Discover all you need to know about small batch, handmade and organic skin and body care brand, Bumi Naturals from their Founder, Imogen Wakerley.
What’s your role in the business?
Founder, formulator, marketeer. I do everything apart from my end of year accounts (thank you to my lovely accountant!)
How long has Bumi Naturals been in business?
Since Christmas 2017 – 2 and a half years
Why did you start your natural skincare brand?
Once upon a time, I was topping my e-cigarette (I know, smoking is bad), when the bottle of liquid exploded. It managed to get in to both my eyes and I couldn’t see properly or open my eyes without intense pain for 10 minutes. It was one of the most scary experiences of my life. I managed to crawl out and took myself to the eye hospital, where I had my eyes pumped out with water. The nurse asked me what had spilt in my eyes, and gave her them empty bottle. The main ingredient of e-cigarette liquid is a chemical which is documented to dry your skin (and lungs!) out, but at the time it was just a name to me.
It was only later, when I had started researching and experimenting with ‘food’ ingredients as beauty remedies, that I was shocked to spot that same ingredient on a LOT of different beauty brand’s labels. That made me ponder of what on earth we were all putting on our skin, blindly following these brands and sometimes damaging our skin as a result. I had never really looked at the ingredients before, and I bought the most cost-effective beauty products, believing the claims and never stopping to question them.
Naturally, after that I was determined to use only known, natural ingredients that have had little or no processing on my skin.
Shortly after, I spent several months in Bali, which is where I suddenly had the time to experiment and learn more about beauty and ingredients. I spent the day with a lovely lady from a beauty store selling handmade, natural products. She taught me some basics like macerating oils and creating a Jamu (Indonesian health drink), and it amazed me how you could take a raw ingredient and capture it’s vitamins, minerals, colour and scent. Ever since that day I have been obsessed with raw ingredients, which is why I only use unrefined ingredients in my formulations. When I got home, I studied Organic Skincare Formulation and Bumi was born!
What is the story behind your brand name?
Bumi means ‘earth’ in Indonesian. As you’ve already read, I realised my calling was in natural skincare when I was travelling in Bali. I chose ‘earth’ because Bumi is all about appreciating ingredients in their unrefined state - just as mother nature intended!
What is Bumi Naturals' ethos?
Our ethos is around celebrating that wonderful ingredients that mother nature has given us, by creating powerful, nutrient rich products from unrefined, natural and organic ingredients. We want to make natural products the norm while looking after the planet.
To describe our brand in 3 words would be: Earthy. Colourful. Punchy. (or powerful, you choose!)
What is your most popular product and why?
Face Polish: Juniperberry, Sage & Volcanic Ash. People love it because it’s versatile (you can dial the abrasiveness up and down with water) and it polishes away dead skin and bacteria without drying out their skin. Oh, and it smells delicious!
Which product did you launch the brand with?
Honey & Cinnamon Face Mask. It changed my skin and made me want to share the love!
What’s the best product for dry skin?
Night Repair: Broccoli, Cucumber & Rosehip. People love it because it is plumping, nourishing, and works while they sleep to bring out that baby soft skin. And a little bit goes a long way!
What’s the best product for oily skin?
Facial Oil. Pomegranate, Hemp, Rosehip & Wheatgerm. Although some people don’t like to use oil if they have oily skin, this oil is made with ‘dry’ oils, that are easily absorbed into the deeper layers of skin and don’t leave a greasy layer on top.
What hints/tips do you have for using your natural skincare products?
Read the instructions! Several of our products, including the Face Mask and the Face Polish, require water to activate them. Adding water means that you can easily spread the product on your face.
Keep them in the fridge or in a cool, dark spot – especially in the summer months – as the products will melt in warm conditions.
What’s next for Bumi Naturals?
We will be looking to increase our links with Bali, supporting the local farmers in terms of sourcing ingredients.
How are you standing out from the crowd?
The colour of the products, which comes from the ingredients all being unrefined and just as mother nature intended.
How do you source your ingredients?
We only work with suppliers who can demonstrate the quality of their ingredients. I look for certified organic, unrefined ingredients form suppliers who support fair trade where possible and give something back to the planet.
How are your products made?
I make them by hand in my kitchen.
How long does it take you to develop new products?
Months! We go through testing with our trusted and opinionated friends, and keep refining the formulation until it is perfect. Then we need to get the products tested by the laboratory for our Product Safety Assessment documentation, which can take a few weeks.
How are you tackling sustainability?
We package our products in re-useable glass jars, with recycled and/or recyclable labels and tags. We also only use ingredients that are not endangered, and that are natural and safe for our customers to use. Using unrefined ingredients also means that our products have undergone very little ‘processing’ – i.e they have been extracted from the plant and have not been bleached or stripped of their natural properties.
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