I still recall my first meeting with Holland & Barrett after Dragons Den! I was so excited for such an incredible opportunity.
'Have you considered manufacturing a probiotic?' asked Jo, their beauty director. They know my big focus when it comes to healing skin centres around gut health and internal well-being first and foremost. 'I'd love to', I replied. But in truth I had no clue where to begin. I'd only just met the right team to formulate my skincare products, and these guys didn't specialise in gut bacteria!
Several weeks and much research later, I found the people I wanted to work with. A family based in Wiltshire who manufacture microbes for a variety of different products. Probiotics, but also household cleaners, toothpastes and even natural gardening feeds. Their knowledge was unlike anybody else I'd connected with and I knew they would be the right people for the job. Unfortunately they didn't want me :( !!!
That's not strictly true, to be fair they were interested, but just seriously busy working on so many of their own projects. Over the months I looked for someone similar. Anybody who could offer something on a par .. it just didn't seem to exist. So I reached out again, and again, until eventually we sat down to a formal meeting! I say meeting - a group Zoom call. It was the beginning of Covid restrictions and here we were, discussing opportunities hundreds of miles apart via laptop screens.
They put me in touch with a lovely lady called Patti. Their herbalist for many years. What Patti does not know about natural medicine is not worth knowing! Together we drew up a wishlist of ingredients. Oregon Grape - I'd read and researched a great deal on this one over the years, fantastic results for psoriasis. Patti agreed. Hibiscus, she insisted, holding up a beautiful, bright pink powder! It eases inflammation and can speed up healing. Turmeric - yep we both wanted that one in there. It was so lovely to formulate this product together knowing how much it was going to benefit people.
Jeff and Sue are one of those couples you could chat with for days, let alone a few hours! A fascinating wealth of experience between them, they are clearly so passionate about everything they do. Jeff has built the brewing rooms on the farm himself, his background as a marine engineer has served him well! Their endless trips to India and the Far East have further enriched their passion and knowledge for all things gut health. They have run countless retreats, they educate nutritionists, scientists and even farmers on the benefits of specific microbes for our body's, plants and the soil.
If Sue's garden is anything to go by, I most definitely need to begin feeding these wonderful beneficial bacteria to my plants! Rhubarb taller than me, rocket salad taking over the entire polytunnel, artichoke flowers already blooming - there's magic in that earth!
Fast forward eighteen months since our first online meeting, and we've successfully launched and sold almost 5000 bottles of Skin Clear Complex Probiotic. It's become my instant best-seller. And it's no surprise when you read the reviews and feedback. I'm endlessly blown away by the kind comments people leave for a product that offers miraculous well-being properties for so many ills. Not just skin, but migraines, children's tummy troubles, IBS, digestive complaints - focusing on the root problem it sweeps a myriad of benefits along with it!
My Visit to Wiltshire
So finally today I got the opportunity to make the long, seven hour round trip down to Wiltshire to meet the amazing team behind this wonderful product. Meeting Jeff, Sue, Ian, Katie, Emma, Patti, the office team, the dispatch team, the doggies and the grandchildren was wonderful! It's clear to see so much love and passion goes into every part of what they do by every person involved!
I also got to see, taste and touch all the herbs that go into our probiotic for the first time. The hibiscus was even brighter in real life and I don't think I've ever seen organic turmeric so yellow!
Jeff and Sue made my latest batch of Skin Clear Complex Probiotic right before my eyes! I watched the entire process from the herbs going into the distilled water, to the microbes being added and stirred. Then the 'brew' goes into its special, temperature controlled home for five weeks, and we'll see it back on our shelves in July.
How fortunate am I to have connected with people who care as much about formulating a product as I do?! I take new product development so seriously - and I can't ever imagine a time when that won't be the case! Because I know you trust me to create something amazing. I'm just not into adding something to my range for the sake of it, everything is carefully considered because of your feedback. Even I didn't expect this one to go quite so crazy - and I've had to ask Jeff and Sue very nicely if they will help me ramp up production to meet demand!! They're so busy and so popular, but assure me they will do their best.
I wanted to share my experience today with you, because I feel as though you've been on my journey from the beginning. There is no such thing as a regular day at the office for me, but this will go down as one of the best! Homemade, home grown salad served in the wild flower meadow, followed by a stroll around the labyrinth - every meeting should begin this way shouldn't it?!
I took lots of little videos at the farm, which I've shared in my Instagram stories, and I hope to visit again very soon to take you on an even more in depth tour. When you find people as passionate and knowledgeable as Jeff and Sue are about health, well-being and healing, it's important to grasp that opportunity with both hands! And trust me, I won't be letting them go anywhere in a hurry .. not unless they guarantee to brew me several thousand litres of magic formula first!!
Our Multi Strain Biotic will be back in stock for non subscription customers in six weeks time (mid July) thank you so much for your patience and continually sharing this amazing journey with me.