In my search to understand essential oils and how they can protect teens, babies, and expecting mothers from bugs this season, I stumbled upon a great company that did the work for me. Today I am interviewing Philip Freeman, the founder of Murphy’s Naturals — a company specializing in natural and effective mosquito and bug repellents.
In this blog we’ll discuss:
- How he developed a company from his garage in Raleigh, NC to a 40,000 square foot enterprise
- Why he chose a natural approach to the Pesky Bug Issue
- How to read labels on “Natural” products
- The many ways the company is expanding into an even more holistic approach
- A coupon code to help keep your family naturally safe this Bug Season
Me: Hi, Philip. Welcome to my blog and thank you for taking the time to chat with me and my audience about your company and the incredible efforts you have made to bring a Holistic Solution to the Bug Problem.
Philip: Thanks for having me and I am excited to share with everyone the details of our work.
Me: What was the “aha” moment that led you down the path of Natural Products.
Philip: The “aha moment” came when I was searching for effective natural mosquito repellents for myself and my wife Pam and simply couldn’t find one. Mosquitoes were keeping us from enjoying life outdoors, unless we used products containing D.E.E.T., which we didn’t feel comfortable using. We had that not so uncommon scenario where one family member was extra appealing to mosquitoes (Pam) and the other family member (me) would get about one bite to every 10 bites the other would receive. It didn’t take long before only one of us was outside and the other inside on beautiful summer evenings.
Me: That is a common problem in my household as well. What did your search uncover?
Phillip: During my search, I quickly realized there was a significant gap in the market for a brand that focuses on natural, effective and responsibly sourced mosquito repellent products. There are many companies who “play” in the natural repellent world, but that is typically a side product and not a brand focus. Realizing the significance of the gap we decided to develop and launch Murphy’s Naturals with a focus on building a broad natural repellent brand for at home and on the go.
Me: Why didn’t you want to use DEET?
Philip: If you’ve been around the outdoor hiking/hunting/fishing world you may have heard in particular to stay away from products with this ingredient. It’s ability to degrade plastic and damage paint, watch crystals and synthetic materials don’t make it an ideal substance to use near outdoor gear and equipment. Understandably, this doesn’t leave very many people feeling keen about applying it to their skin. We began our search to created and offer a product folks could feel good about using. A natural product that was effective, safe, and okay to get on your skin, outdoor gear and equipment.
Me: How and when did you start?
Philip: We started our work in our garage in Raleigh, NC, over five years ago. Three and a half years ago we came out with our bamboo repellent incense sticks and then added our repellent candle a year later. In the last 18 months we have made a significant leap forward with the launch of eight new SKUs, including our Lemon Eucalyptus Oil pump spray, repellent tea light candles, a beautifully crafted ceramic incense stick holder, two high-end ceramic garden candles and three exciting new repellent balm products.
Me: Your background before launching Murphy’s Naturals is very intriguing, can you tell us more about it?
Phillip: Well, I grew up on a 300 acre farm in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia (Apples, Peaches, Beef Cattle). Then I attended Virginia Tech and participated in the Naval ROTC program. Afterwards, I was commissioned as a Naval Officer and served 8-years as a U.S. Navy Deep Sea Diver.
Furthermore, I worked 23-years for an International Packaging Company, including 19-years working with UK based The Body Shop, where my passion for Social Entrepreneurialism and Community Fair Trade took root.
In 2014, I jumped with both feet in to officially launch Murphy’s Naturals full-time!
Me: It seems that on the shelves, there are a lot of products claiming to be Natural. What does that mean, and how is your product different?
Philip: Some of the brands on the market that are partially natural, really don’t do justice to the natural repellent essential oil products they may contain. For example there are citronella candle products on the market that have citronella in them, but at such low percentages by weight that they simply are not effective. We found that the US EPA regulates what you can put in a repellent product, but they do not regulate how much of the repellent oils you need to put in your product. Natural repellent essential oils are extremely expensive, so many larger brands put trace amounts of the essential oils in their product, which keeps cost down, but also makes them less effective. Murphy’s Naturals has as much as 10 to 20 times more essential oils than some of the better known brands you see at retailers across the country.
Me: I read labels on everything, teach me how to properly read the labels on insect repellents.
Phillip: Many of ordinary products have natural components but are not true naturals in that they may use some natural essential oils but combine them with petroleum based waxes versus natural waxes like soy wax and beeswax. It is important to not only know what is in a product but also to pay attention the percentages. Our research shows that essential oil concentrations of 5.0% of higher provide the best results.
Me: Tell me more about your products.
Phillip: Our candles contain 5.0%, our incense products contain 10.0%, our balms contain 21.0% and our Lemon Eucalyptus Oil contains 30.0%. Believe it or not we see some major brands with only 0.25 to 0.50% repellent essential oils in their repellent products.
Me: You spoke about beeswax. From where do you source your beeswax to assure the best quality?
Philip: We have three honey bee hives on our rooftop and adding two more this year. This year we started utilizing beeswax from our hives and other local rooftop hives as an ingredient in our products.
Me: You created a company that uses responsibly sourced plant based ingredients, but you also strive to inspire others to do the same. Tell us more about your mission.
Philip: Murphy’s Naturals is a Certified B Corporation and we embraces the philosophy that companies have the power and obligation to help solve the social and environmental problems we face as a global community. We make a commitment to contribute 2% of gross revenues to goodwill organizations that share our vision of a healthy environment, while supporting the health of our local and global communities.
Me: So we are buying a wholesome product for ourselves, kids, and babies, made with real ingredients, locally sourced, AND we are helping support a community of companies including ones who create healthy, natural, environmentally safe products!
Philip: Absolutely! Thank you for helping us make a difference to the health of individuals and the planet. Anyone interested in making a purchase can go to our website Murphy’s Naturals and use this promo code FWT for 25% off the entire purchase.