Born on a 20-acre farm in the Hawkesbury area, People For Plants is the Certified Organic skincare range developed by Anna Addicoat and Andrew Brown. The range was birthed out of necessity, and for lack of existing products on the market and Anna, experiencing trials and tribulations in regards to her skin jumped on the opportunity to foster and create not only a range of products but also a mantra and organic way of existence. The paddock-to-plate, organic lifestyle of Anna and her family translated seamlessly into their skincare beliefs and product developments, and the pair (along with partner and long friend, Jamie Durie) devote everything they have to their company, and fight enduringly to exceed industry standards. What’s more, the entire range is Australian made, owned and 100% cruelty free, and I can vouch for the quality and luxury of each product. They have taught me so much about my skin, and I have begun to trust, wholeheartedly, in this label. In particular I have fallen in love with their certified organic Rosehip Oil. In my honest opinion, my skin has never looked better, and I have this beautiful team to thank.
It would seem, that the team is also attempting to correct education, to calm the flood of information we face every day, and provide us with the best possible cure for our skin, and they ensure that the results remain at an affordable price. Also striving to remain contemporary, People For Plants has also been nominated for a design award for their packaging, and are receiving accolades from not only their own country but also the USA and parts of Asia.
But if I had to say one thing about People for Plants, and about Anna herself, it’s their openness and their willingness to share that is so refreshing. Opting to shed light on the issues that other companies seem to avoid, their main goal is to feed skin the super food that it needs in today’s quite manic social and cultural climate. Great skin is a reflection of good health, and we all know that a glowing complexion can make us feel much better about ourselves. So, give in to the charming tale behind this company, and smile, because Anna and her family’s bond and common goal will definitely take care of the rest.
Hall of Furs: Firstly, can you tell me a little about yourself and about People For Plants? How did it all begin?
Anna Addicoat: The journey began 13 years ago when I was pregnant with my twin daughters. I started having all these problems with my skin [and] my hair was falling out. My husband Andrew stepped in to help and started buying raw organic ingredients and making products to help but I couldn’t find anyone selling the kind of products I wanted to buy. This was the original idea behind the brand. We made products for our friends as gifts and they were so popular we eventually decide to commercialize the idea. As a mother of four kids I wanted to create something affordable, with the highest possible levels of certified ingredients and be sure they worked as well as other natural and synthetic products and had a long shelf life. I had really struggled to find anything like that. A few years ago we asked our old mate Jamie Durie to become part of the People for Plants family and he jumped at the chance.
How would you define People for Plants for someone who may be unfamiliar?
PFP is a brand that aims to provide a high quality Certified organic range of skincare that is made with the highest levels of organic ingredients at an affordable price and is also widely available across Australia. We choose gentle skin friendly organic and natural ingredients that protect your skin and fight aging… we create superfoods for your skin. It is also Australian made and owned as well as being cruelty free. It feels wonderful and works brilliantly. Its “certified organic” so not just green-washing and pretending to be organic… we list the percentage of organic ingredients on the front of each product and we hope that this becomes the industry standard.
What is People For Plants’ definition of beauty? How do you seek to create it for your customers?
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder…. Just smile, you are beautiful… If you take care of that then we will help you take care of the rest.
What was the pull towards certified organic skincare? Can you break this down for our readers? Why is organic skincare so important?
We believe that you must take a holistic approach to beauty. It’s not just slapping on any product that you have been told will work for you.
Your skin is your largest organ and up to 70% of what you put on your skin is absorbed into your body, into your bloodstream and your organs. A lot of the chemicals found in beauty products are endocrine disruptors – which means that they block or mimic the effects of our bodies’ own hormones. The average women used over 500 chemicals a day on their skin so imagine how many chemicals are being absorbed into the body on a daily basis and how hard our liver has to work to detox our system of those chemicals. Once these chemicals find their way into your body, they can accumulate over time because we don’t have the necessary enzymes to break them down. Like your body you must feed your skin with the nutrients it requires to be at its optimum health.
We are constantly flooded with information regarding skin care and health; it is incredibly overwhelming. What are some common errors people make when dealing with their skin? What activities or ingredients should we be avoiding?
1. People think a deep tan is good… wrong! You are damaging and prematurely aging your skin.
2. Buying the most expensive products will produce the best results… wrong
3. Use a phosphate free shampoo… Every time you wash your hair you are stripping your face and body of its natural oil too.
4. Have a proper beauty regime that you follow. Cleanse, tone, moisturize.
Try to avoid the following:
1. Artificial fragrances can contain hundreds of synthetic chemicals primarily made from petroleum and coal. Companies are not required to tell you what these chemicals are.
2. Phthalates are a family of chemicals that softens plastics which are also found in fragrances and have been linked to birth defects in the reproductive system.
3. Parabens. A chemical found in underarm deodorants, moisturizers and other cosmetics that has been shown to mimic the action of the female hormone estrogen and may drive the growth of breast tumors.
