This week I had the opportunity to meet the lovely and bubbly Jo-Anne Chidley, the Flounder of the brand Beauty Kitchen and have a little chitchat about her brand. (Yes, I intended to write flounder because that’s what Jo calls herself as founder of the brand, together with the slogan –I’m not perfect but at least I’m not fake-, she wants to bring the message that no one is perfect. #iagree)
I thought it would be nice to share my questions and her answers with you guys so you can read it all down below but first of all, what is Beauty Kitchen?
Beauty Kitchen is a brand that creates beauty products that are:
- 100 % natural
- 100% effective
- 100% affordable
- that only contain 100% pure essential oils plus naturally derived ingredients that will never cost the earth
- never tested on animals (not even on seahorses).
How did you come up with the name ‘Beauty Kitchen’ and the little cartoons?
Beauty Kitchen really started with me making my own products with ingredients that I had in my kitchen cupboard. For example sugar, olive oil, sea salt, coconut oil, vanilla, essential oils, that’s what makes a perfect body scrub. So I started creating things and told my friends and family. Actually a lot of these characters are based on people that I know. The ‘airy fairy’ one is me. Another one is based on my mom who is very calm and relaxed. I think that with characters people can relate to them. If you see a picture of a human being it can be quite sterilized, perfect skin, etc. I just don’t feel like that is real life. Using characters means that we can have a little bit more fun. It’s a bit ageless, whether you’re a teenager or a mom, it’s relatable.
How did you get started with Beauty Kitchen? After all, you can have an idea but then you need to make it happen.
I’m a curious person. I like to ask questions, even if they are awkward questions, because I just like to know. I’ve worked in the industry, not as a chemist but I looked after an HR-team for a cosmetics-company. So I’ve met lots of people in the industry and I’ve asked lots of questions: what’s that, what does it do, why do you use that exact ingredient, etc.
For example our Seahorse Plankton range uses a microalgae, I got this idea of using sea based ingredients for the range from harvesting seaweed. A friend of mine who runs a seaweed-company took me seaweed harvesting and showed me how to do it. I’ve asked a lot of questions and it’s an easy thing to do. It’s not something that is overly complicated but I like to figure everything out and I think that if you understand it you can see it as a recipe, like you see on TV. You mix it together and when you make it yourself it’s always different, that means you put your own touch.
The brand is quite new here in Belgium, how do you want to make people aware of the brand?
When it comes to advertising it always depends on what you can afford and what your goal is. For us it’s a couple of different factors. We have worked in partnership with Holland & Barrett in the UK and Ireland and now we are working with Holland & Barrett in Belgium (previously Essenza) and The Netherlands (previously De Tuinen). Holland & Barrett gave me the opportunity to supply different countries and stores. For me it’s actually more about getting people to try the products. The sales advisors in the stores have a lot of knowledge about natural beauty and we’ve spent a lot of time with them and really trained them. They are the advocates. They are the people that make customers aware of who we are. We’ve chosen to do samples in stores and magazines, rather than doing a full-page advert because we believe that trying out the products is more effective. Also, talking to bloggers in a more personal way supports awareness through blogs/vlogs & social media. We’re thinking of different ways to approach people. We are still small but at the moment our approach is the best way to make people aware of our brand.
Are you planning on opening a store in Belgium?
We launched in Holland & Barrett in Belgium and The Netherlands end of July this year. So we are quite new. It is not in the plan for the next couple of years but you never know. It depends on the opportunity. Is it something we can do now? No. Is it something we can do in the future? Definitely.
I’ve read that you actually got the idea to start your own business because of The Body Shop. How does Beauty Kitchen makes a difference compared to The Body Shop?
First of all, The Body Shop is not owned by Anita Roddick and her husband anymore. It’s owned by a large conglomerate that runs a beauty-business the way that they want to run a beauty-business. Beauty Kitchen is owned by me and always will be owned by me. Beauty Kitchen has me as the owner; a real person so it gives a personal touch. I think that’s the main difference, we are something that is small but we are true to our values. We are doing it on a much smaller scale but we hope that that personal approach affects more people. Also, if Anita Roddick was still here I would be probably working for her (smiles) but unfortunately she isn’t. I think that Beauty Kitchen is the next The Body Shop.
Are you also planning on doing make-up and hair?
Next year we are coming out with a few main (hair) products. The way we plan to do it is instead of having a lot of products in the range, we will launch products that are multipurpose. So the body wash will be a hair, face and body wash all in one. That keeps it simple for the consumer and it gives us something else to talk about other than what most people talk about: something for your hair, something else for your body, etc. Another thing that will be coming out are face wipes that are compostable, that will go back into the environment.
Cosmetics means doing things with color. Which is difficult in natural beauty and we want to do it right so the process to develop a new product takes a while. But actually our first product into cosmetics just launched. We created our Seahorse Plankton Beauty Boosting BB-cream. It blends in right away and gives a little bit of coverage. It’s a nice base to wear under your foundation or if you want just that little bit of coverage it’s going to give you that. The color for example that we use for our Seahorse Plankton High Definition Facial Oil is the pigment of blue chamomile. That’s what is giving the blue color. So there are ways of doing it, it’s just the process of doing it. Cosmetics are synthetic and we want our products to give the same effect because people expect a product to be a certain way, or feel a certain way. We want to do just as good or even better than competitors.
The plan with Beauty Kitchen was always to go wider than just beauty. So we also have the opportunity to go into drinks, vitamins, etc.; there’s a whole world out there. The first step is getting people to know we are, after that we can move on into innovative products that costumers want to buy.
If I would go out and buy a product of Beauty Kitchen at Holland and Barrett after this interview, what would be your top recommendation?
For me that would be our newest Seahorse Plankton High Definition Facial Oil. It’s only been out a couple of weeks. The reason that I would choose this one is because the knowledge of all our products we have created before has gone into this little bottle. All of the experiences, the feedback, everything has been used to create this product. It’s an oil, so it’s a really easy product for people to use. You don’t need to understand what it’s doing. You can either target the areas you really want or you can put it all over. You can use it in the morning or in the evening and it works well with any other product you are using at the moment. It’s accessible and actually works. We’ve used a new ingredient: Plankton. It’s based on what seahorses eat, so no there are no seahorses (they can live up to 15 years!) harmed in the process. It’s a superfood that they eat, for us it’s a superfood for your skin.
If you need somebody to test future products on…
That’s good to know because we only test on humans and NEVER test on animals. *yaaay*
You can buy the products at Holland & Barrett (before De Tuinen in The Netherlands and Essenza in Belgium) or via www.beautykitchen.co.uk
Disclaimer: I want to be honest with you guys and say that after the interview I received a bag with Beauty Kitchen products. I know that I’m very lucky to be given this opportunity and I am very grateful. I am currently testing out the products, not because I have to (not at all!) but because I’m seriously intrigued by the concept of the brand. Therefore I will update you very soon with my honest thoughts about the products that I’ve tested.