Winter 2020
Simply Pure By Debbie Eisele

Handcrafted products with natural ingredients developed with skin health in mind

Simply Pure Products is a small, independently owned bath and body retailer, founded in 2005. The shop is housed in a remodeled building that was once part of a former military base and is known as Vint Hill to local residents, located in Warrenton, Virginia. Its humble beginnings stemmed from the desire to help provide relief to those with sensitive skin issues, such as eczema, with a specially created lotion.

Since then, it has grown and now makes and sells a variety of skincare, make-up and haircare products. It even offers private and customized labels for other shops, and lavender farms. In addition, it has developed custom product for breweries, bridal and baby showers, birthday parties and others. 

Simply Pure Products, Melissa Russell
Melissa Russell, production manager for Simply Pure Products and creator of the handcrafted products. Photo courtesy of Simply Pure Products.

The original owner’s founding concept of improving skin health remains a strong source of inspiration for its product development for Mary Lieb and Lanny Cornwell, who purchased the business in 2016. Healthy skin is also a mission of the store’s production manager, Melissa Russell, who is the creator of the stores handcrafted products. She has been creating Simply Pure’s merchandise since 2013, and her development and design experience in the craft is a valuable asset for both the owners and customers. 

“We use beneficial additives from nature to create skin care that caters to eczema and other sensitive skin issues, along with a natural lifestyle in general,” she explained. The ingredients are sourced from all over, since a variety of plants grow in different regions, this is necessary. “Whenever we have an opportunity to purchase locally we love to — things like lavender buds, hops, milk, beer and wine for specialty soaps,” she said. 

Simply Pure Products' fall display
Simply Pure rotates its merchandise displays to reflect seasonal offerings such as bar soaps, lotions, body wash and room fragrances, and they are grouped together for easy grab-and-go for shoppers.

“When formulating new products, we always keep sensitive skin in mind and use ingredients that are nourishing or beneficial for the skin,” Russell said. “We won’t use anything that will be counteractive to skin health. We stay away from parabens, petroleum by-products, sulfates, and phthalates.” 

Russell also shared that the purpose of a product is carefully researched first and ingredients will then be selected with that specific purpose in mind. When a new formula, or recipe, is created, Simply Pure also determines the appropriate percentage of each ingredient to use. “We test the recipes until they are ready to sell. Once we make a products, we hand pour them and place our labels on them by hand,” she explained. 

Simply Pure’s specialty product is its Healing Hand Balm. “Healing Hand Balm is our eczema relief cream that the company was founded on. The founder of Simply Pure Products created this product for her son with eczema,” explained Russell. “This product has helped hundreds of adults and children manage the uncomfortable symptoms of eczema, psoriasis and other dermatological issues.”

Bar Soaps from Simply Pure Products
Bar Soaps are available in a variety of scents to appeal to many customers: Forest Pine, Honey Almond Oatmeal, and Kombucha Soap in Lime Basil. All soaps are handcrafted in-house and provide different benefits from exfoliation to nourishing to men-inspired appeal.

Although the Healing Hand Balm is one of its top sellers, shoppers also flock to Simply Pure’s body lotions, artisan bar soaps, Gentle Face Wash, Renew Crème, Natural Deodorant and its deet-free bug spray, Bug Me Not. 

The simplicity of product ingredients used is also mirrored by the company’s visual branding. “Our logo is clean, simple and straight to the point, just like our products,” said Russell. 

Facial product display inside Simply Pure Products retail location
A variety of facial items are available, including mineral-based makeup and acne control products.

Iva Bella — a neighbor in the adjacent, adjoining space — is a custom client of Simply Pure and it carries a branded line of hair care products and men’s line that Simply Pure develops just for them. This relationship offers several ways the co-located businesses increase brand awareness and a steady flow of repeat business. “Being connected to Iva Bella has most definitely helped us sell products. People browse when they wait for appointments or after, and (they) get to see our soap curing first-hand and come back for it when it is ready,” said Russell. 

Other products Simply Pure offers include: mineral make-up, shampoos, face care products and acne care products, all created with natural ingredients. Additionally, Simply Pure offers wholesale options for markets, other retailers and hospital gift shops. For more information, visit or follow on Facebook @SimplyPureProducts or on Instagram @simplypureproducts. 


Debbie Eisele

Debbie Eisele is the former managing editor for Gift Shop Plus, Stationery Trends and a variety of special issue publications, including: The Guide, Holiday Shop, Celebrations & Occasions and Waterfront Living.

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