London Life Lifestyle Creativity Corner Wellbeing Inspirational People Shops

Content – The Organic and Natural Apothecary

July 1, 2013

Every so often we come across a business or shop and fall in love with everything they do, right? What is it exactly that makes us a die hard and loyal fan and have the need to shout out about it to anyone who will listen? Well, for one we have to like the product or service. Tick. Then there is the customer service. You probably know by now that i expect that to be highly knowledgeable, professional yet personable. Tick. Last but not least it’s refreshing when the owner(s) of the business walks their talk and encourages a nurturing and harmonious atmosphere. Tick. Oh, and it also helps that everyone who works there is super nice, friendly and does a great job. Tick!

Let me introduce you to CONTENT – an organic and natural apothecary just off marylebone high street. It’s my latest favourite place for all things beauty, cosmetics and health. There is nothing they don’t know or can’t recommend and if money would be no object, i would buy the entire stock!

Enough of me. Here’s an interview with the founder.

Meet imelda.

IMG_0401_sharper

Tell us a little about imelda burke? What’s your background? What led you to opening CONTENT? I worked in the fashion industry for 15 years, but was always interested and used complementary therapies and natural beauty products. I found I couldn’t shop in the boutique environment I prefer to shop in. Natural beauty products were often just found in health food stores, so decided to research this gap in the market and discovered lots of wonderful brands that didn’t have a place to be profiled…..which lead to CONTENT.

CONTENT is known as london’s leading organic and natural apothecary and maybe ‘best kept secret’.  Is it your intention to stay boutique like and niche? I particularly like this type of shopping experience, where people remember your name and often your last purchase. It’s almost an ‘old-fashioned’ approach to retail – similar to what used to exist with neighbourhood shops but has now been lost on the high streets. When people have the option of shopping online, the store experience has to offer something special, people seem to like the more intimate environment.

IMG_0434

The beauty industry is a multi-billion dollar machine. I have always been skeptical of many brands within it. How can consumers educate themselves? For us shopping for these types of beauty products often go hand and hand with a lifestyle choice. Often (but not exclusively) our customers will be eating organic food and interested in wellbeing generally. This means they are more aware of what the consume in general – although skincare tends to be the last thing people thing about!

For those who are new to natural cosmetics I think finding local stores where you can ask questions and discuss your choices is a good place to start. The skin deep cosmetics database  is also useful and the book no more dirty looks is a great read and makes switching to natural and organic fun. Look for certifications stamps like the soil association, ecocert, and NaTrue to guide you in your purchasing.

IMG_0431

IMG_0374

People don’t seem to realise that everything we put on our skin gets into our blood stream? For me it makes total sense to consider what we are putting on the largest organ of our body. The skin has many key functions – it is important to consider what you are putting on it.  We often tell people to start with switching body products as they cover the largest surface area.

IMG_0379a

IMG_0390

Do you observe a particular beauty regime? Yes! I tend to use a wash off cleanser in the morning like the may lindstrom cleansing clay, a hydrating mist, usually the tata harper hydrating floral essence and a serum and moisturiser. These vary depending on how my skin is and the season. At night I double cleanse, removing make-up with the RMS coconut cream and a facial wash. Then apply a night oil.  I use a mask once a week and some targeted corrective treatments also.

Beauty from within – what is your attitude to health and well-being? The store was created to bring together the worlds of wellbeing and beauty. We all know that if we have had a few late nights and not great food it has a direct affect on our skin. We have one of my favourite sayings on the website…’take care of your wellbeing and beauty will take care of itself’.

I always try to eat organic and avoid packaged or processed foods (with the exception of raw chocolate!), green juice and take a range of supplements depending on how I feel – pure synergy being my favorite.

IMG_0382

IMG_0425

IMG_0385

What do you recommend to someone starting out in organic cosmetics? What are the baby steps? Start with products you use on your body and as one product runs out switch to a natural one. This makes it easier and more affordable. Switching all your products at once can be an expense – but some people prefer to rid themselves of everything in one go! Leave wash off products until last. If i had to choose one product to switch first – I’d say deodorant. Our customers love the soapwalla cream deodorant and then grab yourself an organic lipstick – you are eating it!

