Self care and wellbeing have been brought to the fore in recent months, as we all grapple with life in the wake of Covid 19.
One of the biggest collective takes from lockdown has been the need to prioritise self-care and create little moments of calm and inner peace in our lives, even in the face of global upheaval. Wellbeing product sales vastly outstripped vanity in the beauty sector during the first month of lockdown according to the British Beauty Council, with skincare, bath and body products unsurprisingly dominating sales. With data compiled by Google Trends showing that searches for “skincare at home” have increased by more than 100% since February, Fabric of the North meets three ethical wellbeing brands based in the North who have developed their own unique formulations to help soothe your mind and body from the stressors of the 21st Century.
“The inspiration behind Bonum Pellis came from a love of design, travel, fashion and interiors,” says founder Timothy Bosworth. “I wanted to create a gender-neutral body and skincare range that celebrates difference, whilst understanding the needs of today’s modern consumer concerns.”
“It has always been my intention to carefully curate a selection of globally inspired products for home and everyday use,” Timothy says, “with a timeless elegance for the modern man and woman. Behind the brand is an ethos about connecting and sharing stories, whilst curating products that are well made and have a true quality about them.” Bonum Pellis (Latin for good skin) is the first product Timothy has brought to market; a British natural, vegan and cruelty free skincare brand designed to facilitate positive change by celebrating the beauty in difference. With a background in Psychology, Timothy spent several years in London after graduating, working in corporate sales and digital publishing, but tells me he drew a lot of inspiration from his wife and sisters-in-law, who all worked for large skincare and cosmetics brands, including Creme da la Mer, Tom Ford, Murad Skincare and Neom Organics. With the launch of Bonum Pellis, Timothy was keen to position his modern wellbeing brand away from the traditional aesthetic of skincare brands, and tells me he would love for Bonum Pellis to be seen as “the Aesop or Haeckels of the North.”
“Our vision is to inspire people to celebrate the beauty in diversity, whilst creating effective and simple to use products that work,” he tells me. “We do this by being open and honest, whilst being transparent about where, why and how our products are made, giving you the information needed to make the most informed decision.” All of their products are natural, vegan and cruelty free, and prepared in limited run small batches for optimal blends. Their formulations for hand and body combine premium natural ingredients from carefully selected single origin essential oils, designed to gently cleanse and hydrate your skin.
The launch collection, the Essentials range, is inspired by summer evenings in the Mediterranean, blending the heady scents of neroli and mandarin. “Neroli essential oil has been traditionally used to uplift mood and fight depression,” says Timothy, “and also as a way to enhance libido, protect wounds against infections, and kill bacteria. Neroli essential oil is also known to speed up the fading of scars and marks, whilst promoting cell growth. Mandarin essential oil protects, relaxes and increases blood and lymph circulation, whilst promoting growth and regeneration of cells and generally toning up the body. All our essential oils are 100% natural and rich in antioxidants, designed to cleanse the body and clear the mind.”
All of their products are sold in sleek 200ml and 500ml flat rectangular amber glass bottles, purposefully designed to be refilled and recycled. Timothy tells me that all of their packaging and branding have been considered across various touch points, using textures and colours that are representative of different skin tones. “We all have lines,” he says, “and they are our memories of our past and present. The 3 lines running across the centre and sides of our bottles represent the three skin layers we all have, and are a tribute to how fantastic we think you are and can be.”
Right from the outset, Bonum Pellis have tried to set themselves apart with a mission to inspire positive change through their ‘Do Good’ principles, and their belief that good skin comes from spending time with friends and family, eating good food, spending time in nature, and going on adventures. “We like to showcase the things we are inspired by,” says Timothy, “like travel, design, fashion, interiors and informative content.” As the owner of Hoxton North, a London-inspired restaurant, coffee shop and bar in Harrogate, Timothy is a well-known entrepreneur in the area. The Bonum Pellis skincare line is just the start of the product selection he plans to curate, with a unisex workwear Everyday Jacket currently in the production and due to launch for pre-order on their website on 1 September.
