Friday, 8 June 2018

Inspired by... / 10 Charlie Fowler of Magic Organic Apothecary


Today, I'm interviewing Charlie Fowler - the brains behind MOA (Magic Organic Apothecary), one of my favourite green skincare companies. I think I first found out about MOA a few years back thanks to a sample in a Lionheart goodie bag. Since then, I've become pretty much obsessed with these incredible products thanks to their intense fragrance, magic results and beautiful packaging. And the story behind the company is just as magical...


Can you tell us what inspired you to start MOA?  How did the business begin?


My daughter had horrid eczema as a baby and toddler which urged me to start understanding skincare ingredients and finding replacements for the nasty petro chemical products being prescribed.

I became fascinated by herbalism and the herb yarrow, in particular, which has some incredible attributes highlighted by its Latin name, Achillea Millefolium. Named after the Greek warrior Achilles, legend has it that he used the herb as a poultice on his soldiers wounds after battle.  Yarrow is a powerful healing herb and a dual ability to steep blood flow, whilst encouraging oxygen to circulate the wound, thus speeding up the healing process.  For the skin it is soothing, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and also anti-aging. It is often a favourite amongst herbalists, but yet I couldn’t find it an any skincare at that time, this humble yet powerful herb became a signature for the MOA brand.

Having a child of my own made me focus on healthy eating, and living a more holistic lifestyle. At the time I was helping with marketing and sales for another natural skincare brand which my now business partner was involved with. With the help from a herbalist, we started creating a simple green balm based around yarrow and MOA was born.

What is your ethos?


Each product is considered mindfully and consciously. We use organic and natural ingredients, making sure that each ingredient is cruelty free. We do not use chemical ingredients, parabens, SLS, phthalates, fillers, GMOs, mineral oils, or petroleum.


Have you always been a cruelty-free, natural brand? 


Yes, this is fundamentally important. Our newer product launches are all vegan, I really dislike the exploitation of animals and I’m supportive of maintaining a plant-based lifestyle as much as possible. It’s important for protecting the planet and healthier too.  I much prefer natural fragrances from essential oils, they are far more evocative and therapeutic, there is a sense of wellbeing and self-nurture from using natural and organic ingredients.  Our original product The Green Balm is organic and was developed with sensitive, eczema prone skin in mind, we have carried this principle across the range.

Where do you source your ingredients? Is it important to you that you know your suppliers?


Absoutely, our hero herb yarrow is grown on an organic farm in Somerset, we have sown the seeds in spring and also helped with the harvesting in the summer, they supply some of our other herbal extracts too.  Where possible we use British suppliers and it’s always great to meet face to face. I also try and source as much of our packaging from the UK, for example our boxes use recycled board and are printed with vegetable inks.

Your ingredients are steeped in herbal folklore and magic - tell us more!


Since a child I have always been drawn towards the magical and mystical and so discovering the folk tales within herbology has been such an intriguing source of inspiration for me.  I often use it within my illustrations for the MOA packaging, to create something unique. I enjoy rekindling the folklore and helping to keep it alive a little.



If you had to pick one MOA product you can’t live without, which would it be?


I hate to choose and at the moment I’m loving The Green Fairy Hand & Lip Balm because it’s the newest, so very fickle of me! I suppose it would have to be The Green Balm because I reach for it for so many circumstances. It makes a brilliant cleansing balm, I use it daily for that alone, and everything from bruises, irritated skin, insect bites, burns…so many things!

I love your brand identity - how did this come about?


Thank you. Art and design is my background, I studied Womenswear Design at London College of Fashion. The design of the brand is very important to me, I have quite a clear vision in my mind of how I want the brand to look. I wanted to make all the products feel magical and unique, whilst harking back to the old apothecary style. I draw all the illustrations by hand and really enjoy seeing my designs come to life.

My inspiration comes mainly from nature and the herbal folklore and mythology surrounding the botanical ingredients within the MOA products, it’s constant source for my imagination.


What’s next for MOA?


I would love to create a MOA facial and so we are going to be making some additional face products, including a hydrating mist, a clay mask and a night serum. We also enjoy meeting our customers, so looking forward to some workshops and popup shops in 2018-9.

And where can we buy your gorgeous products?


Online at moa.co.uk and we work with some amazing independent lifestyle stockists.


Thanks so much Charlie!

If you're new to MOA, then I'd recommend the following products:

Hello Sunshine body oil
This is a sparky-scented body oil to moisturise dehydrated skin and bring some sparkle to dull wintry days. I love how you catch little sniffs of it as you go about your day.

Fortifying Green bath potion
The first time I used this bath oil, I couldn't believe how zingy it felt - the pine needle and peppermint blend is second to none for blasting away an impending cold.

Dreamy Mineral Soak
I use these bath salts instead of the bath oil above when I want a relaxing soak. The lavender and cardamom blend is a really unusual combination.

Aphrodite facial oil
I'm partial to a facial oil over traditional moisturisers, and this one is a deeply rehydrating blend of rosehip oil and Damask rose, yarrow and marshmallow.

And I'm excited about trying Charlie's newest product, The Green Fairy hand and lip balm - I'll report back!


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