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About Us

The historic Campana Building, Batavia, IL.

Thank you…

…for your interest in my Italian Balm and our opulent family of skin lotions and hand sanitizers. My name is Jim VanPetten and I am the founder of Italian Balm ‘authentic’ hand lotion.  I hope you enjoy my Italian Balm essential-oil hand-lotion, and sanitizers as much as I do, not only because they’re authentic but mainly because of their high-quality ingredients that very few have every been able to experience in our time.

Is this really authentic Italian Balm that was so popular in America for the first half of the 20th century?  I live just a few miles from the historic Campana building where Campana’s Italian Balm was made since the 1920’s. Although its now partially abandoned it stands. Its poise, beauty, and the Art-Deco design has inspired me for decades.

Always a romantic and fascinated with history, I booked up on Campana and learned everything there was to know about the wonderful lotion that was made here in the Fox-Valley of Illinois for decades. For the first part of the century Campana Italian Balm was actually one of the most popular lotions in America.  Unfortunately, by no fault of its own,its popularity ended due to its name,”Italian” balm, associated with our WWII enemy the Italians, allies to Nazi Germany.

On the side, I’m an avid antiquer and one day on my ventures I happened to stumble across a very old, hand-written recipe for hand lotion titled “Italian Balm” which was a generic reference to quality hand lotions way back when.  Its origin was suspiciously close to the home of Dr. Campana (the original formulator) in Ontario Canada, and It was dated 1898.   I immediately thought could be the original recipe for Dr. Campana’s Italian Balm? Eager to try it I sourced all the ingredients (sparing no expense) including a $500/oz. rose oil (attar of rose)–and they can sell for upwards of $2000/oz–don’t believe me?  check Amazon!

Attar of rose ($1,099/oz.)

The final result was amazing, and I was hooked. During the process I learned an awful lot about essential oil and how important it is to use only quality oils.  I quickly learned that there is NO comparison to the typical essential oils in the market today with price tags in the $10-$20/oz range and the ones that I like and now exclusively use.  The comparison was night and day.  But who could spend hundreds, thousands of dollars to really know the true bliss of quality-essential-oils?  I wanted to share these amazing ‘qualities’–aromatic, therapeutic, medicinal… (usually reserved for royalty) with everyone, my friends, family, the rest of the world. That alone was enough but soon there after I acquired an unopened bottle of Campana’s original and compared it to mine. You guessed it. A perfect match! I am now glad to share it with you and hope you enjoy the magical properties of this wonderful lotion and our other new blends  without spending thousands of dollars trying to make it yourself.