[7 MINUTE READ]
Happy Friday all and welcome back to another Friday Founder interview. This week, we have been loving this gorgeous summer weather and the influx of Vitamin D. As always, a change in temperature has got us thinking about our skincare and how to best support our skin this season.
This week, we are thrilled to welcome the Co-Founder of Five Dot Botanics, Zaffrin, to our virtual sofa! Five Dot Botanics is an award-winning, minimalist skincare brand that is plant-based and 100% vegan.
"We always wanted to create skincare products that were effective. It is not an easy feat with just 5 ingredients, but that is what I set out to achieve."
Good morning Zaffrin! Thanks for joining us. We’d like to start at the beginning. How did your childhood affect what you wanted to do in your life and where you are today?
I am the eldest child of two and the first of my family to be born in the UK. My family is originally from Bangladesh. I grew up in London and my childhood was pretty relaxed. I had a lot of autonomy to learn and grow! I think this was because my father was a scientist so we were encouraged to try everything out. This had a huge impact on me because, even as an adult, there is nothing I feel I could not learn or have a go at. Not everything will be a success, but I learned from a young age that you should always try!
You learned to fail, which is so important! How did you get started in the beauty industry?
I had the idea to start a minimalist skincare range and eventually, Five Dot Botanics was born in 2017. I spent 2 years learning and developing the products with an established cosmetic scientist. The fact that I was not from the beauty industry was a good thing because I was able to look at things from a completely different perspective. I am a lawyer - that’s my background - so creating a range centered around minimal ingredients, transparency and trust was something that I felt the beauty industry was lacking.
Oh wow. That is such an interesting starting point! When did you decide to start up Five Dot Botanics and why? Was the timing important?
I launched the brand in 2019 but was in the product development stage for 2 years before we launched. The whole process took much longer than I initially thought because it takes time to develop and formulate products and then test them. We always wanted to create skincare products that were effective. It is not an easy feat with just 5 ingredients, but that is what I set out to achieve. Minimalist skincare was not something anyone knew about when I first started out, but now customers are more aware of what they are putting on their skin.
I completely agree! And how does Five Dot Botanics consider issues relating to sensitive skin and allergies?
Five Dot Botanics is all about skincare that helps you have and maintain a healthy skin barrier. We understood that more and more people are allergic to ingredients or want skincare that is free from specific ingredients. Through minimal skincare, we make it easy for our customers to know what is going on their skin. We use scientifically proven plant ingredients and avoid synthetic chemicals.
Our plant oils and serums are particularly popular as they help to fortify the skin barrier. We didn’t set out to target sensitive skin but it is something that fits in with our product ethos. We now think more about these customers and they are often the people that get in touch with us the most to give feedback. They are the ones that read the ingredients list, so they are generally ahead of most beauty consumers!
How awesome! And how does sustainability factor into Five Dot Botanics?
We are always thinking about sustainability. We see fewer ingredient skincare as being better for the skin and better for the planet. By only using 5 ingredients in any product, we reduce the environmental impact, compared to products that use 30 or 40 ingredients. We use glass for our containers and FSC certified cardboard. We also use cardboard made from post-consumer waste. Basically, we are always thinking about new ways that we can make things better for the planet in the long term.
That is reassuring to hear. Do you think people are more conscious of the ingredients in their beauty and skincare products nowadays? If so, why?
People are more aware than ever before about what they are putting on their skin. There is a wealth of information available and consumers are also realising that too many ingredients and too many products can damage their skin. Minimal skincare is about using only what your skin needs to thrive. We are specialists in making skincare that uses fewer ingredients.
This concept makes so much sense to me. We complicate skincare too much! What were your biggest challenges in starting up Five Dot Botanics?
There were many challenges. Developing a network takes time. Everything from finding a cosmetic scientist to a manufacturer is a big challenge at first. When I started I knew no one!
So, what strategies do you think have been key to Five Dot Botanics’ success?
The key to our growing success is the products; they contain exceptional ingredients that genuinely work. We have built a loyal community as a result of that.
It sounds so simple when you put it like that! What is your favourite thing about your job?
I have loved meeting all these new people. Hearing from our customers and seeing them return to buy the product again is quite special!
"We are gender-neutral and inclusive, so we have customers of all ages, races, and genders."
Oh, I bet! Which is your favourite product that you’ve ever created for Five Dot Botanics?
I love them all, I can’t choose!
That’s okay! It’s like picking a favourite child, I know! What do you think makes Five Dot Botanics stand out?
Five Dot Botanics has a voice that is unique in the industry; standing for minimal ingredients and healthy skin. We are gender-neutral and inclusive, so we have customers of all ages, races, and genders.
I love that! Could you describe your biggest “pinch-me” moment since starting up Five Dot Botanics?
When we got our first investment. To take on investors that believed in our vision for Five Dot Botanics was amazing!
That must have felt wonderful. What inspires you?
People that have overcome challenges in life to succeed.
What a great response! Do you think you have a work/life balance?
When you run a business you are always thinking about your business. I have things that are important to me and I carve out time for them, like spending time with my family, but it is definitely tricky to find the right balance!
It’s a continuous journey, for sure. What words do you live by?
Live truthfully, honestly, and be kind to others.
Absolutely! What’s next for Five Dot Botanics?
We are launching in the Middle East in 2021 and we have some new products in development. We will be launching hair care too, which is super exciting!