Women to Inspire
Featuring Victoria Wright, founder of Souksouk.co.uk
Victoria Wright has proven herself to be an ethical warrier in founding souksouk.co.uk, offering 'Little Green Beauty Boxes' delivered to your door containing 5 quality, natural and eco-friendly products - a wonderful and creative way to find out about new brands and try something new! There are also Bespoke and Limited Edition boxes which make a treat or a beautiful gift and a magazine is included in each and every box too. Victoria's energy and commitment to promoting safe and cruelty-free products is quite boundless. Read more here:
ISO: Tell us a bit more about you – significant others, (including any pets), and where you live:
VW: Well, I live in London but I’m a total northerner at heart, coming from Sheffield, a city I’m hugely proud of. I live with my fiancé who is a photographer which is very handy! He helps me a lot to produce imagery for the website and his background is in magazine editing so that also comes in useful as we produce a monthly magazine which is included in our boxes. I also have two bunnies. They’re getting on a bit now (they’re eleven and twelve) but still bouncing around like youngsters!
ISO: What inspired you to set up Souksouk.co.uk?
VW: I’ve always been interested in natural and organic beauty and I’m very principled about using beauty products that haven’t been tested on animals. I came across the beauty box concept and thought it was fantastic. However, I couldn’t find one that featured the sort of products I like, or that stood for something meaningful. I really liked the idea of creating a box that could feature a wide range of products, from established brands as well as smaller, artisan producers. Supporting brands that are making a difference by proving it’s possible to create high quality, beautiful and effective products without the use of cheap chemicals was really important to me. So the Little Green Beauty Box was born!
ISO: Explain the key features of Souksouk and what makes it special, plus any news:
VW: SoukSouk.co.uk is an ethical business so we are passionate about introducing beauty consumers to greener, cleaner, more ethical products. The Little Green Beauty Box is our core product. It’s a monthly subscription-based box featuring five (or more) natural, organic, chemical-free and cruelty-free beauty products, which is posted out to subscribers once a month. We also create the monthly Little Green Magazine which contains tones of information about the natural beauty industry, new products and innovations, inspirational women, trends and issues that get under our skin. All the materials we use have either been completely recycled or come from FSC certified sources and all are 100% recyclable.
We have also just started selling Limited Edition Beauty Boxes - we currently have a Christmas Box and an Autumn Box - and Bespoke Boxes which we can tailor a bit more towards customers’ specific needs. And we have a small online shop too where we sell beauty products that make great gifts such as Soak Yourself’s Bath Ritual Recipe Kits and MuLondon’s White Chocolate Elbow, Knee, Heel Cream.
Next year will be more of the same. We’re constantly striving to collaborate with new and interesting brands as well as producers who are genuinely doing the right thing and breaking new ground. We also want to do more campaigning on behalf of causes which affect women and the beauty industry.
· ISO: What do you most love about running your own business?
VW: Probably the thing I love most about running this business is the knowledge that I’m playing a part in helping to grow an industry that is key to us acquiring a more realistic and holistic view of beauty and gaining access to purer, more sustainable formulas. So many of us are seduced by the industry into buying ‘quick fix’ products that are packed with cheap, chemical-based ingredients and we’ve lost sight of the role that health, wellbeing and stress management plays in the way we look and feel.
On a day-to-day level, I enjoy having the freedom to plan my own schedule and work at times that suit me. I like the challenge of setting up a business from scratch and having the opportunity to meet some incredibly talented people. I also think we’re lucky to have some very knowledgeable customers who appreciate what we’re trying to do. It’s a great challenge to consistently surprise them with each monthly box.
· ISO: What advice would you give to someone starting out in their own business?
VW: Starting your own business, especially in this economic climate, is a real challenge. Getting your head around the financial aspect is really important, as is having a plan – all the usual things a business book will tell you. But in my experience, self-confidence and a strong belief in what you’re doing is absolutely essential to ensure you weather the tougher times. When I gave up a well-paid, secure job to start my own business, I found that many people would be supportive and confess their own desire to take the risk and go it alone, while others would ask me how long I’m going to ‘give’ the business before I write it off and return to employment. They meant well but it’s an early test to confidence. In my case it emboldened me to go on and prove that I could do it! Ultimately, you need to have a higher purpose to aspire to, something that motivates you beyond making a profit. Because, when the profits don’t suddenly materialize, something else has to get you out of bed!
· ISO: How do you take time out?
VW: I try to go to the gym or do yoga every other day (an impending wedding is good motivation!) but it’s not unusual for work to take precedence over this. Start-up businesses take up a huge amount of time but require large amounts of thought and creativity which in turn require some space. So I find it really important to schedule time out, to spend time with my fiancé and my friends, or to visit a gallery or just take a walk along the river – anything to clear my head, tune into the ‘real world’ and get some perspective.
· ISO: If you had to pick just 5 beauty products to live with, what would they be?
VW: My skin is going through a particularly erratic phase which I think comes from testing so many different products, not all of which are suitable for my skin. I always, always return to my tried and trusted Green People Cleansing Cream, Fruitful Nights and Vita-Min Cream to try and calm my skin down a bit. Then it would probably be raw Coconut Oil (which I use for pretty much everything) and my Avril Organic Mascara.
ISO: Which people have most inspired you in your life?
My mum has taught me a lot about work ethic and my late Gran was a bit of a trailblazer, working from an early age and having quite an unconventional family life. But women like Anita Roddick and Joanna Lumley have been big sources of inspiration in relation to putting yourself out there and standing up for a cause you believe in.
· ISO: What advice would you give your 16 year old self?
ISO: Don’t give up A-level Business Studies! I did actually give this up to focus on more ‘arty’ subjects because I simply couldn’t get my head around all the business jargon. It all becomes clear when you physically start your own business and the jargon is put into practice. If I could influence the curriculum I’d suggest challenging students to go through the motions of setting up a business (even if it’s just selling socks on ebay) and running their own books. It would become so much clearer and meaningful to students like my 16 year old self.