Support small businesses… otherwise they might not be around for long: An Interview with Anna Kukoja

This article has also been published by The Daily Touch: you can read it HERE

lime_and_lemongrass_scrub_L_icon

‘People have to recognise that instead of buying from Lush you have to buy from the small companies… Just because otherwise, those small companies won’t be around in three months time. That’s how scary it is.’

Anna Kukoja, founder of natural cosmetics company Flour Mills Bath, is something of a Wonder Woman. Not only does Anna run her company (her days include everything from emailing, to making soap, to working a market stall), she also works part time as a carer. Oh, and is just finishing a psychology degree as well.

But, it is clear Anna’s real passion lies in creating and selling honest, pure and natural body products. ‘I am not on a cheap range’, she says. ‘I think it’s important to use natural, good quality products.’ Anna refuses to add preservatives to her bath oils and body scrubs in order to make them suitable for even the most sensitive of skin types. ‘For me definitely, it’s always about the product.’

‘When I’m making the products I only use natural ingredients. There are so many times when I could take a cheaper version of something, but I’ll always choose to take the little bit more expensive one and make sure I don’t add any nasties.’ With incredible products such as Lime and Lemongrass Body Scrub and Sweet Orange Body Oil, it is clear Anna’s all-natural philosophy is working. ‘In three years we haven’t had a single complaint’ she says. Impressive to say the least.

When I ask Anna what she finds hardest about running her company, she replies ‘convincing people that this is good’. In a world where supposedly ‘natural’ bath and body products are dominated by the likes of The Body Shop and Lush, this is certainly understandable. Anna adds ‘it’s really hard spending so much time, and putting my heart and soul into it, yet still needing to convince people.’

Her dream for Flour Mills Bath? ‘I really, really want my own shop’ Anna enthuses. But this wouldn’t be just any shop- Anna has plans for a ‘make your own scrub’ system, allowing shoppers to custom make their products. ‘I don’t think customers should be penalised for buying what they want.’ In a consumer world where we are increasingly told by retailers what we apparently want, Anna’s ideas are extremely refreshing and honest.

flourmillsbathstallOften in the media, starting up a business is portrayed as a fast route to easy success and fast cash. New generation reality TV shows such as Made In Chelsea and The Only Way Is Essex seem to show cast members opening shops and boutiques on an almost weekly basis. (Who could forget Diag’s recent world-stopping idea to ‘sell cheeses’…).

We move onto the topic of Jamie Laing’s much hyped Candy Kittens business. This is when Anna’s fiery, no-nonsense Latvian side starts to emerge. ‘People go in that shop because it’s been on telly’ she says. ‘This is the frustrating bit- he hasn’t brought out anything that is interesting, anything new, anything worthy, it is just a big hype at the moment because he was on television.’

Anna has certainly witnessed first hand the cut throat reality of starting small business. ‘It’s been three years and I still haven’t paid myself a salary’ she says. ‘Business might be easy if you have never ending funds’.

However, it if anyone deserves success, it’s Anna. Her passion for Flour Mills Bath’s products was infectious, even over the hazy waves of Skype.

Find out more and check out Flour Mills Bath’s amazing range of products at flourmillsbath.co.uk. They also have a stall in the Jubilee Market at Covent Garden each weekend.

flourmillsbath

flour mills bath body oil box

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: