Draft: Meet the Maker: corrine @ Corinne Taylor

Corinne Taylor is a qualified aromatherapist and has created a gorgeous brand and range of absolutely amazing organic products that smell INCREDIBLE.
 
All products are 100% free from Palm oil, sls, parabens, synthetic fragrance and mineral oils, and are never animal tested. Each and every product is made and tested in house in their workshop in the rural East Sussex countryside, using only natural, organic & vegan friendly ingredients. From therapeutic grade essential oils to non-GMO Soy wax, each ingredient is hand picked by Corinne for a specific therapeutic purpose.
I love stocking Corinne's products on my store as I am really looking to increase my organic range. From dry shampoo, water free face masks and bath salts, Corinne creates the most beautiful blends of essential oils that not only smell great, but do wonders for your skin and mind. So, lets hear from Corinne shall we...
 
Skincare quick fire questions
Favourite essential oil and why This is very difficult as there are so many that I love! I would probably say Grapefruit for its uplifting benefits. It has such a happy scent and always makes me feel recharged.
Favourite skincare ingredient and why I love using clays, as they are packed full of minerals and have so many benefits for the skin and our health. They are also very versatile - we use them in our three mineral face masks, soothe body scrub, talc free body powder and our dry shampoo. There are a wide variety of natural clays available which all have different benefits, for example French Pink Clay for soothing sensitive skin and Bentonite Clay for detoxification.
Your one product you couldn’t live without The Dry Shampoo! I use it almost every day as I try to limit how often I wash my hair. It always leaves it feeling fresh and is quick and easy to use.
 
Tell us a bit about your Sunday self-care routine...
I love a relaxing bath on a Sunday evening ahead of getting back into the busy working week. I will always create a relaxing environment in my bathroom with our Soy Aromatherapy Candles and Room Mists which are made using pure essential oils. I will then use our Himalayan Bath Salts, and choose a specific blend depending on how I feel at the time. My favourite is the Recharge with Grapefruit, Ylang Ylang and Orange. If my skin is particularly dry, usually in the winter, I will add in a couple of our organic bath melts which add extra nourishment to the bath with Shea and Cocoa Butters. After the bath I love to use our Flower Water Face & Body Mist to hydrate my skin and the scent is also super relaxing.
Let's hear your top tips for reducing waste...
Grocery shopping: In supermarkets, we always bring your own bags and aim for loose fruit and veg rather than plastic wrapped. Shopping local is important too, as we like to support small independent businesses and farms whenever possible. If possible bulk buy pantry items such as rice, pasta, beans, seeds, nuts etc rather than buying small individually wrapped ones each week. You can go to a local refill station or a wholesalers for this, it also saves money! You can also bring your own containers for weighing things at the supermarket, most shops are very open to this now. Being extra vigilant and checking packaging is also important as there can be unsustainable packaging where you may not expect it, like plastic in many tea bags for example.
Reducing waste at home: Planning your daily meals for the week on a Sunday is always a good idea, then doing a food shop from your list - so you only buy what you need. Bring any old food to the front of the fridge to use first and always check dates. If you have a lot of fruit and veg which are starting to soften and go old make a veggie soup or stew. With fruits, you could make a smoothie or a big deseret like banana bread or apple crumble, which will hopefully last you most of the week!  If you have a garden its great to make a compost pile for any food waste.
We have also swapped cling film for vegan wax wraps, and have bamboo straws for drinking smoothies and juices.
Now let's get into the nitty gritty. We can't wait to see what it's like behind the scenes running an aromatherapy brand...
 
Can you give us an insight into why you created your brand and what was your very first product? After training to become an aromatherapist and working in my first therapist job, I was amazed to learn first hand the benefits of essential oils by using them with my clients through massage. I then began to experiment by making products containing essential oils to compliment my treatments, such as bath salts to de stress or boost energy. Soon friends and family wanted to buy from us and we started selling at a market stall at weekends. My partner Dan had worked previously as a graphic designer, so was able to create all of the labels and banners, whilst I worked on the product blends. After a few months we attended local markets and launched an Etsy store, selling our initial range of bath salts, candles and soap. Then around a year later we launched our website. Now five years on we have expanded into wholesale supplying over 50 retailers in the UK as well as stores in Europe and Japan.
 
How have you found starting a business and what have been your biggest struggles? I absolutely love running a business, but there is always a new challenge around the corner and it is a constant learning curve. Sourcing packaging that is high quality, sustainable and fit for purpose has been quite challenging. We are constantly researching and testing new options. There also comes the challenge of scaling up the business quickly, and being able to produce our products in short time scales for stockists. Although it can be hard work we try to learn from every mistake and difficulty, and I honestly feel I have grown so much as a person since running this business.  
 
