Kelly Clark is the founder of Apothekelly Skincare, which produces natural vegan skincare in the heart of Suffolk. Here, Kelly explains how redundancy in 2020 prompted her to pursue her passion and turn it into a small, sustainability-led business
Life hasn’t been plain sailing. As a single mother at a young age, it’s been a struggle. I always felt judged, and constantly felt either guilty for being at work full-time or judged by society if I didn’t. There has always been a battle for me, and often felt torn between work and home life.
At the start of the pandemic, I was just sent home from work and told to work from home. My daughter was at an important stage in her school life, too, as she was undertaking her GCSEs, so far from ideal. By November 2020 I had been told I was getting made redundant which really panicked me initially. Once I was redundant, I decided it was about time to pursue my passion and make it into a business.
Apothekelly Skincare was always something I eventually wanted to get around to, but time and money combined were an issue. Once my redundancy came about, I found that I had both time and money, so I built a lab in my garden and began on a business plan, marketing plan, and experimenting. I knew that I just had to go for it, now or never! Incorporating my love of the natural world, foraging and my creativity just all felt right. Especially growing up in the Suffolk countryside.
I finally got around to launching my initial product range of six body creams in November 2021, a year after the wheels began turning. I have, and continue to receive, amazing feedback and reviews with many return customers loving the KelpHelp! and facial cleansing balms. Making a small positive impact on someone’s life, however big or small, has to be one of the best feelings.
I use as many sustainable, UK-grown, UK-distilled and produced ingredients as possible. I don’t use any synthetic fragrance, or colours. My products are all vegan, palm oil free, and I do not use plastic packaging.
Being ‘eco-friendly’ is deeply important to me, which is why I use the ingredients I use, highlighting the importance and true quality the UK is possible of producing. I also plant trees for every large product sold, the best way to help tackle climate change is to plant trees so I decided to use One Tree Planted and Ecologi as a part of my business model. I am always looking out for the best eco-friendly alternatives, and with the climate emergency feel that new technologies are evolving rapidly and that will keep improving the availability of truly becoming a fully eco-friendly business.
I like to get straight to the point – so what better way to be than upfront about everything and anything I do? Being an ethical company should really be standard practice, and so I am just completely honest about my own values. As the saying goes, honesty is the best policy. I will always be totally transparent when it comes to my products, which is why I will strive to educate customers on exactly what you are putting onto your skin and, most importantly, why. No company is perfect, and I aim to always be trying to get closer to the ideal vision as my journey progresses.
I have so many plans, for lots of new products. There will soon be a range of all in one cleansers available aimed at cleansing you head to toe all in a Ph balanced bar, packaged in compostable UK produced, pine cellulose bags. I am also working on an anti-aging, ultra-moisturising pink facial cream right now but have plans for lots more too.
Apothekelly Skincare can be found on Etsy; Instagram and Facebook – plus the website is launching soon. You can also find Apothekelly Skincare at local markets, including Bury St Edmunds Makers Market at the Cornhill on Sunday August 7. Check social media for more dates. The products are also stocked at suffolksense, in Wickham Market.