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This week we caught up with Christina and Jen, founders of our newest brand Essench! Female founded, cruelty free, vegan friendly, plastic free, handmade and free from palm oil their products were an instant match with our values and product criteria.
But who are the entrepreneurs behind this new brand?
Christina was diagnosed with Endometriosis six years ago. The sheer amount of prescription medication required to manage the pain (sometimes as many as 28 pills a day) would she feared, lead to a further erosion of health, and negatively impact upon her livelihood.
She is a qualified electrician and always on the road, yet simply could not drive or undertake work safely whilst choking down such a heavy load of tablets. So, took matters in to her own hands.
Christina says –
“With my partner Jen, we researched holistic ways to help manage my condition and came across CBD. In order to get the benefits I felt I needed we started mixing our own at home with Hemp Seed Oil, some Coconut Oil, a little CBD.
I noticed results and we started to experiment in other beneficial uses of CBD. Years of manual work from my previous trade combined with the blemishes that often occur due to a hormone imbalance common to endometriosis, led to my poor skin complexion and abused hands.
Jenny and I developed a range of original and distinct formulas for CBD-infused skincare products, our first, REVIVAL Moisturising Cream. The popularity of this cream amongst family and friends provided the challenging (but most welcome) push into extending our line of CBD skincare. We now offer hair care products, exfoliating scrubs, lip balms and bath bombs.
Somewhere along the line we formally founded our business, Essench CBD Cosmetics.”
Our discussion continued…
How has CBD helped you in day to day life?
Sometimes I didn’t feel like my body was someone at 38, it felt more like I was in my 80s.
My electrical contracting business that I founded in 2012 has required a lot of manual work which of course, eventually takes a toll on your body. Us sparkies spend most of the time kneeling down and climbing into small spaces.
After 11 years in the industry unfortunately my knees and by back have had their day, so I use CBD to help get me through the days the natural way.
If I didn’t have CBD I would have needed to take a lot of medication over the years to help me but I prefer to find more holistic remedies. A particular favorite is using cabbage of an evening to help cool down my knees.
With the pressure of the two businesses CBD has also helped me chill out a little from overthinking and I have learnt to let go and enjoy life more.
CBD has not just helped me mentally and physically but has also kicked started a whole new journey for us. At the world cbd wards we made many new friends from all over the world and I’m extremely grateful to those people who have helped educate us too in expanding our knowledge in cbd, hemp, medicinal cannabis and environmental issues. I feel everyday I am learning and learning.
Has CBD opened your eyes to a more natural way of living?
When starting Essench I didn’t realize myself just how much it would change my life in so many ways and change my whole outlook on life.
Prior to creating the brand I had never considered the environment or how I was taking care of myself. I was constantly having problems with my stomach due to my diet, which also impacted on my skin. In 38 years, I could count on one hand the amount of times I had looked after my skin, where as now I never go a day without giving my skin the nutrients it needs.
Recently I have lost 2 stone in weight and currently feel the best I have done in years. My exercise was not at the gym but gardening. I was killing two birds with one stone by visiting my allotment, it was hard work preparing the ground for my first attempt at growing my own food. It made me appreciate my food as good food was no longer boring as we had grown it with our own hands and got our exercise in at the same time. We have also got the kids eating their greens which has always been a battle as every parent knows so in all it’s a win win situation.
I have always loved nature but I my eyes are well and truly open to the gifts that nature gave us and I intend to explore every one of them
What has been your biggest lesson in setting up a sustainable business?
I think research is a big key for setting up a sustainable business. I think listening to what the consumer wants to see in terms of a product.
At one point we were focused on a ‘professional’ image and had outer boxes created to be seen as ‘instagrammable’ but we quickly learned they were in fact just additional waste and to our consumers were not important.
We wholeheartedly believe there is no need to create waste for the sake of aesthetic, but it is all lessons learnt. The environment is more important than trying look professional.
The market we aim for does not care how a product looks but how that product affects the environment
If you could change one thing about how sustainability and ethics are perceived, what would it be?
I feel the green community has a reputation for pushing opinions. But I believe the whole reason there is a divide between the two is lack of understanding.
I know see the impact we have on our surroundings and how we are all responsible for climate change. I now see why the greener communities are so desperate in trying to get the message across but quite often the execution is wrong.
So, I would definitely like to change the stereotype that all sustainably focused brands and people are pushy, hemp wearing hippies.
During your research in to ingredients for your products, what is the most interesting thing you have found?
The most important thing about research was that it opened my eyes to what harmful ingredients products actually contain.
For example, when creating our exfoliating face and body scrub we found how plastics in exfoliating scrubs were having a damaging effect on the oceans. Around the same time, me and the family went on holiday and did some snorkeling for the first time. I was horrified to see the amount of plastic and rubbish on the sea bed and plenty of plastic floating around. All this was taken into consideration and gave us the push to create an exfoliating scrub that is plastic free
We have since put plans into place to remove as much plastic from our brand as possible including all plastic packaging replaced with an eco-alternative and we are currently working on how to provide zero waste products and refil options.
How do you balance your start up and home life?
It’s a tough battle to struggle home life and work life, this struggle became even more difficult during lockdown as we have two children, one 8 years old and one 13 so their learning goals are very different so home schooling was a challenge.
Our 8 year old needed constant assistance so as a family trying to do everything became a very stressful experience as we was also officially launching the brand at the same time. This stress was becoming too much so eventually we came to the fact that we can only do our best and tried to balance everything out. Rather than sitting down with our kids we starting to teach them about healthy eating and the environment so it made life easier and it gave us the opportunity to teach the children our views on a healthy body equals a healthy mind.
Now we have also grown over the year and a half we are in a position where we are trying to give back as much as possible.
We have offered to donate to the local bee keepers to help put more homes for the bees at the local allotments and we are part of the group called seed the future, where we are fighting for a greener future with the use of hemp.
We back the fight to scrap the license to grow hemp as it can be so beneficial especially at the allotment as it’s a great source of pollen for the bees but unfortunately you need to apply for a home office license to grow this plant even though it has less than the legal THC limit. Its crazy how you can legally grow poppies that contain opiates that contain morphine, heroin and codeine and only becomes illegal if you have intent to extract these opiates.
This frustrates me why does hemp not get that status, so we believe the home office license should be scrapped as poppies can not do nowhere near what hemp can so we use our business platform to help spread that message.