Interview with Gemma Cockrell, Surrey Hills Entrepreneur & Founder of Puremess
For our ‘Peace of Mind’ piece this week, we bring you an interview with entrepreneur and eco-prof Gemma Cockrell. From her battle with cancer to her pursuit for ethical excellence, read all about the inspirations that have gone into every drop of her beautiful products, PUREMESS, handmade (by Gemma!) just minutes from our Surrey Hills, destination, Barnett Hill.
PUREMESS is available to buy online from the Barnett Hill grocery here.
Gemma, tell us your story – how did you come to be making ‘Puremess’ and what inspired the name?
I had a second breast cancer diagnosis in 2015 and it really made me reassess not only what I was putting into my body but what I was putting on it. I wanted to use high quality natural products that I could trust, but didn’t want to pay a small fortune for them. I decided to start making my own and with my science background, started formulating and trialling a range of products. Puremess was born! The name was inspired by the Purity of the products and the mess I make when I’m making them! I love the logo as it truly reflects this – the water droplet for PURE and the colourful swirls for MESS! The strapline came from my desire to make everyone ‘Happy in your own skin’.
Whereabouts is the business based?
We are based in Guildford, Surrey
Where do you get the inspirations from for your recipes?
My gran was a great cook and taught me to experiment with different flavours and I think that has just followed through into making skincare products. I find inspiration everywhere, I have a bit of a butterfly brain so I often sit and drift away and suddenly think – oh, I like that idea for a product, or I wonder if those scents would work together.
Where do you source your ingredients from?
Supporting UK based business is really important to us so we try to source all of our ingredients within the UK, and as local to us as possible. This has been quite challenging but definitely worth the research. We also make sure all of our suppliers have the Leaping Bunny Award to ensure that they are cruelty-free.
How do you make the products?
I have formulated the recipes myself and I make everything by hand in a converted garage that is now my lab and as I said before I like getting messy! I make everything in small batches to ensure quality.
How did you go about sourcing the packaging?
Packaging has been difficult! The protection of the environment has always been really important to me as I think we need to leave a better, cleaner, more sustainable planet for future generations. I always wanted to use reusable. recyclable and biodegradable packaging but it has been difficult to source in the UK so I was then sourcing it abroad and feeling like I was really increasing the carbon footprint of the products. So last year I spent a lot of time sourcing new packaging materials that are available in the UK so that all of our packaging now comes from the UK.
During this difficult time, are there any products that you recommend using to:
Cope with anxiety – The situation we’re in at the moment can certainly increase anxiety levels. I would recommend rubbing some Sleep balm on the soles of your feet to keep the anxiety at bay and enjoying a hot cup of Chamomile tea!
Get a better night’s sleep – Our Sleep balm is amazing! Pop it on your temples and pulse points but also on the soles of your feet as you get into bed. You’ll be off in dreamland before you know it!
Stay focused whilst working from home – Staying focused is a challenge! I find routine is the key. I use our Grapefruit Body Scrub a couple of days a week as it really wakes up your lymphatic system and then I like to pop some muscle balm under my nose and on my temples as the essential oils help to keep my mind focused.
What’s your favourite product, and how do you suggest we use it at home?
My absolutely favourite product has got to be the sleep balm as it is so versatile. It’s really useful in controlling anxiety and calming the mind to aid a good night’s sleep but is also brilliant as a moisturiser and works well in calming eczema and other skin conditions. I also use it as a cuticle cream and around my eyes if they are dry. If you pop some under your nose it also helps in stopping hay fever!
How are you coping with the current lockdown, and do you have any advice for our readers on maintaining a positive outlook?
I think I’m coping quite well with the situation but have had the odd difficult day. I feel incredibly lucky to have most of my family at home with me and have a daily phone call with my eldest son who lives in London. My parents are quite close by as well so I can check that they are ok too. Exercise is super important in maintaining a positive outlook as it gets the endorphins flowing and makes you feel so much better so use your allowed time to get out into nature and enjoy your surroundings. I find routine really helps me so I try to go for a run or walk at the same time everyday. Although we may all feel we have lots of time on our hands now I also think it’s important to make sure you do something for yourself everyday, whatever makes you feel good. It doesn’t have to be hugely time consuming, just a little something that makes you happy.