Natural in cosmetics isn’t organic, yet many brands use that ‘term’? Within this sector, ‘natural’ has become a term that tends to refer to brands that have excluded several or many ingredients. ‘Natural’ brands use plant based or derived ingredients, but have not focused on the organic content necessarily. It tends to be about what is not in the product, so great for those wanting to avoid certain ingredients. It has also been used by brands to highlight their use of natural ingredients. It’s important to check what else is in the product as they may have just switched or added a few natural ingredients, and may not have taken out ingredients you want to avoid.

‘Organic’ refers to how the plants have been grown, and when certified organic, the extraction and manufacturing processes also. Brands may use certified organic ingredients but the whole product may not be certified organic. If you want to be sure talk to a trusted retailer or look for the certification stamps.

IMG_0440

CONTENT offers treatments? We do offer treatments. They cover the wellbeing spectrum so although we do a lot of organic facials and specialist facials for sensitive skin, acne and anti-ageing, we also want people to be healthy on the inside as this will have a direct affect on their skin. To help with this we offer nutrition, herbal medicine, traditional chinese medicine, acupuncture, reiki and massage.

What’s the formula for your success? I think it is a combination of the ‘hard-to-find’ brands we stock, the nature of the shop – being a boutique environment means people can spend time asking questions and choosing the right item for them – the combination of services and the events we do. We always get lovely comments on customer service too. The whole team are passionate about health and wellbeing and assisting people with their switch to natural and organic.

IMG_0437

Tell us about the CONTENT summer wellbeing festival 2013 We usually run an informative evening event each month but this year we decided to have a summer wellbeing festival instead. It is a series of events over two weeks ending with a pop up juice lab by ‘radiance’. There is a book launch with jessica jones from chemo chic, botanical beauty bar by the herball, a skin health workshop and kombucha tasting, and lots more. It’s nice to hold events that show that being healthy is fun and not all about ‘what you can’t do’.

Any future plans, are you opening more shops or starting a national advise line? I think we have almost become a national advice line! We get calls for advice from all over the UK, europe. and as far as new zealand. We are always planning 🙂

Thank you imelda for your time and your wisdom. I’m already hooked!

You Might Also Like

29 Comments

  • Reply caroline @trend-daily July 1, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    Lovely find Tina-can’t wait to pop in when I’m next there! Love her merchandising/display too. Have a great week lovely xx

    • Reply tina July 6, 2013 at 7:11 pm

      Thanks Caroline. Can’t believe it too me time to find it. I first came across it about a year ago online but then didn’t visit till recently xx

  • Reply Igor July 1, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    This is cool, Tina! I am always looking into new natural skincare lines so I am pretty intrigued now. I guess this has to go on my ‘to-visit’ list for my next London trip! Thanks for the insights.

    • Reply tina July 6, 2013 at 7:12 pm

      Igor, all I will say is that it’s a happy place:-)) with fantastic products. Happy to accompany you!!

  • Reply Anya Jensen July 1, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    WOW working with cosmetics (day job) this place pushes all the right buttons for me. I love her story and advice for changing you beauty regime. The shop looks absolutely delightful – a sure go destination for my pending trip (if I have time;-) Have a great day love,
    Ax

    • Reply tina July 6, 2013 at 7:12 pm

      A girls paradise, think Sex and the city:-)) xx

  • Reply Nicola July 1, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    Love the look of this place and the products. Amazed at how many brands are available now and stocked. Need to visit asap xx

    • Reply tina July 6, 2013 at 7:14 pm

      ASAP, you must! Give me a call when you intend to visit. You know we were meant to go there but got stuck having Lunch in Marylebone:-) xx

