In the past few years, Kate Perrin has nursed three children right along with a fast-growing company that makes chemical-free laundry detergent.
The North Yarmouth mom is the force behind “Good Natured” household products.
Perrin started with a lemon-and-rosemary surface cleaner, and her customers liked it so much they began asking for laundry detergent. She tweaked and tested her formulas, gave her products to friends and neighbors to try, and sold them at farmers markets, which have a built-in customer base of people interested in all-natural products.
“I found that the rosemary oil really took out any funky smells,” she said. “It got towels and sheets really fresh. It’s kind of a quirky scent, but it really works for a laundry detergent.”
Now her product line also includes surface cleaner, bug repellent, carpet and upholstery deodorizer, room and linen spray, and lip balm. A 32-ounce bag of laundry detergent costs $10.99.
Good Natured products are biodegradable, and contain no dyes or artificial fragrances. (Perrin uses essential oils.) The products contain only one particular coconut soap because Perrin likes knowing where her ingredients are sourced.
Perrin went from making the products at her kitchen table to her basement, and now to a large warehouse in South Portland, where she moved her operations four months ago. She has a crew of three to four employees who help out occasionally, but “I still pretty much have my hands on every product and every bag that goes out,” she said.
And, oh yes, she still has three children under 8 years old.
Good Natured is sold in 40 stores (including Whole Foods, Hannaford, ACE Hardware and True Value), as well as online (Amazon and the company’s website). The company just signed on with the largest natural products distributor in the nation and expects to be in 300-400 stores in New England and the mid-Atlantic within the next seven months.
“We’re slated for some big growth,” Perrin said, “but we’re still trying to take it slow and make sure we can still maintain quality, and ethical and sustainable practices.”
— MEREDITH GOAD