When Rudy Allen mentioned to his wife Nicki Allen that she’d have a lot of fun and enjoy a hobby like making soaps and candles for their local community, he probably didn’t envision the successful business that would come from it. Meet Rudy and Nicki Allen of Nella Naturals, they know Mother Nature, they know natural, and they know fresh: it’s hard not to when you come from a farming background in Pennsylvania agricultural country.
They started making candles in their Oxford, Pennsylvania kitchen, then outgrew that and had to move to a shop. Then, as Soap Bucket Skincare and Candles, they found themselves wrangling five kids and creating quality, handcrafted products that were affordable. Their guiding principals were always to make products they could trust to use on their own family.
Now as Nella Naturals, three generations of Allens make organic candles, lotions, and skincare products that you can trust.
Meet the Family Behind Nella Naturals
James Rudolph Allen Jr. (Rudy) and Nicole Allen have five children, and their lives revolve around parenting, their community, and their business. A busy household, for sure, with Grace Eva (12), Rowdy (James Rudolph Allen III - 7), Emma Rose (6), Cricket Addison (3), and Ruxton John (1).
A typical day in the Allen house usually start at around 5:30 in the morning, getting the older three ready for school and the usual chaos of a before work and school family. Then, it’s off to the shop with the youngest in tow, Cricket and Ruxton stay with their family during the day.
They do have one person that helps them out. Rudy’s dad, James Rudolph Allen (72) has dedicated his retirement to helping grow the business.
Rudy and Nicki are both highly influenced by their parents and grandparents; both having a strong work ethic, and wanting to be able to provide every opportunity for their children to work towards a bright future. Being self-employed, and providing for your family, can be a little nerve-wracking, but this American family is living the dream of providing for themselves with their own labor and products.
When they aren’t working or coaching girls softball, which isn’t often, they love to do anything with their kids, from 4-Wheeling to tadpole catching. While they can’t take credit for the saying, “live simply, dream big, be grateful, give love, and laugh lots,” pretty much sums up their point of view on life.
The Allen family also want to leave this world a little better than they found it. And, they’ve found a way to do that.
A Little History, and an Expensive Lesson
Soap Bucket Skincare and Candles was the first incarnation of their business. When Nicki and Rudy started, like many small candle businesses, they had two kinds of products -- all natural and standard paraffin wax based products. It seemed like the right way to go, offering standard paraffin wax candles as well as the “trendier” all-natural goods for a bit more money to those that wanted them.
That is until they found out that paraffin wax, like other petroleum products, wasn’t the “safe” product they thought it was. A study had found that burning paraffin wax contributes to indoor air pollution, and releases dangerous toxins into the air, like benzene and toluene, which are also in diesel exhaust fumes. Unlike some shadier business people out there, they didn’t quietly change their own lifestyle and keep selling that product to their customers.
In fact, they discarded all of their stock that contained petroleum products.
An expensive lesson and a rough restart to go all natural, but for the Allens, nothing matters more than knowing that they are caring for their children the best they can. And, they could do no less in regards to the community around them and their customers -- even offering products they knew could be toxic was not something they could do.
How Soap Bucket Skincare and Candles Became Nella Naturals
When the Allens looked in the mirror, they knew they wanted their products to be more personal to them. They were investing themselves in their products, after all. Having left behind chemicals that could harm their family or others, they were also moving towards offering their handcrafted goods at a larger scale.
Nella is Allen, backward, like that deep look into the mirror they took when they decided to leave the toxic materials behind. The Allens stand behind their products and strive to offer high-quality, responsibly sourced, organic and natural goods at prices that are fair.
Every Nella Naturals product is a labor of love, handcrafted from ethically sourced, natural ingredients by Rudy and Nicki Allen in their Oxford, PA shop. They won’t use anything that they wouldn’t put on their five children, so you can trust their products to be safe and do what they say.