4. SLS & SLES (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate /Sodium Laureth Sulfate) Theses are commonly used in cosmetics as a cleansing agent and to make products foam and bubble in shampoo, facial cleansers, and body washes. This can strip the skin of its natural oils and leave the skin feeling very dry.
5. Propylene Glycol (PEG) made from the same chemical that is used to create anti-freeze, this chemical easily penetrates the skin.
Alternatively, what are some top tips for healthy skin?
Great skin is a reflection of your health; it comes from the inside out for healthy and radiant skin, so…. Drink lots & lots of water… aim for 2 litres of water each day… it will detoxify your system, limit your time in the sun, limit or cut out your refined sugar intake (it inhibits the production of collagen), eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, particularly those high in omega oils, essential fatty acids and anti-oxidants (look for bright colours), keep physically fit, get plenty of sleep, avoid excessive alcohol and don’t smoke! If you do this, your skin will glow.
What is the process of creating an organic skincare product? Where do you source your ingredients? Is the People For Plants group quite a close-knit family, or a larger team?
The process is very long, and involved. We have our own in-house cosmetic scientist who is one of the world’s best in the natural & organic field. We work collaboratively to develop the products we are after. It normally takes about 12 months to fully develop a new product! Much of this time is put into research to make sure we are using the best ingredient with the best extraction method for the product we want to create and then testing and tweaking the formulations to make sure they work as we want, they feel great and they smell divine. Because we are “Certified Organic” we then must go through a laborious process of audit by the ACO (Australian Certified Organic) to ensure that every step from the planting, harvesting, and extraction of ingredients meets their strict guidelines as does the manufacturing and handling process. This creates an honesty and transparency with the brand.
Yes we are a family company. We have a hard-working, devoted, very close-knit team that shares a common goal.
People For Plants was born on a farm on the Hawkesbury River, which must be an influential habitat I’m sure! Do you draw inspiration for your work from these surroundings?
I love it. We lived in Mosman for 20 years, which was beautiful, but we decided to make the “Seed Change” about 4 years ago. We have a gorgeous 20-acre property on the Hawkesbury River. I grow all my own fruit and vegetables as well as breed some cows, sheep and pigs, chickens, etc… we literally live paddock to plate and everything is organically grown. I am surrounded by thousands of trees that Andrew planted and has the lovely Hawkesbury River at the end of the lawn. We are only 1 hour from Sydney but a million miles from care. I also love the sense of community you get when you live in the country, the pace is slower and the people are so friendly. Our kids love it… they thrive! They lead a Tom Sawyer existence here… riding horses, climbing trees, swimming in the river…. I am blessed and inspired and hopefully the brand reflects our lifestyle.
What is the importance of packaging in regards to your products within this industry?
So very important… We took forever as a group to decide on the final packaging. We wanted it to be contemporary, stylish, natural, and beautiful as well as work in a retail environment on a crowded shelf. We are really happy with the result. We get lots of compliments on it; in fact we have been nominated for a design award for it… so all the effort was worth it. We also have some beautiful airless tubes for our creams which come from Switzerland and are the best available. The product preserves much better in an airless container, helping us achieve a 3-year shelf life and the consumer has no cream left in the tube as it is all drawn out!
On a similar note, what is the importance of social media for promoting your brand in today’s consumer climate?
We have devoted much attention to social media because we love both the immediacy and the intimacy of the platform. We get regular feedback on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with our customers. We feel like we are engaging in a conversation directly with our customers this way and they with us…
I am guilty of perusing your Instagram feed, but it is one that is full of positive tips and affirmations, which is lovely to read first thing in the morning! Does People For Plants hold a specific mantra for a positive life?
A recent People for Plants Instagram post probably sums up my mantra… it is from Martin Luther King Jr… “I have decided to stick to love. Hate is too great a burden to bare” We have a large family of six, a very large extended family and now a larger People for Plants family… The name of the brand was meant to reflect the collective nature of the movement to organic – People who are all for the wonderful healing power of plants and nature.
Is travel a major component of People For Plants? Do you have any anecdotes to share from your travels for the company?
Yes we get to travel all over Australia and the world to source our wonderful ingredients. I’m hoping to go to North West Australia later this year to meet the aboriginal wild harvesters who collect and harvest the Kakadu Plum we use in a few products. We use this in our Mist Spay… I can’t travel without it. I also get to go around Australia and meet our retailers and their staff as well as meeting customers in store. I love to get their feedback.
People For Plants is still quite young, so where do you see the brand in a few years time?
We are concentrating on growing the presence in Australia primarily, however we already have strong interest in the brand in the USA and across Asia so that is something we will look at in 2014. We want to engage as many people as possible with the brand and introduce them to certified organic skincare. Our products work incredibly well, are good for your health, have a long shelf life, are very affordable and are widely available… essentially a world first for a range of organic products… so we are relishing the opportunity of telling the world.
Words: Sophie Flecknoe. Image courtesy of People for Plants.