How long has Lovegrove Essentials been up and running, and why did you decide to set up the business?
HDB: The brand had been an idea we had discussed for a number of years, but the company as you see it now is about 3 years old. We wanted to create a beautiful range of skincare that harnessed the natural therapeutic properties of essential oils, but still looked stunning and felt luxurious to use. Something that would sit alongside the big-dogs of skincare quite easily.
HML: After many years as a body and facial therapist, I wanted to create a range of natural products for professional therapists to use, products that support the body’s own capability for healing and regeneration.
Why did you decide to focus on luxury and natural products?
HDB: For me, having worked with many luxury brands, I felt there was a huge gap between luxury and natural. So many luxury customers associate natural with something not “backed by science” and that might not work as well as a more chemical-based product, and that’s simply not the case with Lovegrove Essentials. I think we fill this gap.
HML: I agree – I have seen much better results on the skin from naturally active ingredients, and of course their aromas can benefit the psyche through the olfactory system.
What was the first product you made and how did you set about selling it?
HDB: The initial selection of products we had made was huge! Such a big range. We actually didn’t sell any of these, but mum used them for her treatments.
HML: I think the first were the massage balms and an after-wax soothing lotion.
How did the range of products grow from there?
HDB: We looked at each product and worked out which ones we liked best. I wanted to start with a much smaller range, like a ‘core-line’ and expand from there.
HML: We realised that we were both happily using the same four key products, but because of the difference in our age and our skin, we were using them in slightly different ways. This proved to us that the intelligent use of good-quality natural ingredients is the key to long-term skin care.
Why did you also decide to produce a professional range? What’s the difference between this and your main line of products?
HDB: Hannah? I think this is your area of expertise!
HML: The key products are the same, but there are therapeutic techniques that I incorporate into my treatments, and active natural ingredients that you can’t produce and sell in a pot because they have to be used immediately, things like strawberries, cucumber, papaya and oatmeal.
Do you actually make the products yourselves? Where are the products made and packaged?
HDB: Yes – we actually make the products ourselves. We have a small team to help with manufacture, and everything is made at our HQ in Thorncombe. We have a production lab which has been hygiene and safety checked where we make and package everything.
HML: We’re very particular about quality and like to check each product before it goes out. We can also keep an eye on each batch of ingredients, which being naturally produced can vary in smell or colour.
Are you constantly coming up with new ideas for products?
HDB: I definitely am, I love blending new things and trying them on myself. I love finding a new ingredient and working out how we might incorporate it into our next product. We try to listen to our customers when it comes to New Product Development.
HML: It’s perhaps not obvious how much has to go into product development, the rules and regulations involved in getting it formally certified and onto the shelves. But we enjoy the trial and error, refining the texture and smell to get just the right effect for the whole body.
What has been your best-selling/signature product and why?
HDB: It’s difficult to say – perhaps the Cleansing Balm or the Moisture Cream. They are the two best-selling individual products. Also the Mini Essentials is great, our starter kit.
HML: Yes, certainly the Cleansing Balm, but people beginning to realise how fabulous the Moisture Cream is too!
How has it been working as a mother/daughter team? Do you have the same visions or is there sometimes a clash?!
HDB: Hahaha! Well, of course its been hard. Our relationship is very strong, luckily, so we always work things out eventually. My main thing is to be really vigilant about separating work and play, as otherwise we just end up talking business all the time and we forget to have fun as mum and daughter.
HML: And I missed her so much when she was up in London! I’m really pleased we can finally work together now, instead of at a distance.
What’s next for Lovegrove Essentials?
HDB: Lots more events next year, and new product launches. We will be bringing out our fabulous Aromatic Face Mask as a retail product, after some amazing feedback from our most recent round of user surveys.
HML: And I’m refining the body massage and facial treatment courses for therapists, and of course running the Yoga and Wellness Retreats.
Anything else you particularly want to mention?
HDB: We are looking for super-star therapists, massage therapists, boutiques and salons that might like to offer our treatments or retail range as of 2018. If this is you, or if you know of anyone who might be interested, send an email to email@example.com