Local entrepreneur launches diverse organic product line
Karen Morales | 1/11/2017, 10:31 a.m.
There are few things more comforting than a mother’s touch — whether it’s a homemade meal, a note in your lunchbox, or a buttery moisturizer.
Bernette Dawson, mother of two, sells handcrafted organic, grooming products using only fair trade ingredients through her business, Made Organics, LLC. The “made” stands for Mother Approved Daily Essentials, which is organized as a limited liability corporation.
With items like white mint cocoa whipped butter or cold-pressed argan oil, Dawson creates simple, but luxurious beauty staples that everyone and anyone can use.
Formally Lady B Naturals, Made Organics began as a home experiment. During one of Boston’s harsh winters, Dawson set out to make a soothing, safe and all-natural skin remedy for her son.
She spent about three years researching and working in her kitchen, trying out different ingredients and recipes. “When I found something that worked, I used it for myself and my sons,” said Dawson.
Friends and family were soon clamoring to try Dawson’s creations, and one friend even asked her to include one of her creams in a gift basket she was giving away at an event. “At that point, if I wanted to put this product in this basket and people liked it, I wanted them to be able to go to a website and order more if they wanted,” said Dawson.
In 2015, when the company started out with the name Lady B Naturals, Dawson was selected as a cohort for Babson’s College’s WIN Lab accelerator program.
The program is open to Babson College students and alumni, with only a couple spots given to Boston-based female entrepreneurs via a partnership with the City of Boston’s Women on Main Initiative. Dawson recalls a pivotal moment during a pitching session with a live audience and a panel of judges.
One of the judges was brutally honest. “She said, ‘I love your product and story, I hate your brand’”, said Dawson.
She was undeterred, however, and gained invaluable advice from the critical judge. “After the pitch, I pulled her aside and asked her what I could do better,” said Dawson. “She said ‘Lady B Naturals is not you. Tell your story.’”
Hardly unable to sleep, Dawson thought about what the judge said for the rest of the night and woke up the next morning with a new idea. “I don’t know why but Made has to be in the title of our new brand,” Dawson told her husband Abdul, who she considers her business partner. A focus group on Facebook with 60 friends and family helped the Dawsons decide on Made Organics, and the new company was born.
In May 2016, Made Organics won the Center for Women and Enterprise pitch competition, and in December 2016, won “Favorite Product” at Mass Innovation Night.
Although legally a sole proprietorship, Made Organics is a family-led company with Abdul directing the marketing and branding, and even her young sons pitching ideas.
“The dialogue in our house has changed and it’s for the better,” said Dawson. “Our kids have picked up on the entrepreneurship and business language.” Ameir, who is 10, regularly comes up with ideas for holiday promotions and sales and 5-year-old Zion has his own venture that involves buying and reselling toys. So far, he’s only at the buying toys stage.
The company makes sales online and at pop-up shops. According to Dawson, they have been located at On the Dot Books in Dorchester for the past six months. Combined sales approached $20,000 last year, said Dawson.
Made Organics has recently diversified their product offerings, including a men’s line that features an aftershave and face oil which also doubles as a beard oil.
Many of the brand’s items work as multi-tasking products like the whipped butter moisturizer that can be used for hair, body, face and feet.
In the spring, Dawson intends to raise money to launch a new children’s line that includes a toxin-free detergent that can be used to wash baby clothes, and a head-to-toe body wash.