Baby Soft, Baby Safe
Local family launches baby line that aligns with long-standing stance on skincare
Kelsey and Daniel Richards of Satellite Beach knew even before she was born that they wanted to provide safety and health for their daughter Zoey. After years of struggling to conceive, the couple was ecstatic to learn they would be welcoming their long-awaited daughter. Along with researching the typical baby items like cribs and car seats, Kelsey Richards, a registered nurse, started reading up on the ingredients in baby care products.
“Up until we had our daughter, we never put too much thought into the chemicals put in traditional baby products,” Kelsey Richards said. “But then during our research, we read a lot of scary things including chemicals listed in baby products that could cause cancer and adversely affect estrogen counts. There was no way we were going to put that on our daughter’s skin.”
So the young couple looked to grandpa, Charley Richards, for some assistance. Charley Richards is the president of Absolutely Natural, a Brevard-based company that sells more than 250 chemical-free skincare products worldwide. Daniel Richards is the company’s vice president.
“Clearly Zoey is near and dear to my heart and the time felt right to expand to baby products,” Charley Richards said.
Zoey Richards turned 2 in February and as she grows, so does the line of products she has inspired. Zoey Naturals includes body wash, sunscreen, lotion, diaper cream, hand sanitizer and more, all available locally at Absolutely Natural’s Factory Fresh store or online at Zoey-Naturals.com.
Elisa Pannucci of Palm Bay found Zoey Naturals when frustration over her son’s sensitive skin mounted. At 6 months old, he had developed severe eczema that irritated his entire neck.
“We felt like we had tried everything to get it to clear up — keeping the area dry, creams, lotions, you name it,” Pannucci said. “We heard about the Zoey line and decided it was worth a try.”
Pannucci started by switching from the baby wash and lotion in her home to the Head-to-Toe wash and the Body Lotion from Zoey Naturals. Within one week, the eczema had cleared up. The family keeps the eczema at bay by applying the line’s Body Butter to the affected skin during the day and Body Oil at night.
“I cannot tell you how amazed I was by these products after so many things just not working,” Pannucci said. “We didn’t have to change his diet or anything, just the body products.”
The company is concentrating its distribution on small boutiques, often owner-operated.
“We like when we can train personnel on the features and benefits of the Zoey line as well as the significant points of difference,” Daniel Richards said.
The company’s marketing program is taking a more personal approach, as well. Lindsey Barber, marketing director, is concentrating on events, public trade shows and educational opportunities.
“In addition to traditional methods, we always like to get our personnel in front of the end user. We have a great educational program, that is much needed. Most consumers don’t realize there is a right or wrong way to even apply the products.”
A Chip Off the Old Block
Like its parent company, Absolutely Natural, all of the Zoey Naturals products are produced with organic ingredients, void of parabens, sulfates and phthalates.
Established in 1992, Absolutely Natural was born of the need for truly natural products that Charley Richards recognized as a sunscreen salesperson.
“The ingredients in sunscreen and the chemicals in it were just really awful,” Charley Richards said. “I started out wanting to just change sunscreen and eventually added more skincare products.”
The Absolutely Natural line now offers more than 250 products. The brand has three full-time researchers in a lab who work on testing, research and development. For much of the Zoey Naturals line, the formulations started from scratch.
“We went through a lot of samples before final formulations took hold,” Charley Richards said.
The Absolutely Natural brand is not only concerned with what people put on their skin; the company actively looks for more ways to produce environmentally sustainable products, right down to the packaging. Absolutely Natural packages its product lines in recyclable and environmentally safe containers and uses recycled paper for brochures and point-of-purchase materials. The products are all lagoon-friendly, as there are no harsh chemical runoffs in production.
“We try to make as small a carbon footprint as possible,” Charley Richards said.
Environmental efforts also include the support of sea turtle rehabilitation, rescue and awareness.
“The ecosystems that support sea turtles and other ocean-based creatures are being continually damaged by chemicals, litter and fishing efforts to name a few. We make regular donations toward efforts to rehabilitate rescued sea turtles and educate the public on how they can help make a difference,” according to the Absolutely Natural website.
Buy Zoey Naturals
Visit the Factory Fresh store at 644 Atlantis Road in Melbourne, or buy online at Zoey-Naturals.com.
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