Pure Beauty

Meet the Buyer: Blomma Beauty’s founder on creating a sustainable future

By Alessandro Carrara | Published: 29-Aug-2023

Karen MacDonald, founder of Blomma Beauty, on the retailer’s strict standard for stocking eco friendly brands, exploring new product categories and its goals for 2023

Karen MacDonald founded Blomma Beauty in 2018 after being frustrated at the lack of options for natural and organic beauty products.

Alongside her online store, she would showcase brands she stock’s at pop ups, markets and festivals.

In 2021, MacDonald opened the retailer’s debut bricks-and-mortar store in Coal Drops Yard, London, and then in Gabriels Wharf in 2022.

In this exclusive Q&A, MacDonald talks through the retailer’s offering and why organic and sustainable beauty has never been more important.

Tell me about your job role?

I am the owner and founder of Blomma Beauty and we are a natural skin care and wellbeing specialist.

We have a boutique in Coal Drops Yard at Kings Cross in London, and we specialise in supporting small independent brands, selling their products and also creating experiences around the products for people to kind of engage with the brands in different ways.

I organise our events programme, speak to our customers, do the social media and marketing, accounting and HR. I wear a lot of hats basically.

Why do you enjoy working in it?

I love it because my background is retail buying and have always loved the sector and trading in general.

I have also always wanted to work for myself, so I think one of the best things at the moment is that I do not have a boss. We are quite a young, dynamic and small team, so we can come up with ideas really quickly.

Whereas during my corporate career you cannot be as reactive to trends, new brands and things like that. I thrive on it being a little bit more of a dynamic job.

Talk me through your product offering?

We have around 30 independent brands and are predominantly a skin care specialist. Blomma also takes pride in hosting mostly certified organic brands as well as lots of vegan options and eco sustainable businesses.

But we have really strict criteria in what we stock, and our minimum is that it has to have as close to 100% natural ingredients and naturally derived ingredients in it as possible. We stock brands such as Up Circle, Odylique, Inlight and Elixir.

Blomma Beauty stocks sustainable brands including UpCircle

Blomma Beauty stocks sustainable brands including UpCircle

What is the dream category you would like to expand into?

I think we are missing hair care products for textured or curly hair, and we do get approached by a lot of brands in that area. But because our criteria is quite strict, we are yet to find the perfect one that we want to back.

Dental is another category we would like to explore as it is something that is quite tricky to do in the natural market.

We also want to eventually offer refill options as well, but we need to figure out how we can do that in the most hygienic way possible in the store.

How can brands be stocked with Blomma Beauty?

To be stocked with us businesses have to adhere to our brand guidelines, which they can find on the partner page on our website.

This includes meeting our product criteria, which means having a high level of natural ingredients that are, ideally, organic as well.

You have also got to be very transparent about your sourcing and manufacturing process.

We ask a lot of questions about the ethics of the brand as well such as how traceable its products are.

What are your goals for the remainder of the year?

I want to really focus on our marketing. We are a small business, so we do not have the budgets and the reach that bigger brands and bigger stores do.

So getting our name and our voice out there is something that's really important  for me.

The other goal is to try to grow our bricks-and-mortar presence with new stores in different parts of London and even maybe potentially different parts of the UK.

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