Running a business that puts sustainability at it’s heart is harder than most. Why is this important to you? We only have one world, and we need to take care of it. We are now at a tipping point in history where we are fast approaching destruction and action needs to be taken. I think it is so important that everyone does their bit and It’s good to be able to sleep at night knowing we are hopefully playing a small part in bringing the planet back to balance. Also by creating sustainable products and raising awareness this will hopefully have a knock on effect to other people.
 
What considerations/steps do you take - i.e. packaging/ sourcing materials/certification etc. All of our ingredients are 100% natural, and organic wherever possible. Our entire range is also certified cruelty free with Cruelty Free International (the Leaping Bunny) and are all registered with the Vegan Society. This is really important to us because it not only means that no animals are being exploited, but also because our products do not have any detrimental effect on the environment.
 
In terms of our packaging, the majority is glass and we are always taking steps to bring in more sustainable options. For example we are currently switching to aluminum closures for a number of our jars from plastic.
 
For packing orders we use sustainable cardboard boxes, eco friendly packing tape and biodegradable loose fill which is made from corn starch and immediately dissolves with water. We are also switching from a plastic shrink wrap (which we use to hold glass bottles together in large wholesale orders) to a biodegradable version.
 
Any struggles? Finding packaging that is both practical and user friendly, whilst also being sustainable can be quite challenging. We are constantly researching and testing! it is so important that the product is kept fresh and unfortunately a lot of the biodegradable options often are not effective. Our Cruelty Free certification was also quite challenging at times, as we are certified down to a supplier level and some suppliers would not cooperate with us. On the plus side it meant we found new suppliers who align with our values and were willing to cooperate on something so important.
 
Although customers are fully on board with reducing packaging and non-recyclable waste, it’s much harder up the supply chain. Can you briefly share how this works at your business from supplier packaging to sourcing ingredients and your own packaging. Most of our ingredients suppliers who we have been working with for quite a while now use biodegradable packing chips and non plastic tape, due to them also being ethical and natural ingredient suppliers they are also very conscious of this. It is much harder with our packaging suppliers as the majority of it is glass which needs protecting. We have been very vocal when there has been an unnecessary amount of packaging used, and we only work with companies who are willing to listen to our concerns around this. For example we are currently switching suppliers for our glass jars to a more ethical company who have much better working practises. If we do receive bubble wrap, this is always re-used for our Amazon orders, as we are not permitted to use our usual eco loose fill when shipping to their fulfilment centres.
 
I’m actually really interested in what your day looks like. When did you take the leap to working full time on your aromatherapy products and how do you structure your day? I have been running the business for over 5 years and for the first three years I was also a practising Holistic Therapist, carrying out treatments from home. So I was very much working the products around that. I gradually cut down my treatments and eventually decided to focus full time on the products around 18 months ago, and shortly after that we moved to our first commercial premises. I usually spend 3 days a week in the workshop over seeing orders and working on new products, then spend 2 days working from my home office focusing on admin and marketing. I always have a list of tasks which I write the night before ( I could not function if I didn't do this! ), which I look at first thing and plan my day. My working day starts around 9am and I always spend the first hour or two on emails. Then after that my days vary a lot depending on what we have going on. For example at the moment I am working on some new products so will usually spend a few hours a day developing and researching. We have two work shop assistants who do most of the making and packing the orders. Dan and I are always there to help and supervise and we help out with a large orders.
 
Alongside caring for the planet, all of your ingredients are natural and vegan. Why is this important to you? Vegan beauty products don’t contain any animal ingredients, animal by-products or animal-derived products, such as lanolin (which is the grease from sheep’s wool), carmine (from crushed cochineal insects) and uric acid from cows. These ingredients can be harsh and clog pores, so vegan products are a soothing alternative. The plant based ingredients in all of our formulas are packed full of highly beneficial vitamins and minerals, making them much kinder to our skin. Ingredients we use include oils, essential oils, clays, extracts and botanicals as well as soy wax for candles. We never include synthetic ingredients such as fragrance, sls, parabens and mineral oil, and our entire range is also Palm oil free.
 
We’re all about celebrating success at The Kind Store. We’d love to hear some of your favourite milestones and achievements reached since you started your brand.
After three and a half years working from home, finally being in a position to move to a commercial premises and expanding our team was a huge achievement for us. We have been able to grow so much more this year having a larger dedicated space as well as two fantastic workshop assistants. We have just completed our largest order to date for a corporate gifting company for 5000 of our Himalayan Bath Salts. Something we would never have been able to do from our tiny home workshop before we made the move to our current space! Another proud moment this year was winning our first two awards from The Beauty Shortlist, hopefully they will be the first of many!
And finally, what does the word ‘Kind’ mean to you?
To be thoughtful, empathetic and considerate to those around us, the world we live in and everything else within it!
 
Thank you Corinne and thank you to everybody reading the first batch of our Meet The Maker series. Let me know which other brands you'd like me to feature.
 
Tash x

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