After a few weeks off, I’m really pleased to be back to share your stories. Today we’re talking with Anna from Milo + James about how a passion for natural, organic products led to her starting up her own skincare company.
“Hi, I’m Anna, the co-founder of Milo + James; a skincare company passionate about natural, organic and handmade. I’m lucky to call my husband, Ross, my co-founder. We have two young and energetic boys, and we live in St Albans. Before starting Milo + James, I was in the financial sector, working in Mergers & Acquisitions for ten years and then Learning and Development for eight years.
When our eldest son was born, he had very dry skin…
So I started to learn more about the different ingredients that the cosmetic industry uses in their products and the potential harm that they could do to people’s skin…and the environment. I went on courses and workshops to find out more about skincare, I started to make lots of different products and met some truly amazing people. A little bit later, and after a lot of sweat and tears in our kitchen trying out different recipes for our products, Milo + James was created.
At Milo + James we’re committed to using the best, natural ingredients in our products.
We make our products using only organic ingredients, which are carefully chosen for their benefits. We don’t test our products on animals and do not include parabens, sodium laurel sulphate, fillers, petroleum or palm oil in our products. All our products are handmade in St Albans in small batches.
Our current products are a selection of lip balms:
- The BARE: for those who want the moisturising ingredients of a lip balm but without the flavour. The ingredients include coconut oil, beeswax and shea butter.
- The ORANGE: combining the moisturising ingredients of the Bare lip balm together with the summery flavour of sweet organic oranges.
- The PEPPERMINT: give your lips a little pop with the freshness of organic peppermint combined with the moisture of the Bare original.
You can buy our lip balms individually or as a collection which includes one each of the above. We’re also working on new products which we look forward to sharing with you soon.
The best thing about running my own business is being able to work on something that I’m truly excited about.
It’s great to be able to show my children that work can be something that you are passionate about. There are of course challenges when running your own business. It’s important to understand where your strengths and skills lie, as well as any areas where you might need some help. My husband and I have had very different careers, working in different industries so we have complementary skills which has helped us. But we also recognise that there are still lots of areas where we need help.
The other thing, whether you’re starting a new business or navigating your way in life, is to find the belief within yourself. One of the biggest stumbling blocks I have faced so far relate to myself…overcoming my own self-doubt and finding the confidence in the beginning to start Milo + James. If I could go back in time and give my younger self some advice, it would definitely be to believe in myself more!
Now, like everyone, we have the unexpected challenge of Coronavirus.
As a family, we’ve been adapting to the slower pace of things. We’re making the most of the extra time we get to spend with each other. We’re also thinking about what we might hold on to and the things that we might change after this time.
I love running, I get to switch off from everything around me and have a little bit of me time whilst listening to some of my favourite music. (My sons are generally not that keen on my music or have heard it so many times they are completely bored of it! I’m well known in our family for listening to the same track on repeat for hours and hours!) Now my early morning runs have even greater meaning, they are what’s keeping me healthy and sane!
One of my other favourite things is to catch up with friends over a good meal and a few glasses of wine or a good cup of Earl Grey tea. Obviously this isn’t possible at the moment, so we’ve quickly got used to video chats to stay in touch with our friends and family.
As a business, we’ve stayed open.
People can still buy from us online and we’ve also started to offer gift cards. We’ve had regular contact with our suppliers to ensure that we can still make our products and we also made the decision to limit our trips to the post office to help everyone stay safe.
Juggling having my boys at home, home learning and carrying on with Milo + James was not something we’d ever planned for and it is a challenge. For us, a structure and routine for the boys and appreciating the smaller things has helped, but we are still getting used to it all.
We’re hugely grateful for all the support that we have received, both as a family and a business as we are all go through these uncertain times together.”
Thanks so much to Anna for sharing her story with us. To find out more about Milo + James you can:
- Visit their website www.miloandjames.com
- Follow Milo + James on Facebook and Instagram
- Get in touch on email firstname.lastname@example.org
And if you’re a woman in business reading this or you’ve got a life story to share, please do get in touch with me!