I’ve been lucky (and cheeky) enough to secure a blog interview with Lorraine Dallmeier, Director of Formula Botanica, the worldwide and well known online training school. With green and social considerations proving increasingly popular with consumers, the organic skincare market is set to reach $22billion by 2024. So, curious as ever, I thought I’d ask Lorraine a few questions…..
Lorraine, can you tell me about Formula Botanica as if I know nothing about it or the market it operates in? Formula Botanica is an online training school, run by a team of 12 people around the world. When we first started out, it was a one-woman show but over the last three years I’ve grown it to become a global brand with a global team. We provide online courses for people (mainly women) who want to start their own organic skincare brand anywhere in the world. We currently have 3000 students in 115 countries, which demonstrates the enormous worldwide movement towards green and organic beauty.
What type of person is interested in Formula Botanica courses? Formula Botanica’s courses appeal mainly to women. Our students have often had children and are now concerned about the number of ingredients and synthetic chemicals they and their families come into contact with on a daily basis. They want to be an entrepreneur, start their own business and bring their organic formulations to a wide audience to encourage wellbeing into skincare and haircare.
What did you do to work out who your ideal client is and how do you reach out to them? We have been very fortunate in that our ideal student has found us through our extensive presence on social media. Through the work that we’ve done over the last 3 years we have built up a very clear picture of the type of person who enrols with us and follows our courses. We mainly reach out to our customers through our website, social media and email marketing – every month we reach over 400,000 people globally.
What do you wish someone had made clear to you at the start of your business journey? Looking back, what would you tell yourself now that you wish you knew then? Visibility is a magnificent tool for growing your business but it can also put you infront of hundreds of thousands of people. I was naïve about the realities of online business when I first took on Formula Botanica. I never expected to come face to face with hackers, scammers, trolls, thieves and copycats. I feel like I could write a book about the craziness we’ve seen over the years. Thankfully it’s only made us stronger in the process. Nonetheless, I wish I had been slightly more prepared for what was going to hit me, although knowing me, I would’ve brushed it off as insignificant anyway!
What 3 tips would you give to a home formulator looking to go into business?
- Find a niche – I know we say this all the time, but I can’t repeat myself enough on this topic. You need to find something that sets you apart. Just being natural or organic is not enough.
- The only person you’re in a race with is yourself – I see so many of our students in a massive rush to complete their courses, create the first products they can and start selling. The longer you take to perfect your formulations and find your niche, the greater your chance of success. Slow and steady wins the race.
- Be realistic – this is going to be a rollercoaster ride and you’re going to work harder than you’ve ever worked before. But if you get it right, it will be one of the most rewarding achievements of your life.
How do you motivate yourself on the tricky days? I love a good to do list. J It keeps me going. On days when I know it’s just not going to happen, I only tick a few items off the list. Other days I really go for it. I take time out to be with my kids too – it keeps me sane.
What is the favourite element of your job? Watching our students grow and find success. It’s wonderful seeing them take on the world with their artisan brands. I love engaging with our students and graduates on social media too.
What part of your job do you wish you could give to someone else to do but you just can’t let it go? As some of my colleagues know all too well I struggle to let go of many things! I am learning how to delegate as Formula Botanica grows.
How would you describe natural versus organic to the person in the street? Natural skincare contains ingredients which are derived from nature. These ingredients are often plant-based and can nourish the skin. Organic skincare contains more of those natural ingredients but they are also certified organic, which means that they have been grown according to better ecological standards.
What trends do you see in organic skincare that excite you? How do you keep up with a fast moving market? I love seeing the movement towards simplicity. Skincare doesn’t have to be complicated, some of the most effective products contain only a couple of ingredients. The market does move fast, but we set our own trends within it and we’re not dictated to by the mainstream industry. Our philosophy is very different to that of the mainstream global cosmetics market, which is why our courses are different to anything else you’ll find online.
What do you think is the most overlooked natural skincare ingredient? Oil. I know that you and many of your readers will probably understand that plant-based oils are fantastic beneficial ingredients for the skin but we still operate in a niche.
Tell the readers about KISS, what is that all about and why is it so important? Keep It Silly Simple (KISS) is our over-arching principle when you first start formulating. We see so many students launch themselves into making high performance cosmeceuticals before they’ve learned how to create a basic lotion. You need to first practice with the basics and then build upon them.
If you weren’t running Formula Botanica, what would you be doing? I’d be climbing the corporate ladder somewhere, struggling with company politics, rebelling against working for other people. I worked as an environmental scientist in the international energy industry for 12 years on renewable energy, oil and gas projects before I took on Formula Botanica. I worked all over the world and lived in the Netherlands, USA, Australia and even the Russian Federation, where I was based on (freezing cold) Sakhalin Island to the north of Japan for three years. This is where I met my partner Richard who then encouraged me to move to the UK with him.
What organic skincare products do you have in your bathroom cabinet? Any that aren’t organic or natural, that you are brave enough to confess too (your guilty pleasures??) My bathroom is like a shrine to Formula Botanica. Not only do I have samples of every single product you see in our training videos, but I also get sent samples from our graduates and from members of our team, which I love! It means I can pamper my skin and hair whenever I feel like it. It also means that we can feature our graduates online and put them infront of beauty bloggers and influencers. I also sample many other natural brands too though. I’m currently really enjoying Skincere’s day lotion as it’s very light and I find that many natural and organic brands don’t make light emulsions.
Pop, rock, urban, classical, jazz, dance, something else? Rock. Acid jazz. And – ahem – country.
Describe a really good day for you. A really good day for me (at work) is when I wake up, my to-do list is complete and I have the total freedom to fill my day however I want. That’s when I’m at my most creative and my best ideas come to me. I love creating content more than anything in my job. If I had the time, I would be blogging continuously, writing books, developing new courses, filming videos for social media, taking photos.
Outside of my work, a really good day is when I can do something that makes my kids light up. Seeing the world through their eyes is one of the best parts of parenting and I get excited about showing the world to them. My children have already visited ten countries and they’re only 6 and 4!
BIG THANKS to you, Lorrain,e for sharing your time and insight. Thank you for inviting me to be featured on your blog! If you want to learn more about Formula Botanica, you can sign up for a sample class on our website.or follow on Instagram for regular free organic cosmetic formulation tips.
I really hope you enjoyed this piece, please feel free to share, comment, like etc. If you run a 100% natural skincare business, in any form, I’d love to hear from you and perhaps host you as a guest blogger.
PSST!…..If you’d like a regular smile, you can follow the creations I make whilst on my formulation journey. I now have a twitter account ‘thehappybodyco’. This is where I post my more regular formulation pics, musings, triumphs and fails.