To see how Wisconsin’s smaller communities are embracing and supporting their homegrown entrepreneurs, look no further than Mount Horeb-based American Provenance. The locally launched personal-care product maker was founded in Wisconsin, and as it grows the company remains committed to working with Wisconsin-based suppliers to help those businesses benefit as well.
As company founder Kyle LaFond puts it, American Provenance is a company born out of necessity. He shares the history on the company’s website: “After years of buying products filled with countless chemicals, additives and artificial ingredients, we decided that we could do better. We’ve always been do-it-yourself kind of people and began making our own products in a series of experiments, determined to make the highest quality, all-natural items from the best ingredients available.”
He also wanted to follow in his grandfather’s steps. A “proud, traditional dairy farmer,” LaFond says he was “a shining example of the quintessential American role model.” He loved working with his hands, being a responsible steward and taking care of his family.
“The time I spent with my grandpa in my formative years lead to my interest in nature, science, engineering, problem-solving, small business management and independence,” he said. “My grandpa always told me to make my own path and do things the right way. He instilled in me the importance of thinking things through and making decisions by taking all considerations into account.”
Having that set of values as his guide, LaFond began tinkering with formulas on his fourth-generation family farm in south central Wisconsin’s Blue Mounds Township. More specifically, he worked in his grandfather’s old machine shed, made available to him by one of his early backers—his mother. Those experiments have resulted in a diverse and growing line of personal care products such as deodorants, shaving and hair care formulas and lip balms, as well as candles and other accessories. Soon the machine shed was too small, and a second facility was opened nearby.
Commitment to quality yields positive results
Using a nominal amount of simple ingredients, and being in Wisconsin, has contributed to American Provenance’s success.
“Wisconsin charm is part of who we are,” LaFond said. “That means being true, authentic and transparent. That goes back to the ingemination of our products—we never use anything you can’t pronounce.”
That also means relying on a growing roster of Wisconsin-based suppliers. As LaFond recounted, “We get our beeswax from Kallas Honey Farm in Milwaukee and our labels from Belmark in De Pere, and we use corrugated cardboard from Green Bay Packaging in Wausau.”
With the company leveraging offerings of other Wisconsin businesses, American Provenance will be a thriving, local company for many years to come, he added.
“This is about the legacy my grandfather started. It’s about my employees and my team; we’ve had folks who have come here and put down roots and built houses, and I want to show the same type of commitment to them they have shown to the company. For us to be here in Mount Horeb is important. Wisconsin is a great place to do business.”