Carefully Concocted Coffee BeanBody
By Shafiya Nawzer
Over the years, people have become more aware of what’s in their products and have begun to make better decisions about what they allow on their skin. As a result, many new companies have formed to meet this demand for safe and natural beauty products. There are plenty of reasons to use natural skincare instead of artificial products and avoiding potentially harmful synthetic chemicals. This is an ecofriendly option. Natural and organic skincare products combine essential vitamins and minerals that heal and restore the skin without damaging the Earth.
Thiromi Gamage is the founder and the woman behind the brand Coffee BeanBody (CBB). It was founded in August 2019 to cater to those who craved skincare products that were naturally made with safe and healthy ingredients. The brand has slowly expanded its product range every year by adding creative and interesting combinations to its product line. Thiromi spent most of her childhood in Bangladesh since her father had his business there. She completed her Bachelors’ Degree in Singapore when she was 19 and moved back to work with him. In the past 12 years, she has worked in multiple industries in Singapore, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka; gaining knowledge and experience in various fields. However, one thing that always at the back of her mind was that she wanted to be in the creative space. Her passion finally blossomed into a business and that’s how CBB was born.
Excerpts of the interview:
How did Coffee BeanBody start and what motivated you to create your product line despite the huge selection of cosmetics in the market?
The brand was created because I have sensitive skin and couldn’t use a lot of the brands out there. The natural alternatives that were made at home gave me an idea to create them for others as well. At first, I just wanted to help out others like myself in providing safe and healthy products but realised, I could cater to a wider market despite already having a huge selection out there. I was just hopeful that the brand would catch on!
Why is sustainability important to you and your brand?
I had started the brand initially with glass jars. Just like many other brands out there, the option for good packaging is very limited and you can only do so much with what’s available here. I went further into the business, I realised how much waste it would be if we were to buy plastic packaging. We see our customers re-using our jars at home, so that’s great as well! Plus, the stories we see and hear about what our planet is going through, especially our beautiful sea creatures, it’s the motivation for me to assist the planet in a small way.
Could you tell us about your product range, what is the process of formulation and the philosophy behind your products?
Currently, we have two Collections – the Original and the Tropical. The Original Collection is the product that CBB started with! All in glass jars; these mostly include scrubs, eye masks and serums. In the Tropical Collection, we wanted to stray into a more colourful theme with our brand having an all-black vibe! This Collection has clay masques, body packs, and body oils. The formulation takes quite a while as we go through several stages.
Since we are creating natural products, we want to be able to steer clear of any chemical ingredients. This honestly, is quite difficult when it comes to preserving our products; there are very limited natural preservatives available here. Once we have a product in mind, we do various tests to get every aspect correct in terms of texture, colour, viscosity and then the packaging, wording, colours and everything that will give the final product. Then we get every member of our family and our friends to try it out. Asking their opinions help us to know what to do and what not to do and how to improve because everyone’s skin is different and we get a variety of opinions to base our work on.
How does the formulation of your skincare products differ from other organic skincare brands?
All our products are handmade so there’s a difference between our products and a commercial brand that may use big machines for bulk production! But in terms of getting a product out there, I don’t think there would be much of a difference in testing and going through those stages. All skincare brands must have safe ways to test if the products are safe for the market. We may have different steps but all in all, we all need to follow a certain path to get the right result.
Do you have your personal favourites among your products?
Oh yes! I absolutely cannot go even a single day without the Satin Body Oil. It’s so rich and goes on like velvet! Another favourite is the Radiate Clay masque.
What has been your proudest moment since starting Coffee BeanBody?
I keep a small journal of everything I have accomplished with Coffee BeanBody and honestly, there are so many! They may be minute to many people but to me, it’s everything! I would say the day I got my first export order was the big day for me. Because that solidified my brand could potentially be something big someday and it didn’t just have to be another home-based brand.
Compared to mainstream cosmetics, what do you think are the biggest challenges in creating natural cosmetics?
One of the main challenges we face as a team is to create products without the use of chemical ingredients. As tempting as it can get sometimes, simply because there’s an endless list of potential products that we could make, we just simply can’t. So that’s where we come to a roadblock sometimes.
Is there any beauty or wellness advice that you want to share with our readers?
I definitely would love for everyone to switch in to natural products but I know there are great brands out there that people are so used to and it’s hard to switch. But one thing I would love for people to take is to be comfortable with who you are, despite the colour of your skin or shape of your body! We all have acne, we all have dry or oily skin, and we have patches, pigmentation. But it’s nothing to be ashamed of. I know people think their self-esteem will be fixed once those are gone but it’s sad to see a rather large number of girls believe that they will only be good enough if they are ‘fair’, ‘light-skinned’, ‘thin’ and have absolutely ‘perfect skin’. That’s something I want girls to change in their thinking. That’s my ‘beauty’ advice.
What’s next for the brand?
We have plans to export to a few more countries by next year so that’s in the pipeline and a new range of products is coming as well. Let’s see, with this pandemic we really can’t tell!