Helen oils the wheels of beauty business success

MIXING lotions, balms, scrubs and oils, Helen James set up her environmentally friendly beauty business to combat the irritation caused to her sensitive skin. Reporter Hollie-Rae Merrick went to find out more.

FROM a purpose-built cabin in her garden in Kesgrave, Helen James unwinds in her own world of potions, products and butters.

The mother-of-two transformed a hobby into a career when she began melting and blending eco-friendly waxes and balms into beauty products.

After years of work and research, Innocent Oils now sells products online to customers around the world.

The idea for the business came about in 2005, when Helen, who suffers from sensitive skin, began researching the chemicals and ingredients used in everyday toiletries.

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After becoming increasingly intrigued by the different methods of creating beauty products and the ingredients used, Helen began making her own face and body oils, scrubs, balms and luxurious butters and soaps.

Helen started mixing various products including hemp, an environmentally-friendly and durable crop oozing in goodness and essential amino acids.

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Setting up the business has been a great experience – but a huge task, too.

“Every day has been full of challenges and the odd brick wall, including learning how to build my own website from scratch, create, design and package the products, and market the business with very little budget,” she said.

“Starting up with no financial backing or savings was a challenge in itself and meant I have had to learn to think laterally to be able to take the business forward.”

Working from her garden cabin, the business began with just one product – 100 per cent Innocent – but has expanded rapidly and extensively.

“I work from a purpose-built cabin in the garden at home.

“It’s my skin care kitchen, if you like – with all the equipment set up specifically for my work needs,” she said.

“My favourites are my new induction hobs, which are extremely energy efficient and very fast to heat up.

“I use a double boiler to melt waxes and balm products and a powerful mixer to blend and whip up the butters. The rest is done by hand.

“I prefer to use as little electricity as possible and often get a better finished product when it is made entirely without the use of heat to process it.”

Packing all of her products using minimal recyclable materials means that Helen can ensure that everything is environmentally friendly as possible and can be composted or reused.

Helen, of Main Road, added: “I think that the company has a great deal of potential for growth.

“No matter how far it goes, my priority is to maintain the excellent customer service that Innocent Oils is renowned for.”

Helen’s beauty tips:

- Remove all of your make-up, look in the mirror and smile at your reflection

- To help keep your skin in great condition use botanical plant oils, to encourage the development of healthy new skin cell - preventing wrinkles before they appear.

- It is important to look after your skin from within as it is to apply suitable products to the outside.

- Wrinkles form more easily when the skin is dehydrated.

- When looking for new toiletries try to ignore the labels and look at the ingredients listed instead.

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