From stem to skin
Team mixes herbs, flowers in Alexandria basement
In a basement off Sixth Avenue in Alexandria, a coffee grinder whirrs as it minces rose petals to powder.
A rubber mallet thumps, bam-BAM, bam-BAM, to secure the tops of small glass vials.
These are the sounds of one of Alexandria's newest manufacturers, one that turns flowers, oils and sugars into exfoliants, moisturizers and aromatherapy.
The manufacturer, RAW.& Co., has only four employees. Their tools are low-tech measuring spoons and eye droppers, and their workspace resembles a "fancy dining room," as a recent visitor commented. Their products are simply made and simple to use, they say, but their plans are anything but simple.
"I see it as a huge company, headquartered out of Alexandria, but touching people across the country," said Sara Severson, one of the four employees.
She is tasked with developing a national sales force. Previously, she trained sales people nationwide for two other local firms that made it big: mobile phone provider RCC/Unicel, which was bought by Verizon, and food mix maker Tastefully Simple.
One of Severson's recent coups was landing RAW. products in a subscription service sent out to new moms across the country through a service called Moms + Babes. While RAW. had to pay for the placement, Severson sees it as a marketing investment that could pay off if those moms discover they love the products and tell their friends.
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