Interview with Karmen by Ana Green
Flower and Spice is a beautiful name; why did you choose it to represent your brand, and was naming your brand a difficult process?
Naming a brand is an emotional process, in my opinion. You want to be connected to the name, stand behind it and, none the less, like it! When you think of it, you must make sure that it is not taken, protected … and that the URL is still available and all that. So I was very lucky to create mine and actually get it. I did take quite some time to choose it though, I think I wrote down more than 100 of possible names before Flower and Spice name was chosen.
Flower? Well, when I moved to the Netherlands, flowers surrounded me more than ever, I also had a garden and flowers were always on the table. Even when it was raining, I went to walk around the garden center. It was just like walking in the park.
Spice? I started cooking a lot a few years ago, especially Asian food, Indian, Thai, etc., and I discovered new spices. I thought, well, if the spices are so potent in food, there must be something special about them. I started to research essential oils made from them and realized that they have an amazing range of components that can help our skin.
I added “modern apothecary” because I find formulating with natural ingredients an ancient apothecary craft that I made into a modern science.
Thus, Flower and Spice, modern apothecary was born.
We know the market is filled with lots of different shades of natural beauty. What does natural beauty mean to you and how does that translate to how you approached formulating Flower and Spice?
For me, natural beauty means that products are formulated with ingredients that come from nature. This already covers a huge spectrum, from cold pressed, wildcrafted, to natural ingredients being alternated in the lab. I decided to not overcomplicate the term and do what I think is not harmful to our bodies and creates the best results. For example, if you want to make an emulsion, you need an emulsifier, which, even if it is 100% natural, still needs to be processed in the lab before it can have the function to mix together water and oil. I have nothing against petrochemicals and synthetic skincare, I just think that natural is way better. It is like a coke vs. freshly squeezed orange juice. Both reduce our thirst, but one is maybe a bit better for you than the other.
What was your background before becoming a natural beauty formulator and how has that influenced your approach with Flower and Spice?
I might say I have a quite diverse work experience. I started as a photographer, then I became an entrepreneur (I created an online fashion store at age 25), switched to video production and stayed in marketing until now. I always thought that switching professions is not such a big deal, you just have to want it enough so that you get the motivation to do it. I am positive that the combination of all this experience formed me and gave me the skills and confidence to start a new path. I am quite organized and creative enough to set an interesting goal for myself, and the most important thing I learned through my career is, “everything can be done”. Especially in this modern age, knowledge is within our reach, we just need to grab it. We are way more capable than we usually think we are.
How are the Flower and Spice products designed to be used and who is your target market?
When I designed my products, I wanted to put products on the market that could improve the skin’s health, look, texture, and feel. First, I started with a serum Midnight Beauty, that was part of my study project. The serum can be used on its own at night time. After that, I decided to make a cream Soothe and Repair - a lighter emulsion, more hydrating, to be used in the morning, and easily absorbed, so I can use it under my make-up. The exfoliator Instant Glow was created as an important part of any skincare routine - to remove dead skin cells and deeply clean the pores. I was used to using synthetic ones and I haven’t found any synthetic or natural ones that would be gentle enough. They all look and feel like a heavy paste that is really rough on the skin. So, I formulated it as a light, nourishing emulsion, that is easily spreadable and gentle. Because it sinks into your skin so fast, it takes those AHA acids deep into the pores and exfoliates them better.
My target market are people who want to have a high quality natural cosmetic that works, and that want to enjoy a little piece of nature every time they are using it. It is meant to bring nature back into your life, especially if you live and work in the city.
Formulated Ingredients are incredibly important in natural formulations. Do you have any favourite botanicals that feature in Flower and Spice?
That is a hard one. I love so many ingredients that I need to really restrain myself while formulating. I love fennel essential oil because it reminds me of my childhood when my mom made me fennel tea when I was sick. :) For its function, I love prickly pear oil; for its softening properties, jojoba - very basic and very good for our skin; rose essential oil for pure aromatherapy… I could go on and on…
What is your personal approach to beauty? Are you a fan of simplicity in your routine or are you a product magpie?
My routine consists of max 4 products. Balm cleanser, toner/mist, serum and a hydrating cream. I should really add an eye cream! I am working on one! I do overdo it with bath products, though. I love to use bath salts!
And always sunscreen!
What is the best piece of beauty advice you have ever been given?
Best advice would be on using oils on my skin. I started using my Midnight Beauty at age 36 and my skin has completely transformed in a few months!
Ana goes Green - Beauty and lifestyle with an eco-friendly twist.