  • Reply Louisa Blackmore July 1, 2013 at 5:31 pm

    I actually did not know that what you put on your skin gets into your blood? Whaaaaaat? I use E45, maybe it’s time for an upgrade. Def going to visit Content on my next London visit. x

    • Reply tina July 6, 2013 at 7:15 pm

      Err, E45, ahem! Darling, when next in town, go and visit and talk to Imelda or Erin who will transform your knowledge and thinking about this stuff. Don’t forget to bring Alfie pug… he loves cucumbers so bet if human he would go for organic and natural cosmetics:-)) x

  • Reply Louise - 30s Magazine July 1, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    Yet another address to visit on my next trip to London! In Holland we have a similar place in Harlem which is the oldest apothecary in Holland. They even keep things in the vintage apothecary bottles. Remind me to take you there when you are visiting again.

    The deoderant issue is very hot at the moment as women gainmore awareness about the correlation with breast cancer. I really need to educate myself more about this. A few years ago I started making my own creams and shampoos with essential oils. I stopped doing that, but maybe I should reintroduce it. Thanks for this article.

    • Reply tina July 6, 2013 at 7:18 pm

      Oh, I love aopthecaries like the one in Holland. I also visit one in London called: Baldwins, it’s on of the oldest and still has all the wooden interiors.
      Yes, we will visit when I come and visit but I think you’ll be first in London, in which case I’ll take you to CONTENT!

      The Deoderant issue has been hot since the 90’s. That’s when I stopped using aerosoles. I’ve just bought the deodorant cream Imelda recommended and I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!!! x

  • Reply Chi @ 106 July 1, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    Hey there, Content sister!!! So great to see Imelda and her fab store featured here today. 😀
    As you know, I’d only ever shopped with them online in the past and I really appreciate you taking me there for my first visit.

    As the daughter of a dermatologist who loathes chemically laden products, I’m a little embarrassed to say that it took me a while to completely overhaul my skincare regime.

    I made the decision to make the switch from mainstream skincare to holistic/organic when I decided to become a mother and I’ve never looked back since. Best decision I ever made! 😀

    P.S. LOVE Pure Synergy Superfood, too – it’s been a staple in our household for years! xo

    • Reply tina July 6, 2013 at 7:22 pm

      Hey you, fellow Content sister!

      I still cringe when I think that your dad is a dermatologist!

      I once had a boyfriend whose family owned a pharmaceutical company. When we travelled, which was weekly, he used to bring a small case full of pills!That made me cringe!

      As soon as I learned about nutrition and organic food et cetera I also discovered the effects of chemicals in skincare, household goods and so on. I did make an immediate overhaul (give and take) and have never looked back. That’s 20 years ago!

      xx

  • Reply Michaela July 2, 2013 at 9:10 am

    Another really inspiring post – how do you get to hear about all these places?!! I love the photograph that you’ve taken with the mirrors on the wall – I’d love to have a go at something like that – I guess you’d have to source the right ones to get the look properly! xx

    • Reply tina July 6, 2013 at 7:24 pm

      Hello lovely. It’s always so nice when you meet a blogger you have been conversing with online, OFFLINE. It just puts that little bit of extra into the relationship. It was a pleasure to meet you.

      Yes, also love the mirrors arrangement. Simple and effective! xx

  • Reply Gerard @WalnutGrey July 2, 2013 at 11:16 am

    Cool Content! I spy REN in the window which I do like. I can imagine that my Mum would love this shop. When living in London I always enjoyed WholeFoods cosmetic department. OK I know they’re a chain, but of the better variety. Wonder how their products differ to Content?

    I’d be curious to know about the male customer base or products for men. It looks like more of a ‘female’ store.

    Great informative interview 🙂 xx

    • Reply Imelda July 2, 2013 at 11:34 am

      Hi
      Thanks for all your lovely comments – and the great photos Tina!
      Hi Gerard – Thanks for commenting (and reading!) We have a very enthusiastic male customer base! Lots of the products are unisex.
      We differ slightly from the health stores with our choice of brands. They tend to be the harder to find cult brands from around the world but there is some crossover.
      Hi Chi – Pure Synergy is the best!
      Hope to see you all soon….
      Stay Well
      Imelda

    • Reply tina July 6, 2013 at 7:28 pm

      Ren is OK. For me a little overrated but I think their marketing is good and they’ve gone global.
      There are many more better niche/boutique ranges out there that do an amazing job.

