For the series Good Folk on this blog I have sent interview questions to some really wonderful people who are either making things, running shops, or generally promoting sustainability. I think you will enjoy reading their answers as much as I have, and I hope they inspire us all with the knowledge that there are people doing good in the world!
This interview is with Karen from Blomma Beauty, an organic beauty and well being brand dedicated to helping you find the right products for your skin type. Here Karen takes us through their journey.
Tell me about yourself and the work that you do.
I’m Karen and I’m the founder of Blomma Beauty, a natural and organic wellbeing store that represents independent beauty brands and makers. We have an online store and offer lots of different ways for people to discover organic beauty products. We host webinars, offer free consultations, skincare guides, a sample service and, pre Covid, would host lots of pop ups, workshops and meet the maker events so that people can try before they buy and make conscious decisions about their beauty regimes that match their ethics, skin type and lifestyle.
How or why did you get started?
I started the business for a couple of reasons. Firstly, my experience as a retail buyer showed me how the shopping experience on the high street was evolving and needed to be more experiential and educational for informed and conscious consumers to really engage with products and foster brand loyalty. Secondly, I’d made the switch to an organic beauty regime, about 7 years ago now, and I found it really difficult to navigate the ingredients and product claims. I was hearing that more and more people were creating organic products but I couldn’t find them, and certainly not from independent makers, so I wanted to create a platform that brings these incredible brands to people looking for natural and organic beauty products.
What are you most proud of?
I’m proud that we’re building something a little bit different. The mainstream beauty industry is centred on getting you to buy the latest lipstick shade, or convincing you that you need to have a different cream for every area of your face, there’s a constant cycle of marketing new things to you. I’m a believer that finding a few simple but really effective products can still achieve great results for your skin so by supporting our customers with education, sampling and great customer service to help them find products that are truly right for them is more sustainable not just for the environment by using less but for our business because we get happy customers returning time and time again.
What are your plans for the future?
I’m hopeful that following the pandemic we can get back to bringing our customers new events and we will also launch our first permanent studio space where people can come to shop, engage with brand founders, take a workshop, listen to a talk or have a treatment with our products.
Can you recommend any other makers or businesses that work in an ethical or sustainable way?
We have so many incredible ethical and sustainable brands that it’s hard to choose. A few personal favourites would be Ginger Green Co who hand make reusable facial rounds using organic cotton or up cycled cotton KIND2 shampoo bars are such an inspirational brand, not only is their packaging plastic free but they’ve made a shampoo bar that matches your scalp's pH so where some bars leave your hair a bit sticky, these ones really improve the condition of your hair.
They’ve also just had certification that the bars themselves are totally free of micro plastics so there’s nothing nasty going down the drain to our rivers and streams.
And then lastly, Odylique is such an incredible brand that’s been championing the benefits of organic ingredients for years, they’re a real trailblazer in the industry and have managed to certify lots of products organically that are notoriously difficult like make up, shampoo and suncream.
Do you have a motto or quote that defines your practice?
Feel beautiful without compromise is something which we really believe in. Whether it’s finding products that align with your values (organic, vegan, plastic free etc) or ones that contain only effective organic botanical ingredients we want our customers to feel confident and beautiful naturally with the products they choose from our store.
Do you have any advice for people trying to shop more ethically?
I think it can be a real minefield when you start to unravel the hundreds of layers that go into making a product that you can feel really torn and overwhelmed with what to prioritise. In truth there is no perfect product no matter how hard brands try so I would advise people to make a criteria that works for them and try to shop according to that criteria. Even making small changes can have a big impact so try not to be overwhelmed with getting it 100% right. We’ve written a blog for people who are new to shopping for conscious beauty products, our product pages list all the ingredients with links to explanations and also the conscious credentials of products so you’ll know easily if they match your criteria when shopping from us.
What does a typical day look like for you?
In the mornings I’ll focus on packing up and shipping our orders. This takes quite a bit of time because I include handwritten notes and a sample that compliments what people have bought. Then I’ll mainly spend time improving and adding to our website, or perhaps filming some content with a brand for our social and YouTube channels. At the moment I’m working on a conscious Christmas gift guide for our community. If people join our mailing list they get a free e book quarterly as well as access to all of our video content and exclusive offers so this is going to be the Christmas edition of that. I try to finish the day catching up on emails but I am very slow on this usually!
What’s your favourite thing to do with your free time and why?
Usually I’d say keeping active, I love walking and cycling around London but after this year, it’s such a treat to sit in my friend's garden and share a glass of wine on a Friday…simple pleasures as long as it can last!
What would be the top thing that you would change about the way we treat the planet if you could?
Obsolescence culture whether that’s how we consume or how industries make products now, not much is built to last or even be repaired and I think that’s speeding up a lot of issues that are being talked about now in relation to our environment.