#ConsciousGiftGuide 2016: Fifteen Memorable Gift Ideas

A meaningful gift from a loved one leaves a fond memory... and we like creating memories that are painfully hard, if not impossible, to forget. It always brings more joy to give an unforgettable experience that puts a smile on the receiver’s face, and let it last for long. Yet sometimes the experience can take the shape of that perfect, pampering product, much appreciated for seasons to come. 

I assume the majority of us have a bit of a cybernaut approach to Xmas shopping — if a product we have imagined here and now as the perfect match in our imaginary wish-lists of friends and relatives doesn’t exist online, we can impatiently decide we don’t really want it at all. In this extremely packed and alarmingly stressful holiday schedule of ours, who (however dedicated to the gruesome hunt for a pile of *cough* exciting *cough* pressies) would bother to browse the shops on foot in the limited hours post office work, or on a precious weekend, mechanically zigzagging through aisles and sections and floors and piles and heaps of goodies… and we know access to the pleasant part of it — all these flavours and aromas and organic mulled schnapps and the spirit of actual *enter the C word*, does not come without unnecessary distractions — or better call it nuisances — clumsily fighting the crowds using two elbows at a time and a *slight* panic attack from the fantastic, yet nauseating merry atmosphere and piped-carol muzak on the 5th floor of a massive, labyrinthic shopping mall (do I even need to mention the excruciating pain from swollen feet?). All we want to do is moan, pardon moi, be done with the most difficult part, such as le gift hunting, and be saved by a comforting cup of festive tea and vegan biscuits in the comfort of our own home, the protective thick four walls. And then hide under four blankets, secretly hoping to wake up in 2017. 

Do not take this honest truth lightly — however early we endeavour to arrange and order the gifts, there are always those that need to be fixed at the very last moment.  Luckily, a range of ethical and conscious products are also available online, so you can skip the unnecessary shops browsing for 5 hours, non-stop. We have better things to do… like meditate and obsess-read our favourite Sunday columnists lying on our couch half passed out in a fetal position (however, we keep our eyes shut with ignorance, when it happens to bulk the same amount of time). 

To ease the stressful process of looking for that Right One — a perfect experience, a memory, a culinary oeuvre, a tangible thing, which would actually last and be remembered, not end up being a momentary joy, a quizzical, ostentatious oddity discarded a day later, I have put together a list of memorable favourites. The Right One should not be only momentary, but remembered and cherished by the receiver — if not forever then for seasons ahead — and have a fond place on their shelf or ornate mantelpiece, ideally found at the same place a year later. 

It’s difficult to cater for someone else's wish-list, but it’s comforting to know that your Fair-trade favourites all over the world are just a click away from making someone’s memory of the year. 

Ughh! The hard part — now let's be over and done with it. 

1. For those after impeccable results without much effort, Finnish brand Supermood’s Chaga mushroom infused One Minute Facelift power-drop from their Egoboost range has got you covered. I can’t get over this easy-to-use miracle product, which gives your cheeks and instant, on-the-go lift. 

https://www.supermood.fi/product/one-minute-facelift-30ml-2/

Supermood Egoboost: One Minute Facelift Serum. 

Supermood Egoboost: One Minute Facelift Serum. 

2. LUMI is another organic cosmetics brand we swear by. Last month, they launched a new Superbloom eye serum, which reduces swelling and gets rid of unwanted dark circles. In addition to the adorable packaging, it rejuvenates the sensitive skin around eye area and helps to fight even the toughest Nordic climate. 

http://luminordic.com/en/product/superbloom-eye-serum/

LUMI Superbloom Face and Eye Serum.

LUMI Superbloom Face and Eye Serum.

