Anointment’s April MacKinnon on Bringing Natural Branding to the Mainstream


The natural and organic product category is growing faster than that of the overall global skin care market (currently valued at $121 billion globally)! That’s a big opportunity for your craft skincare brand. But differentiating yourself in a space with so much competition can be harrowing. April MacKinnon, owner of natural skin care line Anointment, does a stellar job at keeping the industry on the edge of their seats.

We chatted with her about positioning herself uniquely in the burgeoning market through branding, and how she keeps her company’s promise of quality, healthy products.

Image is everything. Products in this category tend to have an especially limited amount of room to play with when it comes to the visual cues consumers will respond to – natural brands tend to be pigeonholed into a very specific style of design. April however draws her inspiration from somewhere closer to home.

“I continually draw inspiration from where I live in New Brunswick. My family has over 250 years of roots [here],” April explains. “The landscape is incredibly beautiful and the marshes were once dotted with English-style barns. That’s why you see a lot of wood tones in Anointment labels. [We] live in a Victorian farmhouse – the door knobs are pressed with incredible designs that became the inspiration for the patterns on the New Mom & Baby product packaging. Everything about the Anointment branding comes very close to home for me.”

A study conducted last year shows that 27% of US adults prefer to purchase skin care products online. While appropriate imagery is important to an all natural brand, how does that fair online, a medium that is the polar opposite of ‘natural?

“A business owner spends a lot of time looking at their own website and it is easy to tire quickly, so it’s important to find elements that feel really good to you and reflect who you are,” explains April. “I have always taken the approach of drawing inspiration from the things that bring me joy and comfort: nature, sunsets, plants, the patterns in my home, flowers. I think about what aspect of each resonates with me and what I would like to look at all day.”

April impresses offline just as much as she does on our computer screens. Our very own @RetailPhil still remembers being wowed by an Anointment display from the first trade show he attended for Hubba years ago!

While building displays for larger retailers, April is sure to stay creative. “I try to make it easy to translate how it would look on store shelves. I have used lots of props like antique fish, blueberry boxes, old books, vintage shelving. And I try to elevate products closer to eye height.”

Anointment carries their brand ethos throughout their production process, too. They’ve even won awards for their sustainable production and manufacturing process.

Many of Anointment’s ingredients are sourced and wildcrafted locally by April herself. “We work with organic farmers to buy ingredients for our products, including sage and calendula. And we work with a local seamstress and screen-printer to make the handkerchiefs in our Men’s Grooming Gift Set. We have a small economy in New Brunswick but I believe we can all move forward if we work together.”

“Our manufacturing processes are fairly simple and minimally-mechanized,” she says. “We are continually upgrading our equipment.” Anointment’s facilities use a geothermal system, helping to minimize reliance on fossil fuels and only food grade ingredients are used which can be readily composted as needed.

“We try to keep packaging minimal, useful and natural. Our ointments and body butters are packaged in glass jars intentionally to eliminate the chemicals leeching out of plastic packaging. Glass is readily reused and recycled in most areas. Our soaps are packaged in cardboard boxes that are easily recycled.”