Kalon Botanicals is a Greek wonderland of tried and true products that keep you conscientious of the environment around you. With a deep focus on sustainability and fairness, Kalon manages to produce easy-does-it products with your favorite zero-harm ingredients. Here’s what they had to say.
What inspires you?
At the root of most things that inspire us, we find nature. Beauty, ethical and sustainable living, conscious consumerism, ancient Greek philosophy and mythology... all of these things can be traced to our biggest inspiration which is nature. We are inspired by nature to create products that impact individual people, our society, and our environment in a positive way. In a way, the thing that inspires us most is the challenge of creating such products. Thinking about a problem from an energetic, physical, and ethical point of view and coming up with a solution that fits all of our criteria.
Tell us about your creative process. Where does Kalon Botanicals live?
I’m not sure there is a specific place, but most of our creativity happens through collaboration. Starting with the causes of the problem that we want to address and extrapolating from there, we end up with a basic ingredient list. Then we put together a few different formulations with different amounts of the ingredients and test them on ourselves and our friends until we come up with the right combination.
This testing period takes a much longer time than you might imagine. For each formulation we need to test it for at least 6 weeks with regular use to make sure it is effective and that it is gentle enough for regular use. It takes 6 weeks for your skin cells to completely turn over so it takes 6 weeks of use to see if something is actually effective or not.
How did you get started? How did your brand come about?
Kalon Botanicals came about after we were able to address our various skin issues ourselves through the use of botanical ingredients. We began experimenting and Mary got her aromatherapy certification in order to better understand why and how it all works. Soon we were having friends try our formulations and they started asking for more. We decided to name our business KALON Botanicals because of the ancient greek translation of the word kalon. Literally translated it means beautiful thing but it also means virtuous, ethical, good, useful, quality - all the things we want our business to be.
Our logo started out as a thistle but keeping with the minimal aesthetic, it is a thistle reduced to its basic geometric shape. The thistle symbolizes protection and nobility and is also a very useful medicinal plant. Once we had the name and logo we designed labels and started our etsy store. We have since moved to our own website. It really all felt very natural. Our tagline, Thoughtful Holistic Skincare, is how we came to think of what we were doing.
Rather than thinking of everything as separate entities, we treat our body and mind, as well as ourselves and the environment as one collective whole.”
Out of all of your designs, is there a particular item or collection that has been your favorite to create or that you feel embodies you the most?
I think the Ariadne gift set is a very good summation of what we do. It is meant for most skin types, it is gentle enough for everyday use, and it is effective enough to want to use it daily. Its main goal is balance and healing both for your skin and your mind. Many of our skin problems can be exacerbated by our mental state. When I suffered through my 20’s with cystic acne, my flare ups would be even worse because of the anxiety and shame I felt about my skin.
Once I started making my own products I realized how large a role my emotions played in my personal skincare journey. Many of the oils used in the Ariadne gift set to balance sebum production (both underproduction and overproduction) also help balance our emotions and encourage self acceptance.
What’s unique about your brand? What differentiates you from competitors?
The truly holistic approach we take to skincare and the reverence we have for the botanical ingredients we use. Every ingredient we use has not only been vetted against our strict ethical and sustainability standards, but also has a very specific purpose. We consider our ingredients’ effect on the skin as well as on the mind and mood. We definitely see plants as powerful medicinal allies and we formulate with that in mind. We respect the ingredients and always dilute and prepare properly. There is so much misinformation out there about the safety, effectiveness, and proper uses of essential oils and other plant medicines that it is often difficult to decide who or what is correct.
We aim to be completely transparent and encourage questions about our ingredients. I don’t think we know everything, no one does, but my knowledge is based on study and schooling to become an aromatherapist which gives me a solid footing on the road to knowledge. I’m not sure that makes us unique but in talking about all of these things I think we are differentiated from many others.
Is there a giveback/sustainable component to your business?
Ethical sustainability is at the heart of what we do. From sourcing our packaging and ingredients to the way we price our products. We think about everything before we move forward and we do our best to make the most ethically, environmentally, and socially sustainable decisions that we can. We have donated to various causes such as planned parenthood and the NGO coolearth in the past and intend to continue donating what we can, when we can, to the causes that are important to both our mission and to us.
What are some of your favorite Alternative products?
Tell us why.
The Modal Fleece Turtleneck and the Drift Eco-Gauze T-Shirt are two of my favorite Alternative items. Easy, simple, comfortable, durable, eco friendly, and sustainable. Most items I buy these days are pieces I know I will have for years, even if it is vintage.
What’s next for Kalon?
We hope to grow at a sustainable rate keeping all of our business practices and ethical standards firmly where they are. We’d like to expand and be able to pay our friends who help out when they can in real money instead of product. We have all kinds of crazy goals for the future but for the near future we are thinking baby steps. People can expect bath bombs and face masks in the near future - stay tuned.