It isn't very often that we get the opportunity to discover a brand that inherits its ancestral recipes from generations back, bringing traditional healing to present-day skincare. Learn more about Cleban & Daughters' journey and the passion they bring to the beauty industry.
Hi Roxane! We're so excited to have you on board this month. Please share with us how you started Cleban & Daughters.
Cleban & Daughters is a family owned, women-led Herbal Apothecary. A co-creation of two sisters, the line is based on our grandfather’s Amsterdam apothecary first established in 1850, founded by M. Cleban. We can trace our ancestors back as far as 1886, but we knew it simply as our Opa’s shop. We grew up spending our summers living in the residence above, vowing one day to do just as Opa did.
In honour of the holistic discipline of the original apothecary, we offer an inside & out approach to wellbeing. Our tinctures, mists & plant salves are made with organic & bioavailable ingredients for maximum potency & efficacy. They are an invitation to experience Mama Nature’s healing abundance. Herbal remedies that do as promised.
Little sister turned plant geek Liana is our Chief Formulator. She dove head & heart first into Herbalism after struggling with chronic illnesses. She experienced first hand what an impact medicinal herbs can have and has been passionately studying clinical Herbalism ever since (and probably will forevermore.)
With a background in retail & operations management, it is her big sister Roxane’s greatest privilege to bring these creations to market.
Besides the long-standing history of the brand being passed down from generation to generation, what else makes Cleban & Daughters stand out from the rest of your competitors?
Cleban & Daughters is one chapter in a 170+ year old heritage of community & healing, and we honour that every step of the way. The work we do is steeped in personal significance, so we feel an immense responsibility to craft Functional Plant Medicine that will genuinely have an impact.
"Quality, efficacy & potency are our guiding pillars for creation."
It starts in the formulation of our remedies. Liana is a plant geek like no other, part scientist, part artist. In her world 1+1=3. She has a unique style of formulating that results in a remedy made greater than the sum of its parts. Herbs are grouped for their synergistic benefits, they feed off each other & strengthen each other. She really is such a nerd. In any case, the result is a formula you feel within minutes.
How do you source the medicinal herbs that you so carefully include into all your therapeutic blends?
To ensure the formulas Liana create really sing, we put a lot of work into sourcing. We use whole, bioavailable ingredients found in the wild. We work with local independent farmers whenever possible, but ultimately it is passion & expertise in their crop that we look for when sourcing.
"We prioritize organic, sustainably farmed or wildcrafted ingredients as the potency & vibrancy in these ingredients fuel the potency of our remedies."
Sourcing small & organic is not without its obstacles. Though we wouldn’t have it any other way, it means we are often at the mercy of Mother Nature’s whims.
"We love to tell the story of how the release of our Nocturne Sleep Tincture was delayed because goats got into the crops & ate all the Passionflower we were adamant about sourcing."
To this day I can’t shake the image of billie-goats sleeping in a sunny field in Hawaii. If you know how amazing the Passionflower looks you’ll get why this visual is so captivating.
Sustainability in our processes & packaging are of paramount importance. The plant waste from our herbal remedies gets collected, to be used as compost for a farm down the road. We minimize the use of plastic in our packaging, the majority of which is glass. Our cartons are of course recyclable but also FSC Certified & made from responsible sources. We maintain every step of our operations in California in an effort to minimize our carbon footprint.
The wellness industry is a crowded place to be in. The Covid-19 pandemic has naturally made things worse. Have you had your share of obstacles and if so, how did you overcome them?
Every single day as an entrepreneur is an experience of both struggle & success. We are a tiny business - a full two women strong trying to make it work in an incredibly saturated & competitive market.
"Because of Covid-19 we’ve been operating apart from each other with a nine hour time zone difference (Liana is in Amsterdam right now) and that has been incredibly challenging."
We get through it by prioritizing our relationship as sisters first, and that in turn feeds our bond & connection, which then makes our business stronger. It is something really special to work with someone who knows what you’re thinking before you say it, whose voice you can hear in your head while they’re sleeping. How do we overcome it? Together.
Social media has been a powerful tool in promoting a lot of the niche beauty brands we feature here on Nourish Beauty Box. We’d like to know how it has helped yours!
Social media is a beast, and incredibly important for our business. Without a physical brick-and-mortar space, our IG account is a space to connect with our community. Every single comment, DM, like, save, share, energizes our work & guides us forward. We hear stories about our Sleep Tincture helping to finally give someone a good night’s sleep after years of struggle, or that our Salve has supported the healing of their scars after multiple surgeries. The feedback just goes straight to our hearts and we carry that with us when the going gets tough. For practical purposes Instagram is also our calling card, it’s a way for potential retailers to get to know us & get a feel for what we’re all about.
Do you support any charities or movements?
We are proud members of Herbalists Without Borders, a non-profit all volunteer organization dedicated to fighting health injustices locally & abroad with holistic care & medicinal herbs. Supporting our business allows us to donate our Nocturne Sleep Tincture & Warrior Healing Salve, and hopefully others more.
The Tincture is offered to those in dire need of restorative sleep or to help ease symptoms of panic & anxiety. Our Warrior Salve is used to support the busy, over-sanitized hands of street medics on the ground who are caring for these communities in need, or as First Aid for those on the front lines protesting injustice.
"I don’t think we’ll ever really be able to capture what it means for our remedies to be useful in this way. We are not medical professionals, we are not on the front lines of this incredibly important work. This is how we, in our own small way, can show up for these causes."
What you do for the community is truly inspirational! What are some of the future milestones you have for your brand?
We are in the final stages of production for a Tincture for stress & mild anxiety. We are hoping for an early Fall release, though we know better than to rush the process. Last year the focus was on multiple product launches & building our community organically. This year we are actively looking to grow our distribution & partner with retailers who share the same core values. If you are a small to mid-sized retailer (online or brick & mortar) or know of one we really should be working with, email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) we’d love to hear from you! If you’re not we’d still love to hear from you!