3. One thing I’ve learned — wearing the right basics can give great comfort for the entire day. This Sleek body by Woronstore comes in 3 most worn tones and offers just the right amount of support. In addition to the sustainably made comfort, it also enhances your cherished curves. I’ve realised I always want to keep the items closest to my body as natural as possible, and having that small luxury of sustainable fibres close to you can make a huge difference in feeling good. 

https://www.woronstore.com/products/sexy-slim-bodysuit-sleek-body-grey-melange?variant=27081713862

4. Swedish Stockings is another ethical Scandinavian brand specialising in sustainable pantyhose. Their Andrea Smoking stockings are not only 100% fairly made, but also a lot more appealing than any sister version of high street or supermarket pairs. SS's premium quality caters for the one who favours quality and always adorns herself in dresses and skirts. I am sure she doesn’t exactly want to go through a pair a day...  

https://www.swedishstockings.com/collections/all/products/andrea-smoking

Swedish Stockings, 2016. 

Swedish Stockings, 2016. 

5. Investing in good quality sleepwear can truly make a difference for those who love to lounge. Make your nights and blissful sleep last longer in this Noctu organic cotton nightie, without compromising neither the ethics nor the comfort.  Good news is Christmas is the time for sleepovers and hangouts at home, and a quality night gown lasts you throughout all the early nights of winter, helping you drift off in comfort. 

http://www.noctu.co.uk/shopall/swing-nightie-sage

Noctu Organic, 2016. 

Noctu Organic, 2016. 

6. For those, like myself, who travel frequently (to the extent it actually becomes frightening), a nice de-stressing pillow would be the best thing to wish for to cope with muscle aches and cramps. Weather for a long plane ride, or just a soothing night’s beauty sleep, this Origins lavender and citrus induced body wrap is a real anti-stress must-have!

http://www.origins.co.uk/product/15360/43378/bath-body/sensory/feel-good-hug-body-wrap/lavender-lemon-orange

7. This Moroccan Natural 24K Gold Leaf Serum pairs together 3 miraculous, highly effective ingredients — organic certified Argan Oil is packed with restorative omega fatty acids, which is designed to diminish fine lines whilst still deeply hydrating the skin. Prickly Pear Seed Oil improves the health of the skin by tightening pores whilst nourishing and softening. Rose Oil helps balance moisture levels and reduces the appearance of skin imperfections. The unique bottle releases gold leaves when shaken!

 https://moroccannatural.co.uk/collections/gold-collection/products/finest-24k-gold-serum-with-rose-oil

8. Scents are often associated with nostalgia, triggering fond memories, and I am sure this Byredo scent with a meaning is worth splurging on for that very special one… Byredo’s Rose of No Man’s Land, featuring notes of White Amber, Turkish Rose Petals and Raspberry Blossom, serves as a tribute to the nurses (often referred to by soldiers as “Rose of No-Man’s Land”) who saved thousands of lives on the front lines of WWI, their story is one of selflessness and compassion.

https://byredo.eu/rose-of-no-man-s-land-eau-de-parfum-50-ml

9. Nordic Honey from Estonia brings you organically certified honey from select apiaries, leaving out the ugly truth of chemically fertilized fields and dirty factories. As to the Christmas sets, their signature wooden lids are handcrafted by a small carpenters workshop in South of Estonia and highly durable glass jars are from an Italian glass factory. All Nordic Honey products possess integrity and are delivered to you with great care.

http://www.nordichoney.com/products/gift-box-no-2

10. Votch’s stylish cruelty-free watches from London, adorned with vegan leather straps, guarantee no animal skins were used for the making of their elegant timepieces. The timeless classics come in a variety of tones to align with your loved one’s individual personality…  

https://www.votch.co.uk/collections/the-watches/products/the-pink-and-gold

11. My absolute winter wardrobe favourites are turtlenecks... a nice basic polo neck keeps you warm and goes with literally everything, and nothing can be better than one made responsibly, caressing your silhouette in a silky smooth way. A well-made turtleneck leaves an effortless impression, yet can complement even a more affluent party ensemble. Good things, like this Peopletree's turtleneck top, come in shades of burgundy.  

http://www.peopletree.co.uk/women/organic-cotton-handwovens/may-turtleneck-top-in-plum

12. For those, who often need to deal with anxiety and find it difficult to calm down after an eventful day, this Supermood pillow mist must be the most effective natural herbal solution putting you at ease.

