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SPOTLIGHT: Lucky Cloud Skincare Founder Lucy Cardwell

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

After battling with dermatitis and eczema prone skin for years, Lucy Cardwell decided it was time to tackle this by setting up her own skin care company called Lucky Cloud Skincare in 2015. Specialising in botanical products that are made for people with dry, damaged and sensitive skin - her brand uses quality raw ingredients to create moisture rich, nourishing and soothing skin solutions. We sat down with the entrepreneur to discuss what inspires her, how she started her business and more...

Hydrating Super Balm

Tell me a bit about yourself and your journey so far…

Originally from Australia, I moved to Scotland in 2008.

I was one of those many people who had suffered from dermatitis / eczema prone skin, for what feels like forever… I was diagnosed with it when I was in late primary school and then spent the next 20 + years using various steroid ointments, cortisone creams and trying to find skin cleansers and moisturisers that didn’t exacerbate the problem areas.  It would come and go in waves and when it was bad, it as baaaaad (think cracked & bleeding skin, blisters and itches so bad they made me cry). So I became really reliant on the steroid products, because it felt like they were the only thing that really “fixed” it. The thing was, these creams were only ever a temporary respite… and often made things worse, but back then I didn’t care… if it stopped the itch - good.

A few years ago after another nasty bout, I had a realisation. I just couldn’t continue slathering my skin with products that not only were full of horrible sounding chemicals but were also not actually helping my skin health. This coincided with a weekend mucking about in my kitchen playing with lip balm recipes – and things started to come together!

I began a lengthy journey (which is still on-going) to learn about more natural products. I’d always had an interest in more natural remedies and knew that plant based ingredients were really good for us, but I’d  never delved into the world.

One of the key things I learned was just how dry my skin was. So I began reading, learning, researching and experimenting on my own skin. And now? I haven’t touched a steroid cream for nearly three years. Happy days!

Lucy Cardwell

Have you always wanted your own business?

Not at all! My background is visual arts. I went to Art School in Australia, and worked for a long time in galleries, museums, events etc. Running my own business was never really something I strived for. Saying that though, I think it’s been the best thing I’ve ever done!

When I moved from office work and began Lucky Cloud full time, I thought I would miss the “office banter” and feel lonely working on my own. But I actually quite like it.

I’m also lucky that my office and workspace is in a large building with lots of other amazing small businesses. So there’s a fab creative, supportive energy around me.

Nourishing Cleansing Balm

We’re aware all of your products are natural, and vegan friendly. Was there anything in particular that inspired this?

I guess my skin issues are what began the journey into the plant based industry. I’ve always had a belief in the “power of plants”, but once I started researching ingredients and trying to understand, to some degree, what goes in to products my eyes were opened.

Like a lot of people these days as well, there is a greater awareness of and desire to reduce the toxins and nasty chemicals that we’re using.

Lucky Cloud Skincare 

How do you formulate your products - what does the process look like?

I describe it as sort of working backwards. I generally try to think about what I want the product to do and who it’s for first before experimenting with blends. I’ll give you an example:

So, I wanted to create a face oil (which is ultimately a face moisturiser) for people with combination / acne prone skin. It needed to include oils that would soften, hydrate and nourish the skin, while at the same time not be too heavy, help to re-balance sebum production and target the acne-prone areas diminishing and calming infected areas.

And so I began a lot of research, questions and note taking. Which oils do I already love using? Which of those will be suitable? What other oils have I wanted to experiment with?

Once a “first draft” is created, I test it on myself for a period of time and refine it depending on skin feel, smell and skin condition after a few applications etc. Then I gather a group of product testers, who get to try them out and in return I ask them fill out a lengthy survey. With this information I then tweak recipes if required.

You might think it’s then ready to sell? Nuh-uh. I’ve then got to submit each product for a Cosmetic Product Safety Report (CPSR), compile my own Product Information File (PIF), upload product info on a European Cosmetic Online Portal, write the product description and directions, have the label designed and printed, get the product photographed and THEN I can start to sell it…. Phew.

Balancing Face Oil

What does 24 hours usually look like for you?

As soon as I wake up, I try to do a bit of yoga and stretching to waken my body up and get it relaxed and feeling strong for the day ahead. Then, after breakfast I walk to work, which usually takes about 20 mins – I like the fact that I can incorporate some physical exercise twice a day with my normal routine.

As soon as I arrive at work the computer is on – and to be honest that’s where most of the day is spent! There is a lot of admin involved in running any business. Answering emails, updating software, website changes, SEO, writing blog posts, researching potential new stockists… the list goes on! I usually take a break from the computer mid morning to pack up any online or wholesale orders.

If I’m running low on any products, then I’ll spend some time manufacturing. This takes more time and I’ll usually shut all tech down and turn the music up and get to work!

I usually tend to do more admin stuff in the afternoon. I've always got lots of lists, which help me remember what I need to focus on throughout the week  

Have you faced any challenges in your entrepreneurial journey so far? And if so how have you overcome them?

I think anyone running a business will have faced challenges. It can be tough when you’re the sole decision maker. Sometimes things pan out, sometimes they don’t, but the most important thing I’ve learned is not to let those tough times totally overwhelm me.

It’s a huge learning process being an entrepreneur. A constant learning process. Find like-minded people who can inspire and support you. I’ve joined an online group called WE Mean Business, which is a group for women entrepreneurs. They are the best, most bad-ass group of women who all support each other. I’ve developed real friendships through it, discovered new stockists and networked with inspirational women.

Coconut Lip Butter

Who and what inspires you?

Nature and my friends and family. I love the smell, colours and patterns of nature; flowers, leaves, trees, sand, sunsets and clouds. My friends & family are an incredible source of support and inspiration - from their constant complimentary feedback to telling me what they’re looking for in future products or what they currently love to use.

What is your most proud moment to date?

I think the proudest I feel is when strangers leave me reviews or comment on my products. Knowing I’ve created something that someone really loves and is helping them feel better about their skin is so heart-warming. I do actually cry sometimes when I read things like this…

Love your body balm and even use it on my face, it's excellent! A little goes such a long way! Face oil next for me; thank you for such lovely cruelty free skincare it's a delight”

Nourishing Face Oil

What would you say are three attributes needed to make a young woman successful?
Determination – it all takes a lot of hard work
Positivity – you have to remain positive, even when things feel like they’re falling apart
Patience – nothing is going to happen overnight, but you’ll get there if you want to

What advice would you give to The Beauty Run readers who are interested in starting their own skin care line?
Do your research. Find your niche. Be aware that there is a lot of research, experimenting and paperwork to be done before you’ll get anything ready to sell commercially. There are a lot of legal requirements throughout the product development and there’s no way you can take short cuts.

Oh and don’t try and do everything yourself… hire a graphic designer, a photographer, a web-developer, a copy writer – whatever area you don’t have strong skills in… I think women are particularly bad at thinking we can do it all ourselves. And while we’re incredible, it’s ok to not be able to do it all

Interviewed and edited by: Malika Isles

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