It all began in September 2016 when Christianna, better known by her nickname Callee, visited New Orleans during leave from the US Navy and purchased a bar of natural + handmade soap from a small gift shop.
That simple bar of soap was the first thing that ever actually helped soothe her acne-riddle skin, which prompted her to do more research into the ingredients and production of the skincare products she had been using for years.
Callee was dismayed to learn of the toxic chemicals and animal testing that’s so common in the cosmetic / skincare industry. Disheartened by the lack of natural + affordable alternatives available, she began making her own!
What started as a few bars of vegan soap made in her apartment kitchen and given away to friends, then turned into an Etsy shop with a few more products in January 2017, a booth at the local farmer's market when she wasn't working at her job in the US Navy, and then this website in July of 2017.
At the end of her military contract in December 2017, Callee set off to follow her dream of traveling the country in a campervan, bringing her tiny but growing ecommerce business on the road with her. She lucked into her first retail stockist while passing through Oklahoma City just a few weeks later, which gave her the confidence to began expanding her wholesale line and eventually seeing her products available in dozens of stores around the country.
Our wonderful brand manager Nicole Gramcko joined the team in May 2018, and now Callee coudn't imagine running this business without her!
2018 brought adventures all over the USA, though by that August, Bestowed Essentials had vastly outgrown the space available in the campervan, so Callee worked out of a temporary storage unit in Georgia while she was volunteering on a political campaign, and then moved up to South Dakota in late November 2018 to open a permanent production studio + retail store, where we were able to begin offering other eco-friendly products made from like-minded small businesses to further help you reduce your trash + your impact on the environment.
Chesca joined the team full-time in April 2019 as our Operations Manager, taking over product production + running our retail store. Courtney joined in July 2019 as a temporary Shipping Assistant - later replaced by Hannah in August, and Alexzandria also came on board in July 2019 to run our events in Salem, Oregon as we begin expanding in that region. Kelly joined in September 2019 as our Community Manager.
Today, Bestowed Essentials is happily settled into our little shop in Rapid City, South Dakota, making + selling all sorts of ethical + eco-friendly home goods. If you're in the area, be sure to stop by + say hi!
By the end of 2019, we plan to move to a larger + more accessible store location in the downtown Rapid City area, where we'll be able to offer more community resources, like zero waste workshops, secondhand clothing swaps, compost drop-off bins + more. Our goal is to open our second retail store in Salem, Oregon by early 2021, and the ultimate dream is having multiple locations throughout the country, in mid-size cities that don't yet have many sustainable resources, because we believe that everyone should be able to live a lifestyle in alignment with their values. Thank you for supporting the work we do + the dreams we have!