https://www.supermood.fi/product/sweet-pillow-scent-50ml/

13. These fun Ööloom sleeping masks are just so cute and the most precious accessory to all the night owls like me, who are extremely sensitive to luminescent distractions and keep waking up as soon as bright daylight makes an appearance. It is quite a challenge to decide, which animal to go for, and for the fun part, each of them includes a description of the animal's sleeping habits. Should I go for the unicorn or panda… 

https://ooloomstore.com/store/unicorn/

14. I have started caring about my haircare routine more than ever, and getting more accustomed to organic and Fair-trade cosmetics day by day, I even want my hair products to be entirely cruelty-free. For the holidays, Antonin B. offers a solution supporting the good cause — the eco-chic gift set contains the best-selling Ceramides Enriched Desert Hair Serum,  PeTA approved Axiology Lipstick and a Fair-trade Grand Cru chocolate surprise for all the sweet tooths. 

www.antoninb.com/en/organic-vegan-beauty-christmas-gift-set

Antonin. B. Cruelty-Free Christmas Set. 

Antonin. B. Cruelty-Free Christmas Set. 

15. MAST Brothers chocolates in trendy, nostalgic packaging, each carrying a theme of our favourite cities and featuring unique pairings, leave a symbolic, sensory memory. Hint:  we particularly adore their London-themed ‘vanilla & smoke’ indulgence — 

https://mastbrothers.co.uk/collections/all

#WeAreTesting: Supermood Natural Holistic Beauty

With the secret organic ingredients, such as Chaga mushroom, deriving from faraway Finnish forests, Supermood have chosen to implement a holistic, sensory approach to their facial products. Personally, I’m always more curious to test products that offer a soothing experience for all the senses, and these products are here to prove organic beauty doesn’t need to be less fabulous than your other luxury beauty counter friends. During the course of 10 days, in this competitive rabbit-and-tortoise style race for better, improved skin, I religiously applied these Supermood Holistic Beauty products every day, or some, like the Youth Glo luxury peel, 2-3 times a week, as per instruction.

As a foreword, I haven’t been gifted with exactly the best skin type — sensitivity and occasional allergies and redness are common guests unwantedly ghosting on my delicate facial area, especially before the approaching winter season. For years on end, before I could even think of any decorative cosmetics products I’d like to possess, my best friends were only the strongest apothecary products, promising their best to fight against allergies, rashes and unwanted blemishes. Not so long ago, I turned my beauty counter, then consisting of all kinds of fabulous chemical-induced products, into a cruelty-free, green beauty haven, and I’ve only encountered beneficial effects and lasting results after adapting to that change. 

SUPERMOOD Natural Holistic Beauty, 2016. 

SUPERMOOD Natural Holistic Beauty, 2016. 

Here is what I encountered on my 10-day journey of testing these six wonderful Supermood products.

1. Beauty Sleep Sweet Pillow Scent - Calming Herbal Scent for Sweet Dreams

Each night, just before prepping for bedtime, I sprayed 3 drops gently on my linen pillowcase and let the mist absorb for a few minutes. Although in the beginning, the aroma, reminding me of a mixture of lavender and moss handpicked from Nordic forests, might be slightly off-putting because of it’s strength, it quickly fades away and transforms itself into a milder, more delicate version of itself, awakening your senses to an aromatic experience featuring a herbal bonanza. All these nights, as if by magic, I fell asleep instantly and woke up all freshened and bright, so it surely is more effective than all sleeping pills combined, with a mind-at-ease blissful sleep guaranteed. 

2. Beauty Sleep Absolute Bliss Serum - Youth Restoring Sea Fennel Serum

More often than not, it’s hard to find a serum that has that ideal, balanced texture — not too thick, not too liquid-y. The scent, boasting mild notes of sea fennel, also comes across surprisingly calming, not irritating. The serum is meant for overnight rejuvenation, aiming to deliver youth restoring qualities. By morning, the face is well moisturised, wrapped into a healthy glow and prepared to absorb all other products just perfectly. 10 points out of 10 go to mild, calming scent and light texture, exactly the basic comforting necessities you want to take into bed with you, all extra additives have been left out. 

