Meet Annie of NaturalAnnie Essentials – With the vibrant island flair in her beautiful branding and a deep rooted love and knowledge for herbs and essential oils, Annie’s company is the result of a passion for formulating natural products that work. After the birth of her daughter, who was born with several medical issues, Annie noticed that through the number of surgeries her daughter had to go through, her skin became very irritated and none of the products prescribed were working. Growing up with her Grandparents in Jamaica, she was no stranger to the natural healing power of herbs and oils, so she put her knowledge to work to create products for her daughter that would yield real results.
Having great success with the products she created for her daughter, Annie expanded on her passion to become a certified aromatherapist. Combining her natural talents with her formal aromatherapy education, and NaturalAnnie Essentials was born during the Summer of 2015. Within her line, you will find an expertly curated group of essentials for the skin and hair including body wash, lip scrubs and lip balms, skincare and beautiful handmade bags.
We are thrilled today to have the opportunity to introduce you to the amazing woman behind this brand and share with you more about her story, her company and the wonderful all-natural products that she creates. Along with the interview below, we are so happy to be able to share a wonderful giveaway with you as well so you can experience these botanical creations for yourself! All of the details will be listed after our interview with Annie below.
The Greenly Guide: I’d love to hear the inspiration behind NaturalAnnie Essentials – when did you open your shop and what led you to start your business?
Annie: NaturalAnnie Essentials all started after the birth of my daughter (Tiffany) in 2014. Tiffany was born with a plethora of medical issues, Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus being the major ones. As a result of the number of surgeries she had to go through her skin got quite irritated and nothing we were prescribed helped. When over the counter creams did not work, I turned to natural butters- shea butter in particular and essential oils because this mamma needed results!
After a week of using my homemade butters on her skin I started noticing changes, this revived my love for creating.
I got excited and started making everything around the home. Soon I was making products for my family, then having essential oils “make and take” parties in my home with friends. Everyone was loving the products, my baking soda face scrub quickly became their favorite. I remember one day a close friend of mine messaged me saying “Annie you need to start selling these, the face scrub is everything!”. Not long after that I got serious, started studying Aromatherapy and got my certification, I then started making products, designing labels and the whole works. Little by little after that things just took off and NaturalAnnie Essentials was now a reality. I started selling to locals just from word of mouth, I then did a few craft shows and finally opened my Etsy shop the summer of 2015.
The Greenly Guide: How did you begin formulating your own products? Do you have any formal training that you have completed or can you talk about your background in product creation?
Annie: I am Jamaican and grew up with my grandparents in Jamaica, so herbs and oils were no strangers to me. If we got sick they would create home made remedies for relief. I always loved the smell of herbs and was a lover of plants but never truly appreciated the many benefits they offered. In 2014 I enrolled with a local branch of the School for Aromatic Studies here in Connecticut where we studied in depth different herbs and essential oils and their many uses, and also formulation. I got my ‘formal training’ through them but I am a natural creator, and am always researching and trying new formulations.
The Greenly Guide: I absolutely love your colorful and vibrant branding for your products – can you share more about the design and why you chose it?
Annie: Color makes me happy, and I am an Island girl so I wanted to incorporate that in my design. While all natural tend to feel “earthy” I thought it was also very vibrant. I love things that makes me feel happy- and this was the feel I wanted for my products. I want my customers to feel excited when they look at my packaging, make them want to indulge right away. Like my grandmother and mother I am a gardener, we are absolutely “mildly obsessed” with flowers lol, so it was a bit natural for me to add such vibrant botanical to my design.
The Greenly Guide: The clutches that come with some of your product sets are adorable and you mention handmade – do you make these yourself?
Annie: The clutches were paired with my products as bags are indeed essentials for every woman and they were a perfect fit with our look.
Our bags are handmade by a small family in Thailand. They create very detailed embroidered bags and other accessories. After working with them over the years for personal items we finally brought them on board to start creating for NaturalAnnie Essentials.
The Greenly Guide: I would love to hear more about the ingredients you use in your products and any that are unique that you would like to mention?
Annie: All our base ingredients (butters/salts/carrier oils etc.) are 100% natural, while not all are 100% organic, we carefully source from locals and all natural product distributors to make sure we are getting the safest and best quality to offer. NaturalAnnie Essentials is an aromatherapy company- this is how I started, so the intention is to include all natural oils in our products. We scent our products with essential oils from Doterra which is an essential oil company that provides the highest quality in therapeutic grade essential oils.
