Interview with Philip Garner, founder of Garner’s Garden, producers of 100% natural, handmade body care products.
Many of us apply various creams and oils on our skin, hair and nails without knowing the effects of some of the components of these chemicals. Just about any ingredient can be used in making some of these products, and even though the FDA has in place several regulations and standards that need to be observed in the preparation of these chemicals, several harmful ingredients are still able to slip through the cracks. That is why it is recommended to use natural skincare products on our skin, both improving our general health and also saving the environment. Philip Garner started Garner’s Garden, a body care company that produces 100% natural facial, hair, hand and oral care products with no use of harmful chemicals and preservatives.
Can you, first of all, tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do at Garner’s Garden?
At Garner’s Garden we make 100% natural skincare products, with no types of preservatives, fragrances or anything not natural. Everything is handmade, bottled, packaged and shipped out to the customers wherever they are. Back in 2010, I became a vegan, and I realized after switching over and seeing such a drastic result in my overall health, that not only what I put inside my body is important, but also what I put on my skin. So I started researching all the ingredients in the products that I was then using and I was appalled to see that most ingredients are ‘poisonous’, and can cause illness. I started researching essential oils and I came up with my first product, which was a body oil and also an insect repellent. I sold that at flea markets and farmers’ markets and that’s where I first started off. 2 years after that, around August 2012, I transitioned into online sales, and that’s when I started my LLC. Over the years, it’s grown, and I’ve now developed close to 40 different products that I currently sell and people are liking them.
I can see on your website that you have a large number of products for facial, hair, body and oral care. What are your bestselling products?
The number one product is going to be the mouthwash and the tooth powder and also the deodorant. They flip-flop every month. One month might be the mouthwash and tooth powder, another month might be the deodorant. But the mouthwash and toothpowder are very special because I was experiencing oral ailments like cavities and I was on the verge of getting a root canal. So I started to do a lot of research on why, and I realized that toothpaste really doesn’t help do anything. So I started researching alternatives and I created a mouthwash and a tooth powder. It’s changed a lot of people’s ailments, from gingivitis to cavities to receding gums, bleeding gums, anything you can think of. People have called me within 3 weeks of getting a root canal and asked me, “Can your mouthwash help me?” I don’t make any claims. I say, “Well, we could try! People have had great success with it.” So they try it and in 3 weeks they no longer need a root canal!
Tell us about some of the main issues that you faced when you were trying to start the business?
Like I said, it was reaching the audience, really gaining legitimacy among other brands in the eyes of the consumer. “Do you know what you’re talking about, can this really help people’s skin problems, does this really work?” And people go through a whole bunch of different products in order to find that one product that actually works. So the number one thing that I’ve faced is establishing legitimacy. But luckily, going to the farmers’ markets and the expos, going to the different shows that were around, setting up and interacting with customers asking me questions, many of them would tell me that the only reason why they bought from me is because I know so much about every single ingredient inside my product.
Can you tell us what’s unique about your business that makes your customers love it?
The uniqueness of the brand is that it’s so natural, and it’s such raw natural ingredients. People are so accustomed to using chemicals and believing in chemicals that they’ve lost faith in what actually comes from the earth. That’s the reason why I named it Garners Garden, because it’s like a garden. It doesn’t use any type of preservatives. It only uses things that are directly extracted from the earth, from seeds, from fruits. That’s what makes it unique. The first thing people used to do is to pick up, say, my body butter and smell it. And I say, “No, no! Yes, it’s lavender, and yes, it’s citrus, but it’s not meant for that.” I don’t use essential oils for the vanity of it, for smelling good. The essential oils and the natural oils are used because they work. They’re intended for a purpose. I say use the lavender body butter for night time after you take your night shower, and use the citrus or ginger in the morning because it’s going to uplift you, it’s going to heighten your awareness, it’s going to wake you up because of the essential oils that are used in it. So every single ingredient that I use is there for a purpose. It’s not there to smell good, to look good, or for any other thing. It’s there to heal and that’s why my motto is, Healing the world. That’s the mission that was given to me.
You sound very passionate about what you do.
With a business like this, you will require a great amount of marketing besides customers spreading the word. How do you promote your business?
Honestly, it’s through customers’ word of mouth and then also it’s through social media. Once you get the social media platforms going, and once you get a customer base, once you get eyes on the product, it starts to pick up traction and more people become aware of it. Also I’ve tried YouTube but I have so much work to do that it’s hard for me to videotape or record making these products. Another uniqueness of my product is that it’s supposed to be affordable for everybody. Not just the upper class should be able to afford healthy skincare or something that works. With my mouthwash, my closest competitor that sells this type of mouthwash sells it for like $12.99. So I know what the cost is and I sell my products for $8.99, not that I’m trying to cut the market or anything like that. Some people sell toothpowder for $20, I sell mine for $3.99 to $8.99 depending on what size and what variation you get. The point is that my company’s unique because I want everybody to have access to it. Not just the rich, not just the upper middle class, not just the middle class, everybody should have a way to afford skincare, oral care, hair care, that actually works and is good for you and that won’t cause any additional ailments.
Finally, what would you like to say to your potential customers?
I’ll say being natural is the best possible method of keeping a healthy lifestyle, to prevent illness in the future. I just wish that everybody would do the research on every single ingredient that they use so that they know what they’re putting inside their bodies and on their bodies, whatever the case may be. I want everybody to become aware, whether you make the products yourself, which would be great, or whether you purchase them from me or from another company. Just make sure that they are 100% natural, with no preservatives and no fragrances or anything like that. Leave the vanity aside of smelling good and do what’s best for your body.