3. Beauty Sleep Youth Restoring Eye Serum with Sea Fennel Stem Cells

This overnight product ideally pairs with the Beauty Sleep Absolute Bliss serum. Yet it differentiates from the original facial serum by featuring a slightly thicker, creamy texture, which suits well the delicate skin surrounding the eye area. To avoid any irritation, I applied it very carefully with small drops in a circular mode. Waking up, the blue circles around the eyes, which usually derive from excessive hours spent staring at the computer screen and are difficult to get rid of just overnight, had faded away, and it truly seemed to fight redness. In addition, it soothes and softens the eye area, helping to get rid of fatigued skin cells.

4. Youth Glo Luxury Peel with Natural AHA-Acids and Fruit Extracts

I would like to highlight the first thing I appreciate is that the scent is again very mild and delicate, completely contrasting to what you would usually get with, although super-effective, yet chemical peel products. It is recommended to hold the product only for 60 seconds during the first times of use. You don't feel any effects during the peel, other than slight chemical reaction on the surface of the skin. Then the face, slightly irritated from the effects of bioactive ingredients, turns completely burnt red. For preserving your own sane mind, I sincerely recommend avoiding mirrors at that stage. After 30 minutes or so, the redness should gradually diminish, although some patches of redness and irritation may remain, hence this serves as the perfect pyjama-party, pre-sleep peel. I really wouldn't recommend using it on other occasions than before bedtime, when your skin can afford to have its ‘downtime', get restored and repair the healthy glow by the morning hours. After waking up, the skin tone is true-match-all-the-way even, and there are no irritations at sight. What a bliss!

5. Egoboost One Minute Facelift Serum

This product surely stole the show! The first time applying it can succumb your skin to a chain of chemical reactions, whereas the delicate Chaga mushroom scent only complements the product’s promising effectiveness. After at least a minute of absorption time, the product lifts the cheekbones a millimetre higher each time and offers bold definition of the facial contours. I've never encountered my cheekbones to be so clearly defined and toned, than after applying this wunderserum! In the first place, I didn’t quite seem to comprehend what the fun aspect of Supermood is about. The answer lies in this Facelift serum! You have to try this, it's so effective. Fun found in elevated cheeks in a minute. 

6. Youth Glo Radiance Serum - Luminous Serum with AHA-Acids and Firming Moth Bean

Before the ten days, I would be the person blocking all their pores with layers and layers of heavily applied foundation. After familiarising myself with this Glo Radiance Serum, gone are the days! It has become the best part of my morning routine consisting of transforming myself from a Quasimodo-like,  — one eye blue, another red, craving-caffeine-like-there’s-no-tomorrow —, to a Lets-Start-This-Motivating-Day-With-Glowing-Skin Queen. I hardly wear thick layers of makeup on my face anymore. It seems somewhat irrelevant, when skin can boast an even, irritation-free surface without. If this effective, calming product is not the best thing happened to mankind, it's at least the best thing ever happened to my face. 

During these test days I learned that beauty really does begin from clean skin, which has been taken care of inside out, in a 360-degree way. Your dearest beauty products should not only look good, but offer pampering care for all senses. If you happen to be the person, like myself, who is extremely fuzzy about textures and scents, then this might just be the right everyday beauty range for you. And who could resist these wonderful, yet whimsical glass bottles and pastel packaging? It’s good to know honest products can actually honestly deliver. I found all that’s missing is a little bit more time for our phone-switched-off-it’s-me-time elevating beauty routine… 

After all, outer radiance can only flourish, when inner harmony is in place. 

Behind the Brand: Getting Under the Skin of Supermood’s Holistic Approach

Supermood is a holistic natural beauty brand from Finland, founded by Anne and Joni Kukkohovi, a charismatic duo and life partners. Both have background working in advertising and were settled in the bustling media industry until a few years back, when Anne, a former model and current TV host, was bidding adieu to her rewarding career, to set a base for something more close to heart — beauty with holistic approach. 

