The Worlds Times: Explain your background and your Company’s in detail.
Alison McFalls: I graduated from the University of Virginia with a Biochemistry and Spanish Degree. Quickly after Graduation from UVA in 2005, I moved to the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica and found Costa Ricans making coconut oil from fallen coconuts on the beach. Recently studying chemistry, I began formulating body products with coconut oil hand pressed by locals on the Osa Peninsula. I made bar soap, liquid soap, and creams to start. Luckily, there was and still is a local farmer’s market on Friday nights at Martina’s Bar in Matapalo where I was able to first sell my hand made body products. Hotel owners, patrons to Martina’s bar, began to notice our products and buying them for their hotels and supplying guests with my natural products. In 2009, I traveled to San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica, to open a licensed cooperation with my passport and start the small business opening procedures. By 2012, we registered the products with the Costa Rican Health Department and with that registration we are able to sell openly and legally in all stores who want to buy our products. Now, our products are available in hotels, green stores, and gift shops along the Pacific Southern Zone of Costa Rica.
The Worlds Times: What are your goals?
Alison McFalls: We have been open for 10 years and created a market in the Southern Pacific Zone of Costa Rica. I would like to expand market into the Northern Pacific Zone as well as the Central Valley of Costa Rica in the next 5 years. We also have an online Etsy shop which supplies our US market. We would like to eventually establish a manufacturing in the USA to limit international shipping and handling.
The Worlds Times: What do you feel is the biggest strength of OSA NATURAL right now?
Alison McFalls: Osa Natural makes a high quality body product with less than five base ingredients. We like to live by the motto, less is more. Our castile soap with 100% coconut oil makes such a big lather that even diluted by 4 it can hold up as an excellent lathering hand and body soap. We use coconut oil, lye, and distilled water for our Castille soap and scent with essential oils. Each one of our products includes very few ingredients however yield an amazing product with high concentration. When customers show me ingredient lists of some products, it’s exhausting to read through the fifty odd chemicals needed to generate one product.
The Worlds Times: What was the path you took to get to where you are today?
Alison McFalls: Remember the children’s book, The Little Engine that Could? “I think I can, I think I can,” has been my mantra for my Osa Natural life. Living in a remote place manufacturing body products from coconut oil takes time and dedication. My hard work ethic and consistency has allowed Osa Natural to grow and establish a loyal cliental. Feeding back into the local economy with our main ingredient as hand pressed coconut oil, also creates a link with the local economy and social network on the Osa Peninsula. The teamwork and dedication of all of our coconut oil providers makes a unique product.
The Worlds Times: Why did you start OSA NATURAL?
Alison McFalls: When I moved to the Osa Peninsula in 2005, I thought I would continue on to Medical School. High costs of student loans made me think of other options to create a livelihood for myself. I always loved creating mixtures and loved my bath time. Soap making and natural product chemistry fit the mold for me. I had studied Biochemistry and Spanish a double major, and now I was able to work with natural ingredients, local Costa Ricans, and sell my creations in the middle of the Rainforest. I still enjoy all my roles at Osa Natural, owner, creator, inventor, and sales engineer.
The Worlds Times: What have been the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome during the journey of your leadership?
Alison McFalls: The Osa Peninsula is a rural and remote place to manufacture. Shipping and logistics are always a challenge due to our location. Coconuts and how many coconuts are available always can be a challenge since our raw material comes from fallen coconuts on the beach. Marketing and creating a strong marketing plan has always been a struggle since I’m a product chemist on the Osa Peninsula and live far from populated areas.
The Worlds Times: Give us one word that describes you the best.
Alison McFalls: Industrious
The Worlds Times: What do you value the most about OSA NATURAL vision?
Alison McFalls: Osa Natural is a family business. There are many layers to a family as to Osa Natural. Our vision is to help families who make coconut oil and to help our market to use natural products. Everyone who uses Osa Natural, feeds the local economy, making a sustainable business profile. For me, it seems Osa Natural is a way to give back to the locals and at the same time give a unique product to the market.
The Worlds Times: What are the strategies of OSA NATURAL and how do you stand unique from your competitors?
Alison McFalls: Did I mention that we use handmade coconut oil to manufacture our products? Our main ingredient is one of kind, hand pressed coconut oil from fallen coconuts on the beach. Our strategy is to formulate high quality products with few ingredients. We use handmade ingredients to make a handmade product, similar to the farm to table concept. From coconuts on the beach to soap in your bathroom, Osa Natural uses a natural resource to make a sustainable product.
The Worlds Times: What are the key values which helped you to overcome the challenges in your path? Tell us something about your memorable incident in your leadership?
Alison McFalls: Never give up! The Osa can be a challenging place to live with a harsh climate, and a harsh low season. We have a yearly low season with quarter of little to no business, followed by the largest quarter of the year, Christmas and New Year’s. We have to come out of low inventory from our rainy season, a time of slow production, to an extremely large production and our highest inventory. The biggest hurdle we must overcome is to find a balance from the extreme low to extreme high.
The Worlds Times: How do you see the company changing in two years, and how do you see yourself creating that change?
Alison McFalls: Expansion to new territories is our goal and in the past we obtained new markets with connections through sales representatives living in that particular location. We created business in Nosara and Pavones with sales representatives who influenced the area to provide Osa Natural. We hope to find new connections and new representatives in the Northern Guanacaste region of Costa Rica, as well as the Central Valley and San Jose GMO.
The Worlds Times: What benefits are your clients getting from OSA NATURAL in this competitive world?
Alison McFalls: Many of our customers return because our product is a safe and clean product made with ingredients you can pronounce and know commonly. Sometimes reading product ingredients can be overwhelming and cumbersome; however, Osa Natural uses ingredients from the kitchen. It’s best to consume naturally and healthfully in our kitchens just as it is important to use natural products on our body in the bathroom. Sometimes before one walks out of the door in the morning, they have used over 100 odd chemicals in their soaps and shampoos in their morning shower. Osa Natural provides a natural product that comes from the rainforest of Costa Rica. As clean and green as we see the rainforest, that’s how we hope our customer feels when using Osa Natural bath and body care products.
The Worlds Times: Would you like to say anything else to our viewers?
Alison McFalls: My daughter and I have been experimenting with natural colorants and hope to begin a cosmetic line for natural make up. We began making shimmer sticks for Envision Festival in Uvita, which inspired us to begin research and development on other facial cosmetics. With a spa like mentality using natural products for body care treatments, Osa Natural is opening a botanical spa to promote healthy routines and self-care.
Check Osa Natural’s products here.