Global brand Neal’s Yard Remedies has its home in Gillingham – with many ingredients grown here in Dorset. Rachael Rowe reports
As thoughts naturally turn to gifts and Christmas shopping, we checked to see what’s happening at one of North Dorset’s largest family-owned local businesses – which happens to also be one of its best-known secrets.
Neal’s Yard Remedies started life in Covent Garden in 1981, founded by natural health advocate, Romy Fraser. The Kindersley family, passionate organic advocates, bought Neal’s Yard Remedies in 2006, after the company’s move from London in 2005 to the new purpose-built eco-factory at Peacemarsh in Gillingham
Move to green
Unlike many large beauty brands, Neal’s Yard Remedies make their products in small batches to ensure they are as fresh and effective as possible. The Gillingham production team fills, labels and packages before checking every bottle, jar and tube by hand to ensure quality and consistency.
Strangely, however, many locals outside of the Gillingham area are still unaware that the award-winning eco-factory has a shop on site – there’s no longer a need to go to Covent Garden!
The Peacemarsh factory has acres of organic gardens, fields and meadows – it’s right here that head gardener Fraser and his team grow the organic calendula, St. John’s wort, verbena and lemon balm used in many of their most popular products.
And if sustainability is top of your shopping list this year, Neal’s Yard Remedies has this year attained its ninth consecutive Ethical Company Award from The Good Shopping Guide, continuing to achieve a perfect 100/100 score in the Ethical Company Index.
This year’s Christmas campaign marks a shift from Neal’s Yard Remedies’ iconic deep blue packaging to a new forest green, created to symbolise the brand’s long-standing commitment to environmental initiatives.
Neal’s Yard Remedies has also reduced its packaging (already entirely recyclable) by 15 per cent this year.
However, if you are a Neal’s Yard fan, you’ll be delighted to know that the iconic blue glass bottles used to store the products are remaining. Blue helps protect the products from damaging ultraviolet light, and they can all be recycled.
All of the Neal’s Yard cosmetics are organic, and no animals are used in testing. The company also has Soil Association accreditation. Several products are suitable for vegans. So what have the team got for those festive shopping lists? Neal’s Yard Remedies staff have some insider suggestions:
‘The Wild Rose Beauty Balm is one of our bestsellers. The rose oil comes from a FairWild-certified farm in Serbia and the balm can be used in seven different ways. Apply it as a cleanser, toner, cuticle softener, moisturiser, and more.’ (Ideal if you are looking to econo, mise on too many cosmetics).
‘The nourishing organic duos are another idea for a gift (or self-indulgent treat). For example, the Dreamy Nights Sleep Duo is perfect for anyone with insomnia and is made from lavender sourced from the French Alps. Likewise, the Bee Lovely Bath and Body duo is a delightful bath or shower gel and hand cream made from organic Mexican honey and oranges from Italy and Mexico.’
Wise anti-ageing men
Neal’s Yard Remedies have a few suitably festive-scented gifts to get you in that Christmassy mood. Their frankincense collection is made with the world’s first certified organic Boswellia sacra (frankincense) from the Dhofar region of Oman. Interestingly, the historic harvesting of frankincense was responsible for the development of some of the world’s most ancient trade routes. The sacred trees that produce Frankincense and Myrrh are almost impossible to grow outside of the Arabian Peninsula, which meant they were constantly in short supply and high demand.
The Frankincense Intense Age-Defying Collection has been clinically proven to reduce signs of wrinkles and ageing skin and is very popular.
As well as its anti-ageing properties, frankincense is known for its calming effects; ideal for reducing all that Christmas stress. I’m wondering whether the three kings knew about its anti-ageing properties when they gave their gifts on the first Christmas …
There is a gift box available, but the individual products could work well as a stocking filler.
Another popular seasonal scent is mandarin, and the innovative people at Neal’s Yard have combined it with frankincense for a really Christmassy smell. You can scrub up well with the Mandarin and Frankincense shower cream, or go for the body lotion.
So, what about that dilemma we all have each Christmas with the “difficult to buy for” person or “the one who has everything.” Amy has the ideal solution:
‘Our reviving shower scents packs. They smell wonderful, contain essential oils, and everyone uses shower gel, so they are a practical gift.’
Looking forward to 2023, the team at Neal’s Yard Remedies are already working on new lotions and potions, so there will be lots of new treats to buy. We’re really fortunate to have a truly global, yet innovative and ethical ‘local’ business right here in the Blackmore Vale.