Anne’s Nordic, but uncharacteristically lively character is a measured yin to Joni’s soft-spoken, calculated yang, whereas the couple is a living proof to the statement 'team work makes the dream work'. The duo essentially represents the core values of its brand — as I should know first-hand, being Scandinavian calls for a reserved, demure nature, which they bring to the table with an unusual, whimsical twist. 

I shared a friendly coffee and a chat with the couple at Maison Assouline, my favourite secret hideaway in London, and explored the way they think — although the duo still adamantly insists I avoid the O-word — organic beauty and its role in the cosmetics industry today… 

Egoboost: 'Inner Beauty' smoothie with nutritional supplement powder of Chaga and collagen.

Egoboost: 'Inner Beauty' smoothie with nutritional supplement powder of Chaga and collagen.

Anne (A), what’s your personal relationship with the beauty industry?

I’ve been breathing fashion and beauty since I was a teenager. First time, I was 12 and I saw ELLE magazine, that’s where it hit me. For years, I was a well-know model in Finland, and then I got into the advertising business. I have also been working as a TV host for many famous shows, such as ‘Finland’s Next Top Model’, and I’ve been an ambassador for different beauty brands before. Supermood is where everything combines — the communication, art direction, and my passion for beauty. I always knew I wanted to have my own brand at some point. 

Joni (J), what does your role as a Marketing Director at Supermood incorporate?

First of all, we are married, so it’s a family affair! We both have a background in advertising and we also met through the industry. Then, we worked at the same agency for a while, which wasn’t such a great idea. Soon after, Anne decided to go for the entrepreneur route. She is taking care of the product concepts and the vision of the brand, and understanding of what sort of beauty trends there are, and how to approach it. Therefore, my job is to interpret her vision and then execute, so I am in charge of the branding and marketing, but I still do work as a ECD (Executive Creative Director) at an advertising agency.

You started in 2014 from scratch.

Both nod in agreement. 

J: I think one of the things that really helped is our agency background in advertising. You’re used to story-telling, you have an idea [of what you want to produce], and then you just have to find the right people, brief them and direct the final outcome.

Joni and Anne Kukkohovi, founders of Supermood.  

Joni and Anne Kukkohovi, founders of Supermood.  

How does the whole process work with product concepts?

J: Firstly, Anne briefs the chemist at the factory, with some references and desired ingredients. Then what follows is that our chemists make samples and she gives feedback — this is too rich, too heavy, too intense, and so forth and so forth. The testing and trial-and-error lasts 4-6 rounds, until you find that product you’ve imagined. 

A: For me it is important that they understand, how I want the products to feel, what are the ingredients, expected texture, and time it takes to show effects. They also ask, if we want to have a long INCI (ingredient) list. Of course not, because the cosmetics we are doing are very pure and transparent, so we try to avoid anything extra.

The direction you have chosen with Supermood is (excuse me for the categorisation) organic or green beauty. How does it resonate with our cultural climate and the current beauty industry trends?

A: This is the present and future already ingrained in any other field, it’s in cars, in textiles, in design— it’s everywhere — so I don’t even emphasise the green aspect so much.

J: People often ask, what’s the one thing that sets us apart, but it’s never just that, it’s more about our approach to beauty. It’s not about some compound or secret ingredient. We wanted to build a brand for women who love prestige brands, and are accustomed to using premium luxury brands, but are conscious about green beauty and also the fact that most of the established beauty brands are synthetic. 

A: Unfortunately, there was not any kind of alternative for these women at the time, because most of the green beauty looks to be kind of home-made to an extent.

How do you see the industry change in the future?

J: We feel that in 10 years, it’s not about green beauty, it’s about just beauty. We have to be something else as a brand, not just organic beauty.

A:  The way we see it, in 10 years, all production will have a greener approach and a more conscious impact. What we do emphasise on, is the holistic approach.

Could you elaborate on the concept of ‘holistic beauty’?

A: Holistic beauty means that you have edible things, then we have a range of ‘therapeutic’ products, we aim to bring together a ‘holistic triangle’ of beauty, so it’s not merely one-dimensional. The world around us inspired us for such approach — you see people and they want to eat well and they want to take care of themselves in a 360-degree way. 

