Published in the Bay State Banner, January 11, 2017
Photo: courtesy Made Organics
There are few things more comforting than a mother’s touch — whether it’s a homemade meal, a note in your lunchbox, or a buttery moisturizer.
Bernette Dawson, mother of two, sells handcrafted organic, grooming products using only fair trade ingredients through her business, Made Organics, LLC. The “made” stands for Mother Approved Daily Essentials, which is organized as a limited liability corporation.
With items like white mint cocoa whipped butter or cold-pressed argan oil, Dawson creates simple, but luxurious beauty staples that everyone and anyone can use.
Formally Lady B Naturals, Made Organics began as a home experiment. During one of Boston’s harsh winters, Dawson set out to make a soothing, safe and all-natural skin remedy for her son.
She spent about three years researching and working in her kitchen, trying out different ingredients and recipes. “When I found something that worked, I used it for myself and my sons,” said Dawson.
Friends and family were soon clamoring to try Dawson’s creations, and one friend even asked her to include one of her creams in a gift basket she was giving away at an event. “At that point, if I wanted to put this product in this basket and people liked it, I wanted them to be able to go to a website and order more if they wanted,” said Dawson.
In 2015, when the company started out with the name Lady B Naturals, Dawson was selected as a cohort for Babson’s College’s WIN Lab accelerator program.
The program is open to Babson College students and alumni, with only a couple spots given to Boston-based female entrepreneurs via a partnership with the City of Boston’s Women on Main Initiative. Dawson recalls a pivotal moment during a pitching session with a live audience and a panel of judges.
One of the judges was brutally honest. “She said, ‘I love your product and story, I hate your brand’”, said Dawson.
She was undeterred, however, and gained invaluable advice from the critical judge. “After the pitch, I pulled her aside and asked her what I could do better,” said Dawson. “She said ‘Lady B Naturals is not you. Tell your story.’”
Hardly unable to sleep, Dawson thought about what the judge said for the rest of the night and woke up the next morning with a new idea. “I don’t know why but Made has to be in the title of our new brand,” Dawson told her husband Abdul, who she considers her business partner. A focus group on Facebook with 60 friends and family helped the Dawsons decide on Made Organics, and the new company was born.