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Growing EO

By Christine Esposito, Associate Editor | October 21, 2013

Over the past year, EO Products has increased manufacturing capacity and seen sales soar. With its inaugural retail store up and running and new hand soaps rolling out exclusively at Whole Foods, more growth is on the way for this family-run company.

Ask any overnight success or one-hit wonder if they really made it big “over night” and they’ll laugh right in your face. That’s because they know it has taken years to achieve success.

EO Products, a San Rafael, CA-based company, has spent more than 20 years crafting natural and organic personal care products using sustainable and small-batch manufacturing techniques. Today, EO products can found at 6,000 natural food and specialty stores nationwide and in 11 countries around the world.

Those doors include the biggest name in natural products retailing—Whole Foods—and small specialty stores including its very first company-owned shop, which opened up in November 2012.

By all measures, EO is growing by leaps and bounds—even while those high growth rates of natural personal care products have been tempered somewhat.

 “In the past year we've greatly expanded our manufacturing capacity and our sales have increased by more than 35%,” co-founder Susan Griffin-Black told HAPPI.
 
Founded in 1995 by Griffin-Blackand Brad Black, EO manufactures more than 100 products that feature its signature essential oil blends, which are steam distilled directly from flowers, leaves, bark and wood without any adulteration or synthetic additives. Products are sold under the EO and EveryOne banners.

The firm’s newest additions are six new EveryOne hand soaps, which will be carried exclusively at Whole Foods nationally through Dec. 15, 2013.

The new EveryOne hand soaps come in six scents: Meyer Lemon + Mandarin, Apricot + Vanilla, Lavender + Coconut, Spearmint + Lemongrass, Ylang Ylang + Cedarwood, and Lime + Strawberry. Each features unique combinations of essential oils and natural extracts and contain no artificial fragrances.  

According to Griffin-Black, the quality and quantity of the essential oils used in these soaps is unparalleled in the industry.

“We feel strongly against using artificial fragrances in our products, and instead have artfully blended essential oils into these soaps to deliver a relaxing yet invigorating aromatherapeutic moment of luxury in a busy day,” she said.  “The soap base is made with mild, conditioning surfactants, vitamins B and E, and organic herbal extracts of chamomile, calendula, aloe and white tea. The result is a luxurious foam that cleanses gently while moisturizing hands.”

The soaps have a retail price of $4.99, which is in line with thebrand’s value-conscious positioning.

“EveryOne is designed to fit a broad range of lifestyles and ages and came from the idea that clean, healthy, beautiful smelling products that perform can be made locally and distributed affordably,” said Griffin-Black.
 
EveryOne’s “demographic is 16-65, and is “aimed at more of a lifestyle than income,” she added. “Customers who purchase EveryOne products tend to be educated and share our values of well being, doing the right thing, and embracing a natural and organic lifestyle. Since our launch in 2012, the brand has seen strong growth and our core customer base has widened considerably.”
 
The entire EO stable has the bells and whistles customers are looking for in personal care.  Every EO product is free of parabens, disodium EDTA, sodium lauryl, phthalates, petrochemicals, artificial or synthetic fragrances, chemical preservatives, silicone, propopylene glycol, detergent, mineral oil, triclosan, EDTA, aluminum and sulfate. In addition, every product is non-GMO verified, a position company officials take great pride in, as EO was the first non-GMO certified body-care company in the US.   
 
“We're family owned and operated and manufacture all of our own products. Since our beginnings, we've grown our customer base through word of mouth, relationships and immense customer loyalty. We built EO by creating the products and lifestyle we choose for ourselves – in many ways we are our customer.”
 
About a year ago, EO opened its first retail store called the EO Exchange. Located in Mill Valley, CA, the shop sells EO and EveryOne products as well as 100 single note essential oils, bulk bath salts and more. In addition, EO installed a soap and lotion refill bar, which allows customers to bring in empty bottles for a refill at a discounted price.
 
According to Black, the retail spot has been a great addition to the EO family.
 
“EO Exchange has been very successful,” she told HAPPI, “and we're looking forward to growing that aspect of our business in the coming years.
 

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