Self-care has taken on a whole new significance for me during these long lockdown weeks, as I pace within the four walls of my home.
Taking quality time for myself has always been an integral part of my weekly routine, but being at home 24-7 just now has meant taking extra care to ensure I’m being kind and considerate to myself and, specifically, my skin. As someone who suffered terribly with bad acne ever since my teenage years, it’s only been recently that I’ve become more comfortable with my face, and all its flaws. Cutting out dairy from my diet five years ago, and then moving away from the hideously chalky London water to the softer foaming waters of the north, have both contributed greatly to the vast improvement I’ve seen in my skin’s condition recently, but the past eight weeks of not wearing any make-up at all have simply been a revelation! At last my skin has had a chance to truly breathe, and it seems that that was something it had been crying out for all along. The (tiny) silver linings of a global pandemic, eh?
Not putting make-up on each morning has also given me a chance to truly evaluate my skincare regime, and make a few carefully considered investments in the products I want to treat my skin to going forward. I took some time to really investigate clean skincare brands online, compare and contrast the products on offer and the science behind the formulations, to make some educated decisions about the brands and products that could really add benefit to my overall sense of wellbeing going forward. It was during this research phase that I discovered ede.
ede is a skincare brand with the age-old practice of aromatherapy at its core, offering natural and organic products that are designed to fight the daily stressors of modern day life. Each product has been lovingly designed with wellbeing – and sustainability – in mind, giving customers everything they need to make a valuable and informed decision in purchasing. Even better, it’s a local business to me, based in Chester, and founder Eve is a hugely engaging and passionate advocate for both her brand and her Northern neighbourhood. Of course, as soon as I discovered this I knew I had to feature her on my blog!
Having been suitably seduced by ede’s mission is to redefine the practice of aromatherapy and formulate products that encourage the best version of ourselves, I knew I had to try a few of the products for myself to see if they were really as beneficial and uplifting as claimed. As ede note on their store, often with skincare we forget we are more body than face. Since the skin is our largest organ, using an organic body oil is a great way to protect the skin’s lipid barrier and trap in moisture, so I was keen to try out the post shower nirvana body oil, a cocktail of warm citrusy plant oils packed full of antioxidants and essential nutrients to help maintain moisture and keep skin glowing. Let me tell you, the scent is simply divine – grounding sweet orange and grapefruit oils with cedarwood base notes – and definiely does leave my skin feeling super soft and moisturised. Every time I slather it on post-shower, my boyfriend comments on how delicious I smell, which surely must be grounds for ordering a dozen more bottles!
The other product I invested in was the morning brew roll-on therapist, a fabulous little product is a mind and body energy booster, with the fresh citrus blend encouraging concentration and productivity. I keep mine close at hand on my desk and whenever I’m feeling a lull in energy apply it liberally to my pulse pointers (wrist and neck) as a pick-me-up. It’s such a simple but effective product offering and I’m seriously tempted by the other two ‘therapists’ on offer too: burnout (to quiten the mind and allow rest), and bde, aka big d*ck energy, which I of course had to ask Eve to elaborate on below.
Read on to discover all about how the brand was established, Eve’s plans for the future, and her favourite places to hang out in Chester…
let’s meet… Eve Williams, founder of ede
How long have you been living in Chester, and what drew you to the area initially?
I am originally from North Wales and I travelled home from university in Nottingham one Christmas back to Chester instead. Having lived in Nottingham for three years, commuting to Manchester for work for two years and with my partner living in Derbyshire I’ve never really had the chance to actually *live* in Chester until this last year. It’s such a beautiful city with so many independent bars, restaurants and cafés to explore.
How did the idea for ede come about – have you always been passionate about aromatherapy and wellness?
It was my own personal experience of being a consumer for both natural skincare and aromatherapy products that led me to launching my own skincare and wellness project. I first began formulating my own natural skincare products to cure my acne in my early 20s, and I found a natural progression towards aromatherapy happened through self help in dealing with anxiety. Wellness and particularly self-care have always been at the forefront of my mind for many years.
I once bought an aromatherapy rollerball called the ‘Trauma’ blend to calm the nerves and ease anxiety, and myself and my partner were laughing in case anyone ever asked me what scent I was wearing. I felt like ede could bridge that gap of aromatherapy and the language we use to express our feelings and emotions in our modern day lives, something that felt more individual and personal to us, and was less evasive than feelings of ‘trauma’.
How do you feel aromatherapy has evolved, and why do you think it’s seeing such a resurgence in popularity just now?
Mental health is finally in conversation, albeit slowly, and as generations move forward I really think this is something that will become a normal and healthy part of relationships with family and peers. I think it’s only natural that with the rise in education and conversation on mental health, comes the simultaneous rise of self-care and ultimately aromatherapy as a source of self-care.
Aromatherapy is such a positive addition to a lot of people’s daily lives and can be such a great vehicle for self-care whether you struggle with your mental health or not. It is an enjoyable activity that you can place into your everyday life as a small self-preservation tool, whether that’s lighting a natural essential oil candle, adding oils to your bath or rolling them onto your pulse points as an act of self-love.
What are the best ways to get the full benefits of oil blends, and how do your products help facilitate this?
