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Interview: Indie Botanicals

Interview with Indie Botanicals
There is a new brand on my radar and I invited the founder, Kate for an interview so she could introduce herself and products.

Tell us a little bit about how Indie Botanicals began? 
Indie Botanicals was born by accident if I'm completely honest! I have always been interested in skincare and beauty; you name it, I've tried it. From the high street to complete fads to high-end beauty products, I've tried it all! Following a holiday in the Indian Ocean, I had developed a sensitivity to SPF which required long-term antihistamines and steroids to get under control and from that time on, sensitivity seemed to lead to sensitivity and before I knew it, I seemed to be reacting to almost everything I put on my skin. Having previously qualified as an aromatherapist but never actually practised, I’d developed a keen interest in the qualities and benefits of the various carrier oils available in addition to the staggering effects of essential oils. As I hadn't been able to find anything on the market which suited my skin, I began to experiment at home and very quickly my skin calmed. I was convinced that my skin type had always been dry but as I removed all the preservatives, emulsifiers, alcohols, synthetic fragrances etc from the formulations I was putting on my skin, I began to realise that my so-called dryness was in fact sensitivity! Having become somewhat disillusioned in my previous job I decided to see if I could turn the formulations I’d discovered into a cottage industry. I then went on a yoga retreat to the magical Molino del Rey in AndalucĂ­a and whilst in a tranquil and positive environment, I decided to resign from my full time job and see if with my full attention I could make the dream come true.

What does Indie Botanicals do to limit its impact on the environment and how does the company support a more sustainable future? 
At Indie Botanicals we have a strong ethical stance not only in what we try to achieve at the moment but we’re also committed to increasing out education regarding the ethical issues surrounding our ingredients and the industry and adapting our activities as we see fit. Our ethical policy is one that will evolve and unfold as we grow.

We are part of the ‘Made in Britain’ campaign and are very much committed to manufacturing within the UK. We vow now to never outsource our manufacture to outside of the UK as we believe in supporting our local economy and that goes further than just our activities. For example, the make-up bags that our Discovery Kits are supplied in are produced by another UK company who started up at a very similar time to us and are equally as committed to producing their goods in the UK.

In terms of our ingredients we look carefully at the impact on the local economy and environment where our ingredients are sourced and make informed decisions based on this. Where possible and practical, we like to support the economy of areas where our ingredients are native to – whilst this sometimes means paying more, we firmly believe that this makes sense not only ethically but also in terms of quality. As Indie Botanicals grows, we will be looking to source as many of our ingredients as possible directly from country as opposed to through a middleman whilst intending to keep our costs the same thus paying more to the source.

Our ethical stance continues throughout our packaging too – we use as much glass packaging as possible not only because we believe it preserves our products the best way but it is also the easiest to recycle. All our postal packaging in FSC approved and even our void fill is natural.

Our cleansing balms and lip treatments currently contain beeswax, however, as a result of listening to customer feedback and also reflective of our evolving ethical policy, the entire Indie Botanicals range will become vegan by June 2016.

Interview with Indie Botanicals exfoliating grains
Why is natural/organic skincare important to you? 
Natural skincare is important to us because it works… It’s as simple as that. The results we've had with the Indie Botanicals range have knocked the socks off everything and anything else we've tried. For the first time in 30-something years I'm able to leave the house without makeup on; my skin in calm, clear and balanced. And being oil based, it works for everyone; it nourishes dry or dehydrated skin whilst allowing oily skin to regulate and balance. As I’ve gone through this journey, I've learnt so much about the ingredients in conventional skincare and I can honestly say I’d never go back. Do I want to apply a petrochemical, water, chemical preservative and emulsifier mix masquerading as moisturiser to my skin? No way! And that ignores all the nano-particle ingredients etc which just quite frankly terrify me. Yes natural skincare can be seen as ‘low-tech’ but to be honest, that’s the way I’d prefer something that my skin is going to absorb to me… And for the record, it does most definitely work – I'm in my mid-30s and was asked for ID the other week – keeping your eye area hydrated and nourished is simply magic for an anti-aging effect….!

What do you find most challenging when formulating products? 
Indie Botanicals is an oil based range. We don’t include any water in any of our products as we wish not to have to use a chemical preservative in our range and by law, if water is present, microbial growth can occur and so you must include one and in our experience, they can lead to sensitivity and irritation hence we’d rather formulate in such a fashion that one isn't required. This has led us to difficulties in terms of trying to fulfil the ‘normal’ products that our customers expect to see… Our cleansing balm fits people’s expectations perfectly and is rapidly becoming our ‘hero’ product as it does its job so effectively whilst leaving the skin perfectly nourished. We don’t have a toner in our range as a.) our cleanser doesn't alter the pH of your skin so it’s not required and b.) it would need to be water based which is a no-go for us as stated above. Our moisturiser is in the format of our facial oils which whilst were a joy to formulate, it has been challenging to educate our customers that our facial oils contains the ‘good part’ of their normal moisturiser whilst leaving all the more undesirable ingredients out and therefore this will do the same job, just better!

Interview with Indie Botanicals facial oils
What have been the highs and/or lows of establishing Indie Botanicals? 
If I'm completely honest, establishing Indie Botanicals has been one massive high… It’s been a lot of hard work and a huge investment in time, energy and of course, as with any new venture, finances, but to date I've loved all of it. I think there are probably the two moments that really stand out for me. Firstly, seeing our logo printed for the first time was incredible and made the whole dream suddenly seem very real. Secondly, and to me most importantly, hearing from our customers the results that they’re experiencing, especially when they've previously had difficulties with their skin and they suddenly find that the Indie Botanicals system is not only incredibly simple but really allows their skin to heal and their confidence improve; for me, that’s an incredible feeling to know that I've played a part in that….

What does the future hold for Indie Botanicals? 
Indie Botanicals is still very much in its infancy as we only launched at the end of 2015 but having said that, we still have great plans. During 2016 our range will go vegan as already mentioned and we also plan to launch a facial range for gents and a hand serum. Our full range is of course already available online through our website (www.indiebotanicals.com) and also through Akasha Wellness in Bishop’s Stortford but we’re in talks to partner several beauty boutiques and there’s another collaboration on the cards that we’re very excited about!

Do you have any skincare tips to share with readers? 
I think the main tip that I’d want to share with readers is to be patient with your skin. It’s the largest organ we own and has to deal with so much. If your skin isn't behaving in the way you’d like, be patient with it and try to work out why not. I've seen many people who are having problems with their skin simply throw every potion and lotion they can find at it and I’d argue that when our skin is reacting in such a way, we need to take a step back. Nourish your skin but in a gentle and calm manner. Question every ingredient you apply to your skin; if you don’t know what an ingredient is or what it does for your skin, ask! I firmly believe in supporting our customers through the entire time they’re using Indie Botanicals for the time they start and through any changes they may experience with their skin. I also believe that less is more; if you’re having to use 5, 6, 7, 8 products from a range, ask why? What are they realistically adding to your beauty regime? At Indie Botanicals we offer a no-quibble money back guarantee on our products as great results and happy customers are what matter to us; if you choose the wrong variation for your skin type we’ll exchange it for you and if you aren't happy with the products we’ll refund them. Oh and my last tip which I swear by is to drink water; it’s not a myth, it really, really works!

.......end of interview......

I would like to thank Kate for her fabulous answers and insight into the brand. Make sure you check out her website (linked above) or follow on Twitter @IndieBotanicals

Sarah x