Take us through your story! How did you meet?
The pair of us met a few years ago when we were working in advertising. We worked really closely together and became good friends, with health and wellness being a strong point of commonality between us – we both loved exploring new healthy ways of eating and were firm gym buddies. The idea for CBCo and making our own beauty products was a natural extension of what we were already doing with food: moving away from processed foods and trying to gain a better understanding of how food fuelled our bodies. If we were doing this for what we put into our bodies, why weren’t we thinking about what we put onto our bodies?
Can you pinpoint the moment that you decided to go for it and start your own business?
When we realised we were paying big bucks for moisturisers and treatments that simply were not worth it, we felt disappointed and a little betrayed. We decided to make a change by taking control of exactly what went into our beauty products – by making our own! It started out as a side project for us through sharing our recipes and DIY beauty experience across our blog and social channels. I don’t think either of us seriously considered it as a potential business until we got to the point that people were regularly asking us if they could buy our recipes ready-made. We decided to formulate a small product range, and suddenly the possibility of making money from our passion project opened up.
Getting to this point can’t have been easy. How do you push through when things get tough?
We’re lucky enough to have each other which makes a massive difference, as if one of us is having a tough day, the other helps pull us out of it! We are both also hugely passionate about the industry and our business, so we view any hurdles as an exciting challenge rather than letting it get us down.
That being said, what part of your work comes most naturally to you?
We both come from sales backgrounds, so being able to pitch the business comes pretty naturally to both of us and has come in handy too – running your own business means you spend a lot of the time selling the idea to pretty much everyone you meet!
When developing products, what’s your favourite part of the process?
Discovering unusual and exotic ingredients! There are so many wonderful natural ingredients out there that can create the most amazing smells and textures. We thoroughly enjoy getting creative with our formulations, then being the lucky ones to test out the finished products!
What are your personal favourite products in the range?
Our Rosy Glow face serum is a firm CBCo team fave, and we both use it for its nourishing and hydrating properties on a daily basis!
Other than your own line, what are your pamper routine essentials?
We are both totally obsessed with the Jane Iredale eyebrow kit for perfectly shaped brows! We both also invest in a great natural shampoo/conditioner too; Dominka loves John Masters and Elsie can’t be without Rahua.
You also co-founded and run the Clean Cult events with Sabrina & Mayah, who we interviewed at the end of last year! What excited you most about organising an event?
The best part about organising Clean Cult is the actual day of the event. We get a total buzz from the excitement of everybody involved; it’s so rewarding to see people queuing to chat to our wonderful brands and our guests having a great time getting their hair/makeup/nails done. The fact that we can bring together that many green beauty lovers is such a great feeling, and it makes the months of hard work worth it!
Being based in London, what do you think it is about this city that makes people so increasingly drawn to a clean lifestyle?
We’re so lucky to be amongst so much choice when it comes to a clean lifestyle in London; we have our pick of great gyms, yoga studios, fitness events, healthy restaurants and green beauty brands, which makes it pretty easy to be able to make clean choices. This choice gives consumers the power to live a healthy lifestyle and increases awareness of just what’s out there. We’re very lucky to live in a city like that.
How do you restore a bit of balance and feel fresh after spending a day caught up in the city smog?
We are both yoga fans, and so a spot of hot/bikram yoga after work is a good way to feel as though you’re detoxing the London grime. Followed by a homemade clay facial, which helps to draw out impurities and toxins.
What was your first reaction to hearing about a “nipple balm for lips”?
It certainly made us giggle but we love that – beauty should be fun, relaxed and exciting, which is exactly what a nipple balm for your lips is!
What do you think now that you’ve tried it out for yourself?
A fantastic multi-user as it can be used pretty much anywhere! We’re especially loving it under makeup for a bit of a glow, or on eyelids!
What does “Go Natural” mean to you?
Go Natural at CBCo is about empowerment – feeling empowered to take control of what you put on your skin or into your body.
You both absolutely embody the ‘go natural’ attitude, but is there an area of your life where you relax the rules a little bit?
We’re all about balance. Wine is our vice but we’re firm believers of everything in moderation, particularly if you generally try hard to live a healthy and balanced lifestyle. We workout hard and eat whole foods so a large glass of red at the end of a long week at CBCo HQ isn’t going to hurt.
Who would be your dream guest at a Clean Beauty workshop?
We are both weirdly obsessed with the Hadid sisters, particularly Gigi because she seems so bloody cool! And obviously drop dead gorgeous. Lena Dunham would be another great one, as her writing is hilarious and she’s an inspirational modern woman, plus we love Girls.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when considering the move to a clean lifestyle. What 3 products would you recommend switching out first?
We get asked this a lot as I think people feel nervous about knowing where to start. We always say it’s best to start with products that cover the largest surface area – as your body is being exposed to the most product there – and start with leave-on products. Using those rules, things like body lotions, oils or butters are a good place to start, followed by deodorants and then on to leave-on face products.
What is the most common misconception about living a clean lifestyle?
There is a common misconception that natural doesn’t perform as well as high street beauty brands that have been formulated in a lab. This misconception frustrates us and is something we’re looking to dispel with the launch of our new line at the end of the month. Natural means higher levels of active botanicals and less pointless fillers/watering down, so more potent products that actually have an effect on your skin and hair.
Congratulations on releasing your book! We can’t believe quite HOW many fantastic beauty recipes you’ve managed to put together! Was there anything you wish you could have explored in more depth?
Thank you! We split the book into Skinfood (recipes made from kitchen cupboard essentials) and DIY Beauty (recipes using slightly more unusual ingredients and complex formulations). There are 50 recipes in each category for skin, body and hair so we could easily expand on both as we are coming up with new recipes all the time! Perhaps that will be for book two…
If you had to write another book about something completely unrelated to clean beauty, what would it be?
Probably small, fluffy animals.
Between your products, blog and events, it seems as though you’re always coming up with something new! What are your tricks for keeping your ideas & motivation fresh?
Most of our ideas stem from another idea that hasn’t quite worked…as a start-up you have to be ready to change direction at the last minute but some of our best ideas come out of this. They call it pivoting – being able to learn quickly from mistakes and use that to form better ideas. It keeps things interesting too!
What has been your proudest moment so far?
The book launch by far – so much work went into the book, so it was so rewarding seeing it in the flesh and available to buy! We had a little party and our editor made a speech – we were both just totally overwhelmed!
Looking forward, if you could make one move in the next year with complete assurance it would succeed, what would it be?
We’re about to launch a new skincare range which we’re SO excited about, as we both wholeheartedly feel that it’s the right move for the business – this is a great time to be a natural beauty brand as the industry is shifting, and we are sure that smaller indie brands will start to take market share from the big corporates as consumers demand transparency.