“My skin has never been so good… even my oncologist has been raving about it.” – Lindsay Wright, founder of Rock Rose
“You can almost hear your skin saying ‘thank you’.” – Susie, a midwife
Business Name and What It Does
Rock Rose Beauty is the brainchild of Lindsay Wright, an entrepreneur from Hastings, and her partners Raquel LeBron, a skincare and makeup expert, and Vanessa McNeilly, an aromatherapist (seen below). These three dynamic and creative women have a passion for using effective, premium natural products to give skin an unbeatable glow and radiance. It’s no coincidence that they live in Hastings, a town that’s a hotbed for entrepreneurial ideas.
Why Rock Rose? The answer lies in a white-flowered Mediterranean shrub called Cistus Ladanifer, also known as Esteva or Rock Rose, which has powerful healing and immune-boosting properties. All our products meet required industry standards for safety and stability. We hope you will love them as much as we do.
Founders Story and Motivation to Start the Business
For dynamic entrepreneur Lindsay from Hastings, dealing with the side effects of cancer treatment allowed her to discover the huge positive benefits of the Rock Rose flower (Cistus Ladanifer) on her skin. She says, “On holiday in Portugal, I ran out of moisturizer and found a pot of what I thought was honey, but it was actually an organic moisturizing balm made with local olive oil, beeswax, rose geranium, Rock Rose, rosemary, and lavender.
“Cancer treatment has a huge physical, mental, and emotional effect on your whole body. My skin was looking dull, but within a few weeks of using this balm, my husband, Peter, commented on how fantastic it was looking. Convinced I’d found my face cream for life, I sat down with my aromatherapist friend, Vanessa McNeilly, to identify the miracle ingredient and see if we could formulate our own version, but with a lovely aroma – the original was a bit medicinal!”
“There was only one oil we’d never heard of… Rock Rose, or Esteva (Cistus Ladanifer), as it’s known in Portugal – and this turned out to be the magic ingredient that makes the balms and oils so effective.”
Cistus grows wild and is harvested by hand, so the team had some challenges finding a supplier. But eventually, they collaborated with a supplier in Portugal, and they meet every year to discuss what is required. Apart from skin products, the brand also retails packs of Cistus infusion – similar to green tea but with far more powerful antioxidants. This has proven to be a great asset during the pandemic.
The Rock Rose Range
With oils such as jasmine, rose, geranium, and, of course, Cistus at their heart, Rock Rose products bring moisturizing radiance to all ages and skin types. They are especially beneficial for mature skin dealing with the effects of menopause and aging – toning skin, improving lymph drainage, and diminishing fine lines and wrinkles. Rock Rose is also highly beneficial for scars, burns, acne, oily skin, eczema, and psoriasis.
Early on, the team decided that all their products would be waterless. This means the essential oils are far more potent and can penetrate the dermis. A little product goes a long way, which is another key selling point.
The Rock Rose range offers premium luxury at an affordable price and is made entirely from 100% natural ingredients, with top-quality Rock Rose essential oil at their heart (and soul). After steam distillation, the oils are then blended with other soothing, healing oils such as evening primrose, calendula, jasmine, and rose, using vitamin E as a preservative.
Aromatherapist Vanessa says, “Rock Rose is an unusual oil – hardly any other brand has it – and it was obviously going to be the main player in our products. I did a huge amount of research working to 1% concentration, then thinking about fragrance base notes, mid notes, and high notes. We want our premium products to be as good as they can be and insist on using the best and purest oils of the highest quality.”
In 2020, the company was awarded the Lux Life Organic Product of the Year, and in early 2022, Sussex Enterprise awarded them Best Organic Skincare Brand. Recently, they have also been awarded Best Organic Skincare Brand of 2022/23 by Global Corporate LiveWire. The brand is featured in the renowned Beauty Bible and Muddy Stilettos. The Old Rectory, a boutique hotel in Hastings, has beauty treatment rooms where guests can experience a Rock Rose facial. The Rye Retreat also offers a Rock Rose massage using the brand’s specially created massage candle. Sustainability is another important value for the brand; their minimal packaging is sourced through UK companies and is recyclable. The facial balms and oils are in matte black glass with text and information screen printed.
During the past couple of years, they have added to their range. The vegan natural deodorant paste was launched in early January and has just been awarded the Best Organic Product of 2023. This product has been very well received with exceptional positive feedback. The deodorant does not stop perspiration because it does not block the sweat glands. However, it prevents nasty odors and gives people the opportunity to check their underarms each day. Given that cancer was the catalyst for Rock Rose Beauty, the company has designed gift care packs with carefully curated products that can help during treatment. The brand now has over 20 products on their website and is currently working on a serum that can be used around the delicate eye area. This should be brought to the market by late 2023. As with all their skincare products, it needs to be commercially tested for safety purposes. Recently, Lindsay arranged the design of beautiful temporary mastectomy tattoos that will cover surgical scars. These have just been added to their website.
Challenges and Opportunities
The beauty and skincare world is highly competitive. Rock Rose’s unique selling point is Cistus Ladanifer. It is often used in perfumery but rarely in skincare. It is critical for a business to inform their customer base about why they stand out and how they differ from other products on the market. Rock Rose has a loyal band of customers who are given the opportunity to trial new products before they are sent for formal testing. A key challenge is to grow this loyal customer base, and one way is to give out free samples to their friends and families. Being primarily an online store has its limitations; first-time customers do not have the opportunity to see and feel the texture of the product. Therefore, the brand strives to provide as much information as possible. However, being online means that the brand has fewer overheads, which is very important during times of recession. Keeping the website fresh and regularly updating social media platforms are all time-consuming activities but are key methods of gaining potential customers.
The team has weekly debrief sessions on how to grow the business, and looking for opportunities is critical. The brand takes collaboration seriously and often partners with others in the wellness world, providing discovery sets for retreats and hosting evening sessions where people can sample and purchase their products. Fairs are also an important marketing tool, and the brand aims to attend four each year.
Increasing the number of retail outlets stocking Rock Rose products is both a challenge and an opportunity. The challenge is to convince the buyers that the products are truly amazing, but once convinced, the customer base widens. During the pandemic, when all the outlets were closed, the business relied on online sales. However, in line with their values, they supplied their local intensive care units with balm that would alleviate the side effects of continual mask-wearing.
The temporary tattoo project is an exciting one, as there are very few companies that offer such a service. For women who have had mastectomies, these fine line botanical tattoos give them the opportunity to cover their scars with beautiful body art, and connections can be made with numerous cancer charities. When Lindsay posted her picture on Facebook, the response was overwhelmingly positive.
Lindsay says, “It felt very scary to show this photograph, but I was so delighted with the look of them that I wanted others to know that they too can alter their appearance very easily.”
Advice to Others
Lindsay says, “Be brave and go for it. If you have an idea that you are passionate about, give yourself a push.” Passion is needed along with a clear vision of what you want to achieve. Be resilient and persistent – success does not happen overnight. Your online presence must look professional, including your website, your store, and your social media. Use new technology to your advantage and have multiple pathways to communicate. Make sure that the team has the necessary skills and communicate formally and informally on a continuous basis. Be clear about roles and responsibilities and seek assistance from experts if needed. Investigate the help you can get from other organizations. Rock Rose applied for a mentor on how to market a beauty brand, and it made a significant difference in the way the team liaised with the press and retail. Make your brand feel personal to your customer base, for example, by providing bespoke advice, adding a handwritten note, or offering a discount code. Apply for awards in your sector. Rock Rose has had great success in this area.
@rockrosebeauty 6 Wellesley Court Hastings TN34 3UT UK