Rights: The University of Waikato Published 27 November 2007 Download

Karen Farley launched her own natural skin care range in 2006. Why did she go into skin care, and what was one of the first key things that she did?


Cathy Buntting: Karen, tell us about how you got into natural cosmetics.

Karen Farley: It’s interesting. You don’t always know what you’re going to end up doing in life. When I left school, I had no idea I was going to go into skin-care. And I’ve done a whole range of different things up until this point.

I suppose I got involved in natural skin care because, just before we got involved in this, for the last ten years we actually published a magazine called Lifestyle - which is a leading New Zealand health and beauty publication.

I was the editor of the whole magazine, but my particular passion was the health section, merging into the beauty section, in that I’ve got a strong interest in health. Where there was interest in beauty, I was wanting to approach things from a more natural perspective.

Obviously, publishing in a magazine, we would get sent cosmetics from absolutely everywhere, and it would be really interesting finding out about the different products and what they’ve got in them and so on. But I found it increasingly hard actually writing in a magazine about products, which I actually was meant to be selling to people, and saying, ‘Hey, this is really good for you’ - whilst I was sort of thinking, well, actually the sort of articles I would like to write would be more about what these cosmetics are doing to you.

Because through the research I was doing into health, I was finding out about the different problems in skin care and the fact that they [the cosmetics] can actually cause some people to be getting dermatitis or other things. On a more serious level, some aspects of cosmetics can be found in cancer cells, and so on.

Gradually, whilst doing the magazine, I started doing research into skin care myself, and looking at what the problems were in terms of ingredients and so on.

I’m actually not a ‘cosmetic’ person. I’m not an expert. I actually started working … finding and sourcing people who I could work with. And it took, really, a couple of years of doing research into ingredients in skin care before we reached a stage where we could actually market a product