22 Jul Jennie Ritchie Blog – THE INTERVIEWS: TELLING AN IRISH DESIGN STORY
Our generation is on a quest for a more natural and sustainable way of living, to find a balance with nature and a harmony within ourselves. In an age of influencers and mass media it is often hard to listen to your own body and to discover what is just right for you. Marketers are so clever at leading us to believe what they want us to and that the big brands are better. However, finding products that are wholesome and natural are in fact a more beautiful path to choose. Alice Tomczak, founder of Roza Natural Cosmetics is one such creator. She has designed a range of products that contain natural ingredients known to make a difference to your skin. And she talks about suffering with dry skin, so she speaks my language!
Lovely to meet you Alice and thank you for taking the time to share your story! Can you tell me a little about where you grew up and if creating beauty products was always a dream of yours?
Hi Jennie, It’s lovely to meet you too. I grew up in Poland. My hometown is Poznan. I was raised in a family that always had a strong relationship between nature and man. I have been taught respect for the environment and the use of its gifts in a responsible way. Conventional medicine has never been the first choice for my family when it comes to various kinds of illnesses and pains. My great grandmother and grandmother often enjoyed the benefits of herbs. I think that despite the fact that at some stage in my life I have gone away from these patterns, they have always been somewhere inside me. My adventure with cosmetics started just from herbs, making macerates – from the first attempts to make my own soap and ointments. This resulted partly from a need, because I could not find cosmetics that would meet the expectations of my very sensitive and dry skin, but also from the desire to turn to mother nature, which I love with all my heart.
How did you develop your experience in the beauty industry and take the leap into designing your own line of products?
As I mentioned earlier, it came up from my personal needs. In addition, I must point out that skin care has always been my greatest hobby. My bathroom cabinet always has been full of skin care products, and I kept buying new ones constantly to find the perfect one. Over time, I have become aware of what actually can be found in those cosmetics and how they affect our health. My choice of study was not accidental. I graduated in Environmental Protection at the University of Life Sciences in Poland with a Master’s degree. Five years of study has shown me that we often look in the wrong direction, and the simple and the best solutions are in front of us. Our mothers and grandmothers used to compose their face masks, face creams, ointments and beautifying herbal infusions. The haste of the modern world has led to everything being comfortable and accessible, and of course durable. This also applies to cosmetics that have very little to do with nature. Packed with dangerous chemicals and unnecessarily sold in colourful plastic packages to women who are unaware that our skin absorbs as much as 60% of what we put on it and that the skin is also the largest organ of our body.
Can you describe what products are included in your range and if you have plans to develop more in the future?
In my range you will find face creams, face serums, body oil, natural and handmade soaps, hand cream, face masks and ointments. In the future I would love to develop a home care range and few more cosmetics like natural shampoo and conditioner.
As a small business owner, you are in charge of all aspects of your company, from manufacturing to marketing and shipping. How do you manage your days and weeks – is there a set routine?
To be honest, I feel very good about running a small business. I have control over every aspect of the company. It is not an easy challenge, but it certainly gives me a lot of satisfaction and joy. My favourite part is the production itself – making new products and improving existing ones in the laboratory. I love the process of creating. I am still excited by the moment when combining several semi-products results in a final product which can be use to improve the skin condition of any person. I am always very grateful that Mother Nature has designed this beautifully rich environment for us, giving herbs, oils, butter, etc. All we have to do is to use them appropriately with all the respect for Her and other people.
You have strong values towards sustainability with your packaging. Is this something that is important to your brand?
Sustainability is very important. Especially nowadays when we are facing climate crisis and even small changes in our day to day life can save lives and hopefully our future. I am very concerned about our natural environment. 30 years ago when I was in primary school our Biology teacher was talking about global warming and warning us what is going to happen to our planet if we won’t change our behaviour. These things are happening now. It is scary that it took us only 30 years to destroy something that should last forever and be a home to our children and their children and so on. I admire Greta Thunberg – the young Swedish climate activist that goes on strike every Friday to protest against a government that allows the climate crisis to last and not taking action. There is no time for us to sit still and do nothing. Greta Thunberg says: “Your house is on fire, it’s time to panic!” And I believe her.
How would you describe your brand in 3 words?
Aspiring to be a plastic free, sustainable and a natural brand. There are a few things I am still working on to improve….work always in progress.
Do you work from home or do you have a place that you go to work?
I work from home most of the time, but there is a production aspect of the company that requires me to rent a laboratory space.
Ireland hasn’t always been your home. As an Irish person who has lived abroad and recently moved back to Ireland, I am always fascinated about how others are discovering their new home. How did the move to Ireland come about and how do you enjoy living here?
The reason I came to Ireland was love. I fell in love with a guy and I came here because he was living here. He came to Dublin in 2006 after he graduated from university and started to work in the field that he had been studying in Poland. We were in the same high school for 4 years but we never talked back then. In the era of Facebook he decided to make the first contact 8 years after we finished school! Our story is very funny and very romantic. I consider Ireland very raw but in a good way. It teaches me a lot about myself, my limitations and helps to remind me who I really am. The distance from what I know and love showed me where I want to go and what I want to achieve as a human being.
Where are your favourite places to go in the area where you live? Favourite café / place to hang out / great walks / etc?
I live in the South Dublin area. The best place I love to visit is Avoca Kilmacanogue Store. The food is delicious and I love the business idea combing store, restaurant and beautiful garden where you can enjoy the food. You just can’t be sad while you are there. Even on a rainy day. The other places I love are Dun Laoghaire Sunday Food market, the cliff walk from Bray to Greystones, the Happy Pear restaurant, Powerscourt Waterfall and Gardens, Marley Park Walled garden, Mount Usher Gardens and basically all the beautiful Irish gardens. Absolutely amazing! I love plants so I could stay there forever watching everything grow and bloom.
What do you enjoy to do in your free time?
I love creative projects, so in my free time I love to sew new things and remake old clothes. I like cross stitching and glass painting. I love all forms of creative and manual work.
Thank you so much Alice for such an inspiring chat! I love hearing about the possibilities to be kinder to our bodies and our planet.
To find out more about Roza Natural Cosmetics you can visit her at the following places:
Read more here: https://jennieritchie.ie/designers/roza-natural-cosmetics