In this month's DESIGN DEN feature, we speak to Nathalie Bond, co-founder of Nathalie Bond Organics. We fell for this brand when we met Nathalie last year and her products speak for themselves; they're simple, natural and look and smell beautiful. Unlike most cosmetics on the market, these products don't come with their own set of lengthy instructions and list of ingredients - they don't need to as each of their gorgeous soaps, balms, candles and oils are made up of a handful of organic components that allow for simple use, effective results and a clear conscience.
The brand's wholesome philosophy on the environment is evident throughout their range, and along with their blend of stylish packaging (all recyclable) and invigorating scents, we think these products make fantastic gifts for mum's to be and women looking to stay away from using anything harmful on their skin.
If you're looking to add a little treat to a friend's hospital bag or want a gift for a baby shower then you need look no further than Nathalie Bond. So how did the story start and what makes her tick? We sat down with Nat to find out more...
What made you decide to set up your own label?
When I was pregnant with my first son Alfie, I became really sensitive to anything that contained synthetic fragrances. So, I started doing a bit of research and discovered that there was a huge number of chemicals in the products I was using and I had absolutely no idea. At that point I started to ask myself, “is there any way I can change this?” My husband, Andy, and I decided that we would make candles to start with because I loved burning candles around the home and I wanted an alternative to the chemical-infused candles I was used to using. We started selling the candles, and at our first market – local to Sheffield – they sold really well. Consequently, we started looking to create more organic and natural products. To be honest, we didn’t have a big eureka moment, the development of the business was quite organic (haha!).
Who are the other key members of your team and how do you split the jobs between you?
I founded the business with my husband Andy, and we run it between us. He used to work in product design, so he oversees the production of the products and the aesthetic side of the company – so photography, packaging that kind of thing. I look after our stockists, finances and HR. We also hire a marketing manager, a workshop assistant and finance administrator so between us we manage to keep everything afloat.
What’s been your career highlight in regards to the brand?
Hmm, I don't know if I would say there has been one moment. I was going through some old invoices the other day and whilst doing this I got quite nostalgic and found myself reflecting on how much the company has come on in the last 2.5 years. Even looking at our paper trail... it's moved on a lot! I would say the biggest highlight for me has been seeing our small team of just Andy and I grow to six in less than three years. It feels like a little family now and it's just amazing to know we have a team of such quality to support the company vision and to see the support of our stockists and direct customers enabling us to grow and reach our goals.
What areas of owning your own business do you find the most difficult?
The fact that it's hard to switch off. The feeling of responsibility can make you quite vulnerable at times. My Christian faith definitely keeps me focused at stressful moments.
Where do you draw inspiration from for your designs?
We are influenced by all sorts of designers. I am a big fan of Cath Kidston’s home design, Rachel Ashwell’s interior design, Margaret Howell’s clothes and Alvar Aalto’s architecture. We also love Molly Jacques’ typography - so much so we asked her to design our logo (it’s her work you see on all of our products.) To be honest, Andy and I have pretty different design interests but they are both reflected in our products. I love flowers and colour, whereas Andy loves Scandinavian and Japanese design, which is clean and simple. We also live right next to the Peak District so are constantly inspired by the beauty of the natural world around us.
What other brands within the beauty sector do you respect and why?
There are a number of natural skincare brands that we love. S.W. Basics is a big favourite – they have a whole philosophy about only using a small number of ingredients, which is something we wholeheartedly agree with. Fig + Yarrow and Herbivore make beautiful botanical products. Recently, we came across Alex Carro Skincare who create products that you can mix and blend yourself, which is ingenious!
The way in which consumer brands treat the environment has obviously taken a step forward in people’s consciousness. How important are environmental issues to you at your label and what are you doing to improve the situation?
Very important. We want to build a business that is better for the planet and for those living on it. By that, I mean we use entirely natural and organic ingredients and glass and cardboard that is recyclable. We also want to challenge the way the beauty industry pushes you to buy tonnes of unnecessary products. Every product we develop is versatile, so it doesn’t clutter up the bathroom (or landfills afterwards). In addition, we donate money to a charity called World Vision. When we were in the early stages of setting up the business we learned that over 20,000 children under the age of five die every day from preventable causes. It's a daily crisis that doesn't make headlines and many children are needlessly suffering because poverty denies them access to medical care. We were so moved that we decided to sponsor a child through World Vision, who help children in some of the poorest communities in the world.
If you had to pick the perfect gift from your current collection, which piece would it be and why?
The Peppermint and Eucalyptus Body Scrub. I love it because it moisturises and exfoliates at the same time, so it takes one step out of my skincare routine. In the morning, I can just hop in the shower, wash with one of our soaps and then moisturise using a body scrub whilst I am still in the shower. Plus, the scent of eucalyptus is really invigorating, which is super handy in the morning when I am feeling sleep deprived (my second son is under one…).
Finally, if you could sum up your brand in 3 words what would they be?
Simple, honest and fun.