The search for a better type of body product led two Arkansas City women and lifelong friends to start a business together.

wild-ivyBobbie Bennett and Paisley Howerton had discussed starting a business together for years, when both started making body products themselves.

The two have been friends since Howerton, then Paisley Aldridge, moved in across the street from Bennett at age 3.

“I called at Bobbie from across the street and the rest is history,” Howerton said.

“I think we’ve always wanted some kind of business. We started kicking around the idea of body products in 2012 when we both started making them for ourselves,” Bennett said.

”We were also getting a lot of positive feedback from people who had tried the products. It was very encouraging.”

“It started when I realized how much better my skin felt when I used natural, homemade products instead of harsh, chemical-filled, store-bought products,” she added. “I decided to start making my own and have loved it ever since. My skin has never felt better. There’s no going back.”

“I think it was late 2012 or early 2013 when we started throwing the idea around,” Howerton agreed. “While we both were working on product development and knowledge, it took us a while to both be at a place where we were really ready to ‘go for it.’”

When they were ready, they launched Wild Ivy Natural Products. When it came to choosing the name…

“Honestly, it was just something we liked,” Howerton said. “I think it was a mutual desire for affordable natural body and beauty products, without all the chemicals.”

“Wild ivy grows freely, which is what we have let our business do,” Bennett added. “Also, Ivy is a common girl’s name. Wild Ivy represents a free spirit of a woman or person who chooses to make their own path, instead of to follow one laid before them.”

Bennett and Howerton are dedicated to providing the best product they can. The company motto is basically to “create and provide quality, natural body products that are healthy for the mind, body, and spirit,” according to Bennett.

Except for a few harmless fragrance oils, the products they offer are completely natural. “We encourage customers to ask about our ingredients,” Bennett said. “We are happy to help people choose products that best fit their wants and needs.”

Those interested in purchasing Wild Ivy Natural Products can find them by contacting Bennett and Howerton through the company’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/wildivynaturalproducts.

Items also may be purchased through Wild Ivy’s Etsy store, www.etsy.com/no-en/people/WildIvyNatural, or ordering directly from Bennett and Howerton.

“We do in-home parties (similar to Tupperware), and we also sell at farmer’s markets and art sales,” Bennett said. “More purchasing avenues will be available soon.”

As for the company’s future, the two women are letting it grow at its own pace, just like its namesake.

“True to wild ivy, the company will grow organically and each of us is free to do with it as we please,” Bennett said. “I am currently focused on getting our products into co-op stores in Florida and am toying with the idea of hiring independent sales consultants.”

“I would love to have a storefront of some sort,” Howerton added.