Episode 33: Gently Soap - Kristen Dunning
Kristen Dunning, the founder of Gently Soap, shares her journey of creating a natural soap product that is both science-backed and clean. Growing up in a family with direct roots in sustainable farming and aquaculture, Kristen witnessed firsthand the connection between black farmers and nature. As someone with sensitive skin, Kristen struggled to find a product that was both natural and effective. She realized that there were limited products that combined both natural ingredients and science-backed research, so she decided to create her own.
After studying agricultural communication and horticulture at the University of Georgia, Kristen pioneered her own research project utilizing her horticulture work and herbal knowledge to create a solid foundation for building an influential brand that ensures customers feel good about the products they use on their skin. She highlights the importance of minorities returning to agriculture, transparency, natural remedies, and what is next for her brand.
Quote from interviewee for callout box:
"It was interesting how things can be marketed and portrayed to not be natural. But when you dig down to it, it actually isn’t."
Biggest Takeaways You Don’t Want to Miss:
- Returning to heritage and agriculture is crucial for minority communities to reclaim what was taken away from them and restore a sense of cultural identity and empowerment, building resilience and strength in the face of ongoing oppression and discrimination resulting from the lasting impact of white people's exploitation and harm towards other communities.
- Avoid greenwashing, where products are marketed as natural or sustainable but contain harmful ingredients and are not ethically sourced.
- Calendula is a versatile and natural ingredient that can provide various health benefits with anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and soothing properties; It can also be used in tea to improve digestive health.
Check Out These Highlights:
- Kristen talks about her background and familial history in black farming, sharecropping, and sustainable farming (1:28)
- Kristen's shares how her grandmother's entrepreneurial spirit inspired her, and she became an accidental entrepreneur after realizing the need for a product that didn't exist in the market (7:00)
- Kristen discusses the importance of good sourcing, which includes knowing where the product originated from and whether it is sourced ethically and sustainably (24:14)
- "People are starting to really understand that what we put on our skin is just as important as what we put in our bodies."
- " I am very driven by making sure people have options within sensitive skincare, especially within something that's so ingrained into our daily lives.”
- "I became an entrepreneur by accident. I always say that I didn't decide to be there. It kind of chose me."