This week our interview partners are Lorraine Dallmeier and Timi Racz from Formula Botanica. Formula Botanica is an online school that teaches people how to create organic skin care products. Since the school was founded in 2012, they’ve taught over 7,000 students from 154 countries and encouraged them to become skin care entrepreneurs. BYBI Beauty, Mimi’s Organics and SkinDewi are just a few of their alumni’s indie brands.
Lorraine and Timi also started as students at Formula Botanica and have both worked to build up an amazing community of skinfluencers. They’ve done this by constantly adapting their curriculum to meet students’ needs through maintaining a strong focus on environmental consciousness.
In this edition of #AskTheExpert you will learn more about:
- What it takes to become a beauty entrepreneur
- How indie beauty brand rockstars like BYBI Beauty, Lhamour Skin Care, and Jalue Ice Therapy Skin Care were started from scratch by founders enrolling in formulation courses and are now thought leaders in the industry
- How sustainability in beauty products must be seen throughout the whole value chain, from the growing and sourcing of ingredients to packaging to educating the end-consumer
- Why indie beauty brands are leading the movement to conscious consumerism
- Why empowering your students and building up a community of over 20,000 members makes Formula Botanica so unique
Q: Hi Timi and Lorraine, Thank you for taking the time to speak to us today. First question: What’s your favorite personal care product?
Lorraine: I’m currently in love with Babe Balm by BYBI Beauty. It’s a moisturizing multi-purpose beauty balm, high in antioxidants and with a gorgeous fruity fragrance. And best of all – it was made by Formula Botanica graduates Dominika & Elsie!
Timi: My favorite product has to be The Jasmine Garden by May Lindstrom. It is a facial mist with a fantastic jasmine scent and various botanical extracts. It is not only about the product itself but the anticipation and experience when you receive your parcel with the product. Her brand ethos, values and the actual branding such as her website speak to me.
Q: Can you tell us a bit about your background? How did you end up with Formula Botanica?
L: I was one of Formula Botanica’s original students. I’d been working as an Environmental Scientist for years, but decided I wanted to become an entrepreneur and learn how to become a natural skin care formulator, so I completed my studies with Formula Botanica and realized that these online courses could change lives. I became so passionate about wanting to change other people’s lives all over the world that I bought and took over the school!
T: I was a student of Formula Botanica, believe it or not. I stumbled across it when I decided to make my own products rather than follow someone else’s formula. I completed all the courses and I was asked to join the team since I have a background in education. I have been a teacher for 15 years now.
Q: What is Formula Botanica? Can anyone attend a class?
T: Formula Botanica was founded in 2012 with a mission of teaching the world to formulate cosmetics naturally. Anyone can formulate, but this empowering skill has historically been confined to chemistry degrees and not been accessible to the millions of women around the world who want to be able to make their own beauty products. Driven by the desire to take control of what we put on our skin and embrace a more natural way of life, our award-winning and accredited online school has been instrumental in the rise of thousands of independent beauty brands globally.
The school's online courses people teach people how to formulate professional cosmetics, using natural and organic ingredients. The students who enroll with us dream of quitting their job, making and selling their own skin care or haircare formulations and being part of the global green beauty movement. Formula Botanica changes people’s lives by teaching them how to start their own organic beauty brand.
Q:As a school, you educate the future generation of formulators. How do you decide on the curriculum?
T: We always listen to our students; we have an amazing community. Our online classroom hosts more than 5,000 students and graduates. We also have a Facebook group called Skincare Entrepreneur Mastermind with over 20,000 members. Our community is very honest, they always let us know what they wish to see us teach. Additionally, we pay close attention to trends in the industry by visiting conferences, trade shows, talking to industry experts and reading publications about organic and natural ingredients, products. The industry is changing rapidly and we continuously work to stay on top of the latest trends.
Q: When looking for ingredients, what are your favorite research tools, information sources, and events?
T: I particularly like to read Personal Care Magazine and visit In-Cosmetics. They are great places to stay up-to-date with trends and developments. I often find inspiration for a new blog or formulation when I visit the show or read the magazine. Of course, now we have Covalo to add to this list, which we are very excited about.
Q:The demand for sustainable products is increasing annually. What does sustainability mean for Formula Botanica and what do you see as crucial when developing sustainable products?
L: Sustainability, to us, means:
- growing and sourcing ingredients responsibly to protect natural resources
- manufacturing cosmetics responsibly to minimize environmental impacts
- minimizing shipping and beauty miles by sourcing locally
- packaging cosmetics using reusable, refillable or recyclable materials
- disposing of cosmetics responsibly, and
- protecting the communities and consumers affected by the beauty industry
I am on a mission to eradicate greenwashing in the beauty industry by bringing my background in environmental science to the current unsustainable practices we see when making, manufacturing, packaging, shipping and disposing of cosmetics.
Q: What role do indie brands play today in comparison to larger, incumbent personal care brands?
L: Indie beauty brands are leading the movement to conscious consumerism. When you speak to a large multinational beauty brand, you have no chance of ever getting your message through to the R&D team. When you speak to an indie beauty brand, you are probably speaking directly to the founder and formulator. Because they are small and nimble, they have the opportunity to move quickly and occupy niches that are out of reach for the big players. There’s a good reason that many beauty multinationals are currently buying up indie brands!
Q: Can you name any beauty brand founders who’ve attended your course?
L: We’ve had close to 7,500 students go through our courses, in 158 countries to date. We know hundreds, if not thousands, of beauty brand founders who have gone through our courses and are extremely proud of them all.
BYBI Beauty started by our graduates Elsie and Dominika in the UK. Before they studied with Formula Botanica, they were working a day job and had a dream of starting their own natural skin care business. They completed our courses, and have since raised over 7-figures in investment funding, including receiving a start-up loan each from Richard Branson. Their amazing balms, cleansers, and boosters are now stocked in Sephora, Feel Unique and ASOS all across the world.
Lhamour skin care, founded by our graduate Khulan Davaadorj in Mongolia, the first Mongolian organic skin care entrepreneur. Khulan came to us with a big dream back in 2014, finished our courses and now sells her gorgeous Mongolian inspired formulations around the world, employing over 40 staff and running 3 flagship stores.
Jalue skin care, started by our graduate Jale, who comes from Azerbaijan. Before Jale enrolled with us, all of her DIY experiments were based on trial and error. In her own words, there was no technique, which is why most of her creams used to have the wrong texture. When she discovered Formula Botanica, it took her less than 5 minutes to decide to enroll. She now sells her gorgeous ice therapy skin care globally. She also launched her products onto QVC, the British shopping channel, back in 2018.
Q: What advice do you give to your students who want to start their own beauty brand?
T: I would recommend that they plan properly and then go for it! Once you commit to a dream like this, nothing will stop you. Changing your life through organic skin care is an incredible adventure. Because, as all our students tell us, nothing beats owning your own successful natural beauty brand.
Q: What’s your favorite thing about Covalo?
T: Where do I start? I love the fact the team behind Covalo is so approachable, the customer service is excellent. As for the site, it is very very easy to navigate and this saves me loads of time when it comes to doing my research. Who doesn’t want that?
That’s it from our #AskTheExpert interview about organic skincare products with Formula Botanica. What do you think? Were these insights helpful?
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Also, Covalo is always looking for interview partners who want to share their knowledge and thoughts about the personal care industry. If you are interested in being featured in our #AsktheExpert series, send us a message.
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