I recently had the pleasure of interviewing the fabulous Carol Aplin, founder and creator of Pink & Green Organic Skincare, as part of our Courageous Women series of blogs. We talked about everything from growing up in the countryside, to learning new skills and leaving the boardroom and never being employed again.
Carol’s passion for the great outdoors is clearly evident in her work and her brand. The process of gathering ideas and developing each product for her organic skincare range is mirrored in nature itself. Nurturing new designs with the input of her customers, reminds us of helping a new seedling to thrive and survive, it requires time, nourishment and care.
Join me as we explore Carol’s story, and discover what inspires her to pursue her passion for promoting personal awareness, self-care, and why her customers are at the very heart of her business.
What was life like before Pink & Green Organic Skincare? Did you ever imagine you would be designing and creating your own organic skincare brand?
I was a holistic therapist for a long time before Pink and Green.
I built my business from nothing, training at night school around the family. Over time I noticed that although my clients enjoyed the treatments, it was having the opportunity and time to talk to somebody that was really of value to them. With experience I became more intuitive, knowing the right questions to ask in order to help them. It was really beautiful; clients would have these “aha” moments in the treatment room. I was helping them to become more self-aware.
With this in mind I thought more on how it would be great to reach more people in this way. I knew what I wanted to do and why, it was just how.
A friend of mine pointed me in the direction of a workshop to make natural skincare; she had a feeling I would love it, and she was right. During the workshop I enquired as to whether anyone had gone on to make their own skincare brand. No-one had, so I asked how.
Did I ever imagine I would be designing and creating my own skincare brand? No. I’m not sure I would have even bothered unless I had asked the question, and the lady running the workshop had shown me the processes necessary to do it.
This was the how. Not only could I produce soothing gentle products through creating the brand, I could encourage more women to become more aware and think more clearly about themselves.
Where did your journey begin with your business – was it “a lightbulb” moment? How would you describe it?
I did have a light bulb moment, although it was many years ago, sat in a boardroom. I was working as Personal Assistant at the time, and I remember sitting in a meeting having this sudden realisation that I didn’t want to be there, and thinking there has to more to life than this.
This was my first step to becoming a business owner, and to never being employed again.
Being mindful and aware of noticing things and opportunities has also played an important part in my journey.
It has been a gradual process with regards to moving away from being a therapist to creating the brand, and along the way the light has gradually been getting brighter.
The light’s pretty bright now which is fantastic.
What surprising lessons have you learnt along the way?
I would say it was discovering my strengths and weaknesses. This has been incredibly valuable for my 2 boys, as I hope I have passed on my positive attributes to them. They have grown to be excellent thinkers, and I’ve probably taught them to be who they wish to be, to enjoy life’s experiences, and adventures; and to not fill their lives with stuff.
What’s a typical week like for you?
A typical week for me might involve networking, a visit to a salon, making some products, and engaging on social media. Instagram has proven to be an effective platform for my business, as it has brought forward valuable connections that I am sure will prove beneficial in the future.
What are your greatest passions in life? Are you able to weave them into your business?
I would say nature is my absolute love, it fills me up. Walking in the hills is my greatest passion.
Brought up in the countryside, I could walk out the back of our garden, into the beech woods and the cornfields beyond. Having the freedom to explore and be you was my parent’s gift to my brother and me. They encouraged us to think for ourselves, to make our own decisions, and to have an enquiring mind.
Gardening, I love but simply don’t have much time for it now. The pleasure of taking cuttings, growing vegetables, and seeing things grow from seed, is miraculous.
Now I bottle that passion for nature, and capture it in the products I create.
What or who inspires you to grow and develop your skincare brand further?
There have been many people throughout my life, who have inspired me, and my customers constantly inspire me to develop the brand, but as well as my passion for nature, I have always had keen interest in psychology and the mind.
Lately I have been inspired by a chap called David Eagleman, an American writer and Neuroscientist. His book ‘The Brain – The story of you’ is fascinating.
If I took one thing from him, it would be about our sense of self, and how our self is in our mind. In the book he talks about reading brainwaves, and how during sleep at certain points your sense of self disappears. Imagining every night, everyone in their homes around the world go to sleep, and when they wake, their minds come back to life.
I’ve since been spending time as I wake being aware of my sense of self returning. It has completely changed my morning ritual. Having this awareness is amazing, and so is being grateful to experience each new day.
What has been your biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge was investing time working on me and my personal development. Being your own boss, and the shop front of your business you quickly become much more aware of the person you are. So learning to overcome fear and procrastination, how to make decisions quickly and changes slowly and developing personal confidence has been really important.
What would you say you are you most grateful for in your business?
I’m grateful for my health and being here mostly.
Developing the brand has meant I have been able to move away from what was a physically demanding job, but still be involved in an industry that I value.
What have you found most rewarding from running your own business?
I would say helping other people to shine, by passing on my knowledge.
The brand has been completely built on other people’s input. I have the skills and the know-how, the building blocks if you like to create the products, but it’s really inspired by the needs of others.
The concept for one product came from a mother whose teenage daughter didn’t have much time, but wanted a skincare product that was natural, and quick and easy to use. She was an existing customer, and it was lovely of her to think of me, as opposed to searching on the high street or elsewhere. I developed a proto-type, her daughter tried it, loved it, and it became the One Balm.
Another lady with incredibly sensitive skin was unable to tolerate essential oils in any product, so I made her, her own bespoke range. This prompted me to think more about women who do have sensitive skin. Reaching out to my audience again for their input, I went on to develop the VERY Gentle range, a completely fragrance free range of facial skincare.
My customers are at the heart of every product that is created, whether that’s salon owners looking for a product to use for a particular treatment or getting feedback from a customer and adjusting the formula to suit. Listening to what people want has been and continues to be integral to the Pink and Green Organic Skincare brand.
What’s next for you?
My one thing is skincare, but being holistically minded, I know it’s not offering the full picture of wellness. It’s important to protect and care for your skin, but there’s more to it, it’s not enough on its own, I know that.
I’m looking to possibly collaborate with other specialists in their field of health and wellness to be able to offer the full picture, possibly another business opportunity, lets wait and see!
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I wrote a few notes down before the interview and they feel somewhat pertinent to Being Truly Me and my journey.
Being true to your self is work in progress and well worth the journey to awareness and contentment. It takes a lot of conscious effort, however, the more of the person you want to be, the mirror of that will come back to you.
Here’s 2 fabulous takeaway tips from Carol’s interview;
#1 Know your one thing – this is brilliant! Carol’s one thing is most definitely skincare, which means she can respond to the needs of her customers in a genuine and positive way to help solve their skincare dilemmas.
#2 Invest in personal development – although a challenge and the biggest learning for Carol, taking time to invest in yourself, to discover your strengths and weaknesses, and become more self-aware are surely a must when it comes to being your own boss.
I hope this interview has inspired you in some way; it has certainly resonated with me. If you would like to find out more about Carol and Pink and Green Organic Skincare, why not hop on over to her website here.
If you would like to be interviewed about you and your business, then feel free to get in touch, you can also find out a bit more information right here.
Until next time, be brilliant, be you!