Weleda was the first brand I switched to when I embarked on our journey towards a greener and more conscious lifestyle a couple of years ago so I was so chuffed when I got invited to their Insight event for bloggers and make-up artists last month.
Weleda has a nearly 100-year-old history and philosophy which not many other natural skincare brands can boast about. Originally founded as a pharmaceutical laboratory in 1921 in Switzerland (and in 1925 in the UK) by the Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner and the Dutch doctor Ita Wegman, it now has a global presence in 50 countries on all continents and is a world-leading manufacturer of natural skincare products. What I find the most amazing aspect about this brand is that despite being established nearly a century ago, what is still at the heart of the brand are the same anthroposophical philosophy behind the cultivation of plants as well as the principles of conducting business for the good of people and nature. Weleda’s focus is and has always been on social, environmental and economic responsibility, and that’s so refreshing to see in modern times.
So as for the Insight event – every year, Weleda opens up its headquarters in Ilkeston, Derbyshire for a day of talks, demonstrations and a tour round their medicinal gardens, for green beauty bloggers, makeup artists and skincare practitioners. The event is a fabulous opportunity to learn not only about the brand’s approach to growing plants that are then used in their products, but also to find out more about the philosophy behind all that Weleda does, produces and how it treats its staff, suppliers and customers.
When I arrived to the event in the morning, I joined a group of other bloggers (including two of my favourite green lifestyle bloggers Ana from Ana Goes Green and Tamsin from Eco Fluffy Mama) as well as a few make-up artists. We were given an introductory talk by Susie Fairgrieve, Weleda’s Communications Director and then taken to the Weleda biodynamic gardens a few miles away from the headquarters.
Spread over 13 acres, the Ilkeston gardens follow the principles of biodynamic agriculture which is similar to organic farming, however it utilises some concepts drawn from Rudolf Steiner’s ideas anthroposophic agriculture. This form of agriculture treats soil fertility and plant growth as a single system, and places emphasis on the use of manures and composts, and excludes the use of artificial chemicals on soil and plants. Some methods also include following an astrological sowing and planting calendar.
While at the gardens, Weleda’s head gardener Claire and her predecessor Michael (who spent over 30 years at Weleda) gave us a fascinating tour, explaining how the anthroposophic principles define the way the gardeners look at the plants and the gardens as a whole organism.
Our visit to the gardens was followed by a short briefing by Weleda’s Managing Director, Jayn Sterland. Jayn explained to us the early beginnings of the company and Rudolf Steiner’s approach to health and wellbeing, which to this day influences the way that some products are made and marketed. For instance, the formulation and even the packaging for the now-legendary Skin Food cream is still the same as 90 years ago when it was first created. Jayn also told us about Weleda’s socio-ethical responsibility towards its staff and as well as trade with plant growers all over the world. We heard about some of the long-term relationships that Weleda has established with suppliers and partners, for instance Czech growers of birch trees who they’ve been sourcing ingredients from for the past few decades. At the heart of all of these relationships is fairness and protection of biodiversity, and this applies to the entire production chain.
As a result of Weleda growing its plants to biodynamic quality, many of the products have passed the NATRUE organic certification. As the first internationally recognised quality seal for organic and natural cosmetics, NATRUE guarantees the highest standards.
The non-profit organisation NATRUE sets the strict criteria for the standard, including:
- Natural and organic ingredients
- Sustainable production process
- Environmentally-friendly practices
- No synthetic fragrances or dyes
- No silicone oils and ingredients from petrochemicals
- No animal testing
- No irradiation of end products or herbal ingredients
Our tour finished off with Susie Fairgrieve (Weleda’s Communications Director) picking a bunch of fresh chamomile flowers which, later on, we enjoyed as freshly-brewed tea while learning how to give ourselves a facial using Skin Food.
Overall, it was a fabulous event and I’m so grateful for the invitation as it was so insightful.
Enter my exciting giveaway!
I’m such a huge fan of Weleda products and following the event, I’m even more excited about the brand and everything that it stands for. Which is why I’m so excited to have teamed up with Weleda to offer one lucky winner a bundle of Weleda goodies (pictured below).
Check out the giveaway page for entry details! The competition closes at 11:59PM on Monday 7th August 2017 (GMT time). (Please note it’s been extended for another week since the original closing date of 31 July 2017)