Introducing the people behind Native Secrets, a First Nations-owned skincare and essential oils brand that The Fair Trader is now stocking.
Native Secrets co-founders, Phil and Cherie Thompson with their two daughters
Where: Based near Dubbo, central New South Wales, Australia, on Wiradjuri land
Who: Co-founded and run by First Nations couple, Phil and Cherie Thompson
Products: Essential oils, skincare and haircare made from Australian natives
Ingredients: White Cypress wood and leaf essential oils, Lemon Scented Gum essential oil, Buddha Wood essential oil, Kakadu Plum, Davidson Plum, Finger Lime and Lemon Myrtle
Values: First Nations-owned, keeping traditional cultural knowledge alive, Australian made, sustainability
"I just love being in the bush and extracting oils out of native plants, and learning about our Indigenous culture and how we would have known and learned about these plants over generations of time."
- Phil Thompson, Native Secrets Co-founder (via ABC)
Native Secrets was co-founded by Indigenous husband and wife team Cherie and Phil Thompson. Essential oils are extracted from wild harvested Australian natives on Wiradjuri Country (central New South Wales) then added to skincare and haircare products. The primary oil they work with comes from the White Cypress tree (Callitris columellaris), a native pine that grows wild. The oil is extracted from the trees using steam, and then refined on Gadigal land (Sydney).
“It’s one hundred per cent pure, no chemicals or additives. And the smell, it’s like a pine forest.”
- Phil Thompson
Senior Wiradjuri elder, Peter Peckham
Native Secrets draws on traditional Indigenous knowledge about bush medicine. Co-founder Phil consulted with Wiradjuri elder Peter Peckham when he began the business. Peter talked about how traditionally the White Cypress tree leaves were heated and applied to wounds; a natural inflammatory. The wood was also traditionally used to create spears, spear throwers, ceremonial objects, paddles and musical sticks.
The trees thrive in dry conditions and produce more oil during a drought, a survival strategy that has allowed them to endure on country for millennia.
White Cypress heartwood
By managing the growth of the White Cypress trees, Phil and Cherie's business is helping to restore the local ecosystem. Left alone, the tree trunks grow too close together, growing narrow and high as they fight for the sun's rays.
White Cypress Trees