While travelling in India, Clare White and Darren Cooper, experienced first-hand the power of plants and how their natural oils improved the couple’s wellbeing. The retreat planted the idea for them to start a range of natural products, infused with essential oils, and focusing on emotional wellbeing. We chat to Clare to hear more about Made By Coopers Apothecary, the benefits of aromatherapy and balancing work and family life…
Hi Clare. Why and when did you decide to start Made by Coopers Apothecary?
We started Made By Coopers after an inspiring trip around India in 2016. We were there to practice yoga, meditate and travel round and during this trip we stayed in an Ayurvedic retreat in Kerala. We had daily treatments using natural ingredients grown on the grounds, and turned into oils and botanical treatments. It was here, we saw how the power of plants benefited our wellbeing and the idea to start Made By Coopers, an aromatherapy and skincare brand that focuses on emotional wellbeing, was born.
What had you done previously?
I was always a hair and makeup artist and had worked in numerous salons over the years. I then went on to work freelance as a makeup artist on the road. I have been hairdressing for 20 years now and still keep my hand when I can, but Made By Coopers and having two kids has kind of taken over!
How would you describe the aesthetic style of your products?
We have a minimalist eco look, which reflects the nature of our products
How has using plant-based ingredients and essential oils improved your wellbeing?
Before we travelled around India, I used to burn frankincense whilst meditating to relieve anxiety – this was my first introduction to aromatherapy. I had an anxiety disorder in my 20’s, and started on a healing journey which actually led me to travelling India. Essential oils are so powerful are we use a lot in our every day lives. If we have a headache; we go for peppermint oil, need to meditate; we diffuse or burn frankincense, lavender or palo santo. If we’ve had a stressful day and we clear the energy we mist sage. The benefits are endless to aromatherapy!
Each product has an aromatherapy element. Why is this so important to you?
Our products boost, balance and support emotional wellbeing and even the skincare products can be used in a ritualistic way with benefits of aromatherapy. For instance, our Superfood Firming Serum contains uplifting mandarin, which gives you a boost in the morning.
Which is your most popular product?
Our Sleepy Head Pillow Mist is our most popular product and it just shows how many people suffer anxiety and poor sleep. We have customers who say it has transformed their sleep and lowered their anxiety levels. Making products that actually help people is what drives us!
Do you have any personal favourites?
I love the Superfood Firming Serum, it instantly firms and gives you a glowing complexion from one use! I also love the Purify Space Cleansing Mist, and use it before giving reiki to my partner or kids. It clears any negative energy and freshens up the atmosphere.
Where do you create from? Does your location inspire you?
Currently we create all of our products from a studio in Essex, but we are switching to somewhere more local soon, as we live in West Sussex!
What does a typical day look like for you?
I am usually up at 6am, trying to be up before the kids, so I can have some time to meditate. Then after my morning coffee, I plan the tasks for the day and decide the most important things that need to be achieved. If it’s a nursery day, I drop the kids off and we take the dog for a walk by the beach, planning the day together. Our days are spent working from home on the laptop or in the studio making products and we are all hands on deck at the moment while we are preparing to transition into a fulfilment centre!
We try to have a break for family time once a day, which normally involves a walk on the beach or it could just be a play in the garden. I have been loving yin yoga lately so try and do a yin yoga online class once the kids are in bed, if I’m not working!
How do you approach PR and marketing?
We have use an amazing PR team called Neon Rocks who helps with all the press stuff. The social media accounts are all run by me.
How do you balance work/life? Any tips?
This is hard when you have a business with your partner! We try and make sure we get out once a day as a family as a balance is important to us. We will never both work a 9 to 5 regime, even out of lockdown. We have our kids at nursery usually three days a week so we can spend time with them as this is so important for us. We do sometimes end up working crazy hours, though, – once the kids are in bed, if we need to catch up!
If you were to share any words of wisdom with readers looking to start a creative business – what would you say?
Set goals, ask questions, try and mix with fellow entrepreneurs to get advice, don’t be afraid to change things up and play with ideas. Nothing has to be set in stone.
What’s been your highlight so far?
Our highlights have to be all the people we have met and the different opportunities having a business has brought. Also, it definitely has helped boost my confidence knowing that we started this from scratch with all my own formulas, with no formal business knowledge or experience.
What are your making rituals?
Music on loud – currently country!
Tea or coffee?
Mountains or sea?
Sea! But I do like mountains too!
Night owl or early bird?
Night owl, but working towards early bird!
I wish someone had told me…
To believe in myself and not be so afraid!