My Story: Caroline Duell's “All Good” Products for People & Planet
How a lover of the land and human healing became an entrepreneur.
When I was in college, I worked as a medic on an ambulance, and I became very familiar with hospital-based medicine and the institutional approach to human health problems. A bit dismayed at the reactive “fixing” approach that hospitals take, I decided to switch my focus to learning everything I could about holistic healing. So I studied energy work and massage therapy as well as interned with an herbal practitioner. The world of alternative medicine excited me, and I found a particular affinity with medicinal plants. This was the beginning of a journey that led me to founding my company All Good specializing in organic body care products.
I moved to California in 1997 to study injury rehabilitation and lived on a farm with my boyfriend, Ryan (now husband), in West Marin County. I installed a medicinal herb garden for the farm owner. I began to make potions and lotions for myself, my friends, my rock climbing clients (as I had landed a job teaching climbing) and for Saturday farmer’s markets. I sold jars of culinary oregano, bags of herbal bath salts, chamomile tea sachets and small pots of All Good Goop, a healing salve. People loved all of of my products, but hands-down my best seller was All Good Goop.
So I kept making it! We moved from Mt Barnabe Farm to San Luis Obispo County in 2003 to purchase our own piece of land. And I kept making All Good Goop for a while anyway, until I was ready to move on from that hobby to something else and eventually stopped producing it. But as soon as the supply of Goop dried up, I started getting calls from Northern California asking, when were they going to get their next batch? People had become reliant on the healing properties of the goop. The calendula, comfrey, lavender, yarrow and plantain I used in the recipe were carefully infused in organic olive oil, beeswax and vitamin E with a final touch of lavender essential oil. It was this sincere dedication from those very first customers that motivated me to make more, and more. Finally, a few years later, I recognized that a business was growing out of this beloved product.
Immediately I felt compelled to figure out how to build a company with environmental and social integrity while increasing revenues. My first important decision was to join 1% for the Planet. That is a commitment to give 1% of all revenues to direct action environmental causes. Not 1% of profits, but 1% of overall sales.
The first few years in business were fun, exciting and relatively stress free. I simply went to our local solar powered community kitchen, made batches of All Good Goop, and drove around the United States selling out of my station wagon. I sold to climbing shops, ski shops and every local health food store I could find. When I ran out, I’d go back to the kitchen and make more. People had discovered the best ointment for cuts, scrapes, rock climbing hands, baby diaper rash, cracked heels, cuticles, etc…
I started to formulate more products, slowly began to build a team to support the necessary infrastructure needed to grow a business and my company has been off and running ever since. Now, with Ryan, my husband, at the helm of sales, we have a whole line of organic bodycare products-- from reef-friendly sunscreens and lip balms to lotions, deodorants and coconut oils. We use all certified organic ingredients whenever possible. We became a B Corporation in 2009 and a California Benefit Corporation thereafter. We grow the calendula we use in our formulas on our own certified organic farm. Our team is our family, and we supply them with a box of organic vegetables monthly from the farm. We now sell to about 2,500 retail locations throughout the U.S. as well as directly to consumers at our online store: allgoodproducts.com. We also private label our products as a way to partner with like-minded brands and organizations.
As the branches of the business extend, the roots grow stronger. I am continually humbled and grateful for our dedicated customers who understand and appreciate the benefits of products that not only feel good, but are actually really good for you and cause no unnecessary harm to the environment. That’s what’s it all about for me.
Now as a mother of two young girls, my motivation comes even stronger to be the change we want to see in the world – so it can benefit my children’s children and beyond. I seek to ignite the power of affection in business. As Neil Young sings, “A little affection in everything you do, will make the world a better place, with or without you.” To me, this means making products that offer a clean and beneficial alternative to harmful ingredients, supporting regenerative environmental projects, and creating a culture where caring for one another is the priority. From a rock climbing herbalist to a reluctant business woman, it’s all good!