Caroline Duell our favorite kind of entrepreneur—an accidental one who started out trying to solve a problem and ended up building a business along the way. With summer fast approaching and all its attendant outdoor activities, it seemed like a great time to interview Caroline about her life, her philosophy, and All Good, which makes a line of all-natural, organic skin care products, from reef-friendly sunscreen to natural healing balms.
What life lessons did you learn from your parents?
Show respect and be honest.
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Your origin story is a classic entrepreneurial tale, one of informal problem solving that leads to a business opportunity with a product named “All Good Goop.” How’d that work?
I actually never had the intention of starting a business; I was simply making a homemade remedy for my friends and myself. I basically had to be talked into turning it into a company.
Is All Good Goop still a big seller?
Yes, it has continued to grow and is still one of the most popular products.
Your company dove into reef-friendly products. When did you first realize that sunscreens were harmful to ocean reefs—and how did that lead you to see a business opportunity?
Early on, so we started those efforts in 2008. Then, at the Coral Reef Symposium in June of 2016, I heard four years of data delivered on the specific impacts of sunscreen pollution on coral reefs and instantly realized that all of our efforts needed to turn, honing in on this specific issue.
One word to describe Mother Nature’s ability to heal?
Speaking of which, how does your company leverage nature’s ability to heal in a way that is unique in the marketplace?
We recognize the interconnection between the wellness of the habitat from where the plants grow that we use in our products and our own body’s wellness.
You’re also a co-owner of Four Elements Farm. Tell us a little about it.
In 2003, we bought a junkyard and turned it into permaculture design education center to be an example of sustainable living and community. All Good spun out of that and the two are still very much important friends.
How does being a farmer shape you as a CEO?
Honestly, my husband is the farmer, although I have been doing the works as well. Part of it is that I have a very clear understanding of how much goes into every product and how hard work can also be fun.
What’s your favorite flower—and why?
Sunflowers are my favorite flower because they provide beauty, nutrition and medicine. And because they follow the sun.
Your website says your favorite All Good product is SPF 50 Sunscreen Butter—isn’t that a little like saying you can pick which child is your favorite?
No, I do love all the products but use some more than others. I could answer that in many ways though, you are correct.
Calendula seems to play an important role in many of your products. How about singing a song of praise for Calendula?
Sure, if you sing it with me! And if there were a song, it would be on the Rolling Stones album “Sticky Fingers.”
You say your team at All Good is your family—how does that sense of family manifest itself? And how does it pay off for your business?
We take care of each other and prioritize each other’s well-being. Because of that, I have a really fun, dedicated crew who is mutually supportive and hard working.
What’s a “Goop Goddess”?
Just what it says! The amazing women that make All Good Goop. They are Goddesses, not just production workers, because they bring an intention for healing that starts with planting of the Calendula. In traditional herbal medicine, the healing of any individual starts with the first aspect of producing the plant. We adapt that concept, creating an intention for healing throughout the entire process so it can be the most beneficial as possible. Every morning that intention is shared in the kitchen. Ultimately, with every jar of Goop that we make, we are hoping for the wellness of the end user.
What’s your best piece of advice for other female entrepreneurs?
Be clear about what you want to spend each day doing and don’t get too far away from that.
You were fairly early on in the B Corporation movement (2009). What’s the benefit to your business of being certified?
It opens us up to an entire community of measurably committed businesses to triple bottom line practices.
All Good is also a member of 1% for the Planet. Tell us about its role in your business.
1% for the Planet is where we get to amplify the messages we have while supporting non-profits who are doing the really hard work in helping direct-action environmental initiatives.
What did you eat for breakfast this morning?
I ate scrambled eggs and mixed dark greens.
What’s your secret vice?
Crunchy, salty things or dark chocolate.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I’d have wings so I could fly when I wanted to.
If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
Take an enormous magnet and strip the world of its barbwire then do things to restore the critical habitat.
What are you reading right now?
I am reading Naya Nuki: Shoshone Girl Who Ran with my seven-year-old daughter.
What are you listening to right now?
My breath, the Grateful Dead, Tim Ferriss (podcast).
What are you watching right now?
Patterns of birds in the spring.
Rock, paper, or scissors?
All of them. They’re equal. Isn’t that the point of the game? Why? It depends on who you’re up against, then you vibe it out.
What’s one question you’d like to ask yourself – and answer?
What is 1 + 1? And the answer is three. Because the sum is greater than all of the parts individually.
Where can we find All Good Products?
allgoodproducts.com, health food stores, and outdoor shops.
How should people connect with you on social media?