Meet the Fabulous Founders of Branch Basics: How They Channeled their Passion for Clean Products
One of my very favorite things is sharing the products I love. When I find something that makes my journey for a cleaner, better-balanced lifestyle a little easier and more fun, I can’t wait to spread the word! In our last installment of Clean Living Conversations, I took you behind the scenes of Farmer Focus, which helps us get access to the best poultry in the biz. This time, I get to introduce you to Allison, Kelly, and Marilee, who founded Branch Basics.
Meet the Fabulous Founders of Branch Basics
Just like me, these ladies are on a mission to make our homes cleaner, healthier places to be for our loved ones. I’ve been using their products for YEARS now and couldn’t be happier to continuously recommend them to all of you. It’s such a weight off my mind to know that Branch Basics has done so much of the legwork for me in terms of weeding out toxic ingredients before their products even enter my house!
Allison, Kelly, and Marilee each have a special personal connection to clean products. Marilee experienced their power when she avoided a kidney transplant using food as medicine and nursed her son back to health after he was chemically injured by pesticides by removing all harmful toxins from his environment. Allison — Marilee’s niece! — turned to her aunt for support when looking for ways to relieve her PCOS symptoms in college. Safer products and clean eating did the trick! And Allison’s best friend Kelly was fully on board after spending a summer testing out their routines. While she didn’t have any major health concerns, when she spent time with Allison and Marilee, Kelly just felt… better!
These women have so much knowledge to share and I absolutely love their story. Keep scrolling to learn more!
P.S. code LEXI15 gets you 15% off any starter kit at checkout. The starter set includes one 33 oz. Concentrate, three empty spray bottles, one Foaming Wash bottle, one Laundry bottle and then I add the oxygen boost and dryer balls to my order.
Tell me about the journey to starting Branch Basics. How did you end up where you are today? How did you create these magical safer formulas?
Allison: It was full of ups and downs, joys and heartaches! We are where we are today simply because the passion we have for educating people on safer products has never waned. We created our formulas after over 100 iterations and 18 months of formulation and never lowering our standards of efficacy and safety.
Kelly: Marilee, Allison, and I each experienced the power of eating real food and living in a non-toxic, clean environment — everything from menstrual cramps and chronic pain disappearing to avoiding a kidney transplant and reversing PCOS. We didn’t go to business school or have any business experience, but we were and still are passionate about educating, empowering, and inspiring people to take control of their health. We’ve had quite the roller coaster ride to getting to our formula today, but ultimately, we worked with several chemists at a time and had very clear criteria for what we would and wouldn’t allow and how we wanted it to perform. We tested over 100 formulas — even spraying many directly in my eyes to see if it stung — and finally landed on our current one that has amazed even us with how well it works!
Marilee: Branch Basics started with the idea of sharing information that can change people’s lives over the Internet and social media. People had ears to hear, and we have ended up growing and spreading the word to more and more people. The formula is based on what I learned about toxic ingredients when I was trying to heal my son from what the doctors said was irreversible brain and immune system damage and 25 years of consulting with extremely sensitive and chronically ill clients.
Branch Basics is a little unique in that it was founded by a team! How do you all continue to work together as founders? Do you have any advice for people who might dream of starting something exciting with their family or friends?
Allison: We couldn’t have done it alone! My aunt, best friend, and I complement each other very well in our strengths and weaknesses, but most of all, we share a common faith, which we all fall back on when times have been difficult. We never set out to sell soap, but to educate people, and this shared passion has been our drive!
Kelly: We are so blessed because I’m fairly certain I wouldn’t have lasted had it just been myself! We each live in different cities, which makes some things more difficult, but we also are able to work in our own way and on our own time. We also have very complementary strengths and weaknesses, so we’re not overstepping each other all the time. We’re very close and honest with each other and our personal relationships come first.
Marilee: We couldn’t have done this alone. Each one of us plays an integral part in promoting our company. If you have a shared passion, anything is possible.
Where does your personal passion for the products you create come from?
Allison: From experiencing firsthand the “power of pure,” witnessing my body transform when toxic chemicals were removed from my diet and home.
Kelly: Knowing and believing that it’s helping people heal, feel their best, and avoid having to expose themselves to harmful cleaning products! 100%!
Marilee: Our products showcase and facilitate the ease of tossing the toxins. The first step in our Toss the Toxins [program] is to take a box and remove all pesticides, toxic cleaning, and laundry products. Once removed, replacing them with just the Concentrate and Oxygen Boost saves space, time, energy, and money. The dramatic improvement in air quality motivates people to remove the next category of product from their homes.
What do you wish more people understood about home and personal care products?
Allison: I wish people understood that the products we bring inside our homes matter, even if the ingredients seem small or the product is stored “away.” They are all either contributing to our home’s health or harm.
Kelly: Just because they are on store shelves does not mean they are safe. Cleaning products aren’t even regulated to be required to disclose their ingredients! It’s so important to actually know what’s inside the bottle and what you’re bringing into your home and putting on your body. Of course, you may not understand what every ingredient is (I don’t!), but learning what red flags to look for and using resources like MADE SAFE and EWG to find safe products is so very worth it.
Marilee: People are buying non-toxic products left and right, however, they don’t realize they still have products with harmful ingredients scattered throughout their homes that create a low-level chemical soup that has to be constantly detoxified. The simple, no-cost removal of these products creates a dramatic improvement in air quality. Better air means better health — and immunity, which is very important in today’s pandemic.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed when thinking about how to “clean up” your home and the products you use for your family. If you could recommend a first or single step to readers, what would that be?
