It’s Women’s History Month, and we’re reflecting on the immense gratitude we feel for all the women who paved the way to help us sail to where we are today. Although we’re always celebrating all you beautiful merbabes, this month is especially important to us, as we honor the struggles, challenges, accomplishments, and extraordinary waves of change the women before us endured and fought for.
Earth Harbor wouldn’t have blossomed into the woman-owned and operated grassroots indie clean beauty brand it is today without the course set for us by the women before us. We’re sharing the Earth Harbor story and voyage of its Founder and CEO, Ali Perry-Hatch, to inspire and empower all women to follow their dreams, no matter the obstacles life throws at us. It hasn’t always been sunshine and rainbows, and there are always the ebbs and flows of owning a small business, but it has been an incredible journey.
"Earth Harbor is a small, independently woman-owned business that started nearly 3 years ago (it’s almost our 3rd birthday!) using $2000 that I’d worked hard to save. I had no connections in the beauty industry nor former knowledge of how it worked at all. Earth Harbor is entirely grassroots with no funding, no loans, no independent wealth anywhere to help out, and profitable since day one (a.k.a. the day of my first farmer’s market!). And yes, Earth Harbor’s alchemy really did start out of the off-the-grid treehouse that my husband and I built and lived in when we couldn’t afford rent!
I like this to be a message of hope to all of you wanting to chase your dreams and knowing that you can do it, too... even if you’re still paying off student loans, have kids, have medical bills, have mental or physical illnesses, or any other hardships that seem insurmountable to break into any industry with (all of those mentioned are things I still struggle with so you are not alone, and we’re here to champion you on!).
Before I started Earth Harbor, I spent my career as a humanitarian engineer, specializing in global environmental health and toxicology. I traveled the world researching how many toxins we are exposed to daily, how those synthetic chemicals negatively affect our health, and how to use beneficial natural alternatives instead. I have dedicated my life to making an impact with this knowledge with the hopes of helping to empower women through universal women and children’s health design— all of which has serendipitously lent itself perfectly to what my long term goals with Earth Harbor are. As time goes on, I continue to incorporate as much of my health and engineering roots into Earth Harbor, and my goal is to tie them together as closely as possible as Earth Harbor continues to evolve.
Shown here is one of many global health projects Ali worked on as a health engineer: Developing clean-burning stoves for families as part of a project with International Poverty Action
Ali's off-the-grid treehouse exterior
Ali's treehouse interior (the “kitchen” where Earth Harbor started consisted of plugging in burners, mixing botanicals, and concocting skincare gems on the table shown here— everything was modular in this 100 square foot tiny home!)
Second— The Details
After a near-fatal car accident my husband had to quit his job to take care of me and resourcefully scrounged together enough clients to start his own digital marketing company.
At this time, I also lost my job as an engineer at the tech company I’d been working for because of my injuries. We now had a kid, no insurance, soooo many medical bills, student loan payments (because I’d just finished up my MPH less than a year prior), and could barely make ends meet.
I remember feeling inspired— even through my intense healing process and stressful home life— to start perfecting formulas that I’d been making for years and marrying them with my knowledge of toxicology, environmental health, and herbalism, with my passion for sustainability and social good.
I had a dream-seed sprouting inside of me that was Earth Harbor. Yet, I barely had enough money to buy the raw ingredients... But I invested time and what little savings we had into Earth Harbor. My husband, sister-in-law, and myself happened to all have skill sets to pull it all together and make everything super legit and regulated right off the bat.
Nonetheless, it was scary. I felt judged and misunderstood in a place that was so out of my comfort zone. But what was my comfort zone was 1) being in the studio making Earth Harbor skincare gems, 2) seeing how they changed people’s lives for the better, 3) realizing all the possibility of social and environmental good that I could start using Earth Harbor for (this is something I’ve always longed for in anything and everything that I’ve ever put my time and energy into), and 4) starting to see my family become safe and secure.
Earth Harbor's Founder and CEO, Ali, at a farmer's market demonstration
The Earth Harbor Family
As a close-knit family owned and operated business, I always like to give a little background on our family since it has truly been a remarkable blessing to all be able to work alongside one another and grow Earth Harbor together.
My husband, Shane— who I consider an honorary co-founder of Earth Harbor and who now works as our COO (while also running two other successful businesses he started at the same time I began Earth Harbor)— is the oldest of 7 kids. They grew up in Pasadena, CA with all 9 of them living in a 600 sq foot home. His dad cleaned cars and carpets to support the family while his mom stayed at home with the kids. Shane has over 100 first cousins, so when we say we are a family owned and operated business, you better believe it since we are never short of a helping hand!
As for my parents, my mom grew up in Puerto Rico and lived below the poverty line while raising her sisters. My dad was a farm boy in Georgia. They met and decided to move to Saint Simons Island, Georgia where they have worked as public servants their entire life (my mom is a Spanish teacher and my dad worked at the District Attorney’s office) — inspiring me to want to do the same, which is why I got my Masters in Public Health. As for me, I am the oldest of four siblings, and am a soon-to-be mom of three (which I consider to be my greatest life accomplishment and joy)!
We were all always rich with love and taught to put the greater good above ourselves. We were also taught to always do what is right and the importance of perfecting our talents while following our hearts. I hope all of this passion, finesse, and hard work is what you can feel shine through when you enjoy Earth Harbor products, too!"
Ali is currently in her third trimester with her third child while still intimately running Earth Harbor as CEO.
Earth Harbor Now
In a truly wondrous way, Earth Harbor has grown nearly exponentially in the last three years and has quickly joined the ranks as one of the beacons for sustainability, personalization, and ethics in the clean beauty industry. Even just one year ago Ali was working out of a converted shed in her backyard as a one-woman-show and this year alone she has moved Earth Harbor's studio two times and hired multiple new family team members and beyond! See more about our growth, impact, and changes in the Earth Harbor 2020 Reflections Report.
To this date, we've worked with major retailers such as Whole Foods, ASOS, Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, FabFitFun, and more; and have been featured in Vogue, Elle, PopSugar, Glamour, Los Angeles Times, and more.
Our greatest joy remains bringing you delightful products that offer serenity, happiness, and self-love day in and day out while delivering you and our planet a comprehensive approach for long term health and beauty. For more information about our unique approach to skincare and standards click here and also check out this great article.
Celebrating the Women in Our Lives
Throughout history, women have been making waves of change in the world, but don’t always get the credit they deserve. We’re holding space for the women before us, with us, and after us, and honoring their talents and power! Never underestimate what women—even you yourself—are capable of.
We’re sending much love to all the women out there. Take some time today to celebrate all the women in your life!