StyleNest chats to sisters and co-founders of Balance Me, Clare and Rebecca to discuss the importance of balance in beauty and beyond…
Can you tell us about the story behind the creation of Balance Me?
Balance Me started at the kitchen table when we (Clare and Rebecca Hopkins) left behind careers in management consultancy and the luxury beauty industry respectively, in a quest to find a better work‑life balance. We initially ran a successful service-led wellness and events business, Balance Being, which we founded in 2002 after leaving our corporate careers and retraining as a reflexologist and yoga teacher, respectively. As teenagers, we had always experimented with essential oils, making our own body butters and oil scrubs. We had great fun making our own products as complimentary gifts for customers. One of our clients loved the products and asked if they could put our foot polish into 250 goodie bags for an event, we were running for them. A lightbulb went on in our heads and we realised honest and authentic natural beauty products could be our next business venture, and Balance Me was born. Balance Me is now 14 years old. In that time, we’ve moved from ‘start‑up’ to ‘grown‑up,’ winning over 50 awards in the process.
What were your reasons for naming the brand Balance Me?
We named our brand ‘Balance Me’ as each product has been designed to enhance a sense of balance and promote wellbeing. We understand how busy our lives can be and recognise how hard it is to achieve ‘balance’ on many levels. We want our products to help to inspire our customers to carve out a little ‘me’ time and bring balance into their lives each day. And of course, we want our high-performance natural skincare to bring skin back into balance, solving skin concerns without creating new ones.
Why do you think it’s so important to maintain a balanced lifestyle?
It’s so important to maintain a balance lifestyle for both your mental and physical health. Today we lead such busy lives. There are so many demands for our time so making time to eat well, exercise regularly, get enough sleep and have time to relax and do the things you enjoy is so important. When working in our corporate jobs, we worked long hours and found we didn’t have any time to ourselves. We were burnt out and our skin was really showing the tell-tale signs of stress. Our bodies are very intuitive and good at telling us when things are out of balance!
How has Balance Me evolved since you first launched?
Since we launched, Balance Me has evolved beyond our wildest dreams. Our products are now stocked nationwide in the UK including John Lewis, Waitrose, Marks and Spencer and Boots, online through our own web shop balanceme.co.uk and through e-tail partners including Ocado and Look Fantastic. Since we started, Balance Me has also won over 50 awards, including 11 CEW awards.
Your products are formulated and made in the UK. What is this process and where does it happen?
We work closely with our chemists and perfumer to ensure each formulation is the best it can be.
What sets Balance Me apart from other natural skincare brands?
We work with a highly skilled, natural perfumer and each Balance Me blend is carefully crafted to work on three levels: aroma, skin benefits and mood‐boosting properties. Many of the essential oils we use have been tried and tested over centuries such as benzoin, yarrow and spikenard so we can trust in their efficacy. We are also constantly researching natural hi-tech actives and work with talented chemists to help us achieve our innovative formulations. We are meticulous in the development of our products and will go through as many reiterations as it takes to make the perfect product. We then panel test before we launch to ensure each product is the best it can be. Many of the products we create also have instant as well as long-lasting benefits.
What are your top tips for maintaining a balanced lifestyle?
Buddy up when you exercise. If you have a friend to keep you accountable, you’re less likely to cancel. It’s also fun to work out with a friend. Switch off devices a couple of hours before bed to ensure you can properly wind down before you go to sleep. Make sure to carve out some time for yourself every day. We both love taking 10 minutes at the end of the day to remove my make-up and cleanse our skin. Our mantra is ‘self-care through skincare’ and we really get a lot out of investing that little bit of time in ourselves and our skin.
How did you educate yourselves in natural skincare products and the beauty industry?
We are constantly looking at trends in the industry, researching new natural ingredients.
Working together as sisters, have you ever encountered any difficult moments when opinions have clashed?
We grew up very closely together so there is a real trust between us, plus we share the same values which is hugely important when working so closely with anyone. We have very different skills and experience, so we are used to approaching one another in order to create the best possible solutions for the brand. We are also comfortable disagreeing, but don’t take it personally.
What advice would you give our readers for summer skincare?
- Be sun-safe. As much as we love the sun, or at least the idea of warmth on my skin, we are all aware of its potentially damaging impact on our skin so always wear SPF. We have two natural, chemical-free SPF25 moisturisers. Try to stay clear of the midday sun and make sure you prioritise protecting your skin.
- Keep cool with our Hyaluronic Plumping Mist. It’s really refreshing and calming for the skin. Top tip – for an even more refreshing experience keep it in the fridge.
- Don’t forgot to cleanse. Our Pure Skin Face Wash will help to clean away any excess oil, prime and firm your complexion and remove dead skin, ensuring a smoother base for that all-important summer glow.
- To give your skin a summer glow, we can’t recommend our Gradual Tanning Drops highly enough. They’re easy-to-use; simply add 1 to 3 drops to your favourite face or body moisturiser, day or night. There’s no unpleasant smell, no streaks and no blocked pores!
What is your skincare routine?
Clare’s morning routine – I start by cleansing. I love our Flash Cleanse Micellar Water for a quick morning cleanse. Next, I use the Vitamin C Repair Serum to brighten and firm my skin and then follow with our Collagen Boost Moisturiser. I finish with our BB Natural Perfection SPF 25. We both carry our Hyaluronic Plumping Mist in our bags so we can give our skin a boost during the day.
Rebecca’s night-time routine – At night, I will double cleanse, first with the Flash Cleanse Micellar Water and then with the Cleanse and Smooth Face Balm, to ensure my skin is completely clean. Next, I spritz my skin with our Hyaluronic Plumping Mist and then will apply our Tri-Molecular Hyaluronic Serum, which is super hydrating. I then finish with the Radiance Face Oil.
Where does the inspiration stem from when creating new products?
As the company has grown up so have we, and therefore our skin needs have changed, as have those of our growing family. We take inspiration from what our skin needs and develop products that we hope other people will love.
Do you have any exciting projects you are working on that you can share with our readers?
Yes lots! We launched our new Hyaluronic Plumping Primer on May 9th. It’s a perfecting and hydrating primer, designed to sit over moisturiser to help minimise the appearance of enlarged pores, smooth fine lines and prime skin for make-up. We also have a number of exciting developments happening later on in the year, watch this space!
As inspirational business women, what advice would you give to our readers who want to start their own business?
Firstly, make sure that your dream can be turned into a commercial reality. If not, then it is best to keep it as a hobby, which isn’t a bad thing at all. Also, try and find a mentor; someone who is a few steps ahead of you in their entrepreneurial journey, who you can bounce ideas off. It can be invaluable and mutually beneficial.