We recently spoke with Kyle LaFond, founder of American Provenance Inc. a company that provides unique, high-quality, natural products with minimal ingredients, designed to make customers look, smell and feel their very best.
Q: What is American Provenance and how was it started?
A: American Provenance is a manufacturer of natural personal care and wellness products. Our items are hand-crafted on a retired Wisconsin dairy farm situated in the rolling hills of Blue Mounds, Wisconsin. The company was started as an extension of the time I spent as a middle and high school science teacher. I was extremely concerned with the chemical composition of popular personal care items used by my students and simply thought that I could make something better.
Q: How was the idea for your products developed?
A: I designed a project for my middle school students. I challenged them to research all the chemicals, preservatives, additives and fillers in the popular items that most of them were using. I then purchased a variety of raw materials and tasked them with creating their own alternatives. I modeled this project every year and made about 30 different deodorant formulations before I finally settled on one that I was most pleased with. I then gave samples to friends and family, and the response was overwhelmingly positive. I then recruited a few friends to help, and together we launched the business.
Q: In your opinion, why is American Provenance business model successful in the marketplace?
A: Our product quality and consistency is second to none. Additionally, we have very unique branding and marketing strategies to grow the company.
Q: What are some resources that have contributed to American Provenance’s success?
Q: What stage is the company at today, and what have been some milestones along the way?
A: We’re still considered early-stage, but we’ve recently transitioned to profitability. We’ve also taken on two investment partners and are scaling up for explosive growth. We’ve grown by at least 20 percent quarter-over-quarter ever since we started.
Q: How does your American Provenance benefit from being located in Wisconsin?
A: We’ve been able to launch on my family farm. I converted one of my grandfather’s old machine sheds to a manufacturing and storage facility. My local municipality has been extremely supportive of launching a non-traditional business on a fourth-generation dairy farm. The fact that we make everything by hand in the Driftless Region really connects with our consumers.
Q: What has been the biggest challenge for you and your team? What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs facing similar challenges?
A: Our biggest challenge is simply keeping up! We’re making everything as fast as we can while still meeting our own high standards. Managing our cash flow is always difficult, but investment and tax credits have helped to address those concerns.