Unlike many small businesses, the Allens are not becoming less aware of their core values as they grow. They aren’t chipping away at their founding principals. Nicki and Rudy are doubling down: everything they make does what they say it will, without added chemicals and dangerous ingredients, and they know because they use them.
Here We Grow!
Nella Naturals is growing because of repeat business, and word of mouth, not clever advertisements, cheap ingredients, and high mark-ups. People who buy their products want to come back to them for more, and they tell their friends and family about them. Growth doesn’t get more organic than that.
What’s even better, for you, is that you can feel good about supporting a family business while getting the natural, high-quality, and well-made skincare products and candles you want. The Allens will not sell you something they wouldn’t want in their own home, and they take pride in producing what they sell.
Nella Naturals has a lineup of about 25 different products, from crackling wooden-wicked soy candles to all-natural bug spray. If you factor in every scent those products come in, then you’re looking at a catalog of about 1,500 individual offerings. That’s an awful lot to make by hand.
However, in an age of items drop-shipped from China and unknown sources, you can rest easy knowing exactly who made your Nella Naturals. The Allens make all of what they sell and use the best ingredients they can to assure a quality product.
That’s because they care about the people that buy their products and the community around them.
Community Minded Giving
The Allens believe in giving back and being involved in their community. Rudy coaches their daughter Emma Rose’s softball team, and they often give gift baskets for local charity events and fundraisers.
They’ve served in community committees and boards for groups such as the Neighborhoods Services Center. And they helped found the softball organization that supports the team their girls play for; they wanted to assure that all the kids who play have the needed equipment and training to fit in well and enjoy their time in sports.
From Their Family to Yours: Nella Naturals
The Allen family don’t just stand behind their products, they use them. And, each of them has favorites, as well as a few name-sake products in the bunch. Nella Naturals are not only useful, and handmade, they’re well-loved by about everyone who buys them.
If you love being outdoors and hate bugs, Cricket’s Bug Off, a Nella Natural’s original, is perfect for all members of your family, even the pets. Made specifically to be safe for babies, and active outdoor loving toddlers, this bug spray uses natural essential oils in place of chemical killers that can soak into your skin, like DEET. Cricket’s Bug Off has a pleasant scent and works to repel mosquitoes, ticks, biting flies, fleas, and other pests.
Nicki Allen swears by the Nella Naturals oil-based Sugar Scrub. She uses it every day in the shower and knows how well it exfoliates and moisturizes, as well as smelling great. You can also get the Sugar Scrub and several other products in Grace’s Pink Sugar, Grace Allen’s signature color line.
When it comes to her go-to, Nicki is quick to talk about Nella Balm -- a soothing balm that works fast, promoting healing of cracked, irritated skin as soon as overnight. It’s known to calm eczema, heal winter-cracked skin, and soothe dry, painful lips. This all natural, petroleum-free balm has many dedicated users and many satisfied customers.
Have facial hair? You’ll love Rowdy Ruxton beard oil, as well. Though, the boys are too young to use it, quite yet.
Every single Nella Naturals product, from the 100-percent USA soy candles (with or without crackling wooden wicks) to their excellent cooling and exfoliating Peppermint Foot Scrub, is handcrafted and made with love, laughter and concern for quality in the Allens’ store.
Thank You, and Welcome to Our Virtual Store
Nella Naturals is growing, but our concern for our customers won’t change. We only sell what we know is safe, and what we use in our own home and on our own family. You will know your Nella Naturals are in fact natural, ethically sourced, and as safe as all natural products.
Our products will continue to be the highest quality, and be priced reasonably so that everyone can have the same high-quality they want with the healthy, natural ingredients they need. You can get the quality you have come to expect from chain stores, without the dangerous ingredients you thought were all you could afford.
Welcome to our virtual store, we’re happy you’re here and want you to have a great experience. Please, feel free to contact us, or send a message to the page, and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can; we care deeply about our customers.