Why We Started Gently

Our Articles
Our Awards: 
2020 UGA Idea Accelerator - Winner
Kickstart Fund - Grant Recipient
2021 Spring Quick Pitch - Winner 
2021 Fabricate - Semifinalist
2021 Build Test Accelerator - 2nd Place
2021 Summer Launch Program
Our Story

Kristen Dunning, founder and formulator of Gently Soap, was only four years old when her hair began to fall out in large clumps due to a battle with scalp eczema. As her hair recovered, the eczema on her arms, legs, and face grew worse.

Growing up, she would react to anything with fragrance: soap, haircare, laundry detergent, cleaning products, etc. Even items labeled as natural and only used essential oils would break out her skin in hives and welts. She dealt with it all: burning, peeling, itching, breakouts, flare-ups, you name it. It was painful, emotionally and physically, and this pain pushed her to search for something better.

Kristen soon fell in love with the world of simple and herbal skincare. As a freshman in college at The University of Georgia, Kristen pioneered a CURO research project to develop a deeper understanding of medicinal plants, their healing properties, and the harmful effects commercial skincare has on our skin. 

With the help of her faculty mentor, Dr. David Knauft, she identified calendula (Calendula officinalis L.) and chamomile (from genera Matricaria and Chamaemelum) as botanical alternatives for chemical ingredients in commercial skincare. 

In early 2019, the first soap recipe was born. She then spent the rest of the year expanding her knowledge on sensitive skin, eczema, its causes, its aggressors, and irritants. Little by little Kristen filled a binder with herbal soap recipes, ideas, results, and observations. She spent all of her free-time entering (and winning) collegiate entrepreneurship accelerators, perfecting recipes, testing batches, and discovering ways to increase the environmental integrity and social good of her formulations.

It wasn’t until October 2020, that she mustered up the courage to release her formulations with the world. 

Gently is the product of Kristen’s research and personal struggle with her sensitive skin. This bath and body product line serves to gently care for, cleanse, and soothe sensitive skin.

Today, Gently continues to grow with partnerships with hotels, underrepresented farmers, retail partners and more. We thank YOU immensely for helping us to continue pursuing our brand mission of being gentle on the skin and gentle on our planet. 

 To follow Kristen's story and Gently's path, sign up to our email newsletter, text message list, and follow our social media! 

With Herbal Love,