulously eco-friendly & completely safe therapeutic body care line that are good for your kid’s health and the earth.
Can you tell us a bit about the Organic Reverence story? What’s behind the interesting brand name?
I have been making skin and body care products since I was 12 years old. Back when I was a poor kid growing up in the 70’s pretty much all that was available to teens with acne prone skin was Noxema. It would irritate my skin and I would use the pure Aloe Vera gel from the plant to calm it down. So I was willing to try anything I could get my hands on that wouldn’t irritate my skin further. I found some food related recipes in Seventeen magazine for “healthy glowing skin” and I would make masks and lotions with whatever we had in the kitchen. I remember one time I found a recipe for tomato and peanut butter mask. I scared my mom one day when she came home and I had the mask on my face and all I could find in the house was chunky peanut butter instead of creamy. I had nut chunks all over my skin mixed with red blobs and my mom thought I had small pox or something. It was pretty funny. So that was the beginning of my journey to self education of natural skincare. Later, after high school, I went to the Aveda Institute in Minneapolis, where I received an amazing education in cosmetology. I heard the story of Horst Rechelbacher and how he started his company with only 2 or 3 hair products and I thought to myself, I could do this. I actually had the opportunity to tour their lab when I was a student and I was in seventh heaven. I was like a kid in a candy store. I took my first aromatherapy course at the Institute and several years later I began making and retailing my own organic body care products. I’m addicted to researching and knowledge and was completely self-taught in body care at that time. I would try some recipes that I found in books and tweek them to my own needs and other ingredients that I had researched and thought may work better. I started out making Body Butters, Scrubs, Bath Salts and Lip balms that I sold under the name “Get Butt Nekked”. It was brought to my attention that people loved my products, but most had no idea that they were organic and apparently it wasn’t speaking to the right audience either. So after a little guidance and much contemplation about what meant the most to me when I purchased body care products, I knew I wanted Organic to be in the name. I stand by using certified organic and naturally wild grown ingredients in my products. It adds less toxic burden not only to the consumer, but also less toxic chemicals going into our environment. I essentially hold Organic farming practices as ‘Holier than thou” which is why I chose the second half of the name of my business, Reverence; because I have the utmost and deepest respect for the reasons behind the importance of Organic farming practices. I understand the correlation that conventional farming methods have on our health and ecosystems. I have always felt and argued the fact that if we want to seriously look at how to heal ourselves and than we need to start respecting and cleaning up our planet 1st. So that is how I came up with the name!
What’s your vision for your green company?
My vision is to make Organic Reverence a common household name where ideally everyone would trust to use any of our products because they are safe and non-toxic for your family, your pets and the environment. I would love Organic Reverence to be recognized as an outstanding green company that is able to give back to the community and giving back to environmental causes. I also want to use my company to bring about additional awareness and educating consumers as to why it is important to not put toxic chemicals on your skin and to help change legislation on getting these chemicals out of our personal care products, not for just pregnant moms and babies, but all personal care products. Partnering and working with other organizations such as Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and Washington Toxics Coalition, where we share in that same common interest. Cosmetics labeling is very confusing for any consumer to understand, let alone an educated consumer. It is a huge problem. There are too many loopholes in the laws that allow chemicals to be added to our skincare products and you really have to be a savvy shopper and know how to read a label. I thank god for good resources such as the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) skindeep section of their website, which can help you to better determine if a products ingredients are safe to use. http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/
What drove you to launch the baby care range?
My son got his first cold, from me, when he was 3 months old and I tried a very popular organic baby product on the market that was for colds and flu. Even when diluted properly, he had a very severe skin reaction to it. After reading the label more thoroughly and trying to decipher which ingredient could be the actual cause of the reaction, I discovered within that same baby care line another similar product that contained the same base ingredients, but not the same essential oils, which he did not have a reaction to. At that point I decided to do a little research into the essential oils used and I could not find ONE publication that had listed the two essential oils on the label generally being recognized as safe for use babies. The Internet is a good way to research some things and that being said, others not. So at that point I had decided to take a professional aromatherapy certification course that also included making bath and body care products.
What makes your particular brand of organic baby care better than other options on the market?
