Founder Stories : Meet Sophia from Palm of Feronia
by Ciara Shah·
We just love curating amazing labels with founders filled with passion for creating special products. One of our current favourites is Palm of Feronia which we discovered on travels to London. Skincare that is charged by crystals was new to us, but once you get involved you forget what you did before ! Check out our interview with founder Sophia Harding below.
Q. Sophia, your label is stunning, so are you. Can you tell us a bit behind what drove you on this journey towards spiritually infused skincare.
Thank you! It really wasn’t a conscious decision - the skincare element came first and, as crystal healing has naturally been part of my life for a decade or so, I just naturally included crystals without really thinking on it.
I’d suffered with adult acne for a decade and the side effect of one of my prescribed treatments was very dry, sensitive skin. It was through this that I began blending and playing with natural herbs and oils to help heal the sensitivity. I began making blends for family and friends and that was kind of the birth of Palm of Feronia.
Q. Let's get geeky, to us it seems really impressive to formulate and create these products. (that look and smell divine ) Can you tell us a bit about this process and why you do things this way.
Of course, there is lots of very important science and chemistry behind formulating (especially when formulating safely!) but I do feel like it’s a creative art form.
I love to formulate for a need, for example a skin type or skin issue, but I usually find myself formulating for a feeling or a mood, which is where the crystals and aromatherapy really come into play, especially with the impact they can have on emotions.
Most of my early formulations are completely selfish - I was making products that I wanted to use and many of these are still best sellers, which I love!
Q. Self Care has become a part of our zeitgeist we believe big time since the pandemic. Do you see this too, how do you feel this product helps us to tackle anxiety.
Absolutely! I saw a huge increase in this during the pandemic, especially during the periods of lockdowns. I think for some, being forced to slow down had an instant positive effect but for many people, the change was huge and hard to adjust to.
Having more time, especially more time at home, I do feel encouraged many to take a little more time for self-care, to build out those little grounding rituals. Sometimes in the speed and chaos of the normal world, it’s easy to feel a bit disconnected and I think taking half an hour in a day for a bath, to perform a skincare ritual or massage is enough to bring you back to yourself and balance you out.
Q. What is your favourite from the collection
This changes often - probably seasonally I would say. Right now I’m loving the Amethyst & Magnesium Bath Soak. With life becoming a little more active, I find the Epsom salts really do help with aching muscles and the soothing essential oil blend always helps me to sleep.
Q. Describe yourself in 3 words
I found this one really hard but I would say daring, thoughtful and honest.
Q. If Palm of Feronia was a band, who would that be.
Another hard one - but I listen to a lot of Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks when working in the lab, so I’ll go with Fleetwood Mac. Folky, spiritual, atmospheric and a little bit witchy!
Q. Palm of Feronia is such an epic name, how did you come up with this.
A happy accident! It started out with a different name, but after receiving a cease and desist I had to change it with only a couple of days to do so. The brand always had a strong association to ancient gods and goddesses through that affinity with old herbal remedies which were effective for thousands of years. I spent time fully exploring ancient gods and goddesses and who felt closest aligned to the brand values and Feronia - as the ancient Roman goddess of wildlife, fertility, health, healing and abundance - really stood out!
Q. Could you give our readers a ritual they can enjoy with 3 products from the collection.
A great soothing ritual which I love to do before bed is a hot candlelit bath with a handful of our Amethyst & Magnesium Bath Salt, and a little Grounding Bath Elixir. After a 20- 30 minute soak, I’ll towel dry and reapply a little more of the bath elixir, massaging it into my skin. I’ll then spray a little Moonstone Sleep Spray onto my bed linen and nightclothes and make sure the bedroom is nice and cool, with a window open if possible. If you suffer from insomnia - try this little ritual!
Q. We love women makers and founders, are there any pitfalls you have experienced from being a woman entrepreneur that you would like to share with our readers.
I’m not sure this is specific to being a female entrepreneur but I think I am (and certainly used to be) a bit of a perfectionist and I find it difficult to be easy on myself when I make mistakes.
When I was just starting out, someone told me that if you’re not making mistakes, you’re not moving forward and it’s better to make the mistakes early on because they’re usually easier to fix! This has really stuck with me and something I always try to remember when it feels like things aren’t working to plan.
I do know that imposters syndrome is huge amongst the other female small business owners I chat to and, for me, this is always a work in progress. I’ve found that it’s important to take a step back, especially when day-to-day you’re dealing with every tiny detail. Through doing this you can really take in everything you have achieved and how far you’ve come!
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