This is the first in a series of interviews with the lovely brands we stock here at Sophia’s Choice.
It's called, 'The Beauty & the Brains Behind the Brand'.
I always think it’s important as a customer to know a little more about the people who make the products we buy. There is always a story behind every brand and their products, so today I’m going to introduce you to one of my favourite natural beauty brands, Bathing Beauty.
Founded by the lovely Georgina (George) Jones, Bathing Beauty is really something rather special. Multi-award winning yet not losing sight of its roots, Bathing Beauty is one of those gems you happen across and wonder if you really should share your find with anyone else, or just keep them all to yourself.
This lady walks her talk and is immensely knowledgeable about the ingredients she uses in her formulations. If you are looking for a range of skin and bodycare products which are effective yet gentle for sensitive skin, then Bathing Beauty is one you have to explore.
But don’t take my word for it. Read on and find out why I decided that we just had to stock one of the most natural skincare brands around.
When talking to people it’s always interesting to find out more about their ‘back story’. Yours has been a fabulous mix of high profile modelling, holistic health and motherhood, culminating in Bathing Beauty. Can you tell me a little more about that story?
I grew up on Dartmoor, and spent all my time playing on the moors, making dens, and wishing I had a pony.
At 17, a boyfriend entered me in the Clothes Show Competition. Amazingly I won the South West heats. I persuaded mum to let me go to Bournemouth for the Finals, and I came third in the country.
I opted to continue in school and finish my A levels. I gained a place to study Law, but the Agency kept calling. Mum was unsure so decided to investigate other agencies.
We went to see Models1, and after much interrogation, my mum allowed me to "have a go". My first job was for Company Magazine. They called me ‘The Face of The 90's’!
By the January I was living in Milan and working with the best photographers in the world. I was lucky enough to shoot campaigns for Emporio Armani, de Beers Diamonds and Italian Elle, to name a few.
I always had an interest in natural health. I was a vegetarian for 12 years whilst I was modelling. I use to make my own simple skincare concoctions and used to "treat" the other models
This continued for 8 years, but I really found the constant travel and dieting very stressful. The more successful you became the harder it was to leave.
Eventually a sleep walking accident and fortuitous treatment from an osteopath led to me breaking out and leaving the industry to complete the 4 year and 2000 clinical hours training to gain a degree in osteopathy.
In the first 3 years post graduation I had 3 children, between the second and third baby my husband and I took on a derelict building and converted it into Well St Clinic, which is where I still practice osteopathy.
It was following the sleep walking accident you had at the time you were modelling, that made you re-think your future in the industry. Do you believe it was fate that this accident forced you to listen to your heart and move on to pastures new?
I think when you ignore your inner voice, things happen, they certainly did for me.
I see it almost daily in clinic, where people have ignored their bodies for too long.
They then do something insignificant and have a sudden spasm, or other calamity.
There's nothing mystical about it.
Your body wants to protect itself, and, if you ignore it for too long. It will make you stop.
You’re keen interest in natural therapies led you to train as an Osteopath, and set up the Well St Clinic, with your husband, also an Osteopath. Do you feel your holistic roots have also influenced the type of products you now formulate and make?
Certainly a degree in anatomy and physiology informed me as to the workings of the human body. We are taught in minute detail, from the single cell, up to the whole body.
In fact my lifelong interest in herbalism, homeopathy and a good “how to” book set me in good stead for the researching of the ingredients of the products I was to make.
All Bathing Beauty Products are made by me, using my original recipes.
Where possible you grow your own herbs, use local spring water in your formulations and support other local businesses such as your local potter. Would you say this is what makes Bathing Beauty unique and so different from other natural skincare brands?
I was adamant that every aspect of my product should add value. I also believe we all need to support our local businesses.
My Miracle soap uses water from a fifth century pilgrimage site - St Dyfnogs Spring. All Welsh springs have different properties, but this one is reputed to have Skin Healing Properties. An obvious choice for an eczema soap.
I think the extreme attention to detail and the amazing effectiveness of my products is what sets them apart. My ingredient lists are crystal clear and I'm one of the very few truly natural Skincare producers; there's a lot of green washing out there
You call Bathing Beauty the ‘slow cooker’ of natural beauty, with many of your products taking weeks to make and cure. Is it important to you that your natural formulations are not rushed and given time to develop?
Yes, Bathing Beauty is The Slow Cooking of the beauty world.
Traditional cold processed soap has to take a minimum of 4 weeks to cure to allow the curing process to finish ensuring an ultra mild bar.
Some of my ingredients are grown from seed, then the flowers harvested, then they are infused for a further month.
It is this slow cooking that allows the real purity to shine through.
You have some great names for your products including Balaclava, Jones the Bones and Gauntlet. Where do you get your inspiration from?
The names? That is the easy bit. And I love it
I like them to reflect the functionality of my range.
Jones the Bones was easy. I am a Jones and an osteopath.
And in Wales we have these ways to distinguish ourselves
Gauntlet hand salve has been taken to Antarctica by Mountaineering Instructor, Andy Chapman, who also climbed Mount Everest. How does it make you feel knowing that your products are being appreciated by such a wide variety of people and did you ever expect this?
It’s fantastic when products such as Gauntlet get a real test.
I created them in response to a problem. Gauntlet was designed to be a 100% natural skin healing barrier hand salve for people who get out there and do stuff.
Like me, mucking out at 6am in the morning.
As well as Bathing Beauty and your work as an Osteopath, you are also Mum to 3 children. How do you find the time to juggle the many hats you wear?
Yep 3 kids, 1 husband, many patients and a fledgling business is quite a lot to juggle.
I sleep very little, work really hard and am totally committed to making this work. I multi task in the winter by power napping in the bath.
We don’t have a nanny or cleaner or have foreign holidays. I do live in a loud, messy, chaotic house. I do struggle to find clean socks for the kids in the morning !
But, and this is important;
You are a long time dead.
Bathing Beauty has been going for several years now. Where would you love to see your Brand in say 5 years?
I have been trading for 4 years in October and started from my kitchen table. It has been a ridiculous amount of work, but by putting myself out there, I have made some fabulous friends.
5 years time?
I actually have plans beyond that for two other unrelated businesses...
I am going to relocate Well St Company, combine it with BBHQ The Source and have a centre for Health and Well Being, with therapy rooms, two spa rooms (did I mention I have a Spa range?) Bathing Beauty production, a shop, fabulous cafe and space for courses ... Watch this space !
And finally, as someone who has taken their passion for something and created a successful small business from it, what would be the one piece of advice you would give anyone else thinking of making their own vision a reality?
Be prepared to work harder and push yourself further than you ever thought possible, oh yes, and be really nice to people on your way up, because one day you'll meet them on the way down!