River Organics provides locally-made, organic beauty products
For CORINNE LEFEBVRE what was once just a passion has now turned into a full-time occupation.
As the owner of River Organics, based in Wilmington, she took her interest in natural skincare and decided to open her own independent beauty company.
“I started ordering oils on a wholesale site and experimenting with lip balm. I found a recipe that really worked,” she says. “From there, I started right away creating and developing my own product ideas, but I had to wait four years before starting my own company.”
Lefebvre made the big decision to leave behind the art world, where she used to work at auction houses, art galleries, and even taught art history for seven years in France and in the Middle East.
Her decision to come to Wilmington was based on personal and professional reasons.
“I felt like Wilmington was a great place to start a small business and have support,” she says. “I knew the pace here would be different.”
And it didn’t hurt that her soon-to-be-husband was based here as well.
Her product line has been influenced by and culminated from her experience living overseas. Originally from the western coast of Canada, she was influenced early on by a more open attitude toward natural skincare and a greater environmental awareness overall.
“While in Canada, I was already using shea butter for a long time, and I was very into environmental causes,” she says.
That is why all her products are made in small batches in sustainable, recycled cardboard.
Lefebvre was exposed to natural oils, while living in the Middle East, such as cardamom and rosewater. She incorporates those ingredients now in her body and facial oils, as well as nourishing plant products, such as grapeseed and rosehip oils, in her best-selling vegan highlighter stick.
While living in France for seven years, she became more familiar with plant-based ingredients.
“I had always lived in cities and now was closer to nature,” she says. “I really got to experience how products like lavender were used in daily life.”
She pays particular attention to what goes in her products, using only certified organic ingredients where possible
“I make all my own products in my home studio, sometimes with only two to three ingredients. Consumers will understand 99% of what goes into them,” Lefebvre says. “All ingredients are listed online and on the packaging.”
Continuing with being environmentally aware, she is also cruelty-free certified.
Lefebvre is quick to point out that her husband, Fabien Scorza, has been a true asset in helping her business get off the ground. Being a chemical engineer specializing in natural products, he brings a practical side to the business.
He handles all the details, such as the technical packaging, reading contracts, and quality control.
So far Lefebvre is pleased with the way Wilmington embraces natural skincare.
“I used to have to explain how to use the products and the packaging,” she says. “I don’t find that here. I have great conversations with everyone.”
She has not spent any money on marketing as of yet, relying on word-of-mouth, zero-waste Facebook groups, and “the wonderful vendor community here.”
River Organic products are available on its website and at some local stores like Tidal Creek Co-op.
There is also what Lefebvre calls a “mini environmental movement” of female business owners in the area.
“They are really trying to go green, and I see that a lot across the board now.”