In this Sit Down, we have a chat with Corrie Colbert, co-founder of Hurraw! lip balm. Corrie and her husband Neil made the “big leap” – exchanging their life in New York for one in a small town in Montana and creating a vibrant, popular and growing natural product brand along the way. Their balms are vegan, truly natural and made from premium raw and organic ingredients. They manufacture all their own products in their own NOP and EcoCert certified facility in Whitefish, Montana.
1. What’s one thing that ended up being really useful but you didn’t know going into business? Always manufacture your own product. We had nada, zero, zilch knowledge that most cosmetics were contract manufactured! We mistakenly thought every brand made their own products like we did… very wrong. It’s given us the quality control and the ability to short batch and perfect our products over the years. And I might add, Wherefour has really helped us get “off paper trails” and trace ingredients to the gram. 🙂
2. What drives you crazy about the nature of your business, or the industry in general? Excessive greenwashing. The word ‘organic’ and its diluted meaning. Some of the highest quality small farm grown ingredients are not ‘organic’ but yet have the most amazing quality. It’s pay-to-play today. The Natural Cosmetics industry has boomed. It, like any other industry, becomes pretty frustrating once you see how it all works (or doesn’t).
Natural cosmetics inherently should be like food and their shelf life is limited; customer education is a priority. The general lack of transparency in the industry is disappointing… the lack of safety (or any) regulation really…. It’s like the wild west = anything goes. This of course has good and bad implications; love the ability that anyone can start a biz but wish there was more regulation like in the EU where ingredients must be proven safe, tested for any potential allergens and listed for consumer safety.
You try to do things right but the reality is it doesn’t really matter if you are competing for market share because right doesn’t always win… but that’s life.
3. What’s another company or a person in your industry you admire, and why? Love Eden Foods, Bronner’s, Aubrey, Ancient Organics… we look up to and admire them in that they seem to have a similar credo: If you always put your customer first and keep the quality high, you will have success. Tortoise vs Hare.
4. What’s keeping you up at night about your business these days? How to replace and reduce, make a better plastic, not just for us but the world. A quality, sustainable supply chain; how best to develop vertical integration and grow our own ingredients.
5. Besides money, what’s your biggest challenge in the coming year? Audits and certifications consume a big part of our time. Keeping them current has become a full time job and we question if it’s truly a customer priority… pushing paper is a time suck, but it’s crucial to stay focused on the bigger picture. To learn more about Hurraw! and the range of their very creative balm flavors (or see where to find them in your area), go to https://hurrawbalm.com
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