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Healing notion 

It’s been more than a decade since Caroline Duell created “Good Goop� to treat her own scrapes and burns that she regularly wore from rock climbing. Duell combined her knowledge of herbs and her love of farming to create a completely natural skin balm with herbs and oils from her own garden.

click to enlarge BOTANICAL BLISS :  Caroline Duell happily doles out samples of “Good Goop,� an herbal healing balm. - PHOTO COURTESY OF CAROLIE DUELL
  • BOTANICAL BLISS : Caroline Duell happily doles out samples of “Good Goop,â€? an herbal healing balm.

# Soon, Duell was prescribing her healing balm to friends and family to treat everything from diaper rash to insect bites. People who used the balm seemed to find infinite ways to apply it and encouraged Duell to go public with her secret formula. After years of giving it away, Duell decided to try her hand at the healing business. She created two lip balms to compliment the original formula and packaged them in recyclable containers to be distributed among the masses.

Although the balm may have started in the kitchen sink, its ingredients aren’t random, and the formula is far from experimental. The balm combines organically grown calendula, comfrey, lavender, plantain, and yarrow to reduce swelling, encourage healing, and soothe. The “Goop� is almost transparent—and what color there is is somewhere between split pea and algae—but it smells like fresh-cut herbs. It’s an aromatic delight. You can spread the balm on cracked heels and chapped lips—and if you get it in your mouth, don’t fret: It’s non-toxic.

You can find “Good Goop� in a handful of stores on the Central Coast, and in about 45 stores nationwide. To help promote her product, Duell participated in a project with several Cal Poly students majoring in business. The students created a marketing plan that fit with her budget and met her need for operating a business with a soul. Duell expressed her gratitude for the students’ work and recommended the program for other small business.

“They did a great job,� she said. “They spent a lot of time on this. It’s a great way for a business to connect with the university.�

With their plan, Duell hopes to double distribution of “Good Goop� in the next year.

Even as she goes for the big time, however, she still wants to make sure that the product and business stay true to their healing roots. She can’t grow all the herbs anymore, but she does make sure that they come from farms employing responsible agricultural practices and that every batch of “Goop� has a little piece of her garden in it.

“It is our responsibility,� she insisted “ to take care of the Earth’s resources as much as the bottom line.�

Duell operates under what she calls a triple bottom line, which takes into account social and environmental impacts, as well as financial outcome. Duell is satisfied that there are rewards for running a business like this, even if those rewards aren’t financial.

“I want to keep it simple. Make it fun,� she said. “It makes it more fun when you can feel good about what you’re doing.�

Find “Good Goop� in SLO at New Frontiers, Garden Street Essentials, Mountain Air Sports, the Hempshak, and Farm Supply Co.; in Morro Bay at Sunshine Health Foods and Coalesce bookstore; and in Atascadero at Chaparral Gardens or Green Goods. For more information, call 235-4521 or visit

Contributor Kylie Mendonca compiled this week’s Strokes & Plugs. Send your business news to

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