I have always worked in and around cosmetics. I left school at 16 and became a hairdresser, I personally didn’t enjoy this but always loved the massage side of it, the styling and being with customers.
I decided to study media makeup and ended up getting a job at Selfridges in London, on a well-known makeup counter. It was an amazing experience and a really trendy, current brand, but the products were not environmentally-friendly and everything was in plastic. This wasn’t something I was massively aware of but I always liked to use more natural products on my skin. I can’t say I enjoyed my time there as there were very overpowering personalities, but it helped me learn about different people, cultures, how a business runs, what works and what helps to drive sales and we were working at a high pace as it was one of, if not the, busiest counters on the shop floor. I really enjoyed the hands-on approach and chatting to customers but I didn’t really enjoy the side where I had to do a customer’s makeup as I was always so worried what they would think of the final look but I loved how they felt good from being pampered. I decided that doing makeovers wasn’t for me and I wanted to go down the route of skin and skincare.
I went to Champneys Beauty College, in Tring, and trained there for a year and came out CIBTAC qualified, which is an internationally recognised qualification. I really loved beauty – massage, facials, manicures, pedicures, waxing etc. I then went on to work at Champneys Health Spa for 6 months, followed by Hanbury Manor Marriott Hotel & Country Club, where we did a lot of facials and massage.
Working with so many different brands and products made me realise what customers liked and didn’t like and what was effective on the skin. One day in between clients, I was looking at the products in detail and saw “free from parabens”, which made me do a bit of research and that’s when I started to notice how harsh some products were and the ingredients used could actually not be the safest for the skin. I started to look into different natural ingredients and brands that were on the market to see what was out there and what I could use on my skin.
I was working casual hours, so I decided to take the leap and start my own business on the side, which was called Lucy B Beauty. I did extra courses which included spray tans, gel nails and Caci Facials. I did so many leaflet drops around all the local areas and also built up my business through word of mouth and locality schemes or offers on a course of treatments.
I had my own business for a year or two, when my Dad came up with the idea of Lucy Bee Coconut as we were using coconut oil so much. There were only a couple on the market at that time which were overpriced, so we decided to look into ways of bringing one out which would be Fair Trade, raw, organic and in glass jars and undercut the two on the market. As a family, we were using coconut oil for all of our cooking and I was also incorporating it into my beauty treatments as a massage oil and hair oil. It is great as a beauty product due to the lauric acid which is antibacterial and antifungal. As an oil, a little goes a long way, so it is actually really cost effective.
I continued to do my beauty business as Lucy Bee started. My Dad completely ran the business side and I looked after the social media – content, sharing information on coconut oil, customer service, replying to all messages on social media etc. The more confident and comfortable I got with social media, I started to share tips on my skincare routine and the benefits coconut oil has on the skin. As the range developed, we had more products that worked equally as well, so I started making videos and sharing recipes of face masks, hair masks, body scrubs, lip scrubs and balms etc. There was a surprising amount of interest in this. People found it really interesting knowing how to make their own products and loved the natural element of it and benefits, but so many people used to comment or message saying can I make my own, so that is when I acted on it, as I was always interested in creating my own skincare products.
We reached out to a few manufacturers - it was interesting to understand how the process would work and what was achievable and what wasn’t. We didn’t pursue anything, as the timing wasn’t right, then in late 2016/2017 we decided to go for it and went to meet the manufacturers who we ended up working with on our first launch.
Our vision and aim:
Using Lucy Bee ingredients – we wanted to include all the products in the range, if possible.
Palm oil free – even derivatives and sustainable palm. For a long time, we have realised the negative impact this has on the planet and how many skincare companies use it as it’s cheap and easily accessible. We wanted to bring out a range that made a difference.
Vegan/ cruelty free – needs no explanation.
Fair Trade – we wanted the range to be Fair Trade, this was more challenging than we had realised as it is not always easy to get Fair Trade ingredients.
Sustainable packaging – using the best options available.
We ended up launching the range in November 2018. The range consisted of: Cleanser, Face Cream, Face Exfoliator, Body Exfoliator, Body Lotion, Lip Balm and Lip Scrub. The range used our Cacao, Turmeric, Dead Sea Salts, Cinnamon and Coconut Oil. It used essential oils as the fragrance and was more of a hydrating range but due to the turmeric, we had a lot of excellent reviews on how much it helped people with spot-prone skin, or redness/irritation and to our surprise, both men and women were buying the range.
Unfortunately, from the moment we received the final products until the time we decided to pull the range there were various issues and our manufacturer had completely let us down with the standard they had promised. We decided to pull the range, which was a huge decision for us to make, but we didn’t want to let a company ruin what we had built over the years. It was the best thing we could have done and proof that you should never compromise or settle for anything.
As soon as we pulled the range, we re-evaluated what we wanted to achieve and were straight on the phone to new manufacturers and found an incredible company who have gone above and beyond what we envisioned.
One thing in the brief that was, and still is a huge challenge (and something a lot of manufacturers said wouldn’t be possible), was not using palm oil. A lot of experts said we had to use it, due to its stability and how widely used it is. We had the same thing with the soap manufacturers but said to them to try our coconut oil to see what they could do and in turn they have said they have made the best bar of soap.
The difficulty isn’t always finding palm oil replacements, it is also the fact we do not even want to use their derivatives, which can be quite challenging on the traceability front, but we have stuck to our guns and our ethos and have in turn created the whole range free from all palm oil.
We want to be palm oil free due to the negative impact it has and will continue to have on the planet – deforestation, animals being killed, communities being moved out of their homes. That is why we made the decision to make a difference. All the coconuts we use are grown in agroforestry so there is absolutely no deforestation or negative impacts caused.
Our vision and ethos remained the same with the range we are launching 12.02.20 and we currently have 10 products confirmed to launch this year. We decided to take all the feedback on board – which was all very positive and we re-vamped the whole range – packaging and products.
COSMOS Organic, Vegan, Cruelty Free, Palm Oil Free. Unfortunately, we were unable to use the Fair Trade certification as there were not enough Fair Trade ingredients in the formulations.
Due to customer demand, we made the whole range fragrance free. We understand how sensitive some skin types can be so wanted to make sure the range was suitable for everyone. It is also dermatologically approved for sensitive skin. The range uses the Lucy Bee Coconut Oil and future products use other existing ingredients of ours. We’ve also kept the turmeric, but in a liquid form, so that it has the same properties - antibacterial, antifungal and helps reduce redness. The whole range is really hydrating and helps to make the skin glow and look healthier.
For the packaging, we have used frosted glass jars and aluminium as it is more environmentally friendly. We use minimal plastic and the outer box is in FSC cardboard which is fully recyclable. We will continue to research and look into the best environmentally-friendly packaging as and when it becomes available.
Looking back over the years it is apparent that everything happens for a reason and even when situations happen which are out of your control, if you continue to work and push for what you want, it will happen.
I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Lucy Bee. We are so excited to enter into a field in which there are so many grey areas around organic, natural beauty and bring a brand to you that is effective and ethical.
Lucy, CIBTAC accredited beauty therapist.
About Lucy Bee Limited
Any information provided by us is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. We always recommend referring your health queries to a qualified medical practitioner.
Lucy Bee is a lifestyle brand selling food, skincare and soap products all completely free from palm oil and with minimal use of plastic. Lucy Bee is concerned with Fair Trade, organic, ethical and sustainable living, recycling and empowering people to make informed choices and select quality, natural products for their food and their skin.