Short answer: Absolutely! We’re fully permitted and licensed by the state of Florida, and we’re proud of it!
Long answer (skip this if business stuff is boring): Most brands begin in a home kitchen (not exactly legal but it's true) and strive to outsource production to a big firm as quickly as they possibly can. They look at their “kitchen growth phase” as their period of gaining a following, building trust, establishing a brand look, and so forth. Then, once they feel relatively sure they can sell a lot of units, they outsource everything to a big firm.
So, to recap, most brands strive to get to the point where other people they don't even know and can't manage do all the creating, so they can devolve into a marketing office for the firm they outsource to. To us, that’s crazy! Why would you give up control of your ingredient sourcing, quality control, trade secrets and everything else that makes you special? On top of that, these firms make competing brands' products under the same roof. If all that sounds silly then we're on the same page.
The way we see it, those other guys and gals are “brands” in the strictest sense. They're a name and a look. We strive to be more than that. We strive to be creators, to be artisans. What we've found is that our determination to resist industry pressure has enabled us to control costs where our competitors can’t. So while we sell direct to consumers as manufacturers, our competitors are at the mercy of their production plant’s dictates, including where they source ingredients from, minimum order volumes, storage conditions and a whole host of other unfortunate things.
And because they have to create such large order sizes to be cost effective, they also have to get shelved in as many stores as possible to hope to move all that inventory before things start expiring. As a result, they'll be entering into box store contracts promising not to undercut retail prices, which means the brand can't offer low pricing on their own website. At that point, they, as a brand, are what we call fully captured. The worst part is that in this scheme, natural products will sit on store shelves far too long to be fresh.
So if you were wondering how we offer luxury products at prices well below our competition, now you know. The industry at large has done a great job persuading consumers that a high price is itself a feature, and not to trust luxury products made affordable. Their business survival depends on seeding that belief. And once your company loses the infrastructure and culture of production, it's virtually impossible to recover. We dare to push back, and say: “No more, ye scoundrels!” Ok, maybe we don't say that exactly, but, yeah, pretty much that.
Never, which is why (as we said above) we're more than just a "brand." The industry norm is to outsource production (yes, even the boutiquey-looking brands). If that surprises you, don't worry: it surprised us at first too!
Our products never contain any unlisted, questionable, or dangerous chemicals such as parabens, sulfates, phthalates, dyes, GMOs, formaldehydes, BPAs, synthetic fragrances and perfumes, synthetic colors, petroleum, mineral oils, propylene glycols or DEAs. We only use high quality, natural, organic or wild-crafted (when available) and sustainably produced ingredients.
Absolutely not. We have never and will never test our products on animals, and neither have nor will have anyone else conduct such testing on our behalf. We test on ourselves and willing friends and family, and that's the way it should be.
Absolutely, our products are always vegan. They never contain tallow or any other animal fats or animal by-products.
We’re actively exploring the pros and cons of USDA Organic certification. While the seal works very well for food, in the skin care space things become a bit more complex; there are some cons accompanying the seal’s obvious benefits (this will be a long-winded answer because this question deserves a detailed treatment).
Most plant species come from their respective native biomes (since that’s where they tend to flourish with the least human intervention). This means we source ingredients from all over the world; if we didn’t we would be limited to a relatively small number of species. Many species don’t have USDA Certified Organic suppliers anywhere on the planet, others appear to have them but are perpetually out of stock (they use an ‘out of stock’ sales page for a nonexistent product to attract traffic to their site), and still others actually have them but do not supply bulk quantities, instead opting to sell micro-quantities direct to consumers at astronomical prices.
Additionally, many small farmers – some of whom we source from – are either too small to qualify for certification, or to afford it. Two examples of this are our rose hydrosol supplier from Bulgaria and our sea buckthorn supplier from Siberia. Should small farmers be skipped over simply because they can’t afford certification? The mere question grates against human decency and empathy.
Keeping these issues in mind, you can see the dilemma facing companies that place a priority on the USDA Organic Seal: “Do we leave out this exceptional species that can’t be sourced from any USDA Organic supplier, or do we replace it with this inferior but certified species in order to upgrade our USDA Seal?” And with that, formulation devolves from being a question of quality, to a question of marketing.
We do not want our brand culture or formulations to be driven by marketing questions, but to be driven by what is best for consumers while balancing all variables. When you purchase from us, you are paying us to source the finest ingredients, to do all of the research on your behalf, to conduct formulation and product testing on your behalf, and so forth.
You’ll either decide that you trust us to discern the answer to these questions on your behalf, or you don’t. That’s the whole purpose of a brand. A seal is, in essence, a means for a brand to outsource that trust, and can lead to less than ideal decisions as the seal’s marketing potential overrides the consumer’s true best interests. This a very real industry problem.
With that said, we are still actively considering certification. In the meantime, please feel free to read the ingredient listings.
We generally ship within one business day. We ship out of North Florida via USPS Priority or First Class Mail. Most populated areas should receive products within two business days of shipment. To view our Shipping and Returns policy, click here.
All of our packaging is made from 100% recyclable materials, and all of our glass products and packaging components are made of 50% recycled glass that is also 100% recyclable.
Our quest for better, more sustainable packaging solutions is an ongoing process and we are always on the hunt for something better. If you are a green packaging company and would like us to consider your packaging solutions, please visit our contact us page and let's get started!
At this time we offer both full size and smaller 8 mL vials of Opal Aura, Mana, and Azure. We do not offer larger sizes of Rarify, Oxygen, or Jupiter at this time; for these three products, the 8 mL vial is full size.
It's a bit of a paradox: You can have perfectly consistent colors with artificial ingredients, or all-natural ingredients with slight color variation. You just can’t have both. Even so, the great majority of our products will match (or come darn close to) product images.
This will be a long-winded answer, because LAUREL, the soap bar you are referring to, is what started this whole company (which is why we feel obliged to leave this FAQ question up despite how much our line has grown). In the beginning, we set out to create the best bar of soap in the world, and we really do believe we succeeded.
Silver has been in use for thousands of years as a potent antiseptic, is still used for that purpose to this day even in the most advanced hospitals, and new uses are being studied for medicine all the time. Quite simply: silver is one of the most heavily researched, longest used, and potent naturally occurring antiseptics known to mankind.
On top of that, elemental silver is not patentable, is relatively inexpensive to acquire, and causes no known harm to human tissue.
To be clear, the kind of nano-silver we include is called ionic silver. That's a fancy way of saying individual silver atoms containing a specific number of electrons. We obtain the ionic silver via electrolysis with .9999 silver rods submerged in distilled water, and achieve a 20 ppm solution doing so.
Our primary reason for including nano-silver (which is just a fancy term for tiny silver particles measured in the nanometer range) is that it acts as a natural preservative, allowing us to superfat our soaps without worrying about spoilage. It's the unsaponified oils that care for your skin, and leaving large quantities of unsaponified oil normally induces lipid spoilage, or at the very least must be accompanied by various preservatives that we would prefer not touch our bodies. This is the principle reason we're able to offer such an effective, moisturizing bar of soap with neither spoilage nor questionable preservatives.
It is also our opinion that you will benefit from the anti-microbial action of the infused silver. Due to the FDA not having studied it, we cannot claim this as fact. We do, however, have an articles of interest section where we provide sources without comment so that you may access the research for yourself should you feel so inclined. We believe in transparency just as we believe in our products. We want you to do what's best for yourself and your skin.
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