J: In the beginning it is about your skincare — what kind of things you put on your skin, whether it is artificial or organic, what gets into your system. That’s one part. Then it is about the edibles, what you put into your body as nutrition. Then the last part is, how do you sleep, how do you give your body time to recover. 

Beauty Sleep: youth restoring night cream. 

Beauty Sleep: youth restoring night cream. 

So that’s the holistic, conceptual approach. I saw a pillow in your range and then the moist for it…what’s the beauty pillow about?

A, J: This is also a part of the therapeutic aspect of the ‘holy triangle of beauty’, which comes with a scent for the pillow or bed linen. 

A: Coming up with product concepts doesn’t need to be always led by one way of thinking — calming herbs and florals, they have been used for years and years, but you wouldn’t think of featuring a pillow in a beauty range. 

What inspired you?

A: The idea came, when we were once staying at a hotel with huge and, by what they looked like, comfortable pillows, but when I woke up, I had deep ‘pillow lines’  (Anne illustrates theatrically, with bold gestures) all over my face. So the pillow I invented helps to avoid those lines and doesn’t give you any puffiness at all. When you think about it, you spend one third of your life in bed, so it is crucial to have special beauty equipment for bedtime. 

J: We got the idea when we read about this surgeon, who developed a pillow for post-surgery patients. Obviously when you’ve had something done, you cannot sleep on a regular pillow, because otherwise your face will become disfigured. He had designed this kind of pillow that distributes the pressure differently; it doesn’t impact on your face, or leave any lines on your face, as it does with your regular pillow. It was based on a study about how blood circulation goes into your face.

Who is the buyer the pillow is meant for? 

A: These niche items are for ‘beautyholics’, like me. I can make out the kind of people by looking in their eyes, sometimes they just grab the pillow and they don’t even talk to me, and then the others ask, ‘Why would you do this?’, and I would think, maybe it’s not exactly for you. 

"We aim to bring together a ‘holistic triangle’ of beauty, so it’s not merely one-dimensional. The world around us inspired us for such approach — you see people and they want to eat well and they want to take care of themselves in a 360-degree way." 

Who is that person who lives and breathes Supermood?

A: It is somebody who is in the radar of the new things, takes care of themselves; someone who is conscious about the natural environment and wants to do something about it, but also wants to look good and wants to look fashionable at the same time. I call it like the ‘W Hotel and Wholefoods person, or Net-A-Porter user, so this person is present all over the world. It’s not about age. It’s not about what ethnicity you represent. It’s not about where you live. It’s more about the way you think about things. 

When it comes to working with your partner… do you experience any creative clashes at all?

J: Constantly!

A: It hasn’t always been easy, to be honest. But I think the vision we have is the same. We are a young brand, so it always comes down to those big decisions and projects. But vision-wise we don’t have so many differences —

J: Artistic differences! 

A: But it’s more about, how to use time more efficiently and find the right deals. 

J: We are both hands-on engaged in our other projects, like TV and advertising, so time is our biggest challenge. When we do have a lot on the table, we always consider all the options and priorities. Often Anne says adamantly, ‘this is more important, and we have to go forward with it!’. They’re not exactly arguments, but a way of making out what’s actually important. 

And what saves you in those moments?

A: We are really passionate about the whole thing.

Meanwhile Anne tells a story about presenting to a bunch of male investors in a fancy, formal setting, whereas Anne, keeping her enthusiastic spirit, had invested a great deal of inner passion in storytelling. The reaction was the men going, ‘It’s just a beauty brand. Why are you so passionate about it?’, whilst Anne lost her temper explaining the passion comes from the fact that it’s her vision, and she has invested a lot of time and energy in it, ‘Of course I am passionate about it,’ Anne tells full of spark.

What brought you to London?

A: We are going to have a Space N K launch in December, which will be our biggest UK distributor. It’s a huge thing for us, as you have all the best boutique brands in there, so we are exploring the possibilities of publicising the launch and PR with them.

J: Other markets that we’ve been working with so far have had an incredible response. We are hoping that UK follows the same route, because it is such a big and important market. It is a priority for us to break through here. 

