Longmont startup Nomadic Naturals has three products in its line of personal care items, but there’s a multitude of uses and can be used for people and pets. The environmentally conscious brand wants to change customers’ outlook on consumerism.
“The Paste,” “The Spray” and “The Balm” makeup the Nomadic Naturals line of multi-use products. Though there’s certain purposes for the products — such as The Spray can be used as a bug repellant, disinfectant and deodorizer — the vague names lend itself to experimentation.
Nomadic Naturals owner and founder John Alex Vespa started making his own products about 10 years ago after he couldn’t find a toothpaste on the market that he liked. He started whipping up a concoction that later developed into The Paste.
The Paste has coconut oil, diatomaceous earth, colloidal silver, bentonite clay and an essential oil blend. Though the simple ingredient list was chosen for toothpaste, Vespa found it was useful for other circumstances. Vespa used The Paste as a protective layer for his dogs’ paws and as salve for cuts and scrapes.
From there, Vespa’s multi-purpose product creation took off.
“Adding certain ingredients, it's kind of given us an opportunity to grow into something that's not on the market really. So our mission is kind of really helping people rethink the way they look at consumerism and personal care, body care,” Vespa said. “Kind of like Dr. Bronner's soap, you can buy one product that can be used for a multitude of things so you're not taking up space, you're not wasting and spending money on things that you might not need.”
The Paste was followed by The Spray, a mixture of water, apple cider vinegar, colloidal silver and essential oils. Before finding its multiuse, Vespa created it as a bug repellant for his dogs.
Vespa created The Balm as a multi-use moisturizer with shorea butter, mango butter, coconut oil, bentonite clay, colloidal silver, essential oil blend and Vitamin E. It’s a head-to-toe moisturizer, Vespa said, meant to heal dry and cracked skin.
Figuring out how each product can be used was from trial and error. During the early stages of creating Nomadic Naturals’ products, Vespa worked as a dog trainer and walker. He started handing out his products to clients.
Vespa also lends products to friends and family, who return with their findings. It helps him learn about what other uses there are for products, such as a friend used The Balm to soothe a bug bite.
Giving away samples also informs how he can rework the small-batch goods. A friend used The Paste as a facemask but found it’s minty oil blend to be too abrasive near the eyes. Vespa is looking at reworking the formula to increase it’s multi-function.
Though Nomadic Naturals has only been on the market for a year, the company has been three-years in the making. After Vespa left dog training to pursue his business, he founded the brand as Bushwhack Life.
The original name referred to his return to outdoor exploration.
“I was getting back into nature more and hiking and backpacking. And that's when really the multi-use stuff for me came into play. Being able to have less, but do more,” Vespa said.
That sentiment developed into the company slogan “Do more with less.”
While still working under the Bushwack Life name, Vespa was accepted into the Innovate Longmont Fall 2020 cohort. There he found mentorship for his startup and started selling at Bricks Retail, an Innovate Longmont pop-up shop in downtown that later became a permanent store at 512 4th Ave.
The rebranded Nomadic Naturals means being able to travel freely and using natural ingredients, Vespa said. It also refers to Vespa’s eco-conscious goals. All of the products are in recyclable aluminum containers, and Vespa is looking at incorporating compostable packaging in the future.
“That's really the mission is just get people to rethink everything, to clean up our environment and not have waste,” Vespa said.
About a year ago, Vespa fully embraced the nomadic part of Nomadic Naturals. He moved himself and his dogs, Kaz and Koi, into his Ford Econoline full-time. He creates the small-batches for Nomadic Naturals on the top floor of Maker General on Main Street. Vespa said he decided to live in his camper van to allocate his resources for the business and make traveling easier.
“It allows me to travel and go to craft fairs or trade shows and be a vendor at more events because I can be mobile and not have to worry about anything else,’ he said.
Vespa hopes that Nomadic Naturals will help people who want to reduce their product consumption. Instead of clearing the bathroom of all personal care products, Vespa suggests replacing one item and keeping the Nomadic Natural product in an accessible place like a purse.
“I would just tell him to start simple. Don't replace your stuff right away. I just say try, see what you think, And then start just using it for different things that you wouldn't normally think about,” Vespa said. “I think people, once they start using it they see that connection.”