Kate is the founder of new Bristol based, botanical skincare brand Wild Source Apothecary. Kate makes her skincare products by hand in small batches using products found in nature such as flowers, stems, roots, leaves, minerals, salts and oils. Everything is selected for it’s beneficial properties as well as a luxurious feel.
How did you first get into Aromatherapy?
I first got into aromatherapy years ago when I decided I wanted to do my yoga teacher training. I started burning essential oils during my practise and realised how much it helped me to focus. It kind of took off from there really. I bought a basic aromatherapy and blending book and I couldn’t put it down! There were so many uses for each oil and I was amazed at the therapeutic benefits. I decided there and then I wanted to learn how to professionally blend essential oils so I applied for Aromatherapy school and it all went from there!
Where did the inspiration to start your own brand come from?
I literally started Wild Source by foraging Rosehips on the way to my job in a coffee shop. There were masses of them on my way to work so picked them and read up on how to press and make your own facial oil. I’d always struggled with finding something that really worked with my skin. I have the most sensitive, dry but oily T-zone, large pores, red blotchiness complete nightmare complexion ever and it was getting me down for a while. I couldn’t put anything on my skin without having some sort of adverse reaction. Which I hated because I’ve always loved skincare. I pressed my very first batch of Rosehip oil and made about 6 bottles. I then tweaked the recipe by adding in some extra carrier oils and played around with essential oils and it snowballed from there.
What’s the process for designing a new product?
I mainly take inspiration from the women closest to me. I’ll ask my friends and family what they need and look for in skincare products. For example, most of my friends are 9-5 city girls working in built up areas rammed with bodies and pollution. Thats when I decided Miracle Oil needed to have an element of anti-pollution to it- some extra protection or a barrier like quality so we added organic Thistle Oil..
Designing a new product takes a lot of time. Once you have an idea of what you want to create its about fine-tuning the recipes which can take months. I’ll make them in really small batches of maybe only 10 bottles and leave them for months; checking back in to see the stability of each product, how well it lasts, the smell, texture, colour. consistency. You’ve got to remember nobody has the same skin. So what works for you might not work for your mum or your sister or best friend. I send out samples to an array of women with different skin types and I take everything into consideration- age, skin type, race, job, life-style where they live, you name it. I’ll wait for feedback and tweak, tweak again and probably again just to be sure! I’m extremely particular with quality of ingredients, Everything has to be 100% the absolute best I can get it and nothing less before you release it- whats the point otherwise?
What is your hero ingredient?
It’s really hard to pick one… I think it would be Rosehips though. Mainly because of its multitude of skin loving benefits but I also think it has an extra special place in my heart because it’s the first ingredient I pressed and made into oil myself- I’m pretty sentimental like that!
Obviously since bringing out my own range of skincare I mainly use Wild Source but before then I have always loved Sukin skincare products. Lovely Day Botanicals are gorgeous and so beautifully packaged and Kiehls body butter is dreamy.
Tell us about your wardrobe and where you like to shop in Bristol?
My wardrobe is all over the place I have to say! Because I’m currently running all aspects of the business it really varies and if I know I’m only leaving the house that day for coffee I’m usually in leggings, messy bun, giant t-shirt and apron! My high street favourites has always been Zara and Mango although I’m really trying to steer myself away from disposable clothing. When I’m wanting to treat myself I tend to shop with House of Sunny, they’re London based but amazing and I LOVE their clothes. Bristol clothes shopping is a completely different experience. Cabot Circus is handy when you know what you need but really, I love the Urban Fox next to St Nicks and the charity shops on Park St and Cotham Brow always have the gems worth digging for!