BEHIND THE BRAND: DISCOVER THE WELSH BRAND FREYALUNA WITH ITS FOUNDER, SAMI BLACKFORD
Carla Valois Lobo
Exclusively formulated with organic ingredients, Welsh brand Freyaluna was founded almost 10 years ago by Sami Blackford. All its gorgeous-scented products are handmade and British sourced, including its lovely skincare collection. Needless to say, it does not use parabens, alcohol, phthalates, petrochemicals, sulphates, formaldehyde or artificial fragrances.
Freyaluna, available from Love Yourself Naturally, is mainly self-funded by Sami, who launched the brand to help women with sensitive skin or suffering from acne, eczema or psoriasis. Recently we chatted with her and, kindly, she told Morning Beauty why she got into skincare, how Freyaluna’s products are developed and her plans for the brand’s future. Check out the complete interview below.
How did you get into skincare?
My back ground really had nothing to do with skincare. I trained in fashion design in college, and then set-up a fashion design business. Though the business got quite a lot of media attention and my designs were stocked in some lovely boutiques, in the end I had to close it down because it just wasn’t making enough money to be sustainable. I really didn’t know what to do next.
To cut a long story short, after a while, I got a job in the local children’s playgroup where my mother worked, and ended-up working there for five years. During this time, in fact, since my teenage years, I’d been fighting an on-going battle with acne. As a teenager it is sort of expected, but when you’re in your 20s, it’s embarrassing. I had tried pretty much every product I could find in the shops, and I’d even had prescription products from my doctor, but nothing had given lasting results. This is when I started mixing-up lotions and potions for myself.
And how Freyaluna came up?
Though the natural skincare products I originally made were intended just for my personal use, I was so impressed with the results – my skin was so much healthier and the acne really reduced – that I just couldn’t keep it to myself. I started sharing them with friends and family, then at small local craft markets. Eventually, I built myself a website and launched online. Now we sell to customers across the globe, and export to trade customers in Taiwan and Europe.
Are you completely self-funded?
Mostly, yes. I did get one small grant from the Welsh Government early-on so that we could showcase at an event to launch us into the free-from market. But other than that, it’s all been self-funded. Most on the profits we make are ploughed back into the business so that we can grow and help more women to look and feel amazing.
How do you usually develop the products?
I’m always inspired by our customers and clients.Quite often someone will come to me with a certain problem or issue and I’ll consider if there’s a certain ingredient or product that could help them, and then build a product around that. Other times, it might work the other way round – I’ll find an amazing ingredient that could bring loads of benefits to our customers, and I’ll find a way to build it into a product. This is one of my most favourite parts of the work I do. I’m really like a little kid, when I get to play with all the wonderful ingredients and create something new.
But why the name Freyaluna?
I get asked this question a lot. People want to know, what does Freyaluna mean? To be honest, it doesn’t really mean anything. I sort of just made it up. When I was deciding to launch my products as a business, a lot of the natural skincare brands around at that time were very natural (and dare I say… beige) in their image, and I wanted a girly image that would encourage women to treat themselves and their skin well, and to indulge in some pampering me-time.
I loved the name Freya, and when I started researching the name, I found that she was a Norse moon goddess, so I added “luna”. I love that it is kind of girly and mystical all at the same time.
What are your plans for Freyaluna’s future?
Oh, where to start! There are lots of plans for new products. We’re looking to expand our haircare range, and introduce some exciting new skincare products. Our main objective, though, is to fight against this “you’re not good enough” message that most big cosmetic companies send out. At Freyaluna, we want to help women to gently support their skin (instead of constantly battling against it), and to embrace their skin and their bodies for the amazing things that they are. We want to help women to fall in love with what they see in the mirror.
Which products do to use in yourself?
I always have my Ban the Blemish facial products to hand and use them every day, without fail. They were a huge part in healing my acne, and they’re the best thing I’ve found for my acne-prone skin. And I can’t go anywhere without one of our lip balms in my pocket. I absolutely love our Geranium & Ylang Ylang shampoo, and I’ve found that I don’t even need to use conditioner on my hair anymore now that I’ve made the switch to a natural shampoo.
As for bath and body products, I change what I use depending on the mood I’m in. As you can probably imagine, my bathroom cabinet is full of gorgeous Freyaluna products! In fact, the only skincare products I use which aren’t Freyaluna, are sunscreen and deodorant, but watch this space on that last one.