Sense of smell is one of the best ways to gain from aromatherapy. Humans respond to the sense of smell on an emotional level more so than any other sense, which is why aromatherapy is so great to treat the mind, body and spirit. Another way to gain the benefits is to use them topically on your skin (always make sure essential oils are blended safely if you are going to mix your own). This can be applying them all over your face and body or choosing direct application to your pulse points. Our body’s pulse points are where the blood is closest to the skin allowing for faster and more efficient absorption of the essential oils. Almost all of our products contain mood-altering essential oils that can be used in various ways through both scent and skin.
Our roll-on therapist range are great tools for on-the-go pulse point application because they are compact enough that you can carry them with you and use them anytime with their rollerball applicator. My favourite place to apply them is to my wrists and neck, as these are the easiest ways to benefit from both skin application and aroma.
I *love* the concept behind BDE – can you tell me more about this, and how it came about?
Most of my creative ideas come to me just as I’m trying to get to sleep… I had a ‘confidence’ formula blended but the word confidence felt too obvious. I laughed to myself at the thought of naming the rollerball blend after the online phenomenon that was ‘BDE’. I noted down the idea so I would remember in the morning and fell asleep. I began jokingly telling friends about the idea of naming my confidence roll on after ‘big d*ck energy’ and they took it more seriously than expected. I was anxious before the launch of the product about whether people would ‘get it’ or be repulsed by it. The meaning behind ‘BDE’ is knowing and trusting your own self-worth. The feeling of having your sh*t together and I felt like this was such an important feeling that we all want to grasp in times of our lives when feel the most overwhelmed and all consumed.
It’s ultimately become my favourite blend (can I say that?), and the one I resonate with most. I roll it on the insides of my wrists every morning and always keep it with me throughout the day. Its fresh and herbaceous aroma reminds me to stay centred and always choose to be fun.
You place a strong emphasis on organic, environmentally friendly and sustainable formulations – how did this ethos develop, and what policies have you instigated within your company to support these?
ede is magnified around my own personal beliefs and growing consumer beliefs of wanting the best for themselves and the environment when they buy. Again, education on this has grown so much over the past years, we are now looking at everything we consume in a new light. The use of organic and natural ingredients is essential in our products. We work with trusted suppliers who source Soil Association certified plant materials from organic farming. This can guarantee that both the plant ingredients and the earth are simultaneously cared for. Our approach to skincare and wellness is holistic, and we want that process to begin at the seed. We also package our products in glass as it is infinitely recyclable, and offer options to go plastic-less at the checkout. Postal packaging is FSC-certified and is both previously recycled and recyclable. As we develop, we are further looking into ways we can refine our processes for the most planet-friendly options for our company.
How do these principles manifest themselves in your own everyday life, outside of your business?
I come from a background in design and fashion so of course I have a natural affinity to clothes buying. For many years I’ve been buying quality and therefore buying less in quantity. I tend to look at a piece and ask myself am I going to wear this for the next 5 years and if the answer is probably not, then it’s a no go. I’m now starting to look into clothing brands that are pioneering in the organic/sustainable movement. There are some amazingly transparent companies appearing and it’s really great to know exactly where, what and how buying each item impacts the world.
What kind of impact is the current Coronavirus situation having upon your business, are there any adjustments/pivots you have had to make?
I don’t usually get to work full time on ede so lockdown for me has really been a blessing for myself and the business. My studio is at home, so everything I need is here. Having only launched this year, we’re not expecting overnight growth but this time has been invaluable to see what can happen when we have more energy to put into sharing our message and building a community. I think we are all searching for new methods of self-care for our personal routines at this *unprecedented* time, whatever that looks like to the individual. 2020 has really been an invaluable opportunity for people to get to know our brand and learn about our mission.
What are your ambitions for the brand long-term?
My plan is to keep an open mind and to continue learning. I’d love to build a community that trusts us and what we’re setting out to achieve and turn the project into a platform for positive mental health advocacy. Helping people discover the brand and simultaneously discovering alternative methods of self-care. We’ll always be revising our processes and looking into ways that we can improve our project for both the environment and our community.
Chester now; where is the best place for a morning cuppa?
Obscure Coffee on Lower Bridge Street is my favourite place for a decaf cappuccino (I sadly can’t handle caffeine, I think it should be spoken about more), otherwise of course it’s the Jaunty Goat but it can be a little overwhelmed with people sometimes. Obscure Coffee has a lovely ambience about it, not to mention the ginger cake they have is especially delicious.
Your favourite place for a design-fix in the city?
I find the Storyhouse on Hunter Street is such a good environment for both work and pleasure. If I’m struggling to focus on work at home I’ll set myself up in the Storyhouse. There’s always someone sat sketching in a notepad or groups of nattering conversation, making it great for people watching when you’re in a work time lull. Otherwise, there’s tonnes of artsy films playing, books to flick through and events to get involved in.
What’s your favourite way to spend a weekend in and around Chester?
I live very central in Chester so I’m always walking into town with my partner on a weekend. For special occasions we almost always eat at Porta, a tiny tapas bar on Northgate Street, the tapas is just the best ever, you really could be sat in Barcelona when you get a seat outside and the sun is shining. I also love to walk down to the meadows just on the riverside. It’s so lovely to see the seasons change on the meadows. Right now, is my favourite time of the year where the fields are littered with the yellow flowers of Butterweed.
All imagery © ede, used with permission