In a basement off Sixth Avenue in Alexandria, a coffee grinder whirrs because it minces rose petals to powder.

A rubber mallet thumps, bam-BAM, bam-BAM, to secure the tops of small glass vials.

These are the sounds of certainly one of Alexandria’s most up-to-date producers, one that turns flora, oils, and sugars into exfoliants, moisturizers, and aromatherapy.

The producer, RAW.& Co. has the best 4 personnel. Their tools are low-tech measuring spoons and eye droppers, and their workspace resembles a “fancy eating room,” as a current vacationer commented. Their merchandise is surely made and simple to use, they are saying, but their plans are whatever however easy.

“I see it as a huge company, based out of Alexandria, however touching people throughout the country,” stated Sara Severson, one of the four employees.

She is tasked with growing national sales pressure. Previously, she educated income human beings national for two different nearby companies that made it huge: mobile telephone issuer RCC/Unicel, which became bought through Verizon, and food blend maker Tastefully Simple.

One of Severson’s latest coups changed into landing RAW. Products in a subscription provider sent out to new moms throughout us of a via a carrier called Moms + Babes. While RAW. Needed to pay for the position, Severson sees it as an advertising investment that might pay off if those moms find out they love the goods and inform their buddies.

Behind RAW. Is Kristen Haabala Wiener, a naturopathic medical doctor who graduated from Jefferson High School and was ready tables at Bug-A-Boo Bay, making plans to grow to be a medical doctor assistant, whilst a patron she befriended advised she attend school to emerge as a naturopath. The four-12 month’s college, the National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon, presented classes conventional medical colleges do no longer, coaching college students to make healing teas and tinctures, which arise whilst herbs and other vegetation are soaked in alcohol to extract medicinal substances.

She and a pal might blend lip balms and creams for amusing, and later, whilst she had a circle of relatives, she would concoct medicinal products for domestic use and also pores and skin care salves for her patients with rashes and eczema.

Haapala served an internship underneath Dr. Kristi Hughes, another neighborhood naturopath, then installation her very own practice. She sees sufferers for a number of symptoms that may not get scrutinized someplace else, including digestive problems, depression and tension, and emotions of being tired and run down. She tries to find the underlying reasons, together with looking for lab exams for dietary deficiencies or food intolerances.

“Your health starts offevolved to your gut,” she says.

To expand her skin and hair care merchandise, she offered luggage of dried herbs and vegetation wholesale from natural providers and stocked coconut oil and shea butter. She advanced 5 cents, naming them “readability,” “happy hippy,” “bliss,” “uplift,” and simply plain “lavender.”

“Skincare agencies aren’t regulated,” she stated. “They can be positioned regarded most cancers-inflicting elements in there. They do not need to even inform you what they put in their products.”

According to 2010 take a look at within the journal “Contact Dermatitis,” formaldehyde and chemicals that launch formaldehyde are utilized in a 5th of U.S. Cosmetics. Manufacturers often depend upon preservatives inclusive of formaldehyde to make cosmetics last longer, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says it’s miles as much as them to make certain the protection of their merchandise.

Formaldehyde is most dangerous when inhaled, and even though making use of cosmetics can reason it to end up airborne, a separate examine found, it wasn’t in excessive sufficient quantities to pose a danger.

Still, purchaser advocates worry that publicity from more than one sources through the years could prove dangerous.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, run with the aid of the nonprofit Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, advises clients to scrutinize labels and avoid merchandise that contains not simply formaldehyde, however phenacetin, coal tar, benzene, untreated or mildly treated mineral oils, ethylene oxide, chromium, cadmium and its compounds, arsenic and crystalline silica or quartz.

Haapala says if clients accidentally ingest her merchandise, there might be no dangerous outcomes. And, she says, the paintings.

She has performed pores and skin care trials on volunteers in a number of a while with a variety of skin care kinds. They used her merchandise for a month, the use of photos to tune whether their pores and skin troubles healed, and if so, how quick. She tried them on herself as well.

“The actual cool aspect turned into everybody’s skin type got better,” she said. “I became actually blown away, myself.”

She additionally enlisted mothers to apply her diaper balm and posts upcoming trials on social media.

“Our skin is our body’s largest organ,” Haapala said. “We need to be careful that we do not place synthetic chemical substances or ingredients on our skin that we would not sense comfy consuming, due to the fact our frame will absorb them all.”

Meanwhile, Haabala has ramped up her manufacturing from cooking 3 to four jars well worth of skin care products on her kitchen stove to whipping up 50 to 100 jars worth at a time.

“We’re jogging out all the time,” she stated.

She spends time in prayer and meditation and devotes a part of her proceeds to what she calls “God cash,” money for causes that help human beings, animals or flora.

“It’s all kind of God’s plan and I stated, ‘Let’s do that and this. We haven’t had to tweak plenty, to be honest with you. It’s been a blessing.”

As her production grows, she expects to hire extra personnel. Manufacturers had been challenged by using a decent hard work market, but Haabala stated she has a waiting list of individuals who need to be a part of what she’s doing.

“I think humans are outstanding intrigued approximately what we’re doing and why we’re doing it,” said Lindsay Muzik, who started paintings for Haabala numerous years in the past as office supervisor for what becomes then known as Midwest Natural Medicine. “Everybody wants to work for an extra purpose.”

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