Since Alora Ambiance's early days, my sister and I have valued two things: 1. listening to our customers and 2. developing high-quality products we tested and tweaked ourselves until they were something we were proud of.
These two brand values remained at the forefront as I created Alora's newest product line: hand washes. And if there’s one thing our longtime fans have been clamoring for, it’s for hand washes in their favorite Alora scents. Now the fragrances you love coming home to can linger with you wherever you go.
After spending hundreds of hours hand testing soap formulations, researching pumps, and designing various packaging options, I've landed on a product I'm excited to share with you. Take a deep dive behind-the-scenes with me, as I walk you through the four steps (and oodles of decisions) that were a part of the product development process:
1. The Scents
2. The Formula
3. The Packaging
4. The Pumps
1. THE SCENTS
From the beginning, the most important part of creating Alora hand washes was making sure they smelled like the signature scents Alora fans have come to know and love. I am grateful for the perfumers who understood how important this was and that they were able to seamlessly translate the fragrances into a formula that blends beautifully with the hand wash base. Mission accomplished!
For our initial launch, I created hand washes in our best-selling fragrances: Bimbi, Due, and Isola plus these three citrus and floral superstar scents: Agrume, Arancia and Verde. I'm a big fan of Bella and Caldo too, so look for those richer beauties to arrive in the future.
2. THE FORMULA
Full transparency: creating the hand wash formula was by far the most challenging part of the product development process. Part of the reason is that I am a perfectionist, so I was very picky about the performance of the wash. Not only did the scents have to smell exactly right, but I wanted a formula that did all the important things: cleansed gently, was lightweight and moisturizing, focused on ingredients that are safe and effective whether natural or synthetic, and avoided toxic or questionable ingredients that can cause more harm than good.
It sounds simple, but it took longer than I thought to nail down the perfect formula. Decisions about how thick it should be, how much sudsing power it should have, how strong the scents should be, and how to find the right balance of safe and effective ingredients - all while testing rounds and rounds of samples until I finally landed on what I think is a beautiful wash that smells wonderfully and truly leaves my hands feeling soft and supple. After all those rounds of testing, my hands have truly never felt softer!
One of the formula ingredients I'm most excited about is olive oil. There were countless options for moisture-enhancing ingredients, but I kept coming back to the many times I'll be in my kitchen cooking with olive oil, and I let some of that natural, golden goodness soak right into my hands. It's divine!
Olive oil is an excellent skin moisturizer and packed with vitamins and antioxidants. When applied to wet skin it creates a barrier, locking in moisture which is perfect for my dry, cracked hands during our Minnesota winters!
And - as with all of Alora's products - there was no testing on animals. Additionally, all Alora hand washes are vegan and 100% paraben, phthalate, and dye-free. They are also readily biodegradable meaning they rapidly break down into harmless by-products after drain disposal - another win!
3. THE PACKAGING
My favorite part of running this business is creating beauty - photo shoots, beautiful emails, website enhancements - I love it all. So deciding how to package the hand wash was my favorite part of this process. However, like creating the formula, there were a lot of factors to consider, and it ended up being more challenging than I expected. Would the vessel be plastic or glass? What type of pump should I choose? Would we use labels or silkscreen the bottles like we do with our diffusers and candles? All of these factors played a role in deciding how our hand wash packaging would look.
When my sis and I started the business over 20 years ago, sustainability in terms of packaging was not a priority like it is now. Questions like: should the bottle be glass or plastic? Does it make sense to offer refills? Should we use just one closure? After doing lots of research and testing, looking back at all that I've learned over the years, and paying attention to the current realities of supply chain struggles - I am delighted with where the packaging landed.
I'm thrilled to be using the same 100% recyclable glass bottle we have used for over 20 years for our diffusers and feel confident using a sealed cap to minimize leakage and damage during shipment process. Lastly, I love the simple waterproof labels designed with shades from the gorgeous Alora color palette that will complement any decor style beautifully.
4. THE PUMPS
I love to decorate and am a stickler for details, so one thing I wanted to offer with these hand washes was the option to choose between a durable plastic pump or a durable, more decorative, metal pump. Oh, the amount of pumps I've tested in the last 18 months.
For plastic, I knew I wanted natural (vs. white or black) because aesthetically it fits the Alora brand best. And for the metal pump, I was torn on whether to choose stainless steel or brushed gold. Ultimately, the fact that some of pumps I was considering didn't fit on our glass bottle helped me narrow it down. At the end of the day, I chose the two pumps that I felt were both functional and fashionable.
The natural plastic pump is easy to unlock and open - one quick turn and the low-profile pump pops up, ready to go. The stainless steel pump is very durable, and of all the metal pumps I tested, it was the only one that never got stuck. It pumped smoothly up and down until all the wash was used up. Most importantly, it looks fantastic in both my kitchen and bathroom, plus - like our plastic pump - it can be reused again and again with future Alora hand wash purchases.
I'm super excited to be offering these hand washes, and I hope you enjoy both the goodness they will bring to your skin and the uplifting scents you've come to love around your home. Please share your thoughts with me if you try them out - I love hearing from my customers.