Herbivore Botanicals Pink Clay Group
Brand Reviews

Herbivore Botanicals is an Earnest Company with Truly All-Natural Products

Herbivore Botanicals Quick Facts

Ingredients | Free from Synthetic ingredients, parabens, sodium laurel sulfate, phthalates, chemicals, fillers, animal testing, mineral oils, petroleum; Natural; Vegan;

Eco-Friendly | Glass bottles

Ethical | Cruelty Free

The Good Guide | Not Rated

EWG | Not Rated

Herbivore Botanicals Table of Contents

A Husband Brings his Wife a Present | How Julia started it all from a simple soap making kit

Julia’s Soap and Alex’ Skin | How the brands natural focus came about

And it is Beautiful | Their beautiful packaging took some time to make

Herbivore Gets Really Big Really Fast and Alex and Julia Learn About Business | The founders learn about business

The Dynamic Duo Still Make Time for Each Other | Managing work and life and why I love Herbivore

 Best of Herbivore Botanicals | Products and Reviews

A Husband Brings his Wife a Present

Handmade soap with ingredients and bottles beside it.
Herbivore started from a handmade soap kit given by Alex to Julia.

I fall in love with brands.

I sometimes also fall in love with their products, but I always fall in love with the founders for their pluck, their fearlessness, and their sheer tenacity.

And I did the same with Herbivore Botanicals because they have a lovely story.

A husband brings home a soap making kit as a gift for his wife who promptly falls into the soap making lifestyle.

Incidentally, she’s also recently quit her job so she’s got lots of time to devote to her new hobby.

She makes soap. She makes so much soap that she starts to sell it on Etsy.

The Etsy shop explodes and soon they are everywhere.

It’s such a simple story but as anyone who has ever started a business knows, it’s never just that easy.

Julia’s Soap and Alex’ Skin

Herbivore Botanicals Founders Alex and Julia
Herbivore Botanicals Founders Alex and Julia

In the creation of a product line that marries tangible results to sensorial luxury, we hope to inspire women to appreciate the beauty of their own skin as well as the bounty of nature’s unparalleled remedies.

Herbivore Botanicals philosophy is mainly all natural because they believe that what worked for them will work for you.

Julia Wills – the wife in this story – produced her first bars of soap and tried them out on her husband.

Alex – the gift-bearing husband – had something like psoriasis or eczema that the doctors couldn’t figure out.

Julia’s product cleared it.

Their bars of soap are still handmade, only now it is Julia father who makes them all by hand.  In 2016, he made 50,000 bars of soap by himself.

From then on, the focus of the brand was set pretty much on natural ingredients. They have mainly stuck to that. They will occasionally add something to preserve or to make a product more useable, but this is really a very natural brand.

A picture of the Blue Tansy Flower in a field
A picture of the Blue Tansy Flower via Max Pixel

Case in point – Blue Tansy provides the beautiful blue hue of the Blue Tansy Mask while the powdered Indigo adds the purple to Moon Fruit.

No artificial color here at all.

Just a little segway – I know that many people are currently into the all-natural craze so as to avoid potentially toxic ingredients.

My personal stance is that all-natural products can’t hurt.

Still, I’d prefer not to throw out everything science has accomplished. There are some synthetics that are non-irritating and I think we should take the best of both.

What’s more important to me is that the products work and that the brand doesn’t mislead their customers, so that the customer always gets exactly what they’re looking for.

Herbivore is pretty straightforward in their philosophy and pretty true to it. I checked their ingredients for some of their products and they are pretty true to their message.

This is a pretty honest brand.

This I love.

And it is Beautiful

Herbivore Botanical Product Group Ultimate Skincare Collection with current packaging that took a year to refine.
Herbivore Botanical Product Group Ultimate Skincare Collection with current packaging that took a year to refine.

There are some aesthetics that take getting used to (hello Drunk Elephant, we’re good but your neon is a bit startling).

Herbivore’s is instantly ’grammable –  but it took a while to get there.

You might say, hey, it’s just a couple of lines and very plain font. Still, it took a year to fine tune.

It recalls vintage luxury purfumes with its glass bottles but manages to stay in the here and now with beautifully minimalist packaging.

Packaging Inspiration came from vintage perfume bottles.
Packaging Inspiration came from vintage perfume bottles.

As if they have just received a well curated treasure chest.

Alex Kummerow, on how people feel when they get their orders.

It wasn’t always that way.

In 2011, Herbivore Botanicals was lost among other makers on Etsy with an aesthetic that included twine, washi tape and craft paper.

But after being picked up by Urban Outfitters, they realized that they needed to reflect quality but still communicate their natural oriented focus.

And the packaging clearly does that.

The clean outside manages to echo the clean inside, and it makes people feel like they’ve just received a gift.

Herbivore Gets Really Big Really Fast and Alex and Julia Learn About Business

A picture of a Sephora store with the door open.
Big retailers including Sephora started knocking on their door.

A year after being sold online, Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie decided to stock them on their shelves.

And a few years later, Sephora told them they’d love to stock it. Target also called.

But they couldn’t supply both. They were still a closely held and managed company. They had neither the people nor the infrastructure to serve such large volumes.

So, they postponed Target.

The company has grown really organically. If they can’t handle the volume they won’t. If they don’t have the capital then they are willing to grow the company a bit slower.

Cardboard Boxes ready for shipping in a warehouse with a skylight.
Cardboard Boxes Ready for Shipping via Max Pixel.

The founders had to learn a lot about running a business.

We started from nothing and the founders were not necessarily in business. I think the brand has been lucky, we overcame many challenges. We don’t have a laboratory, everything is handmade, we are a very small company and starting in the field of business is a challenge, it’s really not easy.

The first year was tough. They were managing and producing everything mostly themselves. They eventually hired two close friends to give themselves time to simply relax.

Still, they’ve managed to make it in over 500 doors. Urban Outfitters, Sephora, Credo and Goop all carry them and they’re looking at expanding into Europe.

The Dynamic Duo Still Make Time for Each Other

In addition to managing a business, they learned to adjust to each other as business partners.

This is where some husband and wife partnerships go up in flames (Remember Sonny and Cher?).

I like Alex’ advice.

Respect each other’s roles in the business and understand that you have built the business together and it needs the two of you equally. Take trips together when possible – it seems like that provides the best separation from work and I know it really allows Julia and me to forget we are business partners for a few days and just be happy in love.

I also really like this brand.

What comes across is its earnestness.

This is a brand that checks out.

A small herb garden against a red wooden wall.
Herbivore believes all-natural ingredients are the way to go.

Their philosophy makes it all the way down to their ingredients. (I’ve checked).

Their founders really do seem to believe in what they are doing.

There’s a lot of transparency and less marketing hyperbole going on – this seems to be a brand that’s pretty straight with you.

It’s clever, it’s cute, and it’s honest. I love.

Best of Herbivore Botanicals | Products and Reviews

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