Aubrey Organics 40-Year Mission

Like many great things—penicillin, chocolate chip cookies, the Slinky— America’s first all-natural care product company was created by accident. Well, sort of.

Aubrey Hampton chooses ingredients with a long history of benefits.© Aubrey Organics

Forty years ago, Aubrey Hampton, the founder and CEO of Aubrey Organics, injured his back and neck in a car accident. At the time, he often frequented George Oshawa’s macrobiotic restaurant in New York City, and knew about the healing powers of wild ginger.

Hampton helped his mother make herbal remedies as a boy in Indiana, and used his knowledge to combine eucalyptus, sage, cinnamon, ground ginger and other herbs with coconut oil to create a bath product called the Relax-R-Bath for his neck. "My neck and back felt much better, and I felt relaxed," Hampton says. "This started me on the road to creating Aubrey Organics."

Hampton was then working for Faberge, a big cosmetics company that is now part of Unilever, and he says it gave him an idea of the things he did not want to do. "I wanted a company that was about the product and not about the marketing," he says.

Aubrey Organics is riding high in its 40th anniversary year, though Aubrey says it took a long time before he could consider his company a success.

"Now the company is one of the leaders in developing personal-care products that include organic ingredients," says Holly Givens of the Organic Trade Association (OTA). "They’ve been OTA members for 14 years, and in that time they’ve been generous with having their staff volunteer to work with us on issues important to the industry."

David Seckman, executive director of the Natural Products Association (NPA), cites Hampton’s "knowledge about organics and his tireless activities promoting healthy, natural alternatives to personal-care products." Aubrey Organics is a member of NPA’s working group addressing the definition of "natural" for health and beauty products. The trade group presented Hampton with an Industry Champion Award two years ago.

Aubrey Organics uses ingredients from all over the world, and no products are tested on animals. "My vision is to use ingredients that have folklore attached," Hampton says. "It is not necessary to use animal testing data when the formulator uses herbal ingredients with a long history of safe use and benefits in human population."

Hampton, who is an avid playwright, jokes that there isn’t much difference in the creative processes of writing plays and creating products. "In a product, you try to put in all good guys [meaning effective and beneficial ingredients], and in my plays I try to put in all good guys too," he says.