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Where Did Rose & Caramel Really Come From…

I thought as a company we should blog, give you a little background knowledge about us, let you know where the inspiration for each product has come from & what Rose & Caramel represents as a business.

There are sooooo many fake tan products out there, it’s a saturated market with huge competition, as a small brand in a huge pond we strive to make a difference with innovative new products. A high level of thought & detail goes into each one. This was not a strategically placed 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 make one point clear, we don’t private label our products… yes there are many companies and brands that do this, 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 it as its 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 I had my very first business, a Sunbed shop. It was the bottom half of a terraced house & had 3 sun beds, a tiny beauty room & a cupboard that I had turned into a spray tan room. I had no idea the smallest space in the shop was dedicated to what would become my whole career. 

An old man would visit the shop & sell us Sunbed creams that he made at home. He was a self proclaimed medical herbalist and an odd character to say the least. His name was Mr G Alexander.

Mr Alexander would turn up randomly, always dressed smart with suit & tie. He wore a tweed hat that he would take off upon entering & put back on as left. Over time I learned he was widowed & very lonely. He used to make creams and perfumes for his late wife & began to sell to salons after she died to keep himself busy. He loved to sit & tell us why his tanning accelerators were the best around & he knew just anything & everything there was to know about skincare & tanning. 

His passion for lotions showed & he could talk for quite some time…… especially  when he has created something new. 

It became quite apparent to myself that it wasn’t financial gain he received from his business but the company of his clients.

One day his new product was spray tan solution, the solution wasn’t great to say the least, it was heavily scented with lavender, thicker than cough syrup & extremely sticky. However the developed colour was of a decent standard, it lasted quite well & so to some extent it did the job.

In all we stocked three spray tan solutions & the salon became busy for spray tans as we saw a shift from sun beds. 

After a couple weeks I asked him to make a few changes to his solution. First of all the lavender has to go. I then requested different strengths (light medium dark), and finally to thin out the solution. He did it all within a week, the solution was much better… and this is what got my mind ticking, could I create any spray tan solution I desired?

Looking back I see how things fell into place, over one of our weekly chats he said he didn’t want to be making his solutions anymore, he was tired (being mid 80’s I expect he was) and the driving around was all to much for him.

Instantly I asked could I buy the business & be taught all his knowledge. He said yes & that’s where it began, but the business came at a price & everyone around me thought I was insane! Without talking figures I can say it was more than the business was worth and a lot more than I could afford. 

What people couldn’t understand is I bought the business for the knowledge. I strongly believe knowledge is power and to become successful you must know your products inside out. I’ve always had a thirst for knowledge but only in things interest me and as a self confessed tan addict as well as wanting to build a successful business it was the perfect opportunity to start something special.

The deal was signed and training started immediately. It was August & a really hot day, myself & Carmel pulled up at his house, as he opened the door the first thing that hit us was the smell. Wow! I looked at Carmel & thought what the hell have I let myself into. It was unlike any smell I’d ever experienced. I went on to realise it was all the ingredients he had stored in his house. He made a wide variety 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 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 was sinking but ever the optimist 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.

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 the skin & how to keep it healthy. We learnt about all the different carrier oils, active ingredients & bases that can be used & why each has its own benefit.

Back then 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 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 biggest retailers in the world. 

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