How Love Led to a Conscious Approach to Sourcing Personal Care Ingredients
The company, and its original name From Nature With Love, was conceived in 1997 after our founder, Anáil Moon Devī, began making clean skin creams and soaps in her determination to alleviate her daughter's severe childhood skin challenges.
Anáil became fascinated by the world of botanical ingredients and their healing properties in 1996, when she stumbled onto a soap making forum. Delighted that she could make handmade skincare products for her baby, she quickly acquired a small range of ingredients to explore in gentle formulations. However, having to purchase ingredients in large, bulk sizes left her with more materials than she could use. Anáil turned to the soap making newsgroups and forums, where she was an active member, to try to sell her excess ingredients and found it was a common complaint among the soap makers that they had to buy large quantities in order for their soaps to be cost effective. It was through her exchanges with these aspiring artisans that she found her inspiration to curate a diverse range of skincare ingredients that were fairly priced and thoughtfully packaged in small sizes.
As Anáil continued to expand and share her knowledge of natural ingredients and gained experience in sourcing them from reputable manufacturers, a serendipitous event brought forth the resources needed for Anáil and Jay to launch their small business.
These modest origins lead to a conscious approach to sourcing premium quality ingredients.
Evolution of the Company and Brand Names
The company was originally incorporated as an LLC under the name From Nature With Love. The name From Nature With Love reflects Anáil's gratitude and reverence for the abundant medicinal gifts provided by Mother Nature.
As our company grew, we aspired to not only serve as a supplier to small and mid-sized personal care artisans, but we also wanted to become the trusted supplier to larger scale, cosmetic and personal care product manufacturers. During our early years, we learned that the name From Nature With Love was a deterrent to larger product manufacturers and formulators. To more effectively attract larger scale manufacturers, we incorporated under the new name Natural Sourcing, LLC. Under our new Natural Sourcing corporation name, we then registered the name From Nature With Love as a trademarked brand and continued to use fromnaturewithlove.com to provide premium quality ingredients to small and mid size artisans and manufacturers. We later established the trademarked brand, Praan Naturals, to service larger cosmetic and personal care manufacturers by offering our ingredients in bulk quantities.
Company History and Timeline
September 1, 1997
Launch of the Company
From Nature With Love (FNWL) first began by offering a modest range of natural ingredients that are well suited for use by artisans of handcrafted soaps and toiletries. The first ingredients the company offered included Sweet Almond Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Apricot Kernel Oil, Avocado Oil, Olive Oil, Pomace Oil, Coconut Oil, Palm Oil, Sunflower Oil, Soybean Oil, Sodium Hydroxide, Cocoa Butter, Shea Butter, Lanolin, Lecithin, Beeswax and Lavender Essential Oil.
Anáil started promoting From Nature With Love by launching the company's very first web page, initially hosted on America Online. She became a very active member within Internet newsgroups and AOL forums pertaining to soap making and handmade toiletries, and networked with soap makers and personal care artisans to understand how to best cater to their supply needs. She also found that she had an intuitive gift for formulating and formulation troubleshooting, and by offering her assistance freely within these forums, she steadily drew interest to From Nature With Love's offerings.
Anáil and Jay maintained the startup inventory and managed order fulfillment from a small space within her father's business warehouse until they outgrew the space in 1999.
Created and Distributed the Company's First Print Catalog
The web was still in its infancy at the time the company was founded. Not all soapmakers were online yet, and Anáil realized the benefits that a print catalog with detailed ingredient information and recipes could offer. The first From Nature With Love catalog was initially mailed to 500 artisans, garnering a tidal wave of attention for the young company.
First Commercial Space Rented in NY
The unexpected increase in sales and the need to maintain more inventory prompted Jay to seek out their first warehouse space to accommodate their growing range of ingredients.
Registered FromNatureWithLove.com Domain Name and Launched First Full Website
Anáil met Tina Sauer Harshbarger through a soap making forum and hired Tina to help with the design and launch of the company's very first website.
While the shopping cart system allowed for online orders, most of the orders still came in by phone. Anáil was the happy voice that answered each call and took each order. Customers came to rely on her expertise and recommendations to try new ingredients and were delighted to receive the free samples Anáil tucked into their orders.
