The natural and organic beauty industry is thriving, with natural brands now sold in major retailers and being featured in glossy magazines such as Vogue. What started out as a niche movement has developed real traction over the last few years, with consumers taking a real interest in botanical ingredients. The rapid growth of the industry means that it is more important than ever to seek out trusted voices for information.
Today I am delighted to share with you one of my go to voices for evidence based content in the industry and a champion for green beauty brands, Lorraine Dallmeier the Director of the prestigious online cosmetic science school Formula Botanica. Whether you dream one day of starting your natural beauty business or whether you are searching for answers to your questions about ingredient efficacy, Lorraine’s content across her social media channels as well as the content of the Formula Botanica courses are well worth exploring.
Q: Hi Lorraine, can you tell us about Formula Botanica and how the business came about?
LD: Formula Botanica is the online accredited Organic Cosmetic Science School. We run online courses to teach organic cosmetic formulators start or grow their own organic beauty range.
We have about 3,500 students now in 119 countries around the world. Many of our graduates have started successful indie beauty brands, selling gorgeous natural and organic skincare products around the world.We started teaching online courses in 2012 in response to the huge demand for training in making organic beauty formulations using plants, flowers, herbs, seeds and oils. Initially we started small with a handful of students who were taught by email and since then we’ve grown to a team of 12 to run our award-winning eLearning platform and host our activeglobal community with tens of thousands of entrepreneurs. I took over the school in 2014 when it was in its infancy and have overseen its growth since then.
Formula Botanica is accredited by the UK’s Open & Distance Learning Quality Council, who guarantee that when you enrol with Formula Botanica you will receive the materials, methods and support you need in order to achieve your educational goals. We also received the gold award for ‘Excellence in the Design of Learning Content’ at the 2016 international Learning Technologies Awards, beating major multinationals such as Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Lloyds Bank and Sky!
Q: What courses do you offer and what kind of people would benefit?
LD: We offer a whole range of different courses, suitable for anyone who wants to learn how to formulate or take their formulation skills to the next level. Our most popular course is our Diploma in Organic Skincare Formulation, on which we have enrolled over 2000 students worldwide.
If you want to start your own organic or natural indie beauty brand, then we will equip you with the professional skills you need. I know you’ve featured a number of our graduates such as Khulisa Skincare, Blue Labelle Skincare and Handmaids Cosmetics on your blog – all of these wonderful green beauty brands came to us to learn how to formulate or advance their skills to the next level.
As Maia from Handmaids Cosmetics says: “If it wasn’t for Formula Botanica and its understandable course work, great support, massive resources, community and intelligent know-how I wouldn’t be here today, still inspired, with a sense of belonging and an even greater desire to dive deeper in the natural/organic world!”
Q: What’s been the most rewarding part of running Formula Botanica so far and what are some of the challenges?
LD: The most rewarding part of running Formula Botanica is seeing our wonderful graduates take the green beauty industry by storm. Our whole team feels genuinely thrilled every time we see a big win for our graduates because we have helped them shape their success.
One of our most successful graduates is in Mongolia – Khulan runs Lhamour Skincare and after graduating from her first course with us in 2015, she now employs 35 women in herbrand and won the award for Best Young Entrepreneur in the entire Asia-Pacific region last year. All of us at Formula Botanica are hugely inspired by Khulan’s story.
The biggest challenge we face at Formula Botanica is handling the enormous growth we’re experiencing. We’ve gone from being a one-woman show to a global team of 12+ employees in a few short years. In that time, we’ve had to rip up the rule book and create ourown path to grow the school. It’s been exhilarating to be able to build Formula Botanica the way we want it.
Q: The natural and organic beauty market is exploding; what advice can give new skincare entrepreneurs who want their brand to stand out from the crowd?
LD: The organic and natural personal care market worldwide is estimated to be worth an impressive $22bn per year in sales by 2024 and analysts are predicting year on year growth of close to 10% – which is two times faster than the mainstream cosmetics sector, so there has never been a better time to start your organic skincare business.
The biggest piece of advice I have for new indie brands is to find a way to make yourself stand out, because you’re not going to have the same marketing and advertising budget as a mainstream brand.
If I had £1 for every time a fledgling indie brand has told me they’re going to target “30-something women who have a busy lifestyle in the city” then I would be a millionaire… I rarely hear any brands talk about developing their niche further and I would challenge every new indie brand to think carefully about who they’re targeting. For instance, I’m a runner but no one has ever targeted me with beauty products specifically for runners!
Q: You have had students from around the world set up successful businesses can you share some of their stories?
LD: We love our graduates and there are so many wonderful success stories in our community. Some of my favourite graduate brands include Lilfox, Okoko Cosmetiques and Jalue.
Lilfox was launched in 2014 by Alexis a.k.a. Madame Fox in Miami, Florida. Alexis has created a fun, whimsical brand full of luxury botanical ingredients and crystals. Her brand is stocked by many great online retailers and is taking the green beauty industry by storm. Oyeta Kokoroko launched Okoko Cosmetiques in Canada and specialises in luxury facialtreatments designed to reveal the skin’s natural radiance. Okoko’s formulations are receiving rave reviews from green beauty bloggers around the world and we’re thrilled to watch Oyeta’s success.
Jalue was created by our Azerbaijani graduate Jale Demirchi who has built a gorgeous brand around the concept of ice therapy skincare. Jalue harnesses ancient understandings of the healing power of herbs and contemporary application of cryotherapy. Jale’s brand was inspired by a Russian tradition that dates back to Catherine the Great.
Q: Are there any green beauty products you personally love using?
LD: I am totally biased and most love using the formulations made by our graduates! My bathroom shelves are a heaving shrine to Formula Botanica and I flit between brands to enjoy our Formula Botanica graduates’ lotions and potions sold around the world.
My current graduate favourites include Khulisa Skincare’s Radiant Facial Serum and BYBI Beauty’s Mega Mist, both of which feel heavenly on my skin.
Q: What do you think the future holds for natural and organic beauty?
LD: I think we’re going to continue to see massive growth in the organic beauty sector, but I think brands will have to stand up to greater scrutiny as shoppers grow more aware of green-washing. Trends such as zero waste beauty, slow beauty and cold pressed beauty are going to take off and will fit perfectly with the explosion in global indie beauty brands. We’re excited to be part of this growth and we look forward to continue growing the global green beauty sector.
I loved hearing a little bit more about Formula Botanica and especially enjoyed Lorraine’s thoughts on making your brand unique. I get so many brand pitches that are almost identical, so this is a really important issue.
If you are dreaming of starting your own skincare business or perhaps taking your current skills to the next level you can find out more at Formula Botanica.