Allison: Remove pesticides — all of them! — from the home. They are the most toxic of all.
Kelly: The first step is to view it as an exciting and freeing opportunity, versus something scary and restrictive. Practically speaking, though, the first thing to do is get rid of pesticides in the home. If you don’t use pesticides, then start with cleaning products. If you don’t use pesticides or cleaning products, get rid of synthetic fragrance (air fresheners, candles, wall plug-ins, etc.). We have a Toss the Toxins course that leads you through the steps you can take. And if you’re not ready to get rid of things, put them in an airtight storage container like a Sterilite box.
Marilee: In my work with chronically ill people, I found that putting products in categories and removing them one by one simplified and clarified the process. Our Toss the Toxins process makes it simple. The first step — getting a box and taking all pesticides, cleaning, and laundry products out of the house — typically makes an immediate dramatic improvement in a home’s air quality. Replacement with our products makes it so very doable!
What is the biggest challenge you’ve run into in pursuit of cleaner products?
Allison: Navigating how to educate people on a wide range of topics. Keeping their attention and getting the life-changing information to stick and effect change in people’s lives.
Kelly: The biggest challenge is that we have so many ideas and things we want to do, but we tend to move slowly since we’re all over the country and are very particular! In terms of a particular obstacle to getting cleaner products, I think it’s always the preservative system. We’ve been wanting to do wipes for years, but still haven’t found anything we’re super happy with — so we’re getting innovative!
Marilee: Having enough time to help all the people that need it is challenging. The obstacle is to open eyes to the unintended consequences of exposure to chemicals that impact our health. People need to make the connection that, ‘Hey, that product under my kitchen sink is causing my daughter’s asthma!’ There is a need to educate and inspire people to realize how important their choices are in impacting their family’s health. We, the consumers, are the ones that have the power to change all industries by what we do and don’t buy. Educated consumers who have become their own experts at choosing safe products will help lift corporate awareness to provide products that support human health.
If you could offer a single piece of advice for readers who are trying to teach their families about clean and healthy living, what would you tell them?
Allison: We have so much more control than we think we do. There is so much hope and our bodies are amazing healing machines that WANT to heal and feel amazing. We just have to give them the opportunity to do this by creating an environment in which they can thrive.
Kelly: Start with documentaries. They’re easier and more engaging than sending a bunch of blog links to someone. We actually just came out with a blog post with some of our favorite documentaries!
Marilee: Removal of harmful products from your home and diet is key! We just don’t realize how much they impact us until we remove them. Make it a family experiment — it’s fun!
I love the helpful resources you share on your site! Do you have a favorite article or guide?
Allison: Our Toss the Toxins campaign!
Kelly: Our Toss the Toxins page because it’s so foundational and it’s a finite process. You don’t have to keep doing it over and over!
Marilee: Toss the Toxins, which is still in creation. Execution of this process changes the course of a family’s life!
(It seems like there’s a major consensus there!)
What is one thing that you were able to clean successfully with Branch Basics products that you were surprised actually worked?
Allison: Sixty-year-old cocktail napkins that were considered trash, but brought back to life by BB!
Kelly: There are stains I get out all the time that blow my mind, but a burnt pot I thought was too far gone came out looking shiny and new!
Marilee: My surprise is that everything I have tried to clean has worked!
Next, the Branch Basics founders answered our Clean Living Conversations signature questions! You’ll find these questions in every installment of this Q+A series!
What is one thing that is guaranteed to make you laugh?
Allison: My four-year-old 🙂
Kelly: My thirteen-month-old laughing!
Marilee: My husband
What do you eat for breakfast?
Allison: I don’t eat breakfast. I drink Kion coffee and fresh juice.
Kelly: Most of the time, it’s either eggs (friend in coconut oil and scrambled) with sauerkraut and avocado, oatmeal with almond butter and freshly ground flax seeds, or yogurt (sometimes dairy, but mostly Culina) with nut butter and berries.
Marilee: It varies according to the season, what I am doing that day, etc.
What’s one assumption about your industry you’re tired of hearing?
Allison: That “green” and/or “non-toxic” products are all actually safe
Kelly: “I’ve tried natural cleaners and they don’t work.”
Marilee: That products that have “non-toxic” on the label are safe. It’s not enough. You have to read the ingredient list!
Finish this sentence: I never leave the house without…
Allison: A bottle of filtered water!
Kelly: Filling up a bottle of water to take with me
Marilee: My purse
What is the best book you’ve read recently? The best podcast you’ve listened to?
Kelly: I’m starting Dr. Caroline Leaf’s book Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess and I’m really excited about it. I love and tell so many people about the Wellness Mama podcast, Episode 309: How I Overcame Trauma (and Lost 50 Pounds).
Marilee: I couldn’t begin to choose!
If you’re anything like me, you can’t possibly read all of this fascinating information about detoxing your products without wanting to take action yourself. The good news is that the Branch Basics website is absolutely overflowing with more resources to help you take control of what you bring into your home. Check it out! Code LEXI15 gets you 15% off starter kits!
Spread the word and pass these resources along to your loved ones. The more people we have supporting companies like Branch Basics, the more likely other companies will be to realize the need to detox their products. You can follow Branch Basics on Instagram, too!
Thanks to Allison, Kelly, and Marilee for sharing their story with us!
March 26, 2021
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