From Nature With Love's Website Success and Growth Fueled Necessity to Move to Larger Warehouse Space
From Nature With Love's new website received significant attention from artisans that appreciated the in-depth ingredient information and the growing diversity of natural ingredients. Once more, Anáil and Jay moved to a larger space and hired our first warehouse employee to meet the growing sales.
Continued Growth and Purchase of Connecticut Warehouse/Office
Until the summer of 2001, Anáil personally assisted customers with their telephone and emailed inquiries. However, pregnant with her fourth child in 2001, and facing an ever-increasing volume of phone orders, Anáil and Jay decided to hire FNWL's first customer service representative.
During the next two years, we continued to expand our staff and warehouse space.
In 2002, Anáil and Jay moved into their Connecticut home, leaving the warehouse operations in NY. They spent 2002-2003 on a quest to find the perfect warehouse and office space closer to their home.
Company Relocation to Oxford, Connecticut
In 2004, when the perfect building became available for rent in Oxford, CT., Anáil and Jay moved our company operations and product inventory to the new location. The additional space allowed our company to streamline our fulfillment processes and expand our product range into melt and pour soaps and bases, dried herbs and extracts, exfoliants, bath accessories, books and packaging.
Launched From Nature With Love's Soap Donation and Instructor Programs
In 2004, we launched our successful Soap Donation Program. As a part of the Soap Donation Program, our team coordinates the receipt of handcrafted soap donations from artisans and supplies the donated soaps to three domestic violence shelters and one homeless shelter. The domestic violence shelters, The Prudence Crandall Center, The Umbrella, New Reach and The Women's Center of Greater Danbury are non-profit organizations that are dedicated to serving victims of domestic abuse. The domestic abuse shelters offer shelter and other services for adults and children that have been victims of violence and who are escaping both physical and psychological abuse. The Spooner House provides both housing to homeless individuals and families. They also provide emergency food and supplies for individuals and families with insufficient income to meet their needs.
We also introduced our Instructor Program. This program enables us to build mutually rewarding relationships with qualified instructors by offering instructor and student discounts on our vast range of premium quality ingredients. We also offer qualified instructors product donations to help facilitate their formulation demonstrations, tutorials and hands-on workshops.
Established Natural Sourcing, LLC
As a part of our growing business model, we aspired to not only serve as a supplier to small and mid-sized personal care artisans but we also wanted to become the trusted supplier to growing and larger-scale cosmetic and personal care product manufacturers. Some of these larger corporations were already embarking on the creation of their more eco-friendly brands and product lines.
By 2005, we had watched many of our small business customers grow and reach admirable milestones, and many of them were inquiring into larger volumes. Our expanding selection of products has always been a response to the diversifying product requests we receive from our customers, and we were grateful for the opportunity to source new ingredients. We recognized that our own success and growth was directly contingent upon our supporting and enabling the success of our valued customers.
Until this time, our legal corporation name was From Nature With Love, LLC. During our early years, we learned that our name From Nature With Love was a deterrent to larger product manufacturers and formulators. To more effectively attract larger scale manufacturers, we incorporated under the new name Natural Sourcing, LLC and chose to register the name From Nature With Love as a trademark under our new Natural Sourcing company name.
A separate website, NaturalSourcing.com, was launched in order to best serve our larger customers through an inquiry-driven quotation system.
During 2006, we achieved our ISO9001/2000 certification in order to build and maintain a robust Quality Management System. While we chose not to renew the costly certification, we continue to maintain and improve our proprietary Quality Management System within the core of our operations.
CCOF Organic Certification
In 2006, we proudly acquired our organic certification through CCOF. We began focusing on building relationships with organic producers around the world, and we encouraged them to become certified. Jay welcomed the opportunity to address their questions and hesitation with regard to costly certification as he believed organic skincare would be the next wave in the evolution of natural skincare. He was also determined to create more collaborative relationships with manufacturers that demonstrated high integrity and eco-conscious practices.
Purchase of The Oxford, CT Building
In 2007, Jay made the decision to purchase the Oxford, CT building with plans to extend the square footage in the future. The building had ample room to grow, both in the office space as well as the warehouse areas.
Launch of the Natural Beauty Workshop Blog
In 2007, we launched From Nature With Love's popular blog, The Natural Beauty Workshop. Through our blog, we offer over 700 insightful articles, inspirational formulations, detailed ingredient profiles, news and more. The Natural Beauty Workshop is temporarily on hiatus as we are making plans to update and move our blog to our fromnaturewithlove.com domain.
