How Earth Harbor Was Founded With $2500
An intimate chat with Earth Harbor’s fun, effervescent founder Ali Perry-Hatch is all you need to reignite your passion in the natural beauty industry! We’re so honored to be able to have an in-depth interview with one of our most favorite person in the clean beauty arena. Read on to learn more :
Hi Ali! Thank you for being a part of our Behind The Brand series. Our readers have a serious obsession with your brand and would love to know how it all came about!
Growing up on the beautiful St. Simons Island, Georgia, I was instilled with a deep love of nature, the ocean, and island life at a young age. As a child, I created natural “beauty” concoctions to share with friends and family, from marsh mud masks to sea salt sprays.
In grad school, I specialized in global environmental health and toxicology. Through my scientific research, I learned how many toxins we are exposed to daily, how those synthetic chemicals negatively affect our health, and how to use beneficial natural alternatives instead. Beyond publishing my research, I wanted to make an impact with this knowledge.
“As a certified health toxicologist and herbalist with my MPH, I developed holistic phyto-technology to create customizable formulas that replace toxic synthetic ingredients with their safe botanical superiors.”
After settling down with my husband in an off-the-grid treehouse we built, I started working as an engineer at a major tech company.
“A short time later, I was in a near-fatal car accident. Recovery was slow, painful, and anxiety-ridden as I suffered from both physical and mental injuries.”
A time came when healing seemed to completely stop, and I thought I would never regain my pre-accident self. At this time, I also found out I was pregnant with my miracle baby boy! The culmination of these life-altering experiences is when I knew I had to take clean living to the next level by being more critical of what I was putting both in and on my body, as well as its effects on the environment and humanity.
How did you come up with the name “Earth Harbor Naturals” and what was the biggest obstacle you faced at the beginning of your entrepreneurial journey?
I worked as a humanitarian project manager alongside organizations such as WHO, The Gates Foundation, Freedom from Hunger, Water For People, etc. where I traveled all over the world, especially coastal areas, which inspired our mission, our products, and our branding!
“We love harboring the Earth!”
My biggest struggle with having a natural lifestyle was finding premium natural beauty products that lived up to my strict standards of being effective, ethical, purely natural, rooted in science, and all-around indulgent (while not breaking the bank!). That’s when I started making my own right out of my tiny treehouse kitchen — and Earth Harbor Naturals was born!
What is your brand mission?
Earth Harbor was born with the mission of creating highest-quality maritime products that are beyond non-toxic, synthetic-free, and plant-based.
“Because clean beauty means a clean conscience, we believe in bringing you products that are also ethical, sustainable, and scientific.”
Both you and our planet require this comprehensive approach for long term health and beauty. Everything we do upholds our industry-leading standards and revolves around our vision for mindful beauty to become the norm rather than the exception.
The clean beauty space is becoming so competitive! How do you differentiate yourself from the myriad of brands out there?
I’d say the biggest differentiator is that our entire line has incredibly strict standards of being effective, ethical, purely natural, rooted in science, and all-around indulgent (while not breaking the bank!).
“We use leading-edge biomimicry and a proprietary global database of scientifically-proven botanicals to inform our unique approach to skincare — using mindful ingredients from both land and sea in each and every formula. Ocean and Earth go hand in hand to heal the human body, mind, and spirit.”
Our values are rooted in our commitment to the human family, our stewardship of the Earth, and our mission to promote a more loving existence. We believe it is each of our calling to help take on the world’s most pressing environmental and social justice challenges. That’s why we've teamed up with 1% For The Planet® to dedicate all sales to protecting the world's oceans and solving the global water crisis!
Who is your main audience?
Anyone who is mindful about what they are putting both in and on their body, and the effects it has on humanity and the planet! We really value being accessible and inclusive of everyone, too.
How do you source and select ingredients to incorporate into your formulations? Is there an “ingredient mantra” you anchor your brand in which has resulted in your being able to grow the brand so quickly?
Every product focuses on organic, high-performing, food-grade ingredients. Each is extensively researched to ensure our formulas are completely natural, safe, and effective.
“Transparency is everything. We believe in using active ingredients with precise healing, rejuvenating purposes; therefore no fillers are ever used.”
The science behind our formulas results in 100% plant-based, hyper-concentrated products with the least amount of ingredients needed to obtain superior results.
We are anchored in responsibly sourcing the most premium, pure natural elements Mother Earth has to give. Therapeutic treatments are engineered using nutrient-rich plant oils, salts, herbs, seaweeds, and earth to return skin to ideal health and youthful radiance.
“Everything is lovingly crafted in micro-batches by skilled artisans to maintain quality, purity, and freshness.”
What about the suppliers you work with? How are they vetted?
We are committed to supporting companies that operate with sustainable, fair-trade practices and that also provide the freshest possible ingredients.
“Those we source from range from small independent farmers to larger cooperatives that obtain their ingredients from organic, non-GMO and/or wildcrafted sources. The ingredients are then rushed to us so we can bring you the freshest, most effective products possible.”
Our ingredients are predominantly sourced from within the United States. We always ensure our strict ethics align with those we source from.
What challenges did you face starting Earth Harbor from scratch and on your own? Can you give us an example of overcoming a particularly difficult hurdle in your business?
Finding balance has been the biggest struggle, but the struggles have definitely evolved over the last 18+ months (that’s how old Earth Harbor is!).
“I started Earth Harbor with only $2500 that I saved for a long time and began in farmer’s markets with my 6-month-old baby in tow.”
I was trying to help make ends meet since the car accident I was in took a huge toll on our family. I was also still healing from the accident so it was a huge struggle all-around.
I can remember sitting there building our website and getting horrible migraines from my post-concussion syndrome that was made worse anytime I looked at a computer screen, but I just remember feeling so inspired and moved to create Earth Harbor that that’s what kept me going. Every step of the way was a mental, physical, and emotional journey and still is!
“We continue to be a grassroots, bootstrapped family business with my husband and I being the only full-time employees.”
Now, as a mom of two and a CEO of a rapidly growing skincare brand, I find that I have to learn how to practice mindfulness, prioritize each moment, be flexible, be grateful, and know how to set boundaries in order to find balance with it all.
Is social media important in helping you attain brand growth and awareness?
It is! We started off in farmer’s markets a couple years ago and Instagram was the first time we entered the online world (even before we had a website)! We’d love for you to stop on by @earthharbor!
After featuring Mermaid Milk in our January 2020 box, demand for your brand went through the roof! We’re so proud to be featuring Helios in our August 2020 box!
Helios is my personal favorite in that it incorporates stem cell technology into a beautiful youth preserving elixir that also combats the effects of pollution (not to mention is wonderful for blocking blue light from screens which is horrible for your skin!).
We’re intrigued to know if you’re currently supporting other charities and movements aside from being part of the 1% For The Planet® team?
Our line is 100% recyclable and biodegradable because we are adamant about constantly pushing to do all we can to help the environment. We also support a different water nonprofit every month that a team member chooses and we donate $1 from every review we get to that nonprofit of the month!
Our online story is the best place to discover more about us!
We can also be found at Urban Outfitters, Forever 21’s Riley Rose, CAUSEBOX, and are coming soon to Amazon as one of their recruited beauty brands! You may have also spotted us in Vogue, Elle, Glamour, The Los Angeles Times, Harper’s Bazaar, Brides, and Tatler!
Before we end this wonderful conversation, do you have any exciting news to share with our readers about Earth Harbor?
Keep a lookout for a new sustainable retinol alternative serum we will be launching soon, as well as expanding our haircare line.