I love to learn more about mystical and magical mamas using their creative wisdom to heal and nurture others. I first spotted Charlie’s beautiful brand – Magic Organic Apothecary, when looking around a baby boutique a few years ago. I loved her whimsical illustrations and was drawn to the eco cardboard packaging. I was keen to learn more about the story behind her brand and try her beautiful products….
How was MOA born?
As a baby my daughter suffered badly from eczema and so, as you do, I started researching into the foods which might be triggers as well as skincare irritants. As I began to understand more about skincare ingredients and which ones to avoid (some of which were being prescribed to her), it also opened my eyes to the benefits of organic skincare and removing harsh chemicals from our daily lives.
I have always been passionate about plants and wildlife and during this time I also became fascinated by herbalism and in particular the humble herb yarrow, found in our hedgerows throughout the summer months. Yarrow takes its Latin name, Achillea Millefolium from the Greek hero Achilles, and legend has it that he used the herb to heal his soldiers wounds after battle, it has an ancient history of healing. Yarrow is a powerful healing herb and has a dual ability to steep blood flow, whilst encouraging oxygen to circulate the wound, thus speeding up the healing process. It is often a favourite amongst herbalists, so I was surprised to find that it wasn’t used in many skincare products at that time, and so I made it a signature herb for the MOA brand. With the help from a herbalist, we created a simple green balm based around yarrow and other natural ingredients to soothe and calm irritated skin, and MOA was born.
How did becoming a mother change your vision for life?
I am a cancer, the mother of the zodiac and so becoming a mother was always important to me and I didn’t ever question it. I had my daughter fairly young, which I think I took in my stride pretty well, as I was quite prepared for the hard work having had younger sisters around me growing up! Being a mother helped me to become more decisive and selfish, in a good way, learning to say no to things in order to prioritise my children. I have always envisaged a happy, noisy household with children and animals and lots of laughter and adventures, so I don’t think my vision for life has changed that much to be honest!
Do you hand make the MOA products?
I start all the development myself and I’m continuously tinkering away with new ideas for MOA, I love discovering new ingredients and the alchemy of it all. I am have quite a clear idea of what ingredients and the feel of the product before we start the process, but sometimes this evolves along the way. We use an artisan manufacturer who makes the final products and I work alongside them to create the finished product. I find inspiration in many hedgerow ingredients for MOA and love to learn about their uses and the folklore. I also hand draw all the illustrations and design all the packaging myself, as my background is in art and design, this part of the process is very special to me and each product has a story of its own. Since a child I have always been drawn towards the magic and mysticism and so the folklore surrounding the plants is a huge source of inspiration for me.
Did your creativity suffer or rise up once you became a mother?
In the first few years it definitely suffered and I felt very frustrated that I wasn’t finding the time or energy to start or finish anything creatively. I would give myself goals and never achieve them. I began to realise that sometimes in life you have to give yourself a break and take a step back a little, else you will be continuously frustrated with yourself, which can’t help matters. I still find it hard to find time for the creative part as often the more tedious day-to-day tasks get in the way, you have to make time for it. It’s becoming easier as my kids are getting older.
Did you study herbalism and alternative therapies to launch MOA?
I haven’t had much formal training, but I’ve always had an interest and taken advise along the way, as well as constant research of my own. We are looking to move to Somerset and I have my eye on some courses in the area, so I would love to earn my stripes once we are settled, I feel that I have gone about everything backwards, I’ve learnt so much, but there is always so much more to learn!
The hand drawn element is beautiful – Are you an artist as well?
Yes I come from a very artistic background, my late father was an oil painter by profession as is my mother, my grandmother also painted in her spare time and all my siblings and both my children are talented artists too, so it must be in the blood! After A-level Art, I did my foundation at London College Fashion and then went on to study womenswear design. I would love to have more time to do more now, it’s something which I am planning to do more of.
How do you juggle motherhood and your beautiful business?
It is a lot of hard work and quite unrelenting, but being able to work from home has been a godsend in this respect. I’ve not had much support with childcare, so I really have juggled work and kids from the off start which has meant working funny hours especially when they were younger. I try to keep it balanced as best I can and I feel very lucky to be working on something which I’m passionate about, whilst being a mother. They are both getting older now, so it has become a lot easier, but it balances as I work every day now.
Do you have a self care ritual you live by?
For my face, I use Daily Cleansing Ritual to remove makeup and impurities followed by Aphrodite Facial Oil, which has a nourishing rosehip seed oil base, with extracts of yarrow and marshmallow and Damask rose and rose geranium, so great for redness and very anti-ageing.
We are currently working on a mist toner, mask and serum, so I ‘ve been trialling lots of other lovely products in development which is exciting. I also love a bath which is why we have two bath products within the small MOA range, both salts and a bath oil. Taking fifteen minutes to relax in the bath is definitely a ritual which I find incredibly therapeutic and good for self care.
Does your family live by the power of natural healing? Do you have some examples?
Absolutely, I have a few which I swear by; If anyone has a temperature in the house I use yarrow in a herbal tea, it induces a fever within 15 minutes, the sweating regulates the body temperature.
My daughter get itchy eyes with hay fever and reaches straight for a chamomile teabag (and drinks the tea) which calms them down immediately. And of course we use The Green Balm on everything from burns in the kitchen, cuts and bruises, eczema and itchy irritated skin problems.
Thanks to Charlie for sharing her wisdom and magic!! xx
Check out MOTM Instagram for a little competition to win some MOA products this week….