We are very excited to share with you our latest behind the label series with The Nature of Things founder Benoit Nicol, our newest aromatherapy oils brand.
As a young, curious man from a small town in Brittany, I began working with a French producer of natural extracts. The work opened my mind to the wonder of the world of natural oils and the positive effects they can have on our everyday lives. It set me on a life course that would bring me around the world, working and learning from the finest distillers and best ‘noses’ (perfumers) and flavourists in the world. For over 20 years, from my base in New York, I worked with two of the best producers of natural oils in the world.
What inspired you to join the natural health & wellness sector?
While working in the US, I started getting exposed to a growing number of natural brands such as Dr Bronner’s, Aveda, 7th Generation. And getting to know them more intimately, I realised I was sharing many of their values and commitments to Nature and sustainability. I was also inspired by their support for their sourcing communities and their care for their employees. I thought back then that I’d one day try to emulate them, using my knowledge in essential oils to create an ethical business.
Where did you get the idea for your brand?
Over 2,000 years ago Roman poet Lucretius wrote a book called ‘De Rerum Natura’ – On the Nature of Things. Lucretius explores the Epicurean philosophy which says that everything in nature can be explained by natural laws and that we can find happiness by living a simple life, surrounded with friends and in harmony with nature. Drawing inspiration from this philosophy, we named our company The