Photography by Naomi Lynn Vacaro and Brandon Cruz
Rafa Natural products are locally made and range from skincare to bath and home items. All are freshly crafted from natural and organic materials.
From the salty smells of a beach breeze to the sweet fragrance of white coconut, Rafa Natural products immerse you into a new setting. The freshly made organic and natural products are manufactured locally and include an assortment of bath, body, and home items.
Rafa, meaning to heal naturally, was originally founded in July of 2010 by Kim Williams. “She did an incredible job of getting it started. It was based on bath bombs. She was doing gifts for family and it just took off,” says Kim Hancock, CEO and owner of Rafa Natural.
A frequent customer of Rafa, Hancock purchased the business from Williams in January of 2017. “I fell in love with what she was doing. She had a really loyal following. We just grew the platform that she already had,” says Hancock. Following Williams’ recipes and creating her own, Hancock has seen the company experience exponential growth.
“We have been loved by the community. They have really reached out and made us feel special. That’s how we have been able to grow.”
In the less than two years, Hancock has expanded the business to two stores in Lakeland and Bartow, in addition to selling products wholesale in Anna Maria Island, Winter Haven, and Lake Wales. Starting as the only employee and running the business full time, Hancock has since hired nine employees and one intern. The business recently opened a manufacturing warehouse in Bartow where all of the products are made by staff handcrafters.
Ranging from skincare, bath and body products, and candles, Rafa’s top-selling product is skincare. Their best-selling skin products are the Intensive Overnight Oil, Vitamin C Cream, and Revitalizing Eye Cream. “It’s a big deal to us for people to take care of their skin. It’s one of the reasons we keep everything reasonable and affordable. If it’s not affordable, it’s not sustainable,” says Hancock.
What makes Rafa unique is its ability to make people feel at home in the store. “We want it to feel like people are in our home — for us that includes kids, drinks, and dogs,” says Hancock. The mix of modern and traditional style is intertwined throughout the Bartow store with the inclusion of an early 1900s bathtub, a large elk named Logan perched on the wall, and branded natural products placed on refinished furniture.
In October of 2018, Hancock was selected as the 2018 Emerging Business of the Year by the city of Bartow. Hancock credits much of their growth to the generosity of the communities they work in. “We have been loved by the community. They have really reached out and made us feel special. That’s how we have been able to grow. We’ve been treated exceptionally well. Also, I have an incredible team, and that has been one of the biggest things,” says Hancock.
Due to the community’s contribution, Rafa Natural has been able to give back to other local nonprofits, including Top Buttons and VISTE. Rafa has also helped local entrepreneurs, such as Mason Danger Beards, by carrying their products in the stores.
Rafa Natural has no plans of slowing down in the near future. They will soon be launching a baby line as well as pet-care products.
244 North Kentucky Avenue, Lakeland, FL 33801
863.712.7620 // rafanatural.com