I only use Certified Organic and naturally wild crafted ingredients in my products and 100% pure Certified Organic therapeutic grade essential oils that are safe for babies and or kids. If I cannot find an ingredient that does not follow those standard I will look to change the ingredient used and find something suitable that is. I create synergistic aromatherapy blends for all of my products. A simple definition for synergy in aromatherapy is that a combination of certain essential oils results in an effect greater than the sum of their individual effects. I typically use 2-3 essential oils to work on several systems in the body and to help alleviate a certain condition. I also choose specific base oils for their mutually beneficial properties. I package my products in glass and not plastic. Most baby care products on the market package in plastic. They may be BPA free plastics, but I personally choose to steer away from packaging in plastics in general. Also by packaging in dark amber or blue glass bottles which helps to protect the integrity and medicinal components of the essential oils used in the product. I don’t doubt that there may be some companies out there that do make similar products, however I was not able to find one that encompassed all things I am looking for in a baby care product. Which is 100% pure and certified organic or naturally wild crafted ingredients. No chemical preservatives, I saw a few organic baby care products that contained the chemical preservative PHENOXYETHANOL, which is listed on EWG’s skindeep website as a known skin, eye and lung irritant. You will not see any chemical preservatives in my products.
My Products are….
- 100% Non-Toxic
- Artificial Fragrance Free
- BPA & Benzene Free
- Cruelty Free
- Silicone / SLS / Silicate Free
- Fair trade and ethical
- Formaldehyde Free
- Gluten & GMO Free
- Mineral Oil / Petroleum Free
- Paraben / Phthalate Free
What has been your biggest business struggle as an entrepreneur?
As a small business owner… doing everything myself, wearing all the hats in the business and trying to find enough time in the day to get it all done!! Between having to create all the products, design labels for every single product. List, market & promote those products in different ways either on the web and at local markets. Shipping… that’s a whole other can of worms….the list goes on and on. Just having to figure it all out and finding the best avenues that works for my company is the hard part of starting a new business. I’m sure it’s probably the same thing every entrepreneur says. Some things I can hire out and other things just have to be done by myself and myself alone. My husband is a huge help in professionally shooting my product photos and I couldn’t do it without his help. My son and family are also huge inspirations to me especially since I make products for their needs. It’s just hard to juggle it all by yourself and it’d be nice to bounce ideas off onto another like minded person!
What are your top-selling baby care products? Why it is so important to choose only organic?
2 Top-selling Products:
- Calm for Moms, Babies and Kids – because it can be used for so many things. Boo boos, skin rashes, calming tantrums and fussiness, teething, colic. It is calming to the nervous system in general.
- Cold Relief – kids pass germs to each other all the time. Cold Relief is used externally and the essential oils used contain anti-virals and anti-bacterial components and naturally assists to boost the child’s immune system and to help alleviate cold symptoms. It’s a nice alternative to add into your child’s wellness routine.
I think I previously answered the question of why it’s important for me to use only organic ingredients VS. conventional with my story about why I chose my company’s name…..By using only organic and naturally wild grown ingredients in my products, it adds less toxic burden to the consumers body with their skincare regime. In addition to that for developing babies, using skincare products that contain chemical additives can affect their physical development. I wouldn’t use anything less than non-toxic and Organic on my son. I made these products for my family and I want that type of quality for all who choose to use my products. When I was pregnant with my son, my father was terminally ill with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. His doctors labeled it as “environmental causes”, which is another way of saying they cannot pinpoint what one toxin or one thing that caused his cancer. Toxins are everywhere. It’s in the air we breathe, the food we eat, in the water we consume and the products we put onto our skin. Children today are exposed to more chemicals than we ever had in the 70’s when I was growing up. They are living in a time when toxic chemicals are literally everywhere. I don’t want my products to add to that burden. I don’t want my company to be a part of that picture. That is one reason I choose not to use pesticide sprayed ingredients in my products. Chemical fragrances are known skin irritants. Organic also stands for no GMO’s!!!! GMO’s are everywhere and unless the ingredient that I am choosing to use in my product is certified organic, certified GMO free I’d rather not use it. I want my company to be representative of the changes as to where we need to go in the future with our cosmetics and skincare for both our health and our planet. Whether you are black, white, brown, republican, democratic whatever your political viewpoint and religious beliefs are, we are all in this together and we are all faced with the same toxins and diseases. As a consumer we have the buying power to make a choice. Mine is choosing to purchase and use Organic and naturally wild grown agriculture over Conventionally produced agriculture whenever possible. The less toxic burden we put on our bodies the better.