      No doubt Imelda and her team will give you any advice should you need it.

      Wholefood have a good selection, but it’s limited and their advice is quite elementary.

      I think it’s still very female orientated but the male grooming industry is booming and Content have a loyal fan base of male customers.

      Thanks x

  • Reply Doris July 2, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    This is a great find. I have sensitive skin and so I’m extra careful when it comes to the types of products I use on my face. I try to go only natural and have found that indeed only the health food stores seem to only stock what I need, until now. I am going to be sure to pop by and take a look the next time I’m in. Thanks Tina. xD

    • Reply tina July 6, 2013 at 7:31 pm

      If you have sensitive skin, you will love Content and their advice. I know you’ll thank me afterwards.

      For years I used Dr. Hauschka, Jurlique, Ren and also Aesop (not truly natural). There’s Weleda as well. What I love about
      some of the Content products is that they have the sex appeal that those mentioned don’t have. Everything I’ve bought so far makes me feel
      girly and wonderful and they work. Can’t recommend enough xx

  • Reply Catherine July 3, 2013 at 3:55 am

    The name Content is so perfect for this kind of store. The products make you feel content knowing you’re not massaging any chemicals into your face and using only natural products. Beautifully merchandised and so clever of Imelda to bring all the natural products together in one gorgeous store.

    • Reply tina July 6, 2013 at 7:33 pm

      Yes, until now I never encountered a store where I can be sure that all products are sourced ethically and with the highest of knowledge. Whatever they say goes for me.

      One example is that I phoned up to see if they do a nail varnish remover that isn’t so toxic… they do and it’s soya based. It’s wonderful and I love it already. There’s nothing they don’t know…. totally love them! xx

  • Reply Elena + deco July 8, 2013 at 10:41 am

    Another nice post! Thank you!

    • Reply tina July 9, 2013 at 12:57 pm

      Glad you enjoyed it. Hope you are well!

  • Reply Holly July 14, 2013 at 10:56 am

    Ever since I was little, I liked the idea of ‘mixing potions’ – using ingredients you find in the house and pretending you were making special blends. Natural cosmetics remind me of this. There was a really awesome health food store on the ground floor of my building when I lived in Montreal and I loved browsing their cosmetics section, reading the ingredients on the back of the products. Always some herbs and oils I’d never heard of that sounded exotic and magical.

    Unfortunately, I don’t buy organic skin care and cosmetic products because they are usually just too expensive. I know it’s not he best excuse, but it’s the truth. And maybe I’m a bit lazy to shop around. However, I have had fun making some homemade versions of body scrubs and facial masks (again using household ingredients, like coffee grinds, honey, olive oil and stuff – reminding me of “mixing potions” as a child). I should pay more attention though.

    Great post, great shop and next time I buy a body cream, I might make a better decision 😉 Thanks!

    Xx.

    • Reply tina July 16, 2013 at 8:47 pm

      Honey, how great you made your own cosmetics. You can easily do it now. It’s far less expensive and you know exactly what’s going in.

      Good, natural and organic products are more expensive (wish they wouldn’t be).
      It’s better to have less but more quality than the other way round.

      It’s good just to have the awareness xx

  • Reply Going organic with Apivita facial creams – 30s Magazine August 3, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    […] Terre d’Oc, which are also natural and organic.  My London-based friend Tina from the blog Colourliving has been “preaching” to me about it, and thanks to her I started researching. Once you […]

  • Reply the art of tea drinking - colourliving colourliving July 20, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    […] Hibiscus Infusion from La Fromagerie // Skin tea from Content For more on Content see my post here. […]

  • Leave a Reply