[8 MINUTE READ]
My goodness, the temperature has dropped quickly or is it just us? As much as we love Autumn, the less glamorous sides of the season have come back to haunt us this week: dry, sensitive skin and chapped lips, and we are not about them.
That’s why this week’s chat with Sara Rosalie, the Founder and CEO of Sara Rosalie Skincare came at the perfect time! Sara Rosalie skincare is a dutch skincare brand offering face balms, eye balms and lip balms for even the most hypersensitive skin and chapped lips.
Sara reveals what drove her decision to start Sara Rosalie Skincare, what her favourite product is and how you can plant flowers from the Sara Rosalie ‘thank you’ note. Yes, really! Not only that, but Sara Rosalie Skincare is offering our wonderful readers an exclusive discount. Keep reading to get your hands on it!
Welcome Sara! Could you start by telling me a bit about your childhood and how you feel it has influenced you today?
I grew up on a small island in the North of The Netherlands. We lived with my family on a sheep farm, surrounded by nature. Life was simple, we ate mostly organic food and made our own cheese. The island is known for its sheep, dunes, the wind and the beaches. Although I have lived in Amsterdam for over a decade, I still yearn for that sense of freedom. I love that my childhood showed me what really matters: nature, good food and family life.
"When formulating a new product, we examine all ingredients with Allergy Certified. They are the objective party that makes sure we only use safe ingredients for the most sensitive skin."
Wow! That sounds idyllic. I’m curious as to how you got started in the beauty industry because your childhood seems a million worlds away from the beauty industry. How did it happen?
True! Before I started my company, I worked in media and learned a lot about marketing and branding. I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur, just like my parents. I desired the freedom that comes from following your passion and making your own decisions. Before it was a trend, I was looking for pure, natural skincare products that also had nice packaging (not just the stereotypical green iconography or flowery patterns). It was really hard to find here in the Netherlands and so, I decided to start up my own brand. I felt there was a gap in the market and I could fill it!
I admire your self-belief! When did you decide to start Sara Rosalie Skincare and why? Was the timing important?
The timing was important for me personally, because at that time, I was getting frustrated with working for big companies. I got stuck, and I didn’t know what I wanted to do. So I carefully started to set up the strategy for my brand and started researching the possibilities. Although I didn’t have any experience in beauty- I studied Literature & Journalism at university- I liked that I could figure things out myself and it was actually going somewhere. When you are building a company or brand, I think there are three ingredients for success: honesty, transparency and trusting your gut. I had all three and so, even though I had no clue what I was doing in the beginning, it became a personal learning experience.
Absolutely! You committed to the idea, believed in it and did the work. We love Sara Rosalie Skincare’s focus on sensitive skin and hypersensitivity. Could you explain why this is a key component of Sara Rosalie lip balms, eye balms and face balms?
Of course! To be honest it is our “raison d’être”. When I launched the first products, I received so many personal skin stories from customers. I noticed that most people considered themselves to have sensitive skin or be compromised by other skin issues like allergies, eczema or psoriasis. These customers are on a never-ending search for that miracle product that is finally safe to use and actually works. I want Sara Rosalie Skincare to be the brand that ends that search.
Therefore, we work with the Danish certification Allergy Certified. They examine all ingredients via toxicological checks and follow all new science reports on ingredients and skin. All of our products are certified with this label. I fully trust their work and am so proud to work with them. Yesterday, for example, a young woman DM’d me on Instagram to tell me she had finally found something to reduce her rosacea: the Sara Rosalie Face Balm. When I receive these kinds of messages, I feel fulfilled; this is why we make our products.
I can see how passionate you are about your customers! So could you describe how you consider sensitive skin and allergies throughout the manufacturing process and when selecting ingredients?
Oh, we consider it all the way through, haha. When formulating a new product, we examine all ingredients with Allergy Certified. They are the objective party that makes sure we only use safe ingredients for the most sensitive skin. This way, it is extremely unlikely that a customer would develop an allergy when using our products. We don’t use any perfumes or essential oils in the products at all. Even when you don’t have sensitive skin or a skin allergy, if you are exposed to an allergen over and over again, you can easily develop one. We definitely don’t want this to happen to any of our customers, so we are stringent on not using any ingredients that are proven hazards to the skin or body.
That’s really comforting to hear. And sustainability means a lot to you also doesn’t it? How does it factor into Sara Rosalie Skincare as a business?