All photography © Bonum Pellis, used with permission.
“Pamoja is a clean and conscious skincare brand designed for modern lifestyles,” says formulator and founder, Sarah Taylor. “I was inspired to create a brand for busy, eco-conscious women, like me, who want a simple skincare ritual that gives them healthy glowing skin and a moment of calm.”
The name ‘Pamoja’ is actually a Swahili word meaning ‘together’, inspired by Sarah’s Tanzanian heritage. “My background is pretty different,” she tells me. “I studied the environment at university, then worked in the social housing sector before taking a career break to be a full time mum. As a busy mum, I understand how stressful modern life can be and how important it is to make time for wellbeing. Making the most of even small moments for calm, mindful and peaceful practises really does makes a difference!”
Driven by a desire to work in the modern wellbeing industry she loved, and fit her work around her family, Sarah decided to take a leap of faith and retrain in organic skincare formulation. “I’ve always loved skincare,” she says. “Looking after my skin has been a big priority from a young age, and very much part of a holistic approach to beauty. But during my career break, I experienced severe skin sensitivities, and so set out on a journey to understand what I was putting on my skin.” Confusing and ‘hard to read’ product labels inspired her to hand make her own natural, organic skincare that transformed my skin. “I loved feeling closer to nature and knowing exactly what I was putting on my skin,” she tells me. “So I created a simple, pared back routine that suited my desire for a more sustainable lifestyle, and gave me a moment of calm that I looked forward to at the end of a busy day. Then friends and family fell in love with my products, and the seed of an idea was sown.”
Sarah went on to train with Formula Botanica, the award winning and accredited School of Organic Cosmetic Science, which she tells me was the real inspiration for turning her passion into a business. “My ethos is very much about creating value and happiness for people with beautiful skincare while minimising impact on the planet,” she says, “so I’ve deliberately created a small range of products that have been thoughtfully designed to be multi-tasking, long lasting, effective and a joy to use.”
Reset, Restore and Revive is a simple skincare ritual designed to cleanse, treat and moisturise your skin and leave it feeling calm, nourished and thoroughly pampered. “I like to think of RRR like a capsule wardrobe,” Sarah says, “high quality, hardworking products in your routine that are super effective and effortless to use, yet have that self care, feel good factor in abundance! They help you to take a mindful moment of calm at the end of a long day, melt away stress and relax before a good night’s sleep.” Her bijou collection has certainly garnered rave reviews and a bit of a cult following, with her luxuriously buttery Reset Cleansing Balm winning Editor’s Choice at the Beauty Shortlist Awards 2020, and her Revive Multi-Action Face Cream and Restore Multipurpose Beauty Oil also being commended.
Sarah was adamant when she started her brand that she did not want to use palm oil derivatives in any of her products, and has instead cultivated long-lasting relationships with a small number of suppliers who provide high quality, cruelty free, vegan and ethically sourced ingredients. “I make every product by hand in small batches,” she tells me “using renewable energy. My products are sold in recyclable containers with no outer box and plastic free, biodegradable delivery packaging. Of course, there is always more work to do, but this is a starting point on my journey!”
“I think the pandemic has really focused everyone’s minds on wellbeing, community and the environment,” she says, “and going forward, I think it’s important for the beauty industry as a whole be more transparent, sustainable and inclusive, and for products and services to show how they contribute to better wellbeing. In the midst of a pandemic – and major recession – the future is very uncertain, but I’m positive. I think there are lots of opportunities for brands to do things differently.”
All photography © Pamoja, used with permission.
“It was my own personal experience of being a consumer of both natural skincare and aromatherapy products that led me to launching my own skincare and wellness project,” ede founder Eve Williams told me when I interviewed her on Fabric of my Life earlier this year. “I first began formulating my own natural skincare products to cure my acne in my early 20s and I found a natural progression towards aromatherapy happened through self help in dealing with anxiety.”
