This week's Sector Spotlight is on Health and Beauty. In the first of our interviews, we have spoken to Carol Evans, a Skincare Formulator and the Owner of Orkney Organics. Her career journey has included working in shops, an office, a local jewellery firm and working with people with learning disabilities. Carol turned a lifetime interest in organic skincare into her own business.
Can you describe a typical day as a Skincare Formulator?
I have no typical day, but I do all the following and probably many other tasks:
How did you end up in your current role as a Skincare Formulator?
Since I was at secondary school I have mostly used both organic and natural skincare products. I have always had in interest in the ingredients, what they are and where they originate from. It has been a personal interest for over 30 years. I started to make some products for friends for a bit of fun and they encouraged me to sell them, as they loved the products I was making.
Meanwhile, employment-wise I have always worked with people which has given me valuable experience. This has included working in a couple of different shops, an office, as a stock controller for a local jewellery firm and for most of my career I have worked with people who have learning disabilities.
I was not very interested in science subjects at school but, I decided in my spare time to study the formulation of skin care products. For me this was the final piece of the jigsaw and during the study for this course, I started to prepare for my own business.
What I have done is turn a lifetime interest into a business; it just took me over 30 years to make the jump.
What is the best thing about being a Skincare Formulator?
I love experimenting with different ingredients and formulating new products. I also love it when people tell me how much they like my products and that it has helped them care for their skin. I also like that I am in control of every decision for the business and because of this, I have learnt so much.
What is the worst thing about being a Skincare Formulator?
Doing the paperwork. There is a lot of paperwork attached to my business. There is bookwork for accounting, stock records for every ingredient I use, batch records for every batch of products I make to ensure traceability of all ingredients, product information folders for each product and registration of every product I sell, to comply with EU regulations.
Tidying up after my experiments is very nearly the worst thing.
What skills do you need to be a Skincare Formulator?
Verbal and written communication - I speak to many different people - members of the public, suppliers, retailers, chemists at the laboratory, accountant and designers.
Knowledge of products - Customers and retailers will ask many questions and it can be about any part of the business – what are the ingredients of a product? Why do I use that particular ingredient? How long is delivery?
Attention to detail - Weighing and making of products needs to be correct and paperwork needs done properly.
The ability to learn from your mistakes - I have made some big mistakes and if you let these get you down you would give up.
What qualifications do you have?
All of my qualifications were achieved as an adult, I did not go to University after finishing school.
Do you recommend a career as a Skincare Formulator?
Yes, if you have an interest in the beauty industry or science, skincare formulation could be for you. All the skills I use can be learnt. It may take time to feel confident, but the skills are all achievable.
If I were to employ someone, I would look for the above skills or ability to work towards gaining these skills to an adequate level. There is a good balance of focussed activity with space for creativity, especially when making soap. The qualification would not be necessary for someone involved in the manufacture of the final products, as this is the easy and most fun bit.
Visit Orkney Organics on their:
Website - https://www.orkney-organics.co.uk/
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/orkneyorganics/
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/orkneyorganics/