With a love of all that is natural, Midwife and mother of two Carla Dillon created her Madannah® range by Little Button Essentials. Struggling to source a suitable product on the market for her daughter’s allergy-prone skin, she used her knowledge in neonatal research and skin health to specially formulate creams and balms that are suitable for the most sensitive of skin and ideal for babies and children. Now with seven uniquely handcrafted products in their range, families can be confident that they are using pure, natural balms that are free from the allergens of gluten, dairy, soy, eggs, nuts, artificial colours, fragrances and petroleum. Here, Carla talks to The Natural Parent Magazine about the inspiration behind her business and her hopes and dreams for the future.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
My first daughter had many allergies. Every skin care product, barrier cream, bath wash and medicine I purchased for Savannah resulted in her having a severe allergic response and many sleepless nights for my husband and I. Whilst pregnant with my second daughter, I researched products that were safe for use on neonates in intensive care units. I felt if products were safe for their use, surely their allergy-causing properties must be minimal. I spent the duration of my second pregnancy testing and perfecting a recipe I knew would be safe for use on my three-year-old and soon to be newborn.
I used this cream on both my daughters for EVERYTHING skin related. With my job as a midwife, I never really thought that making more cream than was needed by my extended family and friends would ever become a reality. However, my personal circumstances changed in 2017 and I sought advice on how to start a business where I could make and sell the cream. From here ‘Little Button Essentials’ and ‘Madannah’ were born.
The launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
I was in a state of uncertainty after the birth of my second child. I was on extended maternity leave from my job as a midwife as I nursed my husband back to health following a long hospitalisation, and also the sudden loss of my brother in the same year. I set in motion business plans to patent and then sell my Madannah Cream from a 3m x 3m market tent at the Goondiwindi Town Park with a website launch also on the 23rd April 2017. #MadannahCream was my only product at this time, and I sold it in two different sized bottles for individual purchase or as a new baby gift box.
I prided myself on the fact that each and every bottle of Madannah Cream was 100% handmade, packaged and labelled in my small Queensland rural town of Goondiwindi.
At the time of my first product launch, I was making these products in my home using a double boiler and a gas barbecue as my heating element. As I began making more and more products to meet growing demand, I found I was attracting an ever-increasing bee population to my backyard, as the making process involved melting 5kg blocks of organic beeswax.
In late 2017, I moved Madannah Cream production to a location close to my home where I could still hand produce my creams, however in a more enclosed environment. This had the added benefit of enabling me to separate my family life from my work and manufacturing life.
Now five years on and there are 7 Madannah Cream formulations – each with their own unique purpose but the same old 100% natural, low allergy properties and all still made by hand in Goondiwindi, Queensland, Australia.
The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?
The realisation that ‘Madannah Cream’ was something new and innovative became apparent through the patenting process, which was commenced in February 2017, with finalisation on the 20th March 2018 when Australian and New Zealand patents were filed.
The fact that Madannah Cream is something unique and safe for use on the most sensitive and allergy prone skin was a breakthrough for my business. The patenting process brought to light the fact that something I had developed out of necessity for my girls and family was now going to benefit so many more families.
I can now proudly say that products from ‘The Madannah Range’ have reached every state within Australia, with shipments also being sent to New Zealand since April 2019.