I thought as a company we could start a blog for you, give you a little back ground knowledge on the company, let you know where each product has come from & over the weeks help you with tanning tips, handy hints & insights into Rose & Caramel as a business.
As we all know there are sooooo many fake tan products out there, it’s a saturated market with huge competition, and as a small brand in a huge pond we genuinely do strive to make a small difference with the thought & detail that goes into each of the products that we release. Thats not a marketing technique it’s the sole reason Rose & Caramel was created and we will stay true to our brand for every product to come.
Firstly, i’d like to quickly put a few rumours to bed, yes there are many companies and brands that private label products, private labelling means that an off the shelf product is bought in bulk and a company pops their branding on the front. I am certainly not saying there is a problem with that as it’s a huge business and is very lucrative for some big players in this game but what I am doing is setting the record straight this is NOT what Rose & Caramel do.
We did it the long way (the very very long way!) In 2007 the journey began with a very dear old man called Mr Alexander who was a self proclaimed medical herbalist. He would visit my first salon and sell me tanning accelerators for my clients to use on the Sunbed. Back then my main business was sun beds & what a busy time it was, it was just as spray tanning was emerging & just before the sunbed trade began to slow down.
Mr Alexander would just turn up out the blue, dressed in shirt & tie & I remember he always wore a tweed hat that he would take off indoors then put back on as he left. He was a sweet old man, widowed & very lonely. He told me he used to make creams and perfumes for his late wife & began to sell to salons after she died to keep himself busy. He would sit & tell us why his tanning accelerators were the best around & he knew just anything & everything there was to know about skincare & tanning. His talks on his lotions could go on for quite some time……Especially when he has created a new product. A huge part of the business for him was the company he’d get by being out the house.
Back then his lotions were pretty famous around Bolton, many of the local tanning salons stocked his range and there was at least 3 tanning shops on each main road! Burnt brown sugar & mango jambo were his 2 best sellers & I still get asked about them to this day.
So Mr Alexander also made a spray tan solution, another product we bought from him as we had just started to expand into spray tanning. Well, the solution was pretty awful to be honest, it was heavily scented with lavender, as thick as cough syrup & the stickiest Formula I’ve ever sprayed with ( and i’ve sprayed through a lot!) But The Colour it gave was of a decent standard, it lasted quite well & so to some extent did the job the well.
In all we stocked fake bake, co co bay & Mr Alexander’s special solution (I can’t even remember what he called it now!) We became pretty busy with spray Tanning very quickly and everyone had a different preference to which tanning solution they wanted spraying in. We all know no two skin types are the same, each skin tone is so different there is definitely never going to be one generic tan that will make every lady in the world happy & this is why a little negative criticism never hurts our feelings, all we can do is offer the best solutions we possibly can and hope that they sit well & look lovely on your skin.
After a couple weeks I asked him to thin out the solution, change the scent & make different strengths (light medium dark) He did exactly as I asked and came back with a fresh mango smelling solution. This got me thinking could I ask him to make the solution exactly as I’d want it? My mind went into overload! Thinking could he make a solution that could cater for everyone?
After getting to know Mr Alexander well he began to divulge a little more about his life & how unhappy he was & that he really wanted to sell the business and move into a smaller house, he was in his 80’s at this time & said the money would really help him and he was getting to old to drive about delivering lotions. He never used the post he hand delivered each order whether it be local to him or further a field.
I asked instantly could I buy the business & could he teach me how to make creams, lotions, oils & spray tan solutions! He said yes & that’s where it began, but his business came at a price & everyone around me thought I was insane!!! I won’t talk figures but it was definitely a lot more than the business was worth and a lot more than I could afford BUT it wasn’t the business I was paying for, it was the knowledge. I believe knowledge is power and to become an expert in your field you have to know your facts inside out. I’ve always had a thirst for knowledge but only in things that I am interested in and as a self confessed tan addict plus wanting to build a successful business it was the perfect opportunity to start something special.
The deal was signed and training started almost immediately. I remember it being August & a really hot day, myself & Carmel went to his house which wasn’t to far from the salon. As he opened the door the first thing I remember was the smell that hit us. Wow I looked at Carmel & thought what the hell have I let myself into. The smell was of all the ingredients he had around the house. He made a wide & varied range of products, his smelliest being a fly repellant spray for horses. Now imagine your spices cupboard in your kitchen, now imagine living inside your spices cupboard & that will get you about half way into understanding the smell that almost knocked us out.
Next we walked into the tiniest run down kitchen. Everywhere even the hob had pots & pans filled with lotions & potions, it was very surreal. Then just as we were taking it all in a dog walked into me, not just any dog but an old 3 legged blind dog that was covered in eczema. I kid you not, at that moment my heart sank a little, but he did make good products and if I only left with the knowledge to make a self tan I’d be happy and I knew I could make this deal work.
Mr Alexander had a shed in his back garden that he had made into a little lab and off he went and brought back his black book of recipes for each of his lotions & potions. I could not wait to get my hands on that and start re creating his very dated lotions with a modern twist!
From then we spent a couple of days a week visiting Mr Alexander over a few months and he really did teach us all we wanted to know about natural products and what each does for the skin. We learnt about all the different carrier oils, active ingredients & bases that can be used & why each has its own benefit.
At the time The majority of the training was wasted on us as I knew exactly what I’d be focusing on but the extensive knowledge he taught has definitely helped me more than I ever realised at the time it would.
So this is and was where it all began! The journey that has led to where we are now, working along side some of the best formulators in the business (which is another blog I will be getting out to you very soon!)
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