New products from Childs Farm creator Joanna Jensen
- Credit: Archant
Basingstoke’s Joanna Jensen’s award-winning Childs Farm skincare range is a best-seller among parents, now she’s launched Farmologie for adults
They say that necessity is the mother of all invention and nothing could be closer to the truth for Chairman and Founder of Child’s Farm, Joanna Jensen. Having taken a step back from a career in investment banking when eldest daughter Mimi was born, Joanna’s bid to revolutionise the range of children’s skincare options was the direct result of her sheer frustration at not being able to find anything to soothe younger daughter Bella’s irritated skin. A decade on and she hasn’t regretted setting up a children’s toiletries brand from her kitchen table in the wake of 2008’s financial crisis for a moment – she’s now at the helm of a successful global brand.
“Along came Bella and she was allergic to everything and had really bad eczema. I can really empathise with those parents – you’re sitting there thinking there’s nothing you can do,” explains Joanna. “I just couldn’t bring myself to use steroids on her. I thought there must be a better way. There wasn’t anything out there and I thought if I don’t make it myself, what else am I going to do? I don’t think there’s anything more motivating than having a real need for things to happen.”
Having grown up in a family where trips to the homeopath were standard and ‘hedgerow potions’ were made to treat pets and ponies, Joanna naturally turned towards trying her own homemade remedies to treat Bella when all else failed. It was these first formulas which she took to Medichem, a Kent-based manufacturer who worked on HRH Prince Charles’ Duchy Originals brand.
“The results were ridiculous. Literally overnight things changed for Bella,” she shares. “I gave out the first thousand bottles we made to friends and family. I put a bag on the peg of every child in Mimi’s class at school asking people to take them home and try them.”
When positive feedback came flooding in, Joanna was determined to offer other parents a solution to their children’s skin issues. It’s been this passion for helping others that has led to Child’s Farm becoming the UK’s number one sensitive toiletry brand for baby and child.
“When I discovered something worked for Bella, it was like a eureka moment. Now I look around the office and see all the letters, postcards, poems on the pinboards that people have sent in, it makes me have a little weep. To be able to help other people in these circumstances, it’s overwhelming.”
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Joanna has always taken pride in the fact that her business is family inspired but also consumer led. Child’s Farm really takes the time to listen to those using their products. So, when it came to the latest exciting chapter, Farmologie, a new range for adults, it was a no-brainer for Joanna and her team. After all, a large percentage of Child’s Farm’s consumers over the years have been adults with sensitive skin issues clamouring for their own range of products.
Boasting the most potent oat formulation in skincare to date with ingredients both naturally derived and responsibly sourced, Farmologie has been five years in research and development and promises to deliver adults with sensitive skin the same ground-breaking innovation that has led to Child’s Farm’s success. What’s more is that the new Farmologie range possesses serious eco-credentials as well as being vegan and cruelty free. Sustainably grown ingredients, working with community projects supporting local farmers around the world, using oat lipid oil which is a by-product from the food industry and all in 100% recyclable packaging because as Joanna explains, “it’s just as important to protect the planet as our skin.
“Farmologie to me was where I wanted to take Child’s Farm. The bottles are 100% ocean bound plastic, supporting projects where communities collect plastic from local rivers and then take them to a spot where they are paid cash on delivery in exchange. So not only are our bottles 100% recyclable but they are also 100% recycled,” Joanna adds. “Everything from this range can be recycled by kerbside recycling. Every ingredient we know the provenance of and has a community story behind it. What we try to do with all our ingredients is understand where it comes from and who it benefits.”
Supporting communities isn’t a new concept for Child’s Farm. It’s something Joanna is proud to have built on over the past decade – it was her aim from the start.
“Hampshire is my home and always has been. There’s something about the chalk stream,” she laughs. “You have to support your local community. Looking back now after ten years, we’re the number one brand in the UK for baby and child toiletries, we’re still a Hampshire based SME, a rural employer, most of our team work in Hampshire. If I can bring employment here, if we can put Hampshire on the map, that’s great.”
Whilst Hampshire remains at the heart of Child’s Farm, Joanna is not just an enthusiastic supporter of her local community. She sponsors Paralympic dressage athlete Natasha Baker MBE and is a founding member of the Parallel Club which aims to assist Paralympic athletes and their families to inspire the next generation and work towards changing perceptions of disability in society. She’s a champion for Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) amongst other charities and earlier this year, Child’s Farm donated over 25,000 items to NHS workers across Hampshire to help combat the effects of frequent hand washing. All this is testament to those core Child’s Farm principles – that health, wellbeing and inclusion are hand in hand with everything the company does.
From kitchen table start-up to taking on industry giants with award-winning products, Joanna’s journey is nothing short of inspirational. It has seen her win a plethora of accolades from Female Entrepreneur of the Year to a coveted spot on The Sunday Times Virgin Atlantic Fast Track 100, but she has no intention of resting on her laurels. She wants to tackle hygiene poverty and lead on educating about the importance of caring for our skin from an early age. She’s also channelling her skills into mentoring other small businesses.
“There’s so much more that I want to do that’s about helping others succeed,” she shares. “It’s about making sure that there is a framework that the government, local government and authorities can put together which allows these businesses to be successful.”
As Joanna chats about the highlights of the last ten years, that first listing in Boots, pride in her daughters’ involvement in Child’s Farm, joy in the fact that she’s been able to help so many, the one thing that stands out is her desire to make a difference.
“If you want something you have to go out and get it,” Joanna stresses. “Push yourself, be yourself, be happy in your skin whether it’s poorly or perfect. You are who you are. Love yourself, embrace yourself and if you can dream it, you really can do it, so dream big.”
When it comes to living the Child’s Farm motto – Be Happy in Your Skin – Joanna’s leading the way and there’s never been a better reason to join this skincare revolution.
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