Wellness and particularly self-care have always been at the forefront of Eve’s mind for many years. “I once bought an aromatherapy rollerball called the ‘Trauma’ blend to calm the nerves and ease anxiety,” she tells me, “and myself and my partner were laughing in case anyone ever asked me what scent I was wearing! I felt like ede could bridge that gap of aromatherapy, and the language we use to express our feelings and emotions in our modern day lives, and offer something that felt more individual and personal.”
With the rise in education and conversation surrounding mental health, comes the inevitable rise of modern wellbeing and self-care products, and Eve ultimately sees aromatherapy as an important source of self-care. Eve believed the age-old practice needed a new wave that paralleled our fast-moving lifestyles, and her ‘Aromatherapy for this century’ range is designed to break down the stressors of modern life and offers a lift for the senses. “Aromatherapy is such a positive addition to a lot of people’s daily lives,” she says, “and can be such a great vehicle for self-care, whether you struggle with your mental health or not. It is an enjoyable activity that you can place into your everyday life as a small self-preservation tool, whether that’s lighting an essential oil candle, adding oils to your bath, or rolling them onto your pulse points as an act of self-love.”
ede’s own collection of roller balls are an affordable entry point to aromatherapy. “The best way to get the full benefits of oil blends is by inhalation, or through the skin,” says Eve, “and our rollerballs are conveniently packaged to help you directly apply the oil to your pulse points and inhale the aroma wherever you are, so you can optimise – and prioritise – your health and wellbeing on the go.”
The bde rollerball, aka ‘big d*ck energy’ (or ‘best day ever’ if your nan’s asking!), is ede’s cult bestseller in the making. “Most of my creative ideas come to me just as I’m trying to get to sleep,” says Eve. “I had a ‘confidence’ formula blended, but the word felt too obvious. I laughed to myself at the thought of naming the rollerball blend after the online phenomenon that was ‘bde’. I noted down the idea so I would remember in the morning and fell asleep. I began jokingly telling friends about the idea of naming my confidence roll on after ‘big d*ck energy’ and they took it more seriously than expected! I was anxious before the launch of the product about whether people would ‘get it’ or be repulsed by it. The meaning behind ‘bde’ is knowing and trusting your own self-worth. The feeling of having your sh*t together and I felt like this was such an important feeling that we all want to grasp in times of our lives when we feel the most overwhelmed and all consumed. It’s ultimately become my favourite blend, and the one I resonate with most.”
ede work with trusted suppliers who source Soil Association certified plant materials from organic farming, to guarantee that both the plant ingredients and the earth are simultaneously cared for. “Our approach to skincare and wellness is holistic,” says Eve, “and we want that process to begin at the seed. Every product is made in small batches here in the North of England, we package our products in glass as it is infinitely recyclable, and offer options to go plastic-free at the checkout.”
The recent lockdown proved a blessing in disguise for Eve, who tells me she hadn’t previously had the chance to work on her brand full time. “Having only launched earlier this year,” she says, “we’re not expecting overnight growth but this time has been invaluable to see what can happen when we have more energy to put into sharing our message and building a community. I think we are all searching for new methods of self-care for our personal routines at this unprecedented time, whatever that looks like to the individual. 2020 has really been an invaluable opportunity for people to get to know our brand and learn about our mission. I’ve spoken to so many customers, retailers and other small businesses and feel like I’ve made friends with many of them. There is such a great small business support network online that I’ve seen and been a part of over these last few months. It’s so lovely how everyone shares advice and their skills to help each other advance and pursue all of our ideas. As much as social media can be all consuming, I feel like we’re so lucky to have it as a free platform to share and grow our ideas into businesses! I also love that customers feel like they can reach out to me over DMs if they have any questions or need advice, and I’m always happy to help.”
She’s also had time recently to dedicate to developing a charity product. “I can’t give up much more information than that,” she says, “but it’s something that’s close to me and my life experience, so it definitely reflects that and I think a lot of other people will relate to its reason and meaning too.” Watch this space!
All imagery © ede, used with permission.