Environmental Initiatives: UPS Carbon Neutral Shipments, Expansion of Our Recycling Initiatives and Reduction in Use of Plastic Bottles
Beginning around 2007, we began to expand our environmental initiatives. Our initial efforts included the implementation of UPS Carbon Neutral services for all UPS shipments, the expansion of our recycling programs and the start of recycling our steel drum containers. We also reduced our use of plastic bottles. This sparked an ongoing, vibrant conversation within the Natural Sourcing company culture around recycling and impact reduction practices.
Enhanced Product Documentation
As we earned the confidence of larger manufacturing brands, we began to experience a growing demand for product documentation from our larger customers. The demand propelled us to further sharpen our proprietary Quality Management System. This not only allowed us to procure a customer audience that required stringent product specifications, but it also greatly enhanced our product knowledge and documentation. Manufacturers who were unable or unwilling to comply with our rigorous requirements fell away. Some of the manufacturers who accepted the challenge of meeting our requirements have grown as a result of our ongoing conversation and effort towards transparency, sustainability and strict quality standards.
Began Exhibiting at Trade Shows
The first trade show that we exhibited at was a Society for Cosmetic Chemists conference held in New York. To date, we have exhibited at numerous national and international conferences and trade shows. Jay and Anáil became very aware of the importance of communicating with visitors to our booth in order to have an impact on the greater sustainability conversation in the industry. These communications made us aware of the various channels through which we could impart our vision and hope for receptivity.
Completed Transition to LED Lighting
As one of our many steps in ensuring that our organization is as environmentally friendly as possible, we transitioned all lighting within our office and warehouse space to energy efficient LED lighting.
Sustainability Commitment and Platform
Natural Sourcing published its Sustainability Commitment and Platform document and continued work on its rigorous internal Product Qualification Standards.
Initiated Our From Nature With Love Rewards Program
Showing our appreciation to our loyal customers is important to us. In 2014, we established a Rewards Program that makes it easy for our customers to automatically earn FNWL Rewards that are redeemable on future orders.
Transition to Wind Generated Power
In 2015, we partnered with Arcadia Power and purchased Renewable Energy Credits to offset 100% of our traditional electric power usage by supporting Clean Energy Projects.
Implemented Third Party Testing on Most Vegetable Oils and Powdered Ingredients
Natural Sourcing began to arrange for independent testing on most of our incoming lots of vegetable oils and powdered ingredients.
Warehouse Expanded to 50,000 Square Feet
During 2018, we began construction to expand our warehouse to 50,000 square feet. This allowed us to procure larger volumes of seasonal materials for large volume customers and minimize the variability between lots.
Kosher and Halal Certification
We acquired our Kosher and Halal certification for a small but growing range of ingredients.
Launched Praan Naturals
Praan Naturals was established as a trademarked bulk/wholesale brand of Natural Sourcing, LLC. In Sanskrit, Praan means vital life force and refers to the intelligence that activates all living things. We wanted to celebrate our day to day business activities with a brand name that reflects our personality and passion for natural botanicals and their influence within every element of our lives. Therefore, we have chosen to use the name Praan Naturals to honor our deepening commitment towards eco-ethical sourcing. It more clearly reflects our respect and love for the exquisite gifts from nature that are connected to life and breath.
Transitioned to Solar Energy to Completely Power Our Operations
During 2019, we initiated the installation and use of solar panels that provide up to 110% clean energy to the company's 50,000 square foot corporate headquarters. Power production is monitored, and excess power production is fed back to the grid. The system reports the number of trees saved and the CO2 emissions that have been avoided.
Implemented Third Party Testing on Most Essential Oils
Natural Sourcing began to arrange for independent GC/MS or GC/FID testing on most incoming lots of essential oils. The available reports are directly available through the product detail pages for each essential oil. Our independent GC-MS/GC-FID testing is conducted by reputable labs that have significant, specialized experience in testing essential oils. These reports give our customers confidence that our essential oils are pure, and that they are truly the botanical species we specify. These reports are also crucial for customers that need to know the exact composition of each of our essential oils.
Programs and Organizations That We Support: How We Give Back
Since the time we began our company, we have contributed funding and products to organizations that we believe in. In 2022, we created a "How We Give Back" section of our From Nature With Love and our Praan Naturals websites to more clearly convey our initiatives and the organizations that we support the most.