Vegan Skincare products made with you in mind

MSA skin care is a natural, organic and vegan skincare brand that is cruelty and plastic free. It has been operating for over 1 year with an eco-friendly approach, which includes a re-fill service for customers.

All products are created by mother of 3 and founder Suprina Hilaire. She uses natural and sustainably sourced ingredients that are good for the skin and kind to the planet. MSA Skin Care is on a mission to empower women to be confident in their skin and to make the skincare routine an enjoyable experience as opposed to a chore.

The products help customers who have dry skin and dry eczema problem – which can be alleviated by the Vanilla and Sandalwood body butter available to buy from MSA Skincare website.

Here is how what happened when I caught up with founder of MSA Skincare, Suprina Hilaire:

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Tell us about your background and why you decided to get into the skincare business.

I am a single mother of three with a diploma in skincare formulation and Aromatherapy.

My first career was in education as an Assistant Teacher, which I did for 20 years. I have always had an interest in Aromatherapy and I started an essential oil collection years ago, which I used for my own personal use.

After getting married, having kids and then getting divorced, I realised I had always put my aspirations on hold, so my journey began to find myself and what I wanted to do. As a procrastinator it took me a while to finally push forward and start the business. Initially, I wasn’t a big skincare enthusiast as I used “simple” products. However, after receiving my first facial, I loved the way my skin felt. It was at that point that I started investing more time into learning about skincare products and practicing a regular skincare routine. As a sufferer of dry skin and a daughter who suffered with eczema, I got fed up with steroid creams and decided to make products, I knew I could trust.

https://www.msaskincare.com/shop

What was your first product and how did you go about creating it?

Vanilla & Sandalwood Body Butter was my first product, which I created as part of an assignment on a skincare course I took. It was made with my dry skin in mind, as I needed something that would nourish skin naturally without the harsh chemicals.  It’s made from a selection of rich butters, plant-based carrier oils and essential oils for skin hydration.

What were some of your challenges when you started your skin care company? How did you overcome them?

I faced a number of challenges which included finding the right suppliers for ingredients as well as packaging, building brand awareness, especially on social media and creating an online presence. 

With regards to the online presence, I built my website myself during the first lockdown. I taught myself, used templates and managed to get a great looking final product.

When it came to suppliers, I did a lot of research myself, contacted potential suppliers and attended trade shows. Building brand awareness – this is still ongoing, but to start the process I joined a few membership groups and did some networking. 

A Lot of it was teaching myself and asking questions and would recommend this to anyone starting a business

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How did you overcome procrastination?

I have found ways to deal with procrastination, which can be seen by the fact that I started my business. For example, I thought I needed a number of qualifications (at least that’s what I told myself) in order to start my business. However, after being rejected for a course that I thought would help me, I decided I was just going to start the business anyway and remember saying this to a friend and that was it.

I believe in myself more now and so just tend to go for things that I put my mind to.

https://www.msaskincare.com/shop

What is your bestselling product and why do you think customers like?

At the moment there are 2 top sellers: The Vanilla & Sandalwood Body Butter, which has a comforting smell and it nourishes dry skin as it sinks in. The other product is the hand spray. With everyone sanitising their hands a lot more, this is a great one as it is a spray not a gel and it doesn’t dry out your hands or leave them sticky.  Plus, there is a refill available.

Customers can buy these products directly from our online store here

What do you enjoy the most in your entrepreneurial journey?

Making the products and receiving great customer feedback of how the product has worked for them.  I also enjoy learning new things about myself and my determination.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a skincare company?

Persevere, get help, don’t do it alone, think about your support network, if in doubt, ask, look after yourself, take time out regularly. It’s ok to outsource and data is key, record it weekly.

Thanks for the insight into your business journey so far Suprina!

Conscious Skin Care: Meet the founders of Earth to Earth Organics

Earth to Earth Organics is a sustainable skin care company that was started by husband and wife team, Tenesia (Tee) and Danny (Dan) Pascal in 2016. The company produces and sells a range of body oils, body washes and body butters via their online store.

These products were created out of necessity by Tee, who at the time had developed health and skin problems, following her relocation to England from Guyana. The change in climate, hardness of the water and processed foods had led to rashes all over her body. The couple couldn’t find anything in the market that was cost effective and that healed Tee’s skin.  This took Tee on a journey of research and experimenting with different products, until she found a winner in flagship body butter called “Magic Cream”.

Earth to Earth Organics is an environmentally conscious alternative to chemical- containing skin care products that are widely available on the high street. The company’s body butters do not contain water, thus providing the rawest and most natural product and experience to customers.

