A mum who was determined to heal her new-born baby’s eczema is getting ready to debut her vegan skincare brand in Harrods. We caught up with Pharmacist Shalom Lloyd to talk about the inspiration behind her new brand and how it feels to have such a prominent store feature her new line of products.
Your babies suffered with extreme eczema, so what things did you try to relieve it before your decided to create your own solution?
After four cycles of IVF which was stressful in itself, having one of my twins struggle with eczema which caused him to scratch until he bled was heartbreaking and as a mum, all you want to do is take their discomfort and pain away. Being a qualified Pharmacist, I respect and understand the importance of medicines in our lives, however, I tried steroids (reluctantly) as well as well-known emollients and moisturisers. The steroids, although a solution I knew would be short-term for me, did provide temporary relief.
What can happen if we smother babies' skin in too many chemicals and steroids?
The skin is our largest organ which not only protects us from the elements but also absorbs a significant amount of what we put on it. I am a strong believer in ‘everything in moderation’ but when it comes to topical steroids and its use on infants, it must first of all have been prescribed by a physician or dermatologist. From building resistance, potentially changing the nature of the skin, weakening the skin in terms of it being our body's protective layer/ barrier to potentially increasing likelihood of infection - chemicals and steroids should be used on infants with caution. For such young and tender skin, overuse/misuse can induce or trigger other skin conditions and illnesses as well as impact their growth.
Why do you think as a society we are so quick to medicate when there are so many natural alternatives?
As a society, we are impatient, constantly seeking immediate/ instant results. The effects of natural remedies although may in some cases take longer to be efficacious, they can be equally results-driven.
We are in the age of information overload! Having access to information is great but we tend to forget that there are experts that can help support and validate. It is important to distinguish between ingredients you can use and not just what the internet and social media tells you.
The approach to skincare is trying and finding the right thing for you. It is about finding that happy medium between science and nature because I believe that science is nature and nature is science.
Why do you think skin conditions like Rosacea, Dermatitis and Psoriasis are so prevalent now, especially in youngsters?
Skin conditions are a huge disability and it is on the increase, globally! Our very own NHS I believe spends over £700 million per annum on treatments for skin conditions – and these relate to the people who actually present themselves to a physician.
Of course, skin conditions can manifest as side effects and can be genetic however, diet, lifestyle, pressure (individual, family, social and economic pressures) and environmental triggers are factors that I believe impact the prevalence of some skin conditions, especially in our young people.
In the last year during COVID, we have certainly seen an increase in skin conditions such as dermatitis and eczema due to excessive hand washing, stress and anxiety which impact mental health and wellbeing. Due to the impact of Covid 19, Stress levels of our youngsters is extremely high today with the average teenager said to have the same level or higher of anxiety as a psychiatric patient in the 1950s (https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2000/12/anxiety)
How does it feel to have your brand represented in Harrods?!
Having my brand in Harrods was a long-term dream. It feels amazing, surreal, fulfilling and as each day goes by, my pinching myself is no less! Having said that, my team and I have worked extremely hard for an opportunity like this, so it is a well-deserved achievement.
Why was it important for you to create a vegan brand?
We go further by ensuring that our products are not just great for humans, for our tribe, but it is equally important that they do not cause any harm to animals. Being vegan certified was incredibly important to us as we place a lot of value on being an ethical brand. Consumers are becoming increasingly aware, seeing authenticity, transparency as key and loving brands with less negative impact on our planet – they are driving this change which is fantastic and aligned with our core values.
How long did it take for your baby's eczema to clear up once you began using your own natural products?
Once I stumbled on the right formulation, it took three (3) days to see a significant improvement in Joshua’s skin. Within a week, it looked like it should have done from birth.
How did you juggle being a busy working mum while building up a business in the background?
I am one of those annoying people who truly believe that nothing is impossible. I am a driven woman who isn’t afraid of making daring decisions and resolutely refuses to ever be afraid to ask the question. When I look back and connect the dots of my life journey, where I am today, makes complete sense.
I didn’t do it alone! It is about teamwork! My husband David and I work as a great team and agreed on some very clear roles and responsibilities particularly when it comes to the kids.
David stepping up and filling the gap ensures that one of us is truly present with the children and it allows the entrepreneur in me to flourish and fly – making that ‘guilt’ we as working mothers feel, a little less.
At home, I still get back on my laptop when the children are in bed and work weekends but we have a target, plus we try to have many family meals together.
It’s a huge sacrifice but one is paying off.
What tips do you have for other mothers who are looking to do the same?
As mothers, we don’t give ourselves enough credit! Being a working mum is tough enough and it is even tougher, in my opinion when you are running your own business. Here are a few tips that worked for me:
· Do something you are passionate about. If you enjoy it, it ceases to be a chore
· Surround yourself with the right people
· It’s ok to get it wrong, just try again and again
· We are amazing as women, as mothers – we are doing the toughest job in the world, birthing and raising another human – everything else pales in comparison
· Take other women and mothers with you
· Most of all – ENJOY the ride, bumps, sweat, tears and all.
What is next for you and the brand?
We are changing the narrative and aim to be the leading global natural skincare brand for customers with skin conditions as well as customers who want to maintain their skin as nature intended. We have so many exciting things happening and being in Harrods Beauty was a major significant step in our journey.
Our pipeline is exciting and we are currently working on our facial and haircare products using innovative and unique ingredients. We are building even stronger relationships with our current stockists, looking to grow and expand into the Hospitality industry, partner with great luxury SPAs and make great inroads into being stocked in airline duty free luxury goods.
Empowering women remains at our core! Every single product sold, helps to keep our rural African women in Essan employed. We have built a shea processing facility in Essan, Nigeria (Africa), currently employing about 17 women with a target of 70 women by 2022. These amazing women produce the shea butter used in our products. To us, empowerment is being directly connected to the women and some of them through being employed with us have been paying their children's school fees etc. Here is a link where you can hear directly from some of our Essan women and the impact Naturally Tribal has had on their lives:
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