Meet Jo Woolvett – Aromatherapist, mother of one, dreamer, alchemist and founder of BUFF, a passionate pioneer of luxury, 100 % natural skin care that cherishes our body and the natural world.
Growing up on a small holding in the beautiful Dart Valley in South Devon, Jo was exposed to two important elements that sparked the creation of BUFF – the beautiful coast of southwest England, and the wildlife & herbal medicine which are a passion of her mother’s. Whilst training as a classical singer, Jo’s realization towards the importance of caring for her body and voice catalyzed these elements. She was eager to create natural and organic skincare that made a difference far beyond the beauty industry. In 2016, with her goals in mind, Jo established BUFF Natural Body Care, inspired by her belief that “every problem has a solution”.
Of course, it goes without saying that running a business that is beyond her performing arts expertise comes with daily challenges from the very get-go. Furthermore she is determined to base her small business around ethical values, which proven harder than imagined. Despite the challenges, Jo made sure that her ethical principles come before raking in the profits. ‘Solid ethics will be the bedrock of this and will fire your passion,’ explains Jo. Almost 3 years since starting, BUFF’s laudable efforts toward Marine Conservation and reducing carbon footprint cannot be ignored. We are impressed by how BUFF, undeterred by setbacks, has stuck to their values and found a way to combine beauty and environmental consciousness with such finesse.
We had the pleasure of hearing about BUFF from Jo herself!
Hey Jo, could you describe to us about BUFF in a nutshell?
BUFF aims to provide 100% natural & organic skin & bodycare in plastic free packaging, and to set a precedent in the beauty industry - that ethics takes priority over profits - we hope will be followed.
What inspired you to start this business in 2016?
Growing up on a small holding in the beautiful Dart Valley in South Devon, my love of the sea and my Mum’s love of plants & herbal medicine, a visit to Liberty’s Apothecary as a Classical Singing student in London many years ago, my early training as singer & the need to care for my body & voice naturally – I knew one day I would create my own natural perfumes and skin care line. BUFF reflects all these things, but mostly my great love of and respect for the sea.
What keeps you motivated as an entrepreneur?
I would say self-belief and the knowledge that every problem has a solution. When I am tested to the limit, my family, especially my mum and my dad, have been incredible in their encouragement and support. And of course, my wonderful friends too. Learning to nurture my health more and develop my mental & emotional resilience has been also been key this year.
Who is your role model that gets you motivated as an entrepreneur?
I love what Anita Roderick initially stood for. In addition, being part of a growing network of ethical entrepreneurs, you are always inspired by these businesses who offer customers solutions in sourcing ethical, gorgeous skincare in plastic-free, fully-recyclable packaged products.
What are some of your challenges since starting your business?
Personally, my challenges have been about the change in environment from a performing and teaching background to running and building a business. The BUFF products are fantastic and I am very proud of them, but my lack of knowledge around business is challenging on a daily basis! Trying to start a small business with large ethics and make a profit is much harder than I ever imagined. And of course, most days I need to be an octopus as I am all things!
If you were to describe your brand in one sentence, what would it be?
"Eco-luxe skin care & candles for life’s little rituals."
What are your hopes for your business in the future?
To become certified organic. And also, without giving too much away, to extend our range to products as requested by our customers.
What tips do you have for budding entrepreneurs?
To begin, you need solid self-belief, tenacity & determination. Solid ethics will be the bedrock of this and fire your passion. So many people told me that I’d never make it, but here I am and here is BUFF. I faced some enormous challenges at the outset of the business and my sister said, "You will face problems on an almost daily basis. You need to accept this, but you will adapt and remember every problem has a solution." This was the best and most useful advice I have been given to date.
Also, explore ways to develop your resilience. Anybody running their own small business will tell you that it is tough, you work and work many more hours and earn much less to begin with. Teaching 32 teenagers in a class was ‘a walk in the park’ compared to this! Believe in yourself, your ethics, and why you chose to create your business. Your customers will love you and your special contribution to making the world a better place.
Any recommendations of books that helped you in your journey!
I am currently reading DRIVE by Dan Pink. It is about motivation.
Anything else to add?
Find out what motivates you and those you work with.
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The Local Collective
Our story-telling platform to tell the philosophies of local businesses all around the United Kingdom.