A Busy Start to the Year
I have been reviewing the regulations and production over the last 4 weeks, and it has been a bit overwhelming.
Let's talk about labeling and ingredients. We are part of the Aditnow portfolio of brands for the second year now. Last year we had some amazing opportunities to pitch to Whole Foods and other smaller retailers, and while it didn't pan out, we solidified our branding right in the intersection of science, conscious consumers looking for self-care and natural, effective products. This year, Adit has given us an account with The Good Face Project to help us further screen our products against the standards of WFM, Credo, Blue Mercury, etc. While I attempted to input our ingredients earlier this year, I learned that there is no INCI nomenclature for our infused oils (lavender infused sunflower oil for example), which is really our secret sauce. This, along with the GFP not having the vegan derivative of steric acid (fact: most other brands use animal-derived stearic acid, we use coconut derived stearate instead), lead my mom and I down a long path of how we need to label our products. After pouring over the FDA guidelines, we actually released that our product labels are technically correct now, but the ingredients could be listed even a bit more clearly for the user in our next iteration.
Here below actually is our translation table:
|Lavender Essential Oil||Lavandula Angustifolia (English Lavender) Essential Oil||Belfiore farms Lavender|
|Lavender Extract||Lavandula Angustifolia (English Lavender) Extract||Belfiore farms Lavender|
|Lavender Hydrosol||Lavandula Angustifolia (English Lavender) Flower Water||Belfiore farms Lavender|
|Marigold Hydrosol||Calendula Officinalis Flower Water||Belfiore farms Marigold|
|Marigold Extract||Calendula Officinalis (Calendula) Extract||Belfiore farms Marigold|
|Rosemary Hydrosol||ROSMARINUS OFFICINALIS FLOWER/LEAF/STEM WATER,||Belfiore farms Rosemary|
|Rosemary Extract||Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Extract||Belfiore farms Rosemary|
|Carrot Extract||Daucus Carota Sativus (Carrot) Extract||Belfiore farms Carrot|
|Orange Extract||Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Extract||Belfiore farms Oranges (orange peels)|
|Aloe Vera Gel||Aloe Barbadensis||Bulk order from Fruit of the Earth|
|Sunflower Oil||Helianthus Annuus||Partnership with Trader Joes|
|Grape Seed Oil||Vitis Vinifera||Partnership with Trader Joes|
|Shea Butter||Butyrospermum Parkii||
Partnership with Augustine & Janet Boachie
|Castile Soap||Castile Soap||Partnership with Dr. Bonners|
Halal Everyday (derived from coconut and palm oil)
|Cetearyl alcohol||Cetearyl Alcohol||Halal Everyday|
|Potassium Sorbate||Potassium Sorbate||Halal Everyday|
|Guar Gum||Cyamopsis Tetragonoloba (Guar) Gum||Bob's Red Mill|
Secondly, I was stuck on how we scale for the longest time: living in Boston while my mom is in CA has left me watching the contract manufacturer conversations from afar. This was the most confusing because I had the manufacturing expertise from my bio-pharma past. Again, pouring over google research and other competitor experience, my mom and I thankfully got in touch with Crystal at Niche Nutrition and had a consulting call. The most wondrous thing happened - her recommendation, along with the FDA guidance, was to just keep manufacturing ourselves and do the traditional cosmetic testing (shelf life, microbiological, etc) with another manufacturer. This is great news, this means we can really have good quality control and production from “farm to skin”.
For the next few installment of Field Notes, I'll explain our branding and strategy, and start talking about why we choose certain ingredients over others.