Today, we have Louise from Wild Earth Beauty. Louise's knowledge about ethical toiletries and cosmetics blew me away and I had to have her on the blog sharing her story. Also pop over to our Facebook page where we have a lovely competition for a bundle from both of us.
Tell us a bit about you and your business.
I was an Oncology nurse for just under 20 years. Throughout this time I met lots of marvellous people and I became aware of exactly how many chemicals an individual person is exposed to throughout the day. I became frustrated with purchasing my "natural" skincare only to come home, read the ingredients list and find not all was as it seemed. While lots of ingredients, may be natural, I did not want them on my body. Or they were labelled organic but were really only 10% organic. Alongside this, some of these brands were originally great but now are owned by a huge corporation, who sell in China and test on animals.
I wanted products from brands that were completely real and transparent in all they did, right from ingredient sourcing to packaging choices. To do this I looked at lots of small and medium sized brands from around the UK, some who've won awards and press recognition, but others I have found from word of mouth and trying some of their gorgeous products. All had ethical values and transparency with no green washing.
All this research was very time consuming so the idea came to form a store that offered a thoughtfully curated selection of the UK's best artisan ethical skincare products, that use sustainable natural, non-toxic ingredients, are 100% cruelty-free, and are vegan-friendly.
This meant that the customer could see lots of brands side by side, ideally getting the best from each brand in your skincare regime, or purchase a fabulous gift which pulls together a mixture of great brands.
To help people make the right personal product choice, I want to build an active community of reviewers and commentators. To encourage this I have a Reviewers Loyalty Scheme where you gain free gifts and discount codes for quality real reviews. You don't have to join any club or sign up for the newsletter, all you have to do is review a product purchased from us. Then in the next few days, you get a surprise in the post!
Packaging is very important, we like things to look pretty, but they also need to be responsible. 95% of our packaging is home compostable and we offer a small discount if you opt for reused packaging materials.
What inspired you to start an ethical beauty business?
My interest in green natural beauty started when I was an Oncology nurse in London. I was newly pregnant and treating a lot of ladies my age, with breast cancer. There had just been a study published that questioned the use of aluminium in antiperspirants and whether there was a link between them and cancer. I started looking around for alternatives and found they were hard to find. In those days you had to go to a health food shop to buy, or they just did not work, or worse they were not as authentic as the packaging made out. I wanted to have a store where you could see the products that worked and you could see this by customer reviews, where products of brands were only stocked if they met ethical standards of transparency in ingredients, packaging, fair trade and animal testing.
What are your favourite products that you stock? If you can choose!
So hard to choose but here goes...
Nathalie Bond Organics Rose Geranium & Patchouli Bath Salts-- I absolutely love these when my hormones dip or if I am feeling stressed or anxious about something.
Corinne Taylor Body Butter-- So hydrating, especially good for winter, not one to put on under clothes though! It's a special treat before bed!
Lucy Bee Coconut Oil-- I use it for everything!!
Mallow & White Skincare -- A total game changer for my acne prone, eczema, sensitive skin. With only 6 ingredients or less, my skin loves the whole range, I am not sure I will go back to water based products again.
Mooncup-- Why I have never used one of these before I do not know. I have been using it since Xmas and would never go back to pads, so easy and of course better for the environment.
Fresh Therapies Natural Nail Varnish Remover--no nasties, it works, smells nice and safe enough for pregnancy and little girls.
What are the essentials to a‘green’beauty regime?
For the essential everyday beauty regime, I would say that less is more. Fewer ingredients in products, higher quality products, products that can be used for more than one thing, and understanding the value in just one ingredient such as an Epsom salt bath, Coconut oil used as a moisturiser, or Castor oil on your hair. Mother nature has provided, I do not think we can improve much on her offering.
When you are sourcing products for your shop, what do you look for?
Firstly I look for products that work, have a good following, plenty of reviews, and I have tried and tested. I'm also looking for products that meet ethical standards of transparency in ingredients, packaging, fair trade and animal testing.
I research all the ingredients and if I think an ingredient has a question mark over its safety I do not stock the product it contains. I also make the product listing totally transparent with the total number of ingredients and what the ingredients are so customers can make informed choices. Informed choice is important. I am not a huge fan of preservatives but understand they occasionally need to be there, in a water based product for example. Baby wipes usually have lots of ingredients including preservatives, so I have selected one or two of the best choices based on the ingredients and environmental concerns of using disposable baby wipes.
I look at the brand's ethical and environmental policies and see if they practice what they preach. I try as a customer first and then I order for Wild Earth Beauty. Sometimes there is a difference, I have had the same brand send compostable packaging for the customer order and polystyrene peanuts and plastic for the Wild Earth Beauty order. That maybe a small thing but it does make me look twice at a brand.
I also look to source mostly from the UK. We have some great real authentic brands in this country and I like to shout about them! I only look outside the UK if I cannot get the product or quality I would want from inside the UK.
What's next for Wild Earth Beauty?
We have just recently re-branded and I am thrilled with the new packaging and website.
I also have a huge list of new brands I want to bring to the site. It does take time though to bring a new brand on, to try them out and do the research.
An expanded Gift Collection and a "Make your Own" Collection is planned for the autumn.
And last but not least I need to do some more writing! I have been told I have so much valuable information in my head from all my researching that I need to write it all down!
Hope you enjoyed reading Louise's story. I am a complete convert when it comes to my green beauty routine!