Professional Plant Girl, LLC (GENTLY's parent company) is owned by Kristen Dunning. Kristen is a 21-year-old graduate student at The University of Georgia.
Kristen decided to start Gently out of a love for locally grown agriculture and a lifetime struggle with sensitive skin and eczema.
Kristen has lived the majority of her life with a lifetime companion: sensitive skin. At the age of 4, she lost her hair as a result of an extreme case of Seborrheic dermatitis (commonly known as scalp eczema). Her mother desperately struggled to find a solution and resulted to medical steroids to stimulate hair growth. As her hair recovered, the eczema on her arms, legs, and face grew worse. This made using any cleanser or bar soap from stores extremely difficult and painful.
As she grew older and became frustrated with not only hers, but also her younger sister's struggle, she decided to do something about it. Trying everything marketed to eczema and sensitive skin on the market and receiving little to no results, she turned to horticultural research to formulate her own 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. Kristen pioneered a UGA CURO research project to develop a deeper understanding of medicinal plants, their healing properties, and their effects on common skin conditions. 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, she planted and analyzed different cultivars of calendula and chamomile.
From then, the first batch of soap was born. Since the spring of 2019, she has expanded on this research and her knowledge of medicinal plants. She spent time perfecting recipes, testing batches, and discovering ways to increase the environmental integrity of her formulations. Finally in October 2020, Kristen launched Professional Plant Girl, now named Gently. This herbal, sustainable, and Black-owned skincare brand specializes in handcrafting products that gently cleanse and care for sensitive skin.
Kristen understands that finding soap for sensitive skin can be challenging due to the harsh chemicals, fragrances, oils, sulfates, and preservatives added to commercial bar soap. We actively combat this by offering products that are gentle on skin and gentle on the planet. Gently formulates soaps that are 100% natural, vegan, essential oil free, synthetic dye and fragrance free, sulfate and paraben free, and palm-oil free.
To follow Kristen's story and Professional Plant Girl's path, sign up to our email list serve and follow our social media! To get in touch with her, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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