A day in the life of an organic formulator with Wendy Stirling of Botanicals

Ever wondered what an average day looks like for someone in the natural and organic industry? Today Wendy Stirling the founder of Botanicals shares with us what her days look like, why she loves organic beauty and what her favourite ingredients are.
Botanicals are a brand that have been featuring on this blog for some time, they are one of the pioneering British organic brands and one of the few to have the entire range certified by the Soil Association. As if this wasn’t impressive enough the entire range is vegan and listed on the Naturewatch compassionate shopping guide as cruelty free. It really is a brand that ticks all the boxes for me, the products are very effective, gentle and a pleasure to use. Over to Wendy:

Q: What my average day looks like….

WS: I get up at around 7am, when my lovely hubby, David, brings me a cup of tea. Our daughters Zoe and Amy are at university now, so I then get an hour to myself, which is perfect for contemplation. I find this is a great way to set me up for the day ahead.

The house is about 20 strides from the work building, so thankfully I don’t have to commute to work. I’m therefore usually in the office for 8am, where I first check my emails and then plan the production schedule for the day.

My wonderful helpers, Sarah, Emma and Wendy J (or ‘Wendy 2’ as David calls her) arrive at 9am and the workplace suddenly bustles with activity! Orders are printed first, and packed by either Emma or Wendy, whilst Sarah and I get to work on production. On a typical day, we produce around 500 jars or bottles of Botanicals products so we’re kept busy and on our toes. Once orders have been packed and despatched, Wendy 2 and Emma turn their hands to filling or labelling. All Botanicals staff have children so work school hours, leaving between 3pm and 4pm. From 4pm, I usually sit at my desk and attend to whatever admin needs doing.

Typically I finish at around 6 o’clock, but often pop back after tea when it’s quiet, to do a bit more admin, which is precisely what I’m doing now!

Monday to Thursday follow the same schedule but Friday’s are different. The staff don’t usually work on Friday’s, so it’s my day to work on product development. It’s ideal as I have the place to myself and the time and space needed to be creative, without any interruptions.

To unwind at the end of the day I usually read a few chapters of a book. I’ve been reading a lot of Wayne Dyer’s work since he sadly passed away recently. I might occasionally watch a bit of TV, but only if there’s something on that I’m following. I also enjoy the occasional indulgent soak in a candle-lit bath. Typically, I’m in bed by 10.30pm.

Q: The favourite part of my job is….

WS: I love everything about my job. I start planning my tasks from the minute I wake up in the morning and only stop when I go to bed at night. I don’t really see it as a job, more of an expression of who I am. But if I had to choose one part that I particularly love, it’s the creative side of formulating.

I love creating formulas that make people feel good and that make a difference. It’s incredibly rewarding to hear people’s stories about how my formulations have helped them feel better in some way.

Q: The most challenging part of my job is…

WS: Juggling so many different tasks and making sure they are all done well. I have a fantastic team of people working with me, but I’m still ultimately responsible for everything from; making sure we are stocked with all our raw materials, bottles and jars, through to paying suppliers invoices, organising production and dealing with PR and promotional activity. As the entire Botanicals range is certified by the Soil Association, a great deal of my time is also spent dealing with regulatory compliance.

Q: I formulate organic products because….

WS: I am passionate about using the pure power of plants to promote health, beauty and wellbeing for our customers as well as the environment; and using certified organic ingredients to do so.

I also believe there is a real need for artisan produced skincare products, particularly for those with skin sensitivities. Botanicals products are made in a very different way to commercially produced skincare products and this is reflected in the results they achieve. For instance, all Botanicals’ products are made fresh, in small batches, to preserve their active botanical properties. Our processing methods also ensure the vital life-force of the plant isn’t destroyed by heating or over-processing. I strongly believe mass production would be detrimental to the quality of the product we offer, which people love and respect and which we have built our name and reputation on.

Q: My favourite skincare ingredient is…WS: Organic shea butter. It’s wonderfully healing and nourishing to the skin, also incredibly versatile. I also love the fact that it provides much needed work for women in Africa where it’s sourced. Shea butter finds its way into most of the products I formulate.

Q: The skincare products that I use daily are…

Botanicals skincare range: Image courtesy of Botanicals

WS: Botanicals Nourishing Cleansing Melt and Anti-Ageing Serum. Both are from the Rose & Camellia face care range and, at almost 59, I couldn’t be without either of them!

Q: When not at work I love to…

WS: Walk in the countryside, visit historic places, yoga, and spend time with my daughters whenever there is an opportunity.

For more information take a look at the company website www.botanicals.co.uk.

Thank you so much to Wendy for giving us an insight in to her brand, if you haven’t tried the ranges yet they come highly recommended by me, skincare and body care! The brand is taking part in the Soil Associations #campaign4clarity which they have written about on their blog and is well worth a read.

Have you tried Botanicals? If so what is your favourite product?

Ana Green

Written by Ana – A beauty industry professional who is passionate about product and helping people navigate the marketing hype in the beauty industry.