I met Joanna at one of my first ever Christmas events and first fell in love with her beautiful indulgent, natural soaps, followed soon after by her incredible face balms.
Joanna herself is as lovely as her beautiful products and it's always great to sit and chat and with similar natural, eco values as Miller & Keane, it made sense to share a behind the scenes and some of her inspiration with our lovely audience.
I've loved gorgeous smells since I was a little girl and spent hours making rose petal potions in the garden. As an adult, I spent 22 happy years working in BBC news, and could easily have stayed longer.
However, the spanner in the works came when I started making soap with simple, all natural ingredients that you can find in your kitchen cupboard like olive oil and coconut oil. The results were magically soothing for my irritated skin, and just like that, I was hooked.
Several beauty courses and hundreds of craft markets later, I took the plunge and left the BBC to start Mallow + White, a natural skincare company. Best decision ever.
From a practical point of view, the biggest challenge is space! At first, I made everything in small batches from scratch at the kitchen table. All available cupboards were crammed to overflowing with oils, clays, botanicals, boxes and ribbons.
I have since converted our garage into a kitchen workshop, but as the business grows, so do the quantities of ingredients, and I am now on the lookout for new premises to make the products from.
It truly makes my heart sing when I get messages from customers telling me how Mallow + White skincare has transformed their skin for the better. This is just one quote from a customer this week "I can't believe how soft my face is, all the dryness around the eyes has just disappeared, and the irritation has gone". The wonderful customer feedback makes it all worth while.
Botanical. Minimal. Ethical.
Those who have fallen down, got up, dusted themselves off and gone on to create successful businesses from scratch. I really love the energy and courage of Richard Branson. His life lessons shared are "have goals, have fun, be loyal, make a difference, and live life to the full" really challenge me and spur me on.
From a personal point of view, I've found the whole situation quite hard emotionally, and have spent a lot of time helping out my elderly shielding father. Thankfully, he has stayed well. I've used some of the time at home to work through a Diploma in Aromatherapy, which has been really interesting.
From a business point of view, I have developed a non-gloopy, nice smelling hand sanitiser. This has gone through all the tests, passed cosmetic certifiers approval and gone on to win "Best Hand Sanitiser" at the 2020 Beauty Shortlist Awards. (It's also currently available to buy in Threads of Harpenden)