I caught up with Dan and Tee on a mildly warm Sunday afternoon to discuss skin care, Aunties Magic Cream, environmental sustainability and the couple’s journey with Earth to Earth Organics thus far.

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What is your background and what inspired you to start this business?

Dan: I started working at the BBC straight after university. I co-run and manage the studios for some of the shows that we produce across our sites at Elstree Centre, Television Centre and BBC White City. After we got married in 2014, I had an epiphany to want to do something that changed the world for the better. I wanted to lead a purposeful life and felt that with Earth to Earth Organics brand, we would be able to build something that was aligned with our ethos.

Tee: I worked at Marks and Spencer and was responsible for shop floor layout and team management. I embarked on this journey after developing health and skin problems shortly when I moved to England from Guyana. I didn’t want to use anything that was not natural to heal my skin, so I tried to solve these issues by changing my diet to a more natural one.

When we changed our diet, we became more conscious about environmental issues. We started understanding more about the natural environment around us and realised this was our passion. As such, as part of our ethos, we plant trees with ‘One Tree Planted’, we are helping clean up plastics through our partnership with ‘Clean Hub’ and in Guyana we help children who have lost their parents by supporting them through school. These activities as well as our products reinforce our focus and passion for environmental sustainability.  

What is the unique selling point of Earth to Earth Organics Skin care products?

Tee: We don’t use any chemicals, chemical preservatives and additives in our products. Our products have no age limit, so anyone can use them, you just need to have skin. We believe this makes us stand out in the market.

Dan: Aside from our products, sustainability is something that is very important to us. You can see this for example in our packaging, which is 90% plastic free. We also partner with Clean hub, to clean up plastic waste in some of the most deprived places in the world. This I believe also makes us unique from other skin care brands.

How did you start developing these products and how did you know which ingredients to use?

Tee: I couldn’t find anything on the market for my skin rash, that was natural, cost effective and that could heal my skin. Therefore, I started researching natural ingredients and took some courses to further my knowledge. After trying different combinations of products, I found a winning formular that worked for me.

This was cemented by my nephew, who developed eczema and used my body butter to cure it. He coined it ‘Aunties Magic Cream’. Dan also fell in love with the body butter so we stopped using any shop bought products and only used products that we created.  For me, this was a sign that we were onto something and encouraged me to develop more products, which have been greatly received by our customers.

Are there specific certificates that you need for your products before you can sell them to the general public?

Dan: All our products are safety tested and suitable for public use. Due to the fact we don’t use water in them, the safety verification process is more straight forward for us.

What are some of the challenges you faced when you started?

Tee: Knowing how to run a business. We knew there would be a regulatory aspect, given we are in the skin care business. However, there was a lot more to learn about running a business, such as finance and marketing. It was a steep learning curve for us, which involved talking to experienced people, research and then implementing best practice.

Dan: We both have backgrounds in customer services, so we knew how to deal with customer issues and queries when they arose. However, everything else has been new to us. For example, we didn’t know that when labeling a product, you have to use the scientific names of all ingredients used. Although it has been challenging, we have learnt a lot along the way.

Read similar stories:

Earth to Earth Organics

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What were some of the mistakes that you made in your earlier years?

Dan: We made some mistakes when we first started, which is to be expected. One of our earlier mistakes was when we sent our first order to a customer. I made a mistake on the shipping, which meant that postage was more expensive than the product I was sending.  It was a small difference of around £1 but of course it’s not something I wanted to repeat.

Tee: When making our product labelling, we hadn’t considered that our bottles could get wet, depending on where customers were storing them. This would affect the quality of our labels over time. We learnt from that experience and as a result, we make our labels waterproof.

How did you handle marketing when you first started selling your products?

Tee: At the moment we’ve only used Instagram, where we ask our customers a lot of feedback as part of our marketing strategy. This has helped us make a lot of changes, for example having consistent branding on our website and Instagram page.

What is your bestselling product?

Tee: Our magic butter, which is our first product, is the best seller. Most of our new customers are introduced to our brand via this product. A lot of our customers with skin problems like eczema have found that our magic cream helps them alleviate it. Subsequently, they then recommend our magic butter to their family and friends.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a business in the same space?

Tee: I would say be authentic to yourself, do your research and be transparent with your customers. One of the things that our customers like about us is that we are always honest with them and we listen to their feedback.

Dan: My advice would be don’t worry about every little thing, just start it.

Where can people buy your products today?

We sell all our products via our website