Heliotrope San Francisco
We create all-natural skincare, made in small batches, with no synthetic perfumes or artificial colors. We offer many fragrance-free formulas, which can be customized on request, using pure essentials oils.
We do almost all our in-house production in our Oakland studio, which is in the Artthaus Studios building in Oakland’s Jingletown neighborhood. We do all bottling, labeling, and distribution from our studio as well. It’s a large, shared building – with close to 100 studios and offices containing many other makers, as well as non-profits, and other professional services. The Artthaus building is over 100 years old – it started out as a Del Monte canning plant and has also been a printing plant along the way, until a local real estate developer refurbished it and opened it around 5 years ago.
We work mostly in small batches for several reasons. First, we can react quickly to whatever we need – so if one lotion is doing better than another, we can quickly make more of that one. We believe that there’s less waste this way. Additionally, since almost every formula we make is fragrance-free, we can customize individual units per customer requests – so there’s no chance that we make too much of one scent & not enough of another, we just react as needed. With the ups and downs of our raw ingredients and packaging materials, it’s been a lot easier to react to market situations.
Additionally, since our natural product line has limited shelf lives, making less at one time reduces the chance that inventory ages past its prime.
We do most everything by hand (except our few bestsellers that we’ve recently increased production capacity for). All soaps and candles are mixed and poured by hand, and each lotion, shower gel, body oil, etc. is measured out and produced by hand, using regular tools you’d find in most kitchens!
Though we try to use as much organic ingredients as possible, many of the natural resources are either not available organically (i.e., shea butter from West Africa), or we have trusted sources – for example, our essential oils come from small, family-run farms around the world, rather than industrial giants creating scents in a lab – essential oils are also non-VOC, unlike perfume oils. When we have the opportunity, we source in the US, though that can be hard when dealing with natural materials that are grown all over the planet. When there is a certifying body, we try to source from manufacturers/growers who work with them (the palm oil we use in our soaps is certified by the RSPO – the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil).