With the traumatic terrorist attacks fresh in their minds, Cindy and her husband, Art, moved to the Virginia countryside in 2002, hoping for a fresh start and a more satisfying balance between work and family life.
Transforming a Hobby Into a Successful Global Business
“I’d been making soaps and lotions for myself and my friends in small batches for quite awhile,” Cindy says. “If September 11 hadn’t happened, I might still be making soaps and lotions as a hobby instead of turning my passion into the global business it is today.”
The DeVores first moved to Linden, Virginia, then to Broad Run, Virginia, after Cindy, who by then was working in real estate, was asked to list the historic 1743 farm house and five acres of Valley Green. They later moved into the handsome, traditional farm house where Valley Green Naturals blends, bottles, labels and ships its products today.
“We grow many of our own botanicals in our gardens, and we source our honey from the hives located on the neighboring vineyard or from other bee keepers in the Piedmont,” Cindy says. “We produce products that are body-safe, eco-friendly and wallet-happy, and we also educate others and raise awareness about the effect that skin and beauty care product ingredients can have on one’s health and well-being.”
Since launching Valley Green Naturals 2 ½ years ago, the DeVores have successfully placed their products in retail stores across the U.S. and distribute their products worldwide. Their product line includes more than 30 skin, bath and hair care products that are free of parabens, phthalates, sulfates and petrochemicals.
Smart Social Media Marketing Leads to Success
Cindy is a media-savvy woman who served as Director of Constituent Services for a U.S. Senator and a communications director in the legal marketing industry before the events of 9/11. Her experience working with national media, combined with her marketing and communication skills, have helped to get Valley Green Naturals products featured in Entrepreneur and Washingtonian Magazines, The Health Journal, The New York Examiner, on AOL, Washington Life Magazine online, and other media outlets.
Smart social media marketing has also played a role in Valley Green’s phenomenal growth.
“Our products blend one part high school chemistry with one part 21st century Internet marketing,” Cindy says. “Facebook has been an incredibly effective marketing tool for our business. I will never give it up!”
Paid Facebook ads, targeted to specific demographic groups, have helped Valley Green Naturals acquire more than 4,000 Facebook fans and grow sales exponentially in recent months.
Facebook Advertising Generates 900% Revenue Growth
“Our revenues have grown more than 900% over the past year and a half, and more than 600% in the past year alone. And Facebook advertising is only costing us $7.00 per day!” Cindy says.
“There was a huge learning curve at first,” Cindy acknowledges. “I spent a solid week figuring out the best ways to reach and attract my target market through Facebook and then figuring out the best strategies for converting our Facebook fans to paying customers.”
When she is not working to market and promote the company, Cindy lets her inner chemist loose in the kitchen, developing unique creations like anti-aging serums and creams, and all-natural skin-brightening cleansers.
“I just love their products,” said longtime customer Grace Kirk. “My favorite is the Gardener’s Glee hand lotion. I have a garden, so my hands get quite a workout. The lotion is perfect to keep my hands soft, and I love the lavender scent. My garden’s full of it.”
The creative and manufacturing process is both simple and labor intensive. To create her lotions, DeVore begins by melting botanical oils with an emulsifier over steady heat on the kitchen stove until the mixture reaches the correct temperature. Then she adds purified water which causes the water and oil molecules to bond, a chemical reaction that forms the stable lotion base.
After a short time in an ice water bath, DeVore next takes a stick mixer to the lotion to create the correct consistency to the lotion or moisturizer. Once complete, it is poured into a custom-labeled bottle, packaged and, eventually, mailed or delivered to the consumer; production can take two to three days, depending on the products.
“It gets pretty busy in the Valley Green house on production days. But it’s a labor of love.”
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