John is the Co-founder and Director of Sustainability & Philanthropic Projects at Modern Botany. He is also married to Simon Jackson. Here he shares a little of his own background and the pillars of the brand they have built together.
My background is a little different from Simon’s. I worked in social care for many years in the UK. I was a Project Manager and Services Manager working primarily within the homeless sector focusing on innovative projects supporting dual diagnosis clients (persons suffering from both a substance abuse problem and a mental health issue). This was a challenging but very rewarding time in my life. I worked with incredible people who were passionate about finding positive solutions and shining a light for these service users, who were often living in desperate and dark situations.
I met Simon in 2011 when I was working on a project in Bristol. Simon, as a Dr of Pharmacognosy, was invited to run a series of talks to our clients on medicinal plants as part of a recovery college project.
I went on to join Simon in his eponymous cosmeceutical company as a Business Development Manager overseeing global distribution and wholesale contracts. It was a great learning experience for me and where I really cut my teeth in the retail, beauty and wellness space. I had sight of everything from new product development; production; natural ingredients identification and sourcing, right through to sales, PR/Marketing.
During this time, I supported Simon on some projects in Africa and visited Kigelia and Baobab plantations, farmers and suppliers. We were looking at new and unheard of wild harvested ingredients and I was hugely inspired by the wonderful communities that supplied them.
Our move to Cork – and the start of Modern Botany
In 2015 Simon and I moved back to my home county of Cork. We took time out together to research and create a company that incorporated both our interests and passions.
We set up Modern Botany a year later with a view to establishing a natural product company that offers elevated personal care. Our vision was to create unique, unisex and innovative formulations that are effective, inclusive and affordable. Importantly, we wanted to present products that are multi-tasking, therefore reducing the need to buy numerous products that typically all do the same thing for your skin.
The heart of Modern Botany is Pharmacognosy and central to the principles of pharmacognosy is the study of the combined action, or 'synergy' of various plant actives that result in greater effectiveness together, than individually.
Efficacy is key for ensuring our products are safe, good for you and do what they say they do. As we grow as a company, we realise that our plant ingredients are key to the DNA of our brand in that the better quality the extracts the more therapeutic effect our formulations have on the skin.
We started with our signature Multi-Tasking Oil which was designed to be a safe and 100% natural ‘one-stop-shop’ that would be deep moisturising, non-comedogenic (does not block pores), reparative and hypoallergenic. Perfect for people with sensitive skin conditions and pregnancy safe. This has become a household staple in Ireland and will be launched worldwide in December 2020.
Our next product was a Deodorant with effective antiperspirant that is plant-based and 100% natural. Along with the oil, we couldn’t be more proud of our tight and early range which presents everyday unisex essentials that truly help promote skin health for all the family.
It goes without saying that Modern Botany products are green and clean but we want to go further than this. We want to break new territory to ensure that all our natural ingredients are sustainability and ethically farmed using regenerative farming methods that support climate change and protects and repairs the very soil they came from. That is to say, we strive to improve the natural resources of our Eco-system rather than deplete them.
My role as the Sustainability Director of Modern Botany was borne out of a love and passion for the natural world we live in and its people. As a co-founder of a conscious and natural wellness and self-care company it is imperative that Modern Botany is ever reflective in our business planning to ensure that sustainability is at the heart of every stream of our company’s processes.
This means that our business strategizing will always be influenced by environmental and Eco-matters, such as waste control; green energy use; growing our own natural materials using regenerative farming methods; maintaining an ethical supply chain and investing in social enterprise initiatives that empower, support and inspire others to love the planet they live in.
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