Here is the story of our journey to the creation of Saarinen Organics. Wow, it’s been a long one so pop the kettle on and let’s have a yarn.
We – Gregg and Kay Saarinen – landed here on our beautiful six acres of land 15 years ago. We found this perfect piece of land in Wyndham, NSW, bordering the National Park and with a freshwater creek.
Back then, there was nothing here except dead wattles, blackberries and a burnt out shed. We showed up with a caravan and bucket loads of energy.
We had a dream. We quit our mainstream jobs – me as a chef and Gregg as a carpenter – because we wanted to create a Permaculture-based self-sufficient lifestyle. Not only did we want to build our home from straw bale with ethical choices, 100 % off grid with solar power, solar hot water and a solar bore pump; we also wanted to be self-sufficient with food and our income as well.
After getting our whole property certified organic, we started growing and selling organic veggies. We planted fruit, nut and berry trees, milked goats and raised sheep for meat. It was a big job but it wasn’t a sustainable income (we certainly don’t pay enough for organic veggies), so we pushed on in search of a sustainable income.
I was studying herb culture, in addition to Horticulture and Permaculture courses, and we were working towards selling medicinal and culinary herbs. As part of my studies, there was an assignment where I had to value-add a horticultural product. At the time, my main crop was calendula flowers so I decided to make calendula ointment. I got an A – yay! Not long after that, our beautiful baby girl Gemma arrived.
Six months later, she had eczema down her neck. As I left the doctor’s office with a cortisone prescription I thought, ‘What am I doing? I have been studying calendula and I have made the ointment. I’ve got this,’ so I decided to try it on her (not tested on animals – tested on babies!). It worked. It wasn’t a cure as it turned out to be caused by wheat but the ointment helped with the tight dry skin and gave her protection.
I found that I enjoyed making the calendula ointment and, as there were many, many herbs in my garden, I wanted to make products from herbs them too. I decided to start a naturopathy course, studying all the skin element subjects I could find. I was also lucky enough to have a mentor who handed down recipes that were nine generations old. That was the true beginning of Saarinen Organics.
My very first market stall was ten years ago at Nethercote with five products. Now ten years down the track, I have a purpose-built lab, 37 products, a thriving Permaculture farm and we are self-sufficient with our income, food, power, water and straw bale house.
As I type this, I cannot believe we have made it! I would be lying if I said it was easy (it wasn’t). There were many times when we felt overwhelmed and defeated by natural disasters, failed crops, and exhaustion, but we have done it (and we’re still married – lol).
We haven’t finished though.
Another turning point was having people wanting to pay to have tours here. Gregg and I both thought we were years away from that. Now others can come and appreciate our hard work. Sometimes Gregg and I just see what needs to be done. Now we proudly stand before tour groups and tell our story and show people around. Happy dance!
We would love to share our Permaculture systems so we have started keeping video logs and putting them on our Youtube channel and Facebook page, so do pop over and have a look. They are a bit raw but we are happy to give away our secrets to a successful Permaculture life.
Getting back to Saarinen Organics and skin care, we have decided to source as many local ingredients as we can. As farmers ourselves, we know how important it is to be supported locally so we have endeavoured to source what we can locally. I must say the quality is fantastic with local low heated beeswax and honey (can’t find better), Mt Darragh lavender, local echinacea, olive oil and chilli. For the ingredients we can’t source locally, we buy certified Australian organics.
We make all our bases here in my lab from scratch. Yes – that’s right – from scratch! That is unique in itself. I also make all of our fresh herbal infusions, herbal apple cider vinegar tinctures and extracts from herbs we grow right here on the farm.
Our motto is to ‘help you glow naturally’.
We don’t make claims of wrinkle-free products. We’re about clean, healthy, fresh looking skin.
That’s it in a nutshell. Thank you for taking the time to read this and also for supporting our eco-friendly, sustainable, all-natural skin care.
Saarinen Organics – all natural skin care.
Helping you glow naturally,
Kay Saarinen x
Our formula facts:
NO Propylene Glycol
NO Synthetic Dye
NO Synthetic Retinol
NO Animal testing
NO Nature identic