What principles do you use to select greener and healthier ingredients and packing materials for your products? Do you aim to use green shipping methods as well?
I’m constantly in search for ways to improve how I run my business in an eco-friendly fashion. Whether it be by reusing my shipping materials that I receive from my suppliers for packaging in my gift baskets or reusing the boxes and bubble envelopes and wraps for shipping out the orders to my customers. Growing up we lived by the 3 R’s ( reduce ~ reuse ~ recycle) and I like to practice those principals in my business as much as possible. With my company I strive to do business with and purchase supplies from companies who may be smaller and are also fellow green companies, whose facilities may be run using wind or solar power, using recycled paper goods and shipping materials, printing principals, certified organic., etc. While purchasing supplies, I look for Fair trade, ethical and Sustainable goods and supplies when ever possible. I also strive to package my products in an eco-friendly container. When choosing the best packaging for each and every product a lot goes into researching what are my best and least toxic options. I don’t trust the safety of plastics in general, so I prefer to package in glass and or a biodegradable cardboard products. I saw the documentary “Addicted to Plastic” and after that I consciously chose not to use plastic in my packaging and chose to purchase other alternatives. I know there will be a safer, greener and lighter alternative available soon in the market place soon, but until then, I’m sticking with glass and biodegradable cardboard. Unfortunately glass weighs more and costs more to ship. That being said, I try to condense the number of shipments by buying in bulk and keeping the shipments down to a minimum. I am also offering free shipping to customers who buy over a certain dollar amount hoping that will encourage them to add more products to their current shopping cart and having one larger purchase rather than smaller and more frequent purchases. I do buy locally whenever possible especially if the supply house has what I need and is a green company, however at this time much of what I need I am not able to find locally. A small female owned and operated local business, recently approached me about possibly carrying some certified organic and fair trade and sustainably produced supplies that I currently use. I am excited about that being a possible option for my company as well.
How has Organic Reverence approached it’s social media strategy? What platforms have been the most successful?
I would say I don’t quite have a strategy down just yet. Between making products and selling them at events, I’ve been so busy getting the behind the scene aspects set up. Once I get my ecommerce website completed along with all of my products listed in my Etsy shop, then I’ll start to promote more. I do love Etsy in general as a consumer. I’ve purchased numerous items from the marketplace. Etsy opens up so many opportunities for your hand made items to receive worldwide exposure and traffic to your goods. I’ve always wanted to sell my products in their market place in addition to the website. So far I’ve just created a facebook profile, twitter & Pinterest Acct, and then updated my Linkedin profile, but like I said I haven’t really been promoting my products or company yet through social media other than a few posts here and there. However , I do have plans to use all these social media outlets to really help me break out of the box for this holiday season and test which ones are the most successful for me!!
Are there any plans to expand your product line?
Yes, I have several that I am looking to add over the course of the next year!!! I plan to add at least one new product each month which will include more bath and body care as well as other medicinal aromatherapy products like my bug bite relief and cold & flu remedies for adults and pregnancy. I have so many that I am working on at the moment and I will be announcing each new product on the home page of my website as they become available. We hope to have the new website completed by the end of December or the latest January 2013 with details on how to sign up for my blog, and to receive monthly newsletters, special offers and announcements.
Where do you see your business in next 5 years?
Over the next 5 years, I am hoping to grow exponentially. I plan to continue to keep adding products and bringing about more brand awareness. I am looking into gradually switching from hand making some of my products to having them manufactured in a certified organic green facility. I am also looking to start wholesaling my products as early as next year and have been approaching several local stores just to get a feel as to what is out there, and letting them sample my product line. I am already receiving great interest in the line and just need to get a few ducks in a row before moving forward. I’m also visualizing the perfect eco-friendly building that would attract employees who want to be apart of company that lives by the principals I described in the previous questions. I am open to large investment options and or other potential partnerships that would allow me to fulfill that vision, as long it doesn’t compromise my company’s mission.
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