Pamoja is a Swahili word which means ‘together’ and that feels like a great place to start this interview with Sarah, the founder of this wonderful natural skincare brand. Pamoja caught my attention because products are vegan, palm free and free from many of the major declarable food allergens. For those of you with sensitivity to essential oils<they offer a fragrance free version.
Tell me a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to start Pamoja.
I'm Sarah, busy mum, natural skincare formulator and founder at Pamoja®. Eight years ago I took the huge decision to leave my job to be a full time mum to my 2 year old, little did I know how my life would change! One year, one more baby and countless sleep-deprived nights later, I suffered severe skin sensitivities on my face and contact dermatitis. As a family living with food allergies, we were already conscious of what we were eating and the importance of fully understanding a product label. So, I began a journey to understand better what I was putting on my skin and found a solution in nourishing botanical ingredients jam-packed with nutrients, that would soothe, hydrate and protect my skin. I loved the confidence of having happy, healthy glowing skin but also the joy of the aromas and textures and that feeling of being more closely connected to nature. My skincare felt like self care, a little daily luxury and a moment of calm at the end of a busy day. The simplicity of the routine suited my busy lifestyle and desire to be more sustainable. I'd always loved the idea of being in business doing what I love while still being there for my family. So, over the next two years, I studied different aspects of natural skincare formulation, and the idea of Pamoja was born!
Five words to describe your brand and products.
Natural. Sustainable. Vegan. Cruelty-free. Allergy-friendly.
What was the first product you formulated, and why?
The first product I formulated was a cleansing balm. The starting point of any good skincare routine is to have an effective cleanser that deep cleans your skin and preps it for the next stage of your routine. But you want the cleanser to work its magic gently, leaving your skin feeling hydrated and protected. Over time, I refined the formula to create Reset Cleansing Balm to melt away makeup and grime, glide over your skin as you massage, to feel luxurious and buttery yet light enough not to clog the pores or leave a residue. Made with cleansing Moringa Oil, nourishing Mango and Murumuru butters, balancing Sacha Inchi and antioxidant Carrot Root and Vitamin E, it's one of my most popular products today.
Why is natural and organic skincare important to you?
It's kinder to the skin, offers a beautiful experience and helps us to care for ourselves while making positive changes for the planet. Results matter; so I love to work with the highest quality vegan, organic and wild harvested ingredients together with innovative actives that are natural and backed by scientific research.
What is your business doing to limit its impact on the environment and work towards a sustainable future? Sustainability is so important, we all need to consume less and waste less. I have created a capsule range of versatile products which are long lasting and packaged in fully recyclable containers. Product labels are carefully designed, which means there's no need for wasteful outer boxes. Delivery packaging is 100% plastic free, from British made FSC certified paper, recyclable vegan-friendly tape and biodegradable filler made from UK mill waste. In the lab, products are handmade with love in small batches using low energy processes, and the energy comes from 100% renewable sources. I partner with Terracycle to recycle disposable gloves and have eliminated all other disposable plastics from the lab. All organic waste is composted and used to improve the soil in the planted beds around the lab. I source ingredients responsibly, including wild-harvested plant butters, ethically harvested essential oils and cold-pressed plant oils, and sustainably produced natural actives. Plus I do not use palm oil or palm derivatives in any product. As the business grows, I can do more - like everyone I am on a journey!