Why We Started Gently
Gently began with the dream of a girl who wanted to highlight the impact local farmers have in their communities and the healing potential herbal remedies have for combatting our skin concerns.
Kristen Dunning was only four years old when her hair began to fall out in large clumps due to a battle with Seborrheic dermatitis (commonly known as scalp eczema). Her mother relentlessly struggled to find a solution and was prescribed the most common eczema solution: topical steroid creams.
As her hair recovered, the eczema on her arms, legs, and face grew worse. This made using any soap from drugstores and commercial brands extremely difficult and painful. Growing up, Kristen dealt with it all: burning, peeling, itching, breakouts, flare-ups, you name it. Trying everything on the market for eczema and sensitive skin and receiving little to no results, she developed an interest in herbalism and DIY natural remedies.
Kristen soon fell in love with the world of all-natural and herbal skincare. In 2018, she knew she wanted to follow her dreams and set out in pursuit of a solution. 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 effects on common skin conditions like her own eczema. With the help of her faculty mentor, Dr. David Knauft, she identified pot marigold (Calendula officinalis L.) and chamomile (from genera Matricaria and Chamaemelum) as botanical alternatives for chemical ingredients in conventional anti-inflammatory medications. At her forever favorite place on campus, the UGArden Student Community Farm, she planted and analyzed different cultivars of calendula and chamomile.
In early 2019, the first soap recipe was born. She then spent the rest of the year expanding her knowledge on 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 perfecting recipes, testing batches, and discovering ways to increase the environmental integrity of her formulations.
It wasn’t until October of 2020, that she mustered up the courage to release her herbal creations with the world.
Gently is the product of Kristen’s research, personal struggle with her skin, and her imagination. Every aspect is a product of her passion for the agricultural industry. When Gently first began, Kristen handcrafted the products with herbs she grew herself at UGArden. Now, following suit of her initial brand dream, all products will be handcrafted utilizing herbs grown by local farmers.
Today, Gently continues to grow with partnerships with hotels, farms, businesses 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.
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With herbal love,