By Alicia Cunningham | Nov 01, 2016
Organic lotions & scrubs
Main Products: Organic lotions & scrubs
Seeking out organic products is more than a fad to business owner Patti Buchanan. “I’ve been in the organic industry for over 25 years,” Buchanan says. “Before starting Moonvine Organics, I worked for several years for another organic company. It was a great company but the price point kept going up while the quality control was going down. It was frustrating.”
Buchanan and her sister began thoroughly researching how to develop their own organic company. “We realized that if we bought in bulk, we could offer high quality organic products at an affordable price.” That was the beginning of Moonvine Organics. “Offering the best products at an affordable price has been our mission ever since,” Buchanan explains.
Moonvine Organics produces lotions, balms, bubble bath, moisturizers, scrubs and other items. “We cover our customers from head to toe,” Buchanan says. The principle, organic ingredients are sourced from a lab in Oregon and mixed to Buchanan’s formula.
“Each product was determined by trial and error,” Buchanan says. “We worked for almost a year before launching to get just the right amount of scent, without making the product too greasy or the scent too strong of scent. We also experimented with several of the labs products before deciding on our exclusive blends.”
But one of Buchanan’s most popular products, her sugar scrub, is made by hand in her Sandy, Utah facility. “The recipe is exclusive to Moonvine,” Buchanan says. “A lot of research was involved in deciding which carrier oil to use, how much scent, salt or organic sugar as the exfoliator, etc. We learned through research that hundreds of years ago the women in Hawaii who worked in the sugar cane fields would rub the sugar cane all over their bodies for the beautiful glowing skin they have.”
In manufacturing its products, Moonvine Organics shops locally. “Our containers, jars, lids and oils are locally sourced. We try to support local Utah business as much as possible.” Moonvine Organics’ labels are custom-made and applied by hand. “We have a tried and true system that works really well,” Buchanan says.
After each product is prepared, maintaining the right inventory becomes a balancing act. It would be simpler to keep all products well stocked in order to quickly service online customers, phone-in customers as well as the retail locations. But, for Buchanan, freshness is key. “We make our products fresh so our customers receive them fresh.”
A few years after starting Moonvine Organics, Buchanan partnered with two of her best friends from childhood. Because they live in different regions of the United States, this partnership has the added benefit of increasing the reach of Moonvine Organics as far east as Virginia and Florida and as far west as Washington, though the ingredients are purchased in Utah.
The company has faced rising costs but has not adjusted its price point since opening over nine years ago. When they face price increases in packaging, oils, and shipping – especially shipping – they adjust by buying in larger quantities from the lab to get better discounts. “We have managed to keep our price the same and can offer organic products that are affordable and within budgetary reach.”
Being a part of the organic movement in Utah for more than two decades, Buchanan is excited to see the recognition organic products are receiving throughout the state of Utah. “I am excited that people are coming around and paying attention to what they are putting on their skin. I am excited that they are recognizing skins products get absorbed into their bodies. They are finally paying more attention.”
Challenges: Marketing. Buchanan is operating her business while balancing time with family. “I love this business so much. It is my passion. Our goal is to get our products out in more salons, more stores. Two years ago I went with a friend to the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce as they offered training in social media options. It was awesome. I need to do that more.”
Opportunity: Moving into larger stores. “We look forward to being a part of Whole Foods and Sprouts,” Buchanan says. “Whole Foods is very specific about the organic products they will not accept. They have a list of 600 ingredients they will not accept, and we do not have a single one.”
Need: Time. Buchanan is a grandparent and dedicated to spending time with her grandkids while building Moonvine Organics. “They grow so fast,” she explains. “But I love making these products. I love learning and developing something new everyday.”