Meet our Autumn vendor Turn2Nature started by founder Nadine Decker. Nadine creates her own natural products with an emphasis on sustainability. Learn more about our newest vendor in our Q&A below.
How did Turn2Nature come to be?
I had the name in mind for a few years now. But I guess I never had the confidence to commit to running and owning a business. Initially there was a time where I learned how to make vegan cakes and I had it under the same name (Turn2Nature). I realised that it [baking] wasn’t something that I enjoyed doing. I wasn’t really good at baking and I didn’t really see how I would make that grow. I’ve seen others do that type of business but obviously it wasn’t right for me. However the name still stuck with me.
I have sensitive skin and I have suffered from eczema for a long time. So I’ve always been into natural remedies. My mum is a holistic healer and so she got me involved in natural remedies and natural ingredients. I’ve always looked for alternative treatments before going to the doctors even. I enjoy creating natural products. I like the fact that I know exactly what’s inside it. When I started making my own products, I sent them to friends and family. Everyone really liked them. But again I didn’t have that confidence to start a business.
With lockdown, many people have had the time to explore their ideas, which I did. I came up with a logo and I said you know, this is something I can do. I’m still working full time from home but obviously I have more time to do [start this business]. Also just seeing a lot of people losing their jobs, we get too comfortable with our full time roles. I said to myself that I need to have a back up. I need something that I can still generate income.
When creating your products, what is the process of knowing what works for your skin?
It’s kind of trial and error. Before I was just doing it for myself. So if it was too greasy, I would just research for myself how to make a cream less thick. That could mean maybe adding a bit more liquid oil instead of hard butter like shea butter which is hard at room temperature.
I have a body butter that is definitely good for someone who has dry, sensitive skin. It’s also good for people that have normal skin. It absorbs well, it’s an all rounder. In terms of ingredients themselves, shea butter is just my favourite. I don’t know if it’s because I went to Ghana last Christmas (which feels like forever now) and saw the raw shea butter. Seeing it there, like this [it’s natural state] - where normally in the UK I’m used to seeing it packaged and refined. Seeing it in its natural form and unrefined, I was in awe of it.
How long does it take to create the lip balms?
It’s not that long - it probably takes about 2-3 hours maximum. I melt all the ingredients first - the hard butters and the wax on a double boiler on a low heat. The low heat keeps the benefits of the oils. If you heat it too much it can create a loss in the integrity of the ingredients. Then I add the essential oils and mix them all together.
With lip balm you have to move quite quickly, because the wax hardens fast. So once everything is mixed together and melted, I have to work quickly to get them in the tins. That’s probably the hardest part. They harden in a couple of hours and then I add the labels on the tins.
What makes Turn2Nature different from other wellness and organic brands businesses?
One thing I would say is that everyone has their own touch on what ingredients they add and the quantity they put. We’re really big on sustainability and being plastic free. The words organic and natural are thrown out there quite a bit. I take pride in sourcing high quality, certified organic products.
When I create stuff I always have sage burning and my crystals around. I’m trying to link in the spirituality side of turning to nature. It’s not just an aesthetic, it’s more about being one with nature. That’s why I try to be so sustainable. As much as we want to get things delivered, we have to try and minimise the damage that we’re doing to the earth.
What is your experience starting a business in the middle of COVID-19?
I feel like I wouldn’t have started a business if it wasn’t for COVID-19. I feel like everything happens for a reason and this was the right time. I’m definitely grateful to have the means and funds since I am still working full time.I would say it’s been a good experience, I’ve learned a lot. But it’s also been difficult and stressful at the same time.
There’s so many things they don't teach you in school - in terms of registering for VAT, registering a company, getting insurance - all these things I had to figure out. All I wanted to do was make products and did not want to be involved in this other stuff. But it’s essential and I’m happy that I’ve done it.
Gov.uk was my best friend at that time! I follow a couple of Instagram pages like Black girl finance, Entrepreneurs pages - I got lots of tips from those places as well. I did think that I could just do cash in hand. But I thought that it’s all or nothing so if I was going to do this I was going to do it properly. It’s definitely been a learning curve but I’ve enjoyed it.
What does it mean to you to be Black owned business?
Sometimes I felt sorry for myself, because of the lack of knowledge in my circles and parents. I just felt like I was on a back bench in terms of the knowledge that was available to me. You have to research yourself but other people have different opportunities because of the circles that they are in and the families that they have. The knowledge is widely available. That crossed my mind but it is what.
I’m happy about and that people are spending money on Black businesses but I’ve tried not to define the business as being Black owned. I don’t want to be defined by that. When the movement is over, your business won’t be as relevant. But in terms of myself, I am trying to do what I can - showing that Black people can have successful businesses there are loads already.
I think there are sometimes a little bit of negative connotations with Black owned business so that’s where my reluctance might come from. There are loads of successful Black owned businesses but within the Black community you do know that there are bad ones. I am proud to be a Black owned business but it needs to be more of a norm. It’s something that should be celebrated, it shouldn’t be something that’s surprising.
Any advice for other Black creatives and entrepreneurs?
Just go for it (that might sound cliché!). Do the research, and forget about the barriers. Don’t compare yourself to other people from other races. Everyone’s journey is different. If you’ve got a dream that you want to follow, you just need to manifest it and make it happen.