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Interview with Lorraine, Director Of Formula Botanica

 

 

 

 

 

Can you please tell us about your background and how you became the Director of Formula Botanica?

I am a Biologist and Environmental Scientist by training and worked in the international energy industry for 12 years. When I had my first son, I found myself realizing that this was finally my opportunity to start my own business so I started a small online blog to talk about herbs in skincare. Before I knew it, I was attracting in 20,000 readers per month and people were asking me where they could buy my skincare formulations!

I then took a course online in making organic skincare and loved it. However, once I then had my second son, I realized it wasn’t going to work for me. At this point I was given the opportunity to take on a small website that taught people how to formulate organic skincare – the very same online course that had taught me!

I took over Formula Botanica in early 2014 with the intention of it being a small hobby business that I would run in the evenings after my day job. At the time, it was a large unfinished business – the website had empty pages on it, the systems didn’t work properly, it was all largely boot-strapped. I set about overhauling every single thing in the school, including all of the courses. I implemented proper marketing systems, I hired people, I started using digital marketing techniques including email and video and I made the school visible. Things quickly snowballed and here we are, several years later with a global team, thousands of students, a prestigious industry award for the quality of our learning materials and a 7-figure turnover.

 What are 3 benefits of studying with Formula Botanica? (strong selling points)

The main benefits of studying with Formula Botanica are:

  1. You receive our award-winning learning materials of the highest quality, which teach you the skills you need to learn how to make professional, innovative organic skincare and hair care.
  2. You become part of a thriving global community of formulators, which lift you up and provide the support network you need to change your life and start your own organic beauty brand.
  3. You get to study at your own pace in your own time, using our accredited eLearning platform.

 

If we had to pick only 2-3 courses (due to budget, etc.), which one would you advise to start with?

I always recommend starting with our Diploma in Organic Skincare Formulation, which is our foundation course for everyone who wants to learn how to formulate. Next I would recommend enrolling for our Diploma in Organic Haircare Formulation, as I’m not seeing anyone currently making innovative truly organic haircare. Finally, I would combine these two courses with our Certificate in Natural Cosmetic Preservation, which teaches you how to make safe and natural cosmetics.

 

When you are not working or managing the school how do you like to relax?

I love spending time with my two boys, who are at a wonderful inquisitive age! We learn things together, visit new places together and we love reading together. There is nothing more special than receiving a cuddle from my kids.

 

What type of products do you like formulating the most and why?

Although I don’t get to formulate much anymore nowadays – we have a sizeable education team at Formula Botanica who takes care of that – my heart still goes out to lip balms. I am a lip balm junkie! I always have several with me.

 

Can you explain briefly the pros and challenges of formulating organic skincare (from your observation?)

The pros are that you don’t have to prescribe to the set ways that the mainstream industry has made skincare for decades. When you become an organic formulator, you start to think in a different way and you build your formulations from the ground up, rather than following set rules about how a product must look, feel or smell. It’s like an art-form where you can apply your creativity to the beautiful organic ingredients you’re working with.

The biggest challenge is of course preservation. It’s hard to make water-based formulations that are correctly and safely preserved using natural ingredients. However, if you undertake proper R&D and testing for your formulation then there is nothing stopping you from making a safe naturally preserved skincare product.

 

Who are the key people in your team and how are they contributing to the business success?

I’m so glad you asked this question because so many people don’t seem to realise that I’m not doing every single thing at Formula Botanica. Growing to a school with thousands of people means that I’ve delegated many of the jobs I was initially doing at Formula Botanica – I have to or I’d never sleep.:)

We have now split the team into several sub-teams so we have a Student Support Team and an Education Team, run by my colleagues Gemma and Timi. I’m also planning to build a Marketing Team in time, once we have our new marketing system in place. Everyone who works with Formula Botanica is such an asset to our school and I feel very lucky to know that I work with such great people – that includes all of the consultancies that work with us too.

We have so many wonderful people working in our team that I would feel bad not mentioning them all! You can read more about our team here although in reality there are about 25 people who work for Formula Botanica on a regular basis. I’m very grateful to work with such talented and knowledgeable people, who are pivotal to driving our school forward.

 

 Where do you see Formula Botanica a few years from now?

I would like Formula Botanica to have enrolled its 10,000th student by the end of 2020 (and I think we’re well on track to achieving that milestone!). I want us to continue to be the go-to education institute for organic cosmetic formulation and I want to forge even more partnerships in the industry. We have big plans and will be rolling-out quite a few of them this year. Watch this space.

 

What are the must-have digital marketing tools you can’t live without?

  1. Photoshop – I live and love in Photoshop. I undertake much of the graphic design for Formula Botanica and am self-taught. I run the Instagram account and love it!
  2. Email marketing – we’ve shifted a lot over the years so there isn’t one specific tool that I swear by – we’ve used Mailchimp, Ontraport and are now in the process of moving over to Infusionsoft. But digital marketing is nothing without good email marketing.
  3. Zendesk – we deal with a HUGE number of prospective and current student support inquiries; our team handles 1000-1500 tickets per month which all require 2-3 agent touches before they are resolved. That’s many thousands of emails we’re handling on a monthly basis. We will soon also be rolling out a live chat system on our website. We wouldn’t be able to handle any of this without Zendesk.

 

Can you please share with us your 3 rules of success?

  1. Learn from negative experiences and make yourself stronger off the back of them.
  2. Surround yourself by people who are better at stuff than you.
  3. Consistency is the key to success – keep going and don’t stop what you’re doing. The more consistent you are, the more successful you will be.

About Lorraine:

Lorraine is a Biologist and eLearning Entrepreneur. Lorraine is the Director of Formula Botanica, the accredited Organic Cosmetic Science School, which has enrolled 5,000 students in 133 countries. Formula Botanica’s award-winning courses teach you how to formulate high performance, professional natural cosmetics and start your organic skincare or haircare brand. Lorraine has been voted into the top 25 most influential people in the natural beauty industry for the last three years.

Connect with Lorraine: @formulabotanica (instagram)

Website: formulabotanica.com and herbhedgerow.co.uk

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