Anne boasts such a radiant, youthful glow that I unapologetically turn to her, asking whether she uses her own products. Her confident smile reveals there shouldn’t be a degree of doubt.

What’s the absolute must-have product from your range?

A: 1-minute facelift. It’s one of our key products, although we think that there is no one main product on the importance scale. It does exactly what it says effectively — it really tightens your face and skin up. We also sell it in the States.

J: It’s the most effective sculpting and lifting serum, which also happens to be everyone’s favourite. 

Egoboost: 1-minute facelift serum with Chaga. 

Egoboost: 1-minute facelift serum with Chaga. 

A: We also have an eye serum, ‘Eyes Wide Open’. [To illustrate its effectiveness], first showing it to Joni, I put it on one eye and I said, ’compare it to my other eye’, — he is really suspicious about everything — and he said: ‘It’s really bigger than the other one!’. So it is very effective. For that we used a local Finnish ingredient called Chaga [immune-boosting medicinal mushroom]. That’s one of the main ingredients we use. 

J: We do all the testing with Anne. As she said, I am fairly suspicious about claims of products. When we started, I wasn’t a big believer in organic cosmetics, so I told her strictly that it is adamant that our products are effective, it is not enough that we do great branding. That was like the first penny drop for me.

A: It’s still very few people, who want everything to be super clean, without any extra additives. We are not aiming for that, but the actual effectiveness. 

Egoboost: 'Eyes Wide Open' firming serum for the eye area. 

Egoboost: 'Eyes Wide Open' firming serum for the eye area. 

Where do you produce?

A: We found a local Finnish factory — despite exploring opportunities as far as up to Italy — but I wanted it to be closer to me to learn, too. They are the first Eco-Certified factory in Finland, so they know about that sort of [organic] cosmetics. 

It is, of course, very difficult to get those 100% pure components. Where do the ingredients come from?

A: Chaga comes from a city called Kauhava in Finland, and it is handpicked. The other ingredients are the produce of organic farming in different places around the world. It does depend on the climate a lot — when you have monsoon rain somewhere, it might affect some ingredients. They cannot assure the stability of the supply country, but therefore they make sure it at least feels the same. 

J: Chaga is basically forged — it grows wild on the trees and that’s the main reason why products with it cannot get eco-certified, because it’s not controlled by any agency, so it remains the type of product that you cannot classify as ‘certified or organic’, even though, in theory, it is found in its purest form. The EU legislation hasn’t quite figured it out, whether its a pharmaceutical, but through clinical tests it has been proven to be super effective.

A: Chaga has been used in folk medicine for thousands of years and also in Eastern countries, because it makes your skin really even. Also, when you consume it, it is really good for your immune system. It has a very strong effect — say, when you are taking antibiotics, then I would recommend using or consuming it. 

Egoboost: 'Beauty Chocolate', raw chocolate with collagen.  

Egoboost: 'Beauty Chocolate', raw chocolate with collagen.  

J: We feature it in some of the skincare products — we have a collagen and Chaga powder, which is a nutritional supplement that you can blend into your milkshake or smoothies, and also with collagen we have beauty chocolate, which is a raw chocolate.

I saw it! Yes, it is the most interesting product. What’s it about?

A: Everybody says that. Whispers to Joni, ‘now you hear it’. 

Laughter. Anne, it was your idea, of course. 

A: It’s raw chocolate, so we are not talking about organic chocolate, which is heated up. Raw chocolate is cold-pressed, and it’s really expensive to produce. Often the issue is that the price and quality of cocoa varies seasonally. 

J: When it comes to chocolate or coffee, it reacts to weather changes, which right away affects the price of chocolate. A lot of things are very expensive to produce, because you cannot have such volumes, where you could leverage the buying power. That’s why green beauty, as well as green fashion, is still highly priced. 

"Brands have to evolve over time, but at the moment, I think the more layers and perspective you have as a brand, it becomes actually more interesting rather than having this Bauhaus-aesthetic approach."

