Having created a skincare brand to combat her own allergies and intolerances, the founder of Premae Skincare, Clare Eluka, talks about developing a product where everything from the ingredients to the packaging is ethical, ecological, and allergen free!
What did you do before starting Premae Skincare?
Before Premae, I was a jack of all trades. Any entrepreneur will travel many paths before finding their life’s purpose. I became a make-up artist when I was 17, working for a high street retailer whilst studying Drama and English A-Levels. I then went to Brunel University and studied Drama and Film, and when I finished I worked as a struggling actress and freelance make-up artist under my own directory, Spikes Makeup Artist Directory (S.M.A.D). I used to train junior make-up artists or give them an opportunity to shadow/assist me on projects. When I was 23, I did my PGCE and became an A-Level English and Theatre Studies Teacher, and at this point I began formulating products. I was exposed to wider reading and research, and could spend time experimenting on the weekends whilst doing my lesson plans.
What was the inspiration behind Premae Skincare?
I started Premae because when I was 19 I discovered that I had an umbrella of allergies and intolerances called Candida Albicans. Eight years ago there was barely any literature on the web, and my GP said: “it’s all in your head, now take some antibiotics and get out of my office.” I knew something was seriously wrong as I would have the worst reactions to wheat, dairy, gluten, yeast and sugar. I craved foods containing these ingredients and I was too young and naive to understand the damage I was doing by consuming them. I spent the next eight years looking for alternative medicinal practices, allergen free lifestyle choices and holistic dietary arrangements, which led me to veganism four years ago. This was the cornerstone for my Premae formulations. My plate mainly contained green vegetables and it made my internal immune system feel great. I set a goal to create the world’s first alkaline, Candida-free beauty brand, and Premae was born.
What sets your products apart from other lifestyle brands?
Premae is an original name that I created and trademarked. It marries two key words together premium and formulae, and we are the only vegan skincare brand to be Allergy UK Awarded. This is a certification that is costly and thorough, but I am proud that I went the extra mile to assure consumer faith in my brand.
Ultimately, the thing that sets Premae apart however, is my story. I think people really resonate with a person who has lived through, and continues to battle with, their own health problems. This is not a conventional business, it has bought so much social change and awareness for silent sufferers. It has liberated women worldwide who were crippled by low self-esteem due to their psoriasis, which has cleared since using the Clemensy Face Balm or Awaken Anatomy body care. It’s bigger than natural beauty. It is irresistible beauty freedom for all.
What has been the most gratifying thing about setting up the business so far?
Premae and I won seven awards in our first year. This snowballed from month five; every seven weeks we were winning an award for either a product (Gallant Face Balm for men, Triumph Face Balm for anti-ageing, Clemensy Face Balm for eczema relief) or I was being awarded as an entrepreneur, educator and make-up artist. For me, it was the most exhilarating testimony from our customers and industry, I felt like we were really embraced and the consumer was saying ‘finally! Premae where have you been all my life!?’ The brand caters to 2.7 billion allergy sufferers worldwide. but in truth, 65% of our customers are non-sufferers. They are smart, sophisticated, savvy women who want premium products for natural beauty. I call this type of consumer a ‘Premae Donna’. We also have ‘Pre-males’, businessmen who are well educated about the benefits of using our extraordinary award winning Gallant Face Balm. I feel truly blessed.
Do you have a favourite product?
I do. I would have to say, it is the Radiance Boost Cleansing Oil. For me, it is the ultimate 2-in-1 cleanser and face oil. Perfect for giving myself a little facial massage as I wipe off eye makeup (I don’t wear foundation). It takes off make-up, hydrates the pours, and conditions the skin, which can get dry from using water. The beauty bloggers love it too, hailing it as their ‘desert island product.’
Setting up a business can be stressful, what do you do to relax?!
I eat lots of delicious food followed by the odd glass of Champagne. My partner is an excellent cook and a vegetarian, so he understands my dietary needs. I’m a city girl but I spend half my time in St. Albans. I love the little town, the Abbey, and the Veralum Lake for long walks. I read lots of books, I know, very nerdy. I do meditate and need to do more. It cleanses my mind and helps me relax. I’m going to train to qualify as a meditation teacher before April, and this year, I’m going to find a dance class. I love dancing, its such a great workout.
What’s been the strangest experience about working in the beauty industry?
The strangest experience would have to be meeting other business owners who have had their brands for over 15 years, and talking with them. They feel exactly how I feel, even after 15 years! They are anxious, nervous, and eternally unsatisfied because they continually want to be better. It is reassuring that the beauty industry has no glass ceiling. There is always something to strive for and new technology has made it even more exciting to experiment.
What can we all look forward to this year with Premae?
We have launched our own beauty box, The PREMAE DONNA Box. For just £21customers subscribe for 12 months and receive three products of their choice! Tailor-made beauty during the recession to help families keep beautifully allergy-free at an affordable price. Premae’s new Plush Therapy Spa Range launches in March online and in spas and salons nationwide. There will be more product launches during the summer, collaborations and a big launch this winter. Let us surprise you!
What are your top tips for looking after your skin?
– Conduct a four-step routine, twice per day. Most people always miss out the tonique, but it’s such an important part of the regime. Premae’s four-step is cleanse, tone, serum and embalm.
– Smile! When you smile, you circulate blood around the face and revive the skin cells which make them look vibrant and hydrated.
– Use a face oil, even if you have combination skin like me. Oils have always been the highest form of anti-ageing for both face and body. Take your time and enjoy massaging your own face and body.
– Have a least 60% of green food on your plate. Add flavour with natural spices to make your veg taste great. Great food equals greater skin, giving you inner and outer beauty.
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