With springtime in bloom, The Foxley Docket speaks to one of the most naturally focuses British skincare brands out there.
In a conversation with Lisa Swaine, founder of Hawaiian themed British brand, Betty Hula, we talk about the return dusting powder and how this brand takes influence from the Central Pacific, but crafts everything in Yorkshire.
The Foxley Docket: We like to get to know the people behind the brands, so what is your position at Betty Hula and what do you do?
Lisa Swaine: Like most people who have their own company, I do a bit of everything! I am the one that talks to customers, works on our stand at any shows we do, makes sure we have enough stock in, makes some of our products, and obviously makes the brews.
TFD: Who is Betty Hula?
LS: Betty Hula is a caring Hawaiian girl who grew up being taught natural skincare recipes and traditions passed down from her relatives. She’s brought over her love of all things natural to the UK, and is now spreading her lovely products and knowledge to our British ladies.
TFD: What is your background in skincare and how/when did you realise your calling in life would come from this industry?
LS: I’ve always been interested on keeping all parts of life as natural as possible. My earlier life consisted of working in the advertising industry as an art director. This has helped a lot with certain parts of running the business! Betty Hula is often described as our third child and I love being very hands-on with the branding and packaging side of her.
TFD: You are based in Yorkshire, and proudly state that all of your products are handmade in England. However, its often thought that ingredients and manufacturing can be more cost effective when buying from abroad – therefore, why do you feel it is so important to make Betty Hula products in the UK?
LS: All of our products are made in Yorkshire, where we are based. Whilst obviously some of the ingredients originate from abroad we feel that it would be not only wrong for the country (and our beliefs) but it would really hinder us in so many ways.
For example, we were able to launch our dusting powder just two months after the Johnson & Johnson lawsuit about their talc. We couldn’t have been so agile had we created this abroad.
We are also very hands-on with our recipe creations, testing, tweaking-all of which is easier when it’s done on your doorstep. Finally we are lucky enough to have skilled experienced chemists to help with our formulations; and we’re proud to say that that skill was developed in the UK.
TFD: I’m sure you will agree that Yorkshire is a far cry from Hawaii, so where does your Hula inspiration come from?
LS: Mine and my partner’s background in marketing/advertising came into play with the positioning of the brand.
Our product was always going to be natural and premium quality products. We needed a differentiator to help our range standout and that’s where Betty Hula was born. The Hawaiian look and scents make our collection stand out from many others. The association of the natural good honest ingredients fitted perfectly with the Hawaiian skincare rituals.
TFD: You are gathering more awards each year and your Delicate Dusting Powder has just won you the ‘Highly Commended’ Gift of the Year from The Giftware Association. Why do you think your Dusting Powder is so successful?
LS: Two reasons. First because it solves a new problem which is what can you use instead of talcum powder for chaffing and absorbing moisture, or as a part of your post bath prep.
The second reason is because it has brought an old retro favourite, of our mum’s and gran’s, bang-up-to-date! We’ve had so many people say: “Oh, I remember when I was young, my gran would sit at her dressing table and get her puff and put talc over her arms”.
From a gifting point of view it’s something a little different, a good present price at £9.99, and it looks lovely.
TFD: You state (on your website bettyhula.co.uk) that your Dusting Powder is part of your ‘talc-free revolution’ – why do you feel it is important to be talc free?
LS: The ingredient in most of the talc products that were/are on the shelf contain the ingredient ’talc’. Talc is a natural substance that is mined in the same way as chalk. Unfortunately the talc has asbestos embedded in it, and whilst a lot of this can be isolated and extracted from the talc, not all of it can be taken out. So as this has been proven, long-term use of talc on your skin is bad to say the least. It’s carcinogenic. Our dusting powder, however, is a mix of natural (non toxic) ingredients that do the same job as talc. So we are the safe alternative.
TFD: You seem to be very well attuned to using natural ingredients, are there other ways that Betty Hula works with nature?
LS: We are vegan friendly too, which at the present rise in this area of living has opened up a new market for us. We’re often told that it’s nice to see a natural, vegan friendly skincare range that looks so good. Proving that natural doesn’t have to be boring.