It is at the forefront of everything that we do and present throughout every step of the process. I find it difficult sometimes because we are a small company and don’t always have all the possibilities we would like. However, from manufacturing locally to shipping products out to our customers by bicycle, we try to do the best we can. All of our packaging is recycled (and on it’s second life) and/or recyclable. The boxes we use when shipping webshop orders are made from recycled paper, and even the safety tab is biodegradable. Our goal is that when you order with us, you’re not stuck with leftover material. My favourite part is our ‘Thank You’ note, which is actually a card that you can grow flowers from when you put it in some soil.
That is seriously innovative and cool! Do you think that people are genuinely more conscious of the ingredients in their beauty and skincare products nowadays? If so, why?
Yes, I do think so. For a long time, big beauty companies would tell people what was best for their skin and hair, but their only goal was to turn a profit. Over the past few years, I have noticed more passionate beauty brands coming up that actually want to do what is best for the customer. They make beautiful products and are transparent, sustainable, honest. My hope is that eventually the hype for these nonsense products will die out altogether and that way, customers can find it easier to find the right product for them by trusting in genuine, honest brands.
I can see that happening already. What were your biggest challenges in starting up Sara Rosalie Skincare?
Finding my way in the cosmetic industry when it wasn’t so transparent... Now I have a solid network here in The Netherlands, but it took me a long time to get in touch with the right people. Sometimes, when I’m researching the possibilities for a new product for example, I still find it hard that a lot of cosmetic manufacturers are hard to reach. Luckily, it gets easier the longer you’re in this business.
For sure! What strategies do you think have been key to the success of Sara Rosalie Skincare?
From the beginning, our strategy was digital-first. That strategy came from my media background and helped us grow a sustainable webshop with our own client base. I find it hard to be dependent on wholesalers with actual stores because they struggle a lot. Another key strategy was our personal approach; a lot of my work relationships are strong women with a mission that they spread via their company. It makes doing business more fun if you can share it with likeminded people.
I love that; women supporting women! What is your favourite thing about your job?
The freedom and creativity it gives me. Now that I’ve experienced what this feels like, I couldn’t go back to working without it.
I bet! Right, a tricky question I’m sure, but if you had to pick, what is your favourite product that you’ve ever created?
The Sara Rosalie Eye Balm. It really works! People are always so surprised after they use it because it’s such an effective product; it really encompasses what Sara Rosalie Skincare is all about.
"We’re working on some amazing new products that we hope to launch in November, just in time for the festive season."
That’s brilliant to hear that kind of feedback! What do you think makes Sara Rosalie Skincare stand out?
The combination of Allergy Certified products, 100% natural ingredients, our sustainable approach and modern look and feel. I hope that special mix makes our customers feel really good about using our products.
You definitely have all the elements we look for in a beauty brand! Could you describe your biggest “pinch-me” moment since starting Sara Rosalie Skincare.
I can’t pick a particular moment, but I love it when customers tell me about their personal skincare journey and how they have finally found a product that’s safe and actually works for them in the Sara Rosalie range. It’s still the best feeling and I feel very proud of what we have achieved.
So you should! That is awe-inspiring. What inspires you?
Strong women and nature.
And could you describe what an average day looks like for you?
Every week or even day is so different! I like to start by going through my emails and answering as many as I can. Then, we have a Skype call with our team where we brainstorm campaigns, social media content and new products. I often have to go to our warehouse to check on products or talk to the staff there.
After that, I’ll probably do some research on new products or other brands, work on our website or answer personal messages from customers. Of course, then there’s my family life which mixes into my day as I have two young children. I also love to go to the gym, meditate and do yoga too. Oh and how could I forget Netflix?
How do you squeeze it all in? Do you think you have a work/life balance?
Definitely! When I got pregnant with my first child, I noticed my priorities shift and I started to think about what I really found important in life. I have never worked around the clock as I’m way too sensitive for that; I need to take some time for myself. I want to give my kids a solid example of how important it is to find time to rest and recuperate. Honestly, I feel it is even helpful to be bored sometimes… That’s when the best ideas come! So, I work when needed and on the days and times that suit me. It’s a cliché but I work to live, not the other way around.
Good for you! What words do you live by?
“Think big, act small”, “one step at a time” and “always listen to your gut”.
Some great ones! What’s next for Sara Rosalie Skincare?
We’re working on some amazing new products that we hope to launch in November, just in time for the festive season. It’s a little bit out of my comfort zone, but I believe people will love the new offering.