From the Beginning
Welcome to Private Label Products! We’re thrilled that you’re here. Before you browse through the most amazing collection of handmade products on the planet, we’d like for you to know a little about our history. I mean, as far as humble beginnings go, we’ve had 4.
Story #1 opens in 1886, in Middle Georgia, on the corner of a dirt road that would later be christened Cherry Street. Downtown Macon was a bustling metropolis filled with day laborers and quarter horses; and, in the middle of it all loomed a large, two-story, panel-windowed store with large block lettering. The sign read, “Joseph N. Neel”, so named for its well-dressed curator and CEO.
In time, Joseph N Neel’s grew to be the oldest Men’s Clothing store East of the Mississippi; and, with each generational passing, from father-to-son, new niches sprang up to tempt even the most discerning buyer. One generation added Women’s Clothing. Another added an elevator complete with attendant and “elevator” music.
By the time Generation #3 refreshed, with Joseph N. Neel III, there were definite hints of a new vision. This Joseph N. Neel was home, fresh from the Korean War, a decorated Air Force pilot. He added a gift and beauty department. This began story #2.
Famous Macon aristocrats (Ted Turner) and soon-to-be-famous Southern Rock Superstars (The Allman Brothers) were seen shopping the same clothes’ racks as everyone else. Fresh lighting was added. Mannequins, all in the same pose, adorned the aisles. Women’s clothing took up almost as much floor space as men’s; and in a back corner, on the second floor, there was fresh paint and a dozen, fluffy, pink boas… along with a new sign that read “Ladies’ Toiletries.” (Even then, there was boldness in a sign that was ahead of its time.)
Business was brisk as women in taupe hose, identical handbags, and uncomfortable shoes toddled through aisles to pick out powders and puffs and perfumes. Until, in the middle of the new, feminine display, they sensed something shiny, scented, and completely “skinful”.
Besides a working washroom sink there was a store clerk showing off the new “must-have,” pre-boudoir thing; and, within minutes there was a Q-line, as throngs of excited, chatty housewives purchased not one, but two bottles of French-like Bubble Bath… because after the second bottle, the third one was free…
Story #3 began with a foray into Casual Fridays as relaxed shoppers hung up their lemon and lime leisure suits and ventured to the city’s outskirts and the new Macon Mall for pullovers, corduroys, and jeans. Penny loafers were out. Work boots and Wranglers were in.
In an attempt to stay relevant, the resident Neel (of Neel’s), contacted the Guinness Book of World Records, where the store proudly took the coveted spot of the longest, continual advertising campaign (97 straight years in the local Macon Telegraph).
As mega-malls continued to emerge, downtowns throughout America began shuttering their doors. Roland Neel, the fifth generation Joseph N Neel – Manager – in – Training and heir apparent, watched his family’s historic dynasty come to a quiet and unheralded close. A young newlywed with two small children, Roland wondered what he’d do, in unfamiliar territory, to feed his growing family.
While boxing up personal things from his Great-Great-Grandfather’s office, Roland ran across a box of receipts… from the “Beauty Corner” of the store. The box told bold secrets – stories of how Macon women had come into their own – in front of two floors of floor-length mirrors, in his family’s store, over the course of a century.
Roland knew what he had to do. He called his wife, Kay, his business partner and, he thinks, a chemist or two. He can’t remember, for sure; but, the first thing he did was reverse engineer the miracle bubble bath that had taken the store (and secretaries and socialites) by storm.
For more than two decades Roland and his wife continued manufacturing many of the prized potions that had kept Middle Georgia women, well, beautiful. News soon spread, as news often does, and other stores began requesting products for their stores. Other states called. Then, other countries…
2015 marked the beginning of story #4. In June of that very hot summer, Roland Neel had lunch with a childhood friend, me, and my husband, John. That day, Roland told us that he felt he had exhausted his knowledge of making “girl” things and wanted to move on to more virile ventures, (such as acquiring Mrs. Griffin’s Barbecue and hanging out at tailgate parties – Go Dawgs!).
Little did Roland know that we had been praying for an opportunity to move back home, to Middle Georgia, to help care for our aging parents. We were already formulators of a successful Superfood brand of bath and body products in Atlanta, and we saw Private Label as the next step to share our “whole foods approach” to skincare with the world.
At 1:35 pm on a Tuesday, over a greasy pizza at a Mercer University eaterie, the deal was done; and now, five years later, what began as a bubble bath “knock-off” has grown into 700 truly All Natural Products (in over 200 mesmerizing Essential Oil Blends).
All of our ingredients are Fair Trade Sourced, non-GMO, cruelty-, phthalate-, paraffin-, mineral oil-, petroleum-, and gluten-free. We source our products from every continent (except Antarctica) and gratefully, ship worldwide.
We are a Faith-, Family-, and Patriotic-Owned business who are “in it” as much for a heavenly outcome as we are an earthly income. If this feels like home to you, please visit every page of our growing site. After all, we built it for you.
It Only Takes a Phone Call to 478.475.0039.