HOMEWOOD-FLOSSMOOR, IL — At the heart of Brittany Hogan’s family-owned-and-operated business is mindfulness. Nefertem Naturals, an energy-centered skincare business that she started back in 2012, has helped to elevate the skincare experience for over 6,500 people throughout the Park Forest, IL community.

With a background in aromatherapy, herbalism, crystal and healing work, Hogan cares about helping her customers develop their own personal daily intention-setting practice. She aims to support the spiritual journeys of everyone who interacts with her products, which are enhanced with crystals, moon water and pure essential oils.

“People might not know the time, energy and attention we put into everything we do,” Hogan says. “We meditate prior to doing a project, whether it’s a blog post or email or product, just so we can connect with the creative spirit so that people who receive it can really get that inspiration. [The energy] is raw and real and transferred in that same way.”

She loves the Park Forest community for the arts, the diversity, the safety and the natural environment. The only thing that she feels is missing are more local small businesses.

“[It’s important to shop local] because if we don’t keep the money circulating within the small businesses, we lose that uniqueness and choice,” Hogan says. “Big stores have what they determine the masses enjoy and like, whereas supporting local and small businesses you get the full value of their creative spirits and all they have to offer.”

Running a business from home sparked a huge learning curve for Hogan and her husband. From learning how to manage a website, to manufacturing the soaps, aromatherapy lotions in-house, they have seen firsthand what it takes to make a passion a full-blown business.

Along that journey, Hogan has been surprised to learn how curious people are about what Nefertem Naturals can do for them and what health benefits are in store from buying natural products.

“For example, instead of using language like our ingredients are 100 percent natural, we shifted to something like ‘Don’t allow toxins on your skin,'” Hogan says.

Hogan loves connecting with her customers in an extremely personal way. So, when she met a woman while tabling at a local expo, and heard that it had been over five years since she had been able to close her hands due to joint stiffness, Hogan offered her a free sample of the natural herbal cream for joints mobility and told her to rub it all over her hands, and walk around the expo for a little while.

Fifteen minutes later, the woman came back so grateful that Hogan had let her try it because she said she could finally move her fingers.

“Personal connections create loyal customers,” Hogan says.

Unfortunately, face-to-face is not always possible. Hogan has an email list of about 2,000 customers but has found that sometimes getting people to actually open up their email is about as hard as connecting with people in person.

That’s why she uses Patch to attract new local customers who are interested in using her local delivery service and again, to create intimate connections.

“We have received at least 16 referrals from Patch, and we know it’s worth it,” Hogan says. “It may only be 20 per month, but they are local people who seem to be interested in us.”

She has taken advantage of the business listings to share links as well as the announcements category of the local classifieds, to share a weekly blog-style post with her customers.

“Patch is a great way to let your local community know that you exist,” Hogan says.

Patch is here so Hogan can spend less time reaching her customers and more time learning and staying true to her values of healing and caring for others.

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