Business owners tend to approach B Corp certification along a spectrum of motivations: at one end is the desire to affirm values and goals that were already in place before certification. At the other, the motivation is more strategic, meant to set a new trajectory and distinguish the business among its peers. For Makes Scents Natural Spa Line, becoming a B Corp was most certainly an affirmation of existing business culture. Makes Scents achieved B Corp status in the Spring of 2019, becoming the 17th in Lancaster’s growing B Corp community. We recently sat down with co-owners Heather and Nathan Kreider to discuss their B Corp story.
Makes Scents Natural Spa Line is a manufacturer of natural luxury spa products based in Lancaster City. They cater specifically to the hotel and spa industry and have a growing clientele all over the world. In addition to their own product line, they also create white label products and custom formulations for spas. Makes Scents is also the parent company of Hempfield Botanicals (also a B Corp), which creates all-natural, THC-free and full-spectrum CBD (cannabidiol) products.
Manufacturing a spa line was not Heather and Nathan Kreider’s original plan. But then, neither were the events that led to the founding of the company. Heather explains, “We tried for years to have a family and unfortunately, we were diagnosed with unexplained infertility. It was a sucker punch to us. I started making handmade soaps as a way to get my mind off of it.”
Soon, a mentor in the spa industry encouraged them to consider applying their knowledge specifically to spa products. What had started as a way to soothe their souls from loss turned into an unexpected gain.
“We always say that when one door slams shut, hard, in your face, another one will open. You just have to find the courage to walk through that door.”Heather Kreider, Owner, Makes Scents
There was no business plan, but it isn’t as though they came to the industry without experience. Heather is a licensed esthetician, and Nathan is a massage therapist.
“The wellness industry is in our blood,” Heather says.
“We always say these are products made by professionals, for professionals. If we like it, the other technicians that are using it probably will, too,” Nathan adds.
Heather continues, “Now our business is our baby, and our employees are our family.”
That isn’t just a nice sentiment. Care for employees is embedded in the culture at Makes Scents. Heather and Nathan include their entire team in all aspects of the business, from interviewing new hires to rolling out new products or scents. “We have a huddle every morning and cover three or four questions: priorities, what do you need help with, shout-outs, and numbers year over year so the team knows where we are compared to last year.”
Heather says one of her foundational principles for leadership is to “be the leader you always wanted as an employee.” She and Nathan both know what it’s like to be unappreciated as employees; to feel like they were just numbers who could easily be replaced. They’ve committed to running their business differently. She continues, “They’re invested in our business because they know we care about them.”
Both Heather and Nathan beam like proud parents when they talk about their team. “Everyone has grown so much since coming to work for us. We’ve even had some of our team members’ spouses thank us, telling us how much working here has changed them for the better,” says Nathan as he and Heather share a high-five. Heather adds, “The people really make the whole business. We’re proudest of our team because, without them, we wouldn’t be able to make the impact we make in the community and on the environment.”
The B Corp Introduction
And that’s why Makes Scents chose to pursue B Corp Certification. Heather recalls:
“Before we were even B Corp certified, we did business like one. We had those philosophies as individuals and business owners. We had the heart behind it.”Heather Kreider, Owner, Makes Scents
Now that they’re officially certified, Heather says, “Our B Corp status and the B Corp philosophy are what set us apart from other companies like us.”
B Corp certification hadn’t been on Makes Scents’ radar until two years ago when Heather attended a Goldman-Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program in Philadelphia. A member of her cohort had a B Corp certified company. “Once he learned who I was and our company philosophies, he asked me why we weren’t a B Corp,” shares Heather.
Heather had previously attended a marketing boot camp and a women’s business accelerator at ASSETS, so when she got back from Philadelphia, it was a natural next step to reach out to ASSETS to learn more about B Corp certification.
ASSETS’ Impact Consulting department equips businesses with the resources and support to become Certified B Corporations. They also provide a free service to measure and benchmark the social and environmental impact of businesses, as well as offering tiered consulting packages that include customized recommendations, in-person planning sessions, and strategic project management.
The first step in their B Corp journey was to take the B Impact Assessment, the official tool used by the B Corp certifying body, B Lab, to measure a business’ social and environmental impact. ASSETS walks alongside businesses as they complete the assessment and determine areas to improve.
Heather recalls, “When you see where you are, you get a drive to make an even greater impact.” But she admits the process was tough. “We had everything in place in terms of standard operating procedures. Our whole business is available in a binder, but there were things we needed to fine-tune and document. We knew we were doing certain things correctly but we weren’t measuring them.”
Nathan continues, “We needed to start measuring things, like water usage, our trash, and recycling.”
Heather adds, “The process is time-consuming. It’s hard to imagine being able to achieve certification without the processes we already had in place and without a team helping.”
Thankfully, Makes Scents wasn’t alone.
“The process of working with ASSETS was amazing. Sarah Payne, ASSETS’ Impact Consulting Manager, was a lifesaver. There’s a lot to think about and a lot of language to understand. I needed help breaking things down. The ASSETS team made it simpler to understand. As a small business owner, you’re pressed for time, but ASSETS helped us with analysis. The team was nurturing and very supportive, providing us with examples and references throughout the whole process.”Heather Kreider, Owner, Makes Scents
Now that the rigors of the certification process are over, Heather and Nathan aren’t resting on their laurels. Becoming a B Corp impacts their day-to-day operations in a variety of ways. “To be able to document and have metrics set up helps us see where we can improve and make an even better impact in those areas,” Heather relates.
Nathan adds, “It helps that our team is bought in and helps out, too.”
Now, they are even more conscious of their environmental impact, ensuring sustainability in the very way in which they make their products, down to packaging and printing. They also go the extra mile where recycling is concerned. Makes Scents uses a lot of personal protective equipment that can’t be recycled through traditional means. But that didn’t stop them. “Anything can be recycled if you pay for it. One of our team members found a zero-waste company that can recycle those items and it seriously reduced our trash. It’s made a big difference in our day-to-day,” says Heather. They haven’t forgotten their community, either. Makes Scents regularly adopts their neighborhood block in Lancaster and recently made a large donation of discontinued personal hygiene products to Water Street Mission, a homelessness center.
It’s All About the Employees
Among all the B Corp values lived out at Makes Scents, Heather and Nathan always come back to the employees. They are constantly looking for ways to increase job satisfaction, from sharing a monthly potluck to hosting training and offering professional development. In addition, everyone gets four paid hours a month to volunteer, and they usually do that as a team.
We know they are why we are able to do anything we do.Nathan Kreider, Owner, Makes Scents
“We trust them, and they know that,” adds Heather. “We’re not watching over their shoulders. For them to have that autonomy is amazing. It is for us, too!”
There’s no denying the team at Makes Scents has won the lottery working for Heather and Nathan. You can’t help but feel their passion for their work and the B Corp values that animate everything they do. Their infectious enthusiasm also extends to other business owners who are thinking about B Corp certification:
“Definitely do it,” Heather says. “The more the merrier. At least try and implement the philosophies. Start with one area where you can make changes, and then keep going. These days, every business can and should be a force for good!”Heather Kreider, Owner, Makes Scents
Ready to take the first step?
B Corps are leading the way, but all companies — no matter the size, model or industry — can begin making positive changes today. Schedule a free 15-minute Discovery Call with ASSETS’ Impact Consulting Team.