I write this with the zingy Tea & Sympathy Relief Balm dabbed gloriously around the base of my nostrils (it’s a good visual, I grant you), since a winter cold has hit me hard over the last week and not being able to breathe PLUS having a red, chafed nose from blowing it too many times is a double whammy up with which I will not put. (It’s helped a lot, by the way.)
Back on topic, I have to admit something: despite the fact that Leafology is growing month by month, and I’m ridiculously excited about it all (and grateful!), I had a small waver a couple of days ago. Here’s why:
I began to question if I was doing it right and if it was going the way it ‘should’ go. It’s good to review these things, of course, but things went a little downhill that afternoon and I think the problem was this: I’d made the crucial, schoolgirl error of comparing Leafology to other skincare brands – ones which have perfect social media presentations, are name-dropped by all the ‘right’ LA people, have 10,000 different products (though only all for the face), or simply have 4 products they market the shiz out of, sell gold-plated product dispensers (personally I’m OK with the mini birch wood spoon though heaven knows I love anything jewellery-like) or have studio workshops the size of a small farm.
They had one thing in common; although their ingredients and formulations were by and large on the same level as Leafology’s (judging from the simple ingredients list rather than the hype), the prices are set multiple times higher.
I’m sure these companies are doing a lot right (seriously, those instagram feeds…) but the problem was that I started to doubt myself and wondered if they’re also just a lot cleverer – and if they really were doing something better. All in all, I began to have a slight wobble about who my market (or demographic) is and what exactly Leafology is providing and where it should be pitched along the line that runs from ‘average supermarket cheap stuff that is made of synthetic petroleum crap, packaged in plastic with a hefty dose of animal testing’ and ‘$5000 face cream wildcrafted from the hand-pressed shavings of moon-plucked fairydust, presented in 2ml vial formed exclusively from crystallised unicorn breath’*.
Business experts might point out (quite rightly) that, um, this kind of identity (/’branding, darling’) should have been established and set in stone long before ‘day one’. To that I would reply: um, I’ve never described myself as ‘business-minded’.
Here’s what I do know, though:
Leafology products are problem-solvers. They solved my own problems, first and foremost (it’s like the oxygen mask thing; you can help others only when you’ve helped yourself). It all began when I started dreaming of, then obsessively researching and concocting, products which were:
– potent yet gentle and plant-made
– free of synthetic or potentially harmful chemicals
– packed with ingredients which each had an active role to play in healing, boosting or transforming my skin
– packaged in glass or metal, therefore making them recyclable and set apart from the mess of plastic we have in our environment today
– animal-friendly (vegan and not tested on animals, or sold in any countries which legally require such testing)
….I know they now solve these same problems for other people, too.
Leafology products are a joy to use. I’m a big fan of joy. I love joy’s work. Being in the studio and formulating and then repeatedly re-making the tried and tested recipes is a very sensual experience. I wish I could let you all sniff the air in the studio when we’ve just made a fresh batch of the Precious Petals Beauty Balm, or the Frankincense & Tea Seed Magic Eye Night Serum, or the Overnight Face Food, or… And applying the products daily is a joy, too. They feel like everyday luxury, because that’s what they are. It’s not a slapdash affair (though you are free to slap and dash, if that better fits your routine); it’s a ‘oooh, mmmm, aaah’ sort of moment, however long you draw that moment out for, because the textures, natural scents and hands-on nature of the products are rewarding. It’s a lot about pleasure.
Leafology products are simple, humble, joyful, luxurious and playful all at once. They’re for everyone. You don’t have to be au fait with the latest designers, doing twenty namastés per day, eating only hand-torn kale or earning a ridiculously high salary to try them. When I originally set the prices, I took into account that I wanted them to be ‘high street friendly’. I won’t pretend they’re the cheapest things out there, but they also aren’t going to require a mortgage. I wanted them to be accessible. The products each tend to last a while (I’ve been told I should sell the Tea Seed & Olive Wonder Balm in a smaller pot, so people need to re-buy more frequently), and the demographic that they provide for is both very narrow (it was originally just me, after all) and very wide (whatever your age, background, job, lifestyle is – maybe you just appreciate tea and the fact that tea is an ingredient in every single product; it’s Leafology’s ‘thing’). All marketing gurus will tell me this idea of inclusivity is a terrible approach, and it probably isn’t the savviest, but I can say that so far it’s kinda fine and working…
…So, having unwound myself from that minor tizzy, I’m feeling focussed and excited once more (which is just as well because there is a lot planned for Leafology this year and I can’t wait to reveal it all bit by bit!).
What’s that thing about ‘if you don’t know where you fit in, create your own space’ (I may be paraphrasing/inventing)..? I once had a ripped-out calendar page blue-tacked to my childhood bedroom wall. It was a beautiful autumn-lit photograph, all golden browns, of some stepping stones across a river, with the words printed along the top: ‘do not follow where the path may lead. Go your own way and leave a trail.’
Thank you for coming along on this journey with me, being interested and getting involved. I can’t wait to see what happens next for us all! Happy New Year!
*Coming soon. (Unicorns paid three times the going London wage.)