Sales boom proves that pampering ourselves is only natural
EVEN during a global pandemic, one’s personal appearance can still rank high in the scale of importance – with the stresses and strains of the previous few months encouraging many of us to focus on looking after ourselves a little more.
And Amaranthine, an ethically-sourced natural skincare brand based in Edinburgh, certainly discovered people were eager to perk themselves up with little luxuries, experiencing a huge surge in demand since March.
Director Sarah Rueger founded Amaranthine in 2017 at the age of 43, and admits business “went a little crazy” at the start of lockdown – and sales have increased ever since.
Offering an impressive range of natural skincare products, Sarah’s company had already been steadily gaining momentum with several significant achievements.
“A part of our story that I’m very proud of is becoming the first skincare company in the world to attain a Certified Palm Oil Free trademark,” Sarah says. “We are an ethical company and there are a lot of things that are really high on my list of values.
“The whole range is trademarked Palm Oil free. The fact that Amaranthine, a little independent company in Scotland, is the first skincare company in the world to get the trademark, well that was a very proud moment for me.”
In July, it was announced Amaranthine won Gold in the problem skin category at the ninth annual ‘Free From Skincare Awards’, which were created to reward and encourage skincare manufacturers that don’t use many of the allergens, chemicals, additives and fragrances associated with skin sensitivities.
Sarah, who grew up in Dublin, had worked as a nurse for 15 years before delving into beauty therapy, though having been unable to find her niche in that line of work she turned back to the care sector. But a few years ago, a friend told her about a body butter recipe that she thought was ‘quite cool’, so she experimented by making it.
“I just realised how fun it was to make a product so I started making with other things,” she says. “I think because I’ve had my training as a nurse and as a beauty therapist, I thought, ‘this isn’t just fun, but I’ve got the background knowledge to really do this’.
“So, it started as a hobby and friends and family then encouraged me to go into business. Then I started making products. I also qualified as a clinical aromatherapist, to give myself more knowledge.”
Sarah believes the recent growth in sales for Amaranthine is in part due to an increasing amount of people turning their backs on larger beauty firms.
“I think people are starting to move away from these larger companies and are wanting to support small local brands these days,” she says. “People are realising that with these big companies, a commercial product will have a lot of fillers in it. Water is also a main ingredient in a lot of these products, so the active ingredients are quite far down the list.
“Whereas if you’re using natural ingredients such as shea butter or raspberry seed oil – natural ingredients that come from plants which are full of vitamins, omega fatty acids and minerals, it acts like skin food.”
Despite being unable to compete with the marketing budget of corporate firms, Sarah believes customers prefer to order from indie brands now more than ever. She says: “With Instagram and social media, people can get to know you and your brand and gain a more personal connection.”
For the first two years Sarah worked from home, where she would research and formulate her products: a “trial and error” process, she says.
Then in May 2019, the entrepreneur celebrated a major milestone when moving her business into a boutique studio in Edinburgh’s city centre.
And despite the brand’s ongoing success, Sarah is also managing juggling her business with part-time work in the NHS as a support worker in the outpatient’s department.
She says: “I used to be full-time and I’ve just gradually reduced my hours to two days a week as business has grown.
“I’m hoping I can give up my job, my aim is probably next year and then I can concentrate on Amaranthine full-time.”