In our search for American Made beauty products, we came across Hollybeth Organics, a charming line of natural, organic and made in the USA face and body care full of southern charm and comfort. We snagged a few minutes of founder Hollybeth Anderson’s time to share her story.
Tell us a little about what drove you to start Hollybeth Organics?
Growing up with my Grandmother in North Georgia, I was indoctrinated to the world of plants and their medicinal and herbal uses at an early age. We would walk through the woods and she would point out plants and their medicinal uses. My grandfather had a garden every year and we would can and eat fresh food throughout the year. Five years ago, within a matter of months, my Dad passed away, I was laid off, my grandmother who raised me passed away and my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. After these life changing events, I realized life is short. You have to live your passion and create. This epiphany led me to follow my heart and go back to my roots in nature and ultimately, to create Hollybeth Organics.
How did you get interested in natural beauty?
My mother would use natural things to care for her skin, such as cornmeal to exfoliate and egg whites from a local farm to make facial masks. Growing up with my grandparents in the outdoors, everything we did was based in nature. When I began by making my own eye cream as a side business, I soon realized the need for results-oriented, clean beauty in the marketplace and Hollybeth Organics was the answer.
Tell us a little about your making process, the ingredients you use, and how you source them. Any special or unusual tools or equipment you use?
Since we are certified USDA Organic, I am continually challenged to source certified organic ingredients. Because our ingredients are grown in the ground and not in a lab, nature has large influence on what we can find and when. The process of actually making products is similar to cooking; I can’t do anything without my mixers, a ton of eye droppers, spatulas and my lovely old glass measuring cup that only measures teaspoons.
How did you decide on what products to make?
It’s usually inspired by what I see growing in my backyard. For example, my garden is graced with tons of camellias and camellia oil is one of the best oils for your skin. It’s non-comedogenic, contains UV protection properties and is chock full of vitamins and anti-oxidants. I also love geraniums, the essential oil from which is phenomenal for your skin, especially when combined with rose. Amazingly, it takes 30,000 rose petals to make one ounce of rose oil.
Do you have a favorite product?
I adore my orange peppermint shea butter because it smells heavenly and is moisturizing. I also love the color of my rose geranium cream and that fact that people are always telling me it helps their rosacea and eczema. My grits & honey (based on my mother using cornmeal on her face to exfoliate when I was a child) is a surprise favorite and one of our most popular products.
Tell us a bit about your workspace.
The studio where I make everything is in a former cotton warehouse in Atlanta, Georgiaa and I am so blessed to be able work here. The building has 17-foot-high, blue ceilings with stunning, recycled poster board birds hanging from it. In the middle of the studio is my favorite piece of furniture: a huge round handmade ottoman. Paintings from home grace the walls. And the best part is the 100-year-old brick wall on one side.
What’s the best thing about being a small business owner? Biggest challenge?
The best part is being able to create something that you are passionate about and then have people truly respect and admire what you produce. The challenging part is doing it all by yourself.
Any advice you’d like to give others who are thinking about starting a business?
Go with your gut, your intuition and do unto others as you would have them do unto you. And don’t go into debt.
Are there any new projects you are particularly proud of or currently working on?
Becoming certified USDA organic was time consuming and a big challenge financially, but I am so proud of it. We are the only USDA organic certified skincare company in Georgia. We are also Leaping Bunny certified and my products have won a few awards. I am thrilled that our ingredients are grown in the garden and not in a lab.
What’s on the horizon?
More products, and my dream is to have a farm where I can grow all of my own ingredients and press and distill all of my own oils.