In November 2016 we hosted our second live annual conference for Formula Botanica students and graduates at Senate House in London. We were so excited to see people fly in from all over the world – Malta, the Netherlands, India, Canada, the USA, Sweden, Switzerland, Bulgaria – it was truly an international gathering of organic cosmetic formulators and entrepreneurs.
Formula Botanica 2016 Conference – Day 1
On the first day we welcomed our key note speaker Sonia White who runs Love Lula, the best online retailer for organic beauty. Sonia gave us an inspirational talk about the growth in the natural beauty sector and the trends that she’s seeing from niche organic skincare brands. Sonia told us what it takes to stand out in the marketplace and make your brand a success.
After Sonia’s talk we heard from Nicola Nolan, who is an expert on what it takes to build a successful beauty brand. Nicola shared her tips on getting your brand in front of beauty editors and beauty buyers, sharing from her own years of experience. One of the main tips we learned is not to give up.
Finally, we finished day one by inviting Sonia and Melissa to listen to pitches from some of our students and graduates. We were really excited to be able to present these brands to them and give our students some feedback on their business. We welcomed pitches from Nicola Dickinson from Fresh Therapies who sells her amazing natural nail polish remover. We heard from Elsie and Dominika from Clean Beauty Co, who not only sell their stunning natural clean beauty products but also share recipes and host workshops in London. Then we heard from Oyeta Kokoroko from Okoko Cosmetiques, who flew in all the way from Canada and shared her story of her luxury radiance enhancing skincare. And finally we heard from Camila Olivares from Mia Erba who joined us all the way from Florida, USA and has just launched her coffee and coconut rejuvenating body scrub. These entrepreneurs wowed the panel with their amazing businesses and inspired all of us at the conference.
Formula Botanica 2016 Conference – Day 2
On the second day we opened the conference with a talk from Melinda Coss. Melinda is an expert in creating and growing natural beauty brands and talked to us all about the 7 deadly sins that all skincare entrepreneurs should avoid. Melinda challenged all of us to look at the elements that hold us back in our businesses and gave us lots to think about.
After Melinda’s talk we all got down to some serious formulating. The Formula Botanica team, led by our cosmetic chemist Dr. Elham Eghbali, showed all the conference delegates how to create a truly natural micellar water. We all had great fun creating a 3-in-1 Ylang Ylang Micellar Water which everyone got to take home as well. It was wondering being able to formulate as a group and I think everyone had a great time.
Next we heard from Ana Green, a well-known and respected green beauty blogger who runs her blog Ana Goes Green here in the UK. Ana also runs multiple social media accounts for natural and organic brands so she understands how it works from both sides of the table. Ana talked to us about how we should be working with beauty bloggers and digital influencers. She gave us all great food for thought in how we should find the right influencers for our business.
After lunch, we continued on the topic of marketing when we heard from Katie Nugent, who talked to us in detail about creating and leveraging your brand through marketing. Katie got us all thinking through the 7 steps of creating a great marketing plan and got everyone working together to analyse logos and brands.
Next we had another group formulation workshop where we created a Rosemary Bi-Phase Hair Primer. Bi-phase products are often overlooked by organic formulators so we wanted to have some fun with this formulation and we included some fabulous functional ingredients and extracts, including lentil sprouts!
Finally, we finished our conference by hosting a formulation and business panel with the Formula Botanica team. This was an opportunity for conference attendees to put their burning questions to us. I was there, as were my colleagues Elham, Timi and Teresa, who had joined us all the way from Singapore. We an
swered questions on perfecting your formulations, getting rid of air bubbles in gels and creams, avoiding graininess in butters, legal compliance, stability testing and lots of cosmetic claims.
Our 2016 conference was a huge success and it was a massive privilege to host this live event for our student community once again. Thank you to everyone who attended, wherever they travelled from to join us. If you want to join us for a live event in the future, make sure you join our Formula Botanica student community by enrolling for our courses at formulabotanica.com.
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Lorraine Dallmeier is a Biologist, Environmental Scientist and the Director of Formula Botanica, the award-winning online organic cosmetic science school. Read more about Lorraine and the Formula Botanica Team.