First, the name ModernRoots is based on using modern techniques with very rooted backgrounds. I use 17th century soap making skills and hand cut, hand pour, hand label everything. I love old century craft and like to research and study about first pharmaceuticals and why they worked. Everything about early pharmaceuticals was herb based so taking the time to dig into the real benefits of the herbs is pretty cool. With Modern techniques we can see the answer as opposed to 15th century 'just because it works.'
I currently grow/render about 60% of the ingredients that go into my products including oils for steam distillation extraction: comfrey, lavender, peppermint (3 varieties), basil, oregano, spearmint, clary sage, calendula, thyme, hibiscus, eucalyptus and soon to be much more. I also raise heritage hogs to render their pure fat for soaps. I plan to raise beef for the tallow as well. I currently use tallow from an organic source. First soaps were only made with sheep fat and/or beef fat and soon to follow pig fat. They make the most amazing hard, silky soaps that are the closest to our skin cell structure on a microscopic level. I also make vegan soaps for those that it fancies. Did you know that most soaper's use soybean oil (soybean oil is CHEAP and used as a 'filler') in their soaps and only have one recipe they follow, called a base. So when you come into the store and you hear someone ask me 'what's your base?' go ahead and smerk a little because you know that EVERY soap in my store is different from one another (yes, all 50+). It was created with purpose and perfected until it created great suds, felt amazing and left skin clean yet moisturized.
Honey and beeswax is mostly provided by my bees, located 12 miles from the store. If I run low and need my bees to use the beeswax they have, I use several local sources to help supply my demand. It is critical for those that have allergies to get the anti-bacterial and anti-fungal benefits from my raw honey. You don't even know it's in some of the products other than asking yourself 'why does this Almond Milk & Honey lotion make my skin feel so AMAZE-balls?" It's my raw honey ;)
If I do not grow or raise an ingredient that can be done in MN, I use local and trusted sources for things such as goat's milk, raw cow's milk, specific weed varieties etc.
I am constantly planting, distilling, developing and creating in order to bring my customers great quality at an affordable price. In fact, on a daily basis I devour ingredient lists from high-end manufacturers including origins, eminence, juice beauty, lancome etc. and can safely say I have higher quality and higher amounts of the 'good stuff' for a fraction of the cost. There are little to no middle men in what I do. I take great pride in providing and controlling the quality of my products.
I must use a preservative required by law in order to sell anything with water or liquid additives that can create a haven for bacteria to grow by throwing off the PH in product. I use the only natural and paraben free certified preservative, 10x the cost of the typical preservative that 99% of others use (yes, even the 'organic claimers'. This is incredibly important to me as I see parabens a connection to skin issues and cancer.
All of my products are paraben, phlathate, sulfate, msg, soy, canola, and corn free. The only think I think soy is good for is burning... so I do have 100% clean burning soy candles. I have to say, at the beginning of my creation days, I would throw my hands up and say..."what the crap can I use?!" I have now made many new creations, developments and heat levels that are not available to purchase on the market making my products incredibly unique to ModernRoots.
I teach fermenting...why fermenting? Because true healthy hair, skin and nails starts in the gut. A healthy gut is a great reflection of skin that glows, retains elasticity, and holds moisture well with natural products and oils. Much of my products include fermented items such as my Milk Kefir Face Wash, Ginko & Ginger Kombucha Soap, Dino Egg Kombucha Soap, Wisteria Twilight Water Kefir Soap, Petals and Whispers Milk Kefir Soap, Grapefruit & Lime Yogurt Probiotic Face Soap, and Mystery Man Water Kefir Soap. I also utilize beer, also fermented, in my some of my products (no alcohol left, sorry to disappoint) like Oatmeal Stout Soap because of its high level of anti-oxidants and minerals.
* Stay tuned and follow my facebook page to get updates on the next set of fall classes, they fill quickly.
And let's not forget Chaga! The King of Mushrooms. I use chaga the world's highest anti-oxidant, also full of polyphenols, flavonoids, and vitamins in many of my products at ModernRoots including: soaps, eye creams, hand creams, and teas. Really, if you know very little about chaga, it is time you do yourself a little research :) I sell it straight or blended at the store. I forage for mushrooms and my dad, who is a retired conservation officer/game warden is also involved in the quality control of my 100% off the birch most organic chaga available.
Other oils I use are organic, unless of course there is no 'organic' seal because that is the only way it can grow. There are still many out there.
So there, in a nutshell. the best quality control is still cared by this small scale farmin' girl that just wants to create, develop and produce natural products that work great but are still super fun and purposeful.