Hi Rachel! Tell us a bit about Beebalm. What do you do, and how did the business come about?
We are Rachel and Emma, sisters and mums living in Palmerston North. We hand make 100% natural balms for the whole family. I started searching for a natural remedy to help my baby's skin, after he developed extensive eczema at 3 months old. Overwhelmed by the differences in available products, and the cost of trying them all, I started researching and experimenting with my own. I managed to create a combination that worked really well to protect his skin and allow it to heal. We also found it became our go-to over the next few years for nappy cream, bumps, scrapes and rashes as my boys got older. When my sister Emma had her baby, he developed severe eczema due to allergies, and she found our balm worked to soothe his itching as they worked to figure out the cause. She floated the idea of selling the balm at a local market, to help other families like ours - and our journey began.
We are based in Palmerston North, NZ. We attend local markets, are stocked in some local retailers, and are enjoying becoming part of the local business community. We try to be environmentally conscious in how we produce our products, and use local suppliers where we can. We also have a website, so our products are available to be shipped nationally and worldwide.
Tell us a bit about your product ranges.
Body - Our flagship products, these multipurpose balms protect, nourish and allow natural healing. There is the perfect product for every age as skin changes, from newborn to baby, and child to adult. We also have a range of gorgeous lip balms in perfect pocket-sized tubes from Go Native!
Mother and Baby - As mums with growing families, we wanted to create essential products that are super easy for new mums to use, and that they can be confident contain nothing but gentle, natural ingredients that are safe for their baby. Our Newborn Balm is perfect for change time, dry skin, chaffing, rashes, and cradle cap. Our Boobee Balm creates a soothing, protective barrier that allows nipples to heal between feeding/pumping.
Kids - We believe in encouraging independent kids who enjoy looking after their own bodies, and understanding how they can help it to heal and be it's best naturally. Our Kids range is designed to be fun to use, and safe enough for kids to use themselves. They have the ability to tap into their own superpowers! We have a multipurpose balm for cuts, scratches, rashes and scrapes, as well as a Kids Lip Balm and Booboo Bag heat/cold pack.
Mind - We have recently released a range of balms with mums in mind! Our mind range is designed to give a boost when you need a time out but you just can't stop. Whether you need a shot of energy, calm, relief from headache symptoms, or help to wind down at the end of the day, we've got a balm for you.
When researching suppliers for ingredients to make our balms, we loved the large range of quality ingredients Go Native offered, and we've since sourced great packaging supplies like our brand new compostable lip balm tubes from Go Native too!
Have you had any mishaps in the process of making your own formulas and experimenting with raw ingredients?
Regularly! There's no path to success without failures along the way. It's one of the reasons we do this for other people, because although all our ingredients are simple, natural and easily available, the process of developing the product isn't necessarily easy! We would love to add a balm to our range to help ease cold symptoms, but we are yet to find a formula we are happy with. We are also working on a range of bath salts - we thought we had it, but once they sat for awhile, they became as hard as rock! So further experimenting required there!
What's the coolest thing you've learned in the process of running your business and making your products?
We have loved the opportunity to learn things we never expected to! Like developing a website, graphic design, marketing...we are very DIY so there is a lot to learn, but we really like being hands on a we grow our business, to develop a really strong brand. We also love creating new products - there's a lot of ideas in the wings!
What natural beauty products or ingredients do you find yourself recommending most often?
Apart from ours, I absolutely recommend people give using shampoo bars a go. There's a lot of great NZ small businesses making these now, and it's such a great way to forgo a bottle and actually get better results. And of course, the best natural beauty product there is - drink lots of water!
Who are your favourite social media follows for inspiration?
Business-wise, I'm loving Natalie Tolhopf - Business Coach and The Little Content Company. The Rubbish Whisperer is a great NZ ethical company with eco-alternatives, and Kereru Gallery Gifts & Boutique are doing awesome zero-waste tips of the day on Facebook. I love NZ businesses who are making a huge effort to change the way people shop, by providing beautiful, quality environmentally friendly options.
What ingredient are you currently loving at the moment?
I can't go past our gorgeous locally-sourced beeswax, it's such a key ingredient for us, and does such an amazing job protecting vulnerable skin and letting it breathe and heal.
We started with our core balm recipe, for the same protective, nourishing qualities, but needed a softer consistency for lip balms. We did many trials varying the ratios of our ingredients until we were happy with our final silky soft result, that works beautifully in the Go Native compostable tubes.
What advice would you give someone starting out in your industry?
It's very important to do your research, particularly if you are using essential oils, as they can be dangerous if used incorrectly. There is a lot of bad advice around essential oils out there, but if you make and sell natural remedies, you have a duty of care to ensure you are using safe dilutions, and using the right equipment to keep yourself and your customers safe.
What’s the best advice you’ve received in the years since starting your business?
My favourite advice is from Natalie Tolhopf, around taking imperfect action. It's easy to try to get everything right before you start - but it's impossible! It's better to take action and be flexible enough to adapt what you are doing as you go.
Find Rachel and Emma and their products on Instagram, Facebook and on the Beebalm website.
If you're a maker who uses Go Native NZ ingredients, we'd love to feature you on these pages! Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org