In our brand spotlight, we feature Abound brands who are ready for retail. This week we sat down with Candice Hunsinger, owner of Ivory & Iron. Ivory & Iron sells organic home sprays and cleaners, is based in Essex, Connecticut, and has been in business for ten years.
Robin: Why did you decide to start this business? Why this business and not a different one?
Candice: I have always had a love for making things from scratch, with the ingredients I have in my home. Familiar, but impactful. No chemicals, no nonsense. I love being as efficient as possible, so I knew there was a better way to handle household cleaning than with 30 different plastic bottles under your sink. A healthy home is a happy home!
When I opened my organic bakery, there was no way I was going to use, or subject my staff to the harsh chemicals they require, so I fought with my health department to prove that my natural cleaners were just as effective and I won! Soon after, I opened my lifestyle store where we sold our cleaners and home sprays to much success.
R: How did you make your first prototype? What changes have you made to your product since then?
C: Not much has changed, honestly. I have been making these formulas since high school, always in glass bottles to protect your health and home from leaching (even BPA free breaks down over time!). I always have fun playing with scents here and there, but they have to do a job, not just be there as a perfume. Every ingredient in our formulas has a working purpose!
R: How do you make your product? Yourself? A manufacturer? What’s your process like?
C: We hand mix and pour in our lifestyle shop. We stock our own shop and pour to order for our wholesale accounts. Every order is supporting our business and restoration of our historic property!
R: What’s your day to day like? Do you have any favorite and least favorite parts?
C: Our home, shop and pouring station are all on the same property, so each day can definitely get away from you if you let it. I always start by checking for wholesale orders, so I can get pouring and hopefully ship same day.
As a retailer myself, I know how important prompt shipment of orders is! You want those products on your shelf as soon as you pay for them! Followed by online retail orders. Of course, old property (and in the middle of renovations, at that) always determines what quick fix you need to make, interrupting you when you least expect it to.
Our lifestyle shop is officially open Thurs-Sat, but if I’m pouring orders, I try to open the shop up and catch up on emails.
R: Where was the first place you started selling your product?
C: My own shop! From there we opened up to wholesale orders.
R: What’s your favorite product?
C: That’s hard to say! Our Hand & Dish Soap is brand new, and it is so great. Juniper & Citrus essential oils are both amazing for nourishing skin while anti-microbial. I’m so proud of this double-duty formula.
Otherwise, the Linen Spray and Disinfectants are two of my favorites. Linen Spray is not just another perfume room spray – this is a true refresher. It focuses on deodorizing, actually killing foul smells and then leaves a gentle clean scent.
Plus, the value on cost compared to other perfume room sprays is huge! The Every Day Disinfectant is nature’s lysol. Plant based surface disinfectant, spray and let air dry.
I make Adam, the other half of Ivory & Iron, sprays his electrical tools with it, door handles and all the little places we forget to clean, dog bed, shoes (in and out), high chairs, reusable grocery bags (these are definitely not being cleaned enough!), phones/computers, the list goes on!
R: Where do you sell your product now?
C: We have retailers nationwide, as well as in the UK and Canada! We love partnering with small town shops that have a focus on quality goods that make a difference in day-to-day life.
R: What advice do you have for people who want to sell a product?
C: Mark a bottle as a tester so your customers know they can give it a spritz and try it out. Use it in your own shop! Nothing sells like a personal testimony!