Hi Amy! Why did you decide to start Londe Botanics?
In 2017 I was a stay at home mum with two toddlers feeling exhausted and isolated with little time to care for myself. My sister-in-law had given me a book of Ayurvedic recipes for Christmas and in the back was a section on self massage with oil, described as ‘dousing oneself in love’. I decided to try it and found it a gently powerful way to feel grounded and stable. I became fascinated with oil rituals and decided to make my own.
What had you done previously?
Previously I’d lived in Australia, working with Aboriginal communities to support their rights to their traditional lands and sacred places. I’ve always been drawn towards the connections between land, self and society.
How would you describe Londe’s ethos?
Everything is driven by the botanicals. Our ingredients are decided by local availability, the blends are based on how they work together. We don’t use any additives so the dark glass bottles and packaging are the best way to preserve the freshness and potency of the oils. The botanicals are always the focus and each decision is based on letting them work their magic.
How do you think botanics and essential oils can benefit our lifestyles?
I find it fascinating that throughout history the simple touch of oil on skin has been believed to connect the physical to the spiritual. From ancient Egypt to the present day, from royal coronations to caring for the poor, so many cultures and religions use oil ceremonies for blessings, inaugurations, healing and forgiveness. As well as having natural skincare benefits, our oils were created to share some of these gentle rituals that have been used since ancient times to empower and protect.
Can you tell us a little about how you source and create your products?
I start by speaking with farmers and producers to find the best crops and ingredients, then work with a small team of skincare specialists to develop the blends. The oils are bottled in Dorset and I hand-finish the packaging ready to send to our lovely stockists and customers.
You’re passionate about supporting UK growers – why is this so important to you?
I grew up with a farming family which gave me an early awareness of the natural and human resources that go into producing botanical ingredients. Ethically, it was important for me to know where our ingredients had come from and who had grown them so it seemed natural to look locally. Along the way I fell in love with British botanicals and their connection to the world around us.
Which is your most popular product? Why do you think that is?
Definitely our Botanic Body Oil, it’s a blend of six UK grown oils, light enough for all skin types, scented with rosemary and lavender. Customers have told me it’s helped them through stressful times and during lockdown it became a popular self-care ritual.
Do you have a favourite?
It changes depending on the season. As we head into the colder months, the Botanic Evening Oil becomes my nightly routine, my skin loves the extra nourishment and the aromatics help me relax before sleep.
What does a typical day look like for you?
The kids wake up somewhere around six; our mornings are busy and noisy, making breakfast, Skyping my family in Australia, searching for missing socks, finishing homework and trying to get out the door on time. I walk the boys to school and then start work in the studio. At around noon I take a little break to go for a run, play piano or do a bit of yoga; I try to keep that sacred, a part of the day purely for myself.
Afternoons are back in the studio until it’s time to get the kids from school. If the weather’s good we’ll head to the park, otherwise home to play. My husband George tries to get home for an early dinner together and the kids are (hopefully!) asleep by eight. We spend evenings catching up on each other’s day, finishing any work from the afternoon and getting all the little life chores done. I don’t watch much TV but there’s always music playing. I’m usually sleepy by ten so I try to end the day with some kind of self care; a bath, self-massage or herbal tea and then it’s off to bed.
How do you approach PR and marketing?
I haven’t really done a lot of formal marketing, my focus so far has been creating our range and getting to know my customers. We’ve had some great publicity as a result of being involved in industry shows and awards and I’m grateful for a supportive Instagram community who help get the word out.
What are you working on at the moment?
Like so many people this year, my plans have changed a bit! I’m working on launching our range for spas and salons and right now I’m playing with lovely new ingredients like Cornish clay, thyme and hops.
What’s been your highlight so far?
During lockdown I received the most beautiful email from one of our customers. She said she hadn’t been home all year but our Botanic Evening Oil smelled like the fields where she grew up and had helped her feel less homesick. I always love hearing from customers but that one really got me in the heart.
If you were to share any words of wisdom with readers looking to start a creative business – what would you say?
Choose something that gives you energy, that feeds what you love. A brilliant business idea won’t work if you loathe doing it.
Describe your work in three words:
Quiet, considered, grounded
What are your creating rituals?
I like to go for a walk listening to a favourite playlist. It works for problem solving, grumpy moods and general inspiration.
Tea or Coffee?
Mountains or Sea?
Night Owl or Early Bird?
Reluctant Early Bird
I wish someone had told me…
Not to worry so much, it will all work out. (Although worrying did motivate me to change things for the better.)