I fell into the skincare and perfumery industry many years ago by accident and never quite left! When I was younger I worried that beauty and perfumery wasn’t an academic or worthwhile career choice. Over the years I’ve come to realise that what is important is happiness and that feeling you get when everything is right in your world regardless of the chaos outside.
I originally trained as a make-up artist after working for some major skincare companies in London and then went on to study cosmetic science (both at The London College of Fashion). I accidently did a 2 week work placement at IFF (one of the major fragrance manufacturers) and discovered a whole new world of perfumery. They ended up offering me a job and over the years I trained my nose and worked as an evaluator on many different products from fine fragrance to laundry detergent.
Mostly though I worked on own label toiletries ranges for companies such as M&S, Boots & Superdrug which lead me to study aromatherapy which was becoming very mainstream at the time. I got my first taste of teaching too as I ran fine fragrance induction days for new buyers, which included how to categorise fragrances and the raw materials used.
I love learning new things which I guess is also why I love teaching, and aromatherapy really inspired me to investigate my pursuit of using fragrance and beauty to enhance well being. I have always made career choices for what I will learn rather than earn and decided that working in product development for Neal’s Yard Remedies was too good a learning opportunity to miss – so I left the world of commercial fragrance behind to delve into natural skincare and essential oils.
I was lucky enough to work very closely with some fabulous people including the founder Romy Fraser and chemist Dr Pauline Hili who formulated NYR products for many years and got to work on fragrances for many of their products too. I ended up becoming the company trainer for Neal’s Yard Remedies and ran loads of workshops both for staff and members of the public. When the company moved from London to Dorset I decided to leave as I’m a Londoner at heart and had already joined forces with my partner in a retail business in South London for a new learning adventure.
I plunged myself into my retail business solidly for about six years and I honestly became exhausted by it. I made the mistake that many small business owners do and thought that I had to know and do everything myself. If you are reading this and have a business of your own I can only say this – stick to what you love and are good at and outsource the rest for your own sanity! In 2010 I decided to step back and let the team I had hired become self sufficient and do it without me, which of course they could do very well.
I started teaching again for fun and got back into the swing of things running natural beauty workshops for The Make Lounge and perfumery classes for Trill Farm and Neal’s Yard Remedies. I was approached by Cico books to write A Green Guide to Natural Beauty which was published in August 2011 and decided to focus on teaching & writing full time.
I am currently writing some online courses and a second book as well as teaching lots of 1, 2 and 5 day classes in practical perfumery (including both natural and synthetic ingredients as I believe both have value if used in a sensible and balanced way)
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