At least 80% of the herbs used in my products such as rose, calendula, rosemary, and some lavender, are home grown in my garden during the summertime, dried and stored for the winter months. If I am not growing the herbs I’ll source it from our local herb shop. All my oils are infused for at least six weeks before used in any products, so you’ll find powerful herbs infused in all our skincare products.
The Greenly Guide: What is the first product you ever created & what inspired you to make it?
Annie: The very first product I created was a butter for my daughter’s skin out of raw shea, aloe, and cocoa butter, herbal oils, and essential oils. This worked for her breakouts like a charm. I then started using the same formula on my skin as my face would get so dry and the results were simply amazing. This was the beginning of my face butter which was then paired with the face scrub. During this time of first timers, I had to formulate an essential oil specifically for hair growth. Funny and true story- the summer I gave birth to my daughter I was wearing very long braids, one day one got tangled into something and being very impatient I yanked it, not only did the braid got untangled, but the entire patch where the braid was came out. This was so embarrassing as it was the first thing to show once you looked at my face- a missing patch of hair. After using the essential oil blend for a few months the hair grew back and this was the birth of my hair growth oil- Happy Edges. Happy not only because the hair was back but because it grew back healthier than it was before.
The Greenly Guide: What is your favorite part about formulating products and owning your own brand?
Annie: When I’m formulating it would almost feel like a day at the spa, I do get tired, but working with essential oils is extremely relaxing and I get lost in the aroma.
Formulating also gives me that very special feeling as I am truly using what nature gave me to create so I can help someone else, or simply helping them to feel good. When I look at my brand and it makes me feel good- happy, this is the same feeling I strive to give everyone that crosses path with NaturalAnnie Essentials.
The Greenly Guide: Which of your products is your best selling and what makes it special?
Annie: Currently my best seller is the Mai Tai Punch Lip Balm & Scrub combo I can’t seem to make enough of this. My customers are just obsessed with the flavor. I’ll see posts or get DMs and emails on how they just “eat what’s left because it tastes so good”. Our lip scrub and balms are made of sugar, an all natural mai tai punch flavor, butters and a herbal oil mix, it is then colored with beet root powder (lip scrub only), It truly is yummy!
The Greenly Guide: Can you share any exciting future plans for your brand or what you envision for NaturalAnnie Essentials in the future?
Annie: My goal is to continue to grow the brand and grow our list of retailers. We can now be found in two brick and mortar boutiques: Concept forty seven and Solace Boutique and plans to be in many more by July 2017. We recently added to our line 5 amazingly scented soy candles they are truly to die for. After using our products and loving the aroma both customers and retailers kept on requesting candles- earlier this month we released them and the response was truly amazing. We did a soft launch for our gift box NAEbox in early November and that too has been doing very well. Our first shipment went out on December 5th and we are still taking orders.
I want to be able to share my passion with as many people as possible- helping others makes me happy, it is fulfilling, and it is my goal to one day open a beautiful boutique where I’ll offer my products along with those of other artisans who have the same vision.
The Greenly Guide: Anything else to add?
Annie: I always like to encourage others to never give up on their dreams. For years I’ve known I wanted a business of my own and while the idea came at a tough time in my life, I’m happy today that i did not put it on the back burner and waited. Nothing worth having comes easy, having a family and working a full time job while running your own business is no joke, but it is worth every sleepless night!
We have so many exciting things planned for 2017 so stay with us because I can’t spill all the beans just yet!
Would you like to add some of these skin and body care essentials into your collection?
[[GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED]]] The Greenly Guide and NaturallyAnnie Essentials are excited to bring you a wonderful giveaway! One lucky reader will win a Spa Delight Set (pictured above) which includes a body oil, a bath salt, a lip scrub and a 2 oz. candle – perfect for keeping the skin soft and hydrated all while soothing your mind with the lovely aromatic scents.
That’s not all! Annie has also so generously offered a 15% discount code for The Greenly Guide readers which can be used on any purchases made over on her website. Use the code ‘GREENLY’ at checkout!
This giveaway will be hosted over on The Greenly Guide Instagram page HERE, so be sure to head over for the full details on how to enter. This giveaway is only open to US residents who are 18 years of age or older. Giveaway will run from Wednesday, December 13, 2016 through Monday, December 19, 2016 at 11:00 PM EST. The winner will be chosen randomly and announced on this blog post as well as over on our Instagram post on Tuesday, December 20, 2016.
[Don’t have an Instagram account but still want to enter – no problem! Just leave us a comment below telling us which product from the set you are most excited about!]