This month we talk to Lucia Mencarelli, founder of COSMOS organic certified brand, Casa Mencarelli.
Can you tell us a bit about your company and why you set it up?
I’ve always loved natural and organic ingredients. I grew up in the Italian countryside, in a small village in Umbria. I made my first skincare product when I was a teenager using herbal extracts, from plants I got in my parent’s garden. It was just a hobby until I had anaphylactic shock from a body lotion (high street brand) This changed my life as I became allergic to a huge range of synthetic ingredients, not only in cosmetics but also in household products, new furniture, new cloths, etc. I had to change my life to minimize the symptoms. So I moved to a 100% organic lifestyle from food to skincare, from household to fabric. This is where I noticed a big improvement in my health and decreasing symptoms. I studied to become a nutritionist, so I could help myself with food, and then I studied to become a professional organic skincare formulator. I had to make my own products as I could not find anything suitable on the market. I made everything using traditional Italian and Mediterranean ingredients, those luxurious antioxidant rich ingredients I grow up with. I was making products for myself and my family. Then my friends started to ask to try the products, then friends of friends were asking for the products. This is when Casa Mencarelli was born.
Your name, Casa Mencarelli, is Italian. Can you explain more about your connection to Italy?
I am Italian, but moved to the UK over 20 years ago for work. My residence is in the UK but my heart is still in Italy, surely all my Italian passion comes out from the products!
Where does the inspiration come for your products and which ones are the most popular?
I formulate products using traditionally Italian and Mediterranean ingredients; they are so gorgeous and effective on the skin, why to look anywhere else?!
We love the design of your packaging – is there a story behind it?
I grew up in Umbria; in my village artisanal ceramics are at the base of the economy. I wanted my packaging to reflect my roots, the colors and the tradition of the Mediterranean areas. It was quite a journey and at the end I decided to go with a ceramic tiles pattern, which will look great in each bathroom, Italian style.
And we see you use glass containers – do you have any other sustainability initiatives in place or are working towards?
Yes, glass is clean, recyclable, transparent, to reflect our values. We offer tips and advice to our customers so they can reuse the glass jars/bottles as vases for flowers or as diffuser bottles. We now offer free complementary metal closure with standard size bottles, made for diffuser bottles. All our gift boxes are made of recyclable FSC cartons, printed with vegetable ink, no synthetic colorants.
You are certified COSMOS Organic by The Soil Association. Can you explain what that means in terms of beauty products and why it is important?
The difference between natural and organic is that organic does not contain pesticides and all the process from seeds to products is ethically sustainable, in harmony with Nature. No GM, no synthetics, all must be of natural origin. COSMOS Organic is the strictest standard worldwide, the % of organic naturally processed ingredients needs to be specified on the packaging.
Generally speaking, the certification gives confidence to the producer that all the chain is being checked by an external body, and to customers, so they can purchase with confidence when they recognize the logo.
Where do you source the ingredients for your products?
I purchase ingredients from UK, Italian and European suppliers, ensuring that the origin of the ingredients is European/Mediterranean.
Lastly, we know that you are a customer of Greenscents! Can you explain why you started using our products and which are your favorites?
I love Greenscents products, especially the Nonscents range because they do not cause me any allergic reactions! They are clean, organic aloe juice is used as a liquid rather than tap water – this is very valuable, and the skin appreciates. I started using the washing up liquid and the laundry liquid first. Now I use the full range for household. Extremely happy with the products and I often advise people with sensitive skin to switch to Greenscents products for a healthier and happier lifestyle.