Georgie Cleeve – OSKIA Skincare Founder
Cult British beauty brand OSKIA has earned its place on the StyleNest favourites list, so we thought we’d catch up with founder of the brand, Georgie Cleeve for some insider info. At work, Georgie runs the London based beauty brand with her husband, whilst at home she’s a mum to her gorgeous two year old son, Arthur.
We caught up with Georgie to talk business, beauty and bathtime.
What makes OSKIA such a unique brand?
No one else does quite what we do, from using nutrients to boost skin health to innovative formulating that allows us to blend a natural approach to skincare with real luxury and results-driven product.
You use MSM (Methyl Sulphonyl Methane) in your products- can you explain the benefits of this?
MSM is just one of the minerals we use as our core skin nutrients, but it’s also our founding ingredient and one that I credit for the healing of my damaged knee cartilage and eczema. During my teens I underwent four knee operations to repair damaged cartilage caused by skiing too hard when I was young, amongst other things, all with no positive effect. At the time, my father’s company had just introduced a new joint supplement containing MSM, a form of sulphur, to help regenerate cartilage. I was willing to try anything and after a course not only did my knees heal almost completely – so much that I could compete in triathlons and ski for an entire season with no pain – but my skin condition completely changed – I began to glow and my childhood eczema cleared.
You worked as a food journalist at Conde Nast prior to beauty; what inspired you to make the change and what impacted has this had on OSKIA as a brand?
There’s an entrepreneurial streak in the family and I’d had a feeling for years that I would in some way follow in my father’s footsteps. He started one of the biggest nutritional supplement companies and was responsible for my introduction to MSM in my late teens. I’d had several operations on my knees without improvement and MSM, which has traditionally been taken to strengthen cartilage and connective tissues, had the most incredible effect. But life got in the way, I started my journalism career which I adored, particularly when it involved so much eating and drinking, but the idea of harnessing MSM in a skincare range, which had never been done, kept nagging away at me and I finally gave in to the calling.
What is it like having your husband as a business partner?
People always ask that question. I can honestly say it works so well for us – for now, anyway, and we seem to complement each other in work as well as in personal life. We’ve developed an ability to resolve any ‘disagreements’ in a very short time – much to the relief of the rest of the OSKIA team. Inevitably it can be difficult to switch off so a working day can start before we’re dressed and finish while undressing, no later than that though.
Tell us about a day in your life.
No two days are the same. I think we must have one of the most beautiful commutes to work. Our office is at Ransomes Dock in Battersea and we peer across at Victoria Beckham in her office, sometimes I’m sure I catch her peering at us. It’s a 20 minute walk through Battersea Park from home. I’m not a morning person and alarms give me the shakes, so Arthur, my two year old, is our alarm clock. Usually we’re all up by 7am and after a quick cuddle in bed reading Winnie The Pooh, we sit down to a family breakfast of porridge and berries or scrambled egg. I love our family mornings and it makes me feel better about heading to the office. My working day can either be spent surrounded by bottles and perfumes, meetings with our formulators and nutritionists, training new spa and retail accounts or endless marketing meetings, and sometimes a little bit of all of that.
What is your daily beauty routine?
I use our Renaissance Mask in the morning bath to brighten and cleanse, and our Nutri-Active Day Cream or Get Up & Glow, depending on the weather and how my skin feels that particular day. I don’t have time for makeup in the morning, so usually I use a tinted moisturiser and a flick of lipstick. In the evening I cleanse with our nourishing Perfect Cleanser, it’s full of delicious nutrients and omegas, followed by our Bedtime Beauty Boost which leaves my skin so silky smooth in the morning. I do love my at-home skin-needling kit too to kick-start collagen production.
Top beauty tip?
Easy – double cleanse in the evening. Every evening. Particularly if you live in a city.
How do you relax?
I used to be very fit, though I’m finding it more and more difficult to include serious workouts in my day, despite the fact I probably need the release more than ever. However, when I’m in Covent Garden I always find the time to go to GlowYoga at Good Vibes studio. Nahid de Belgeonne who runs GoodVibes is my saviour and I come out literally on another planet.
You recently launched your first spa in Covent Garden. What kind of treatments can we expect there?
We’ve put a lot of effort into designing entirely bespoke treatments that bring out the best in our products, with a real focus on wellbeing. So we’ve introduced some really original massage and acupressure techniques that ensure our facials and body treatments stand out from anyone else’s, and we’ve put a real focus on ensuring the treatments feel luxurious too.
Which women do you think epitomise beauty?
Cate Blanchett just glows with serenity, it’s incredible. She also has a little twinkle in the eye which I think is so important.
What’s next for OSKIA?
We have some new product launches ready for 2013 and I get incredibly excited about showing them off. We’ve also recently launched as the spa partner to the Chuan Spa at The Langham Hotel in London and the spa side of OSKIA will be a real focus for next year.
Do you have any words of wisdom for StyleNest readers looking to start their own business?
I don’ know about wisdom, but from my own experience – and everyone’s is different – always expect the best but plan for the worst, that way you’re always ahead of the curve. The team you’re surrounded with is critical; everyone needs to be positive and push in the same direction because you know there’ll be some stressful times. If you’re looking for investors then it’s not just about the capital, it’s about experience and understanding of your market. And just try to enjoy the ride and learn from every mistake you make.
What three things would you take with you on a desert island?
Is it cheating to take people? Ideally my two year old, as he’s hysterical and reduces me to tears of laughter even when I’m stressed and out cold on my feet. My dog and my husband too, but not necessarily in that order. I’d be pretty content to play Swiss Family Robinson.