We spoke to Rebecca Saunders, founder of Seekology, a curated destination for the very best in beauty and wellness.
Hi Rebecca, please can you tell us a bit about the ethos behind Seekology and what inspired you to start it?
Hi! Seekology is a destination to find the very best new and independent brands in beauty + wellbeing, from natural skincare to soy wax candles to eco friendly yoga mats (and supplements such as Potion London, of course). I was inspired to start Seekology because I’d worked in retail for a long time and felt that existing retailers weren’t offering customes an inspirational experience, or helping them discover new brands. And at the same time I knew that there were so many amazing brands out there that had great products and were responding quickly to changing customer tastes and needs.
Seekology started life as a beautiful pop up store in Richmond where we featured 70 independent brands on a rotational basis, as well as holding educational and fun events – everything from learning about sustainability to yoga classes. We’re now trading online at www.seekology.co and continuing to share the inspirational stories of our brands with the wider world.
How have you found running a business compared to your previous life in retail buying?
Whilst being a buyer is an all-encompassing job, running a business is another level! As the CEO of Seekology I have to think simultaneously about the long term future of the business as well as making day to day decisions on the fly. There’s no typical day and I have to be able to switch from speaking to our wonderful brands to cashflow forecasting to making sure there’s enough printer paper in the space of just a few minutes. I love the variety and although I’m working much harder overall I enjoy the freedom of being able to nip to the park in the afternoon to make some phone calls if the weather is good.
We love that you introduce new brands every month. How do you choose which brands to stock?
I’m very selective about which brands to stock on Seekology since there are plenty of websites out there with thousands of products (or hundreds of thousands!), which can be quite confusing for customers. Whilst I get approached by potential brands nearly every day, I curate the Seekology website carefully to ensure that it’s a great shopping experience. It’s important to me that everything sold on the website is something I am proud of.
I’m always looking for new brands across a broad set of categories within beauty + wellbeing (even goal setting journals and meditation jewellery as well as skincare and supplements), but they have to have something genuinely different to the brands I am already featuring, as well as an inspiring founder story.
One perk of your job must be trying all the products! What has been your favourite brand or product discovery so far?
That’s right! My bathroom cabinets are extremely well stocked (or too well stocked, my husband might say). It’s so hard to pick a favourite, since I’m proud of all the brands that we feature and they are all so different. My favourite beauty discovery has been natural oil-based products, since I historically thought these might be too heavy for my skin. But when the founders of Rosalena Skincare sent me some samples I became instantly hooked; I especially love to use them with the brand’s “magic mushroom” facial massage tool to create a mini skincare ritual at home.
What is the one beauty product that you can’t live without?
I’m a sucker for body moisturiser and use it morning and night. My current favourite is by new natural skincare brand Freya + Bailey and is called Rendezvous; it’s just the right consistency – it’s actually called a souffle, which describes it very nicely – and smells divine. I’ve been giving it to friends and family and they have been loving it too; I think my mum is on her third pot now!
Do you have a morning or evening routine?
Yes, I’m pretty religious about my routines, especially cleansing to “take the day off”, although as a mum of two I have had to streamline them more recently! One interesting trend I’m seeing coming through is for brands like Pure Savvy and CJ Skinhealth which both have really simple, multitasking products that are very efficacious for those on a tight schedule. Good skincare doesn’t have to be complicated, although I’d recommend taking advice if you’re not sure what you need – you can always email us on firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions and one of our skincare experts will get back to you.
With the store currently closed due to Coronavirus, how are you managing to stay connected to your customers?
I was really proud of the way my team engaged with customers in store – we were focused on building long term relationships and giving tailored advice to each individual. As a big believer in physical retail, this is a tricky proposition to match online. We’re currently focusing on engaging with our customers through social media, our emails and by providing interesting things to read on our website – everything from the story of Seekology to the science behind the products we feature. We’re also about to launch some exciting initiatives for the summer which I hope will continue to inspire and educate our customers and help them with their beauty + wellbeing choices.
And finally, can you give us any sneak previews about what we can expect from Seekology in the future?
We will 100% be back in physical retail at some point – I’m not sure where or when yet, but you’ve heard it here first! In the meantime we’re developing some new ways to help customers with their beauty + wellbeing questions online so that we can continue to deliver that educational experience that our store customers enjoyed so much.