In today’s visual culture, branding is very important. Advertising background and knowing you target audience well surely works in your favour…

A: People usually want to categorise into either ‘organic’ or ‘normal’, meaning synthetic cosmetics category. We are organic, but that is secondary. On the ferries that are going between Finland and Estonia, they’ve put us next to Dior. That’s exactly the perfect way to explain it, ‘just place it where the good brands are’.

J: It is less to do with the fact that it is green and more to do with communication and how we build the story and tell it, but it doesn’t have to scream ‘green’ at the display. It has to look nice on your bathroom shelf or nightstand. It has to fit in with your other luxury cosmetics.

I have even gone for some beauty stuff only for the packaging, then found out later, ‘oh, it’s 98% bio-organic, too’. 

A: I remember one retailer telling me ‘I don’t care what’s in it, I take it!’, when they saw those pictures of what Joni did — illustrative mockup in 3D of all the range.

J: The first question is, ‘Is it appealing?’, when you see it in the store. Then the next question is, if it something that I would actually use for its utility.

Youth Glo: luxury peel with AHA acids and fruit extracts.

Youth Glo: luxury peel with AHA acids and fruit extracts.

I am totally in love with the packaging!

J: The appearance is a bit whimsical, we felt that green beauty is often strictly about the environment, using green hues. With such personal product that should reflect the user’s values, we wanted to give ourselves that permission to be funny. 

A: [It is] a little bit bold. Also flirty, because when you see all those lines that we have hidden in the packaging — if you find them, you find them. Those little messages. 

J: If we would have chosen kind of a minimalistic and clean, too rigid, approach, I am not sure that would be as much fun to do, it just wouldn’t be entirely ‘us’. If we don’t get that first reaction that it looks good, then it’s a lost case. 

There is this standard Scandinavian minimalism style and approach. Are these the end days?

A: There are so many brands doing this, so it’s already too repetitive. 

J: I think this [Maison Assouline] coffee shop is a good concept — the new and the old meets. The age of ultra design and ultra clean is getting old, in my opinion. In that sense, brands have to evolve over time, but at the moment, I think the more layers and perspective you have as a brand, it becomes actually more interesting rather than having this Bauhaus-aesthetic approach. 

Egoboost: 'Inner Beauty' supplement with Chaga and collagen.  

Egoboost: 'Inner Beauty' supplement with Chaga and collagen. 

Tell us an interesting story.

A: There was an online beauty retailer in California looking to buy our beauty chocolate — 2 pieces, which is a very small quantity. The argument was going on and on, because that comes without saying, sending them to California would have been much more expensive than the chocolate itself (8.00 euros per small chocolate bar). We were having this argument with her, because we couldn’t lose the money, when sending the package that far. It went on and on, and then we just told her to order the chocolate directly from our web store, if she really wants it, but we cannot sell 2 pieces of chocolate and pay for it ourselves. That’s how it goes, when you have a really small business and you don’t want to take the risk of losing the profit. 

J: The comfortable things for us are to work on the brand and on the products, but what we didn’t have experience with, when we got into advertising or out of advertising, is how to handle logistics worldwide. The fact that we are based in Finland, Helsinki, doesn’t make handling international shipping any easier. I think that’s a crucial part of starting your own brand — that it’s a learning curve every day.

What is on hold for the near future?

J: Hopefully, what this UK opportunity brings is that we get more exposure and find new partners to work with, that way we can also grow the business and a bigger audience. 

What are you missing?

A: We need some rest! I wouldn’t mind a nice holiday together…

That leaves Joni reminiscing about a personal father and son road trip in the States with their teenage son few years back, whilst Anne was working at the other end of the country in the midst of mid-summer blizzard. Both admit they haven’t gone on a holiday for long time. 

All goes slowly, step-by-step. 

A: Yes, because we’re still very young. Well, we’re not young, but at least the company is… 

Anne says in her confident tone of wit. We then burst into laughter and finish off the  when so much effort goes into conversation  already cold cappuccinos. 

I hug them goodbye, and rushing through the city’s marvellous Mayfair district, baby pink Supermood goodie bag loosely waving in hand, I soon find myself comfortably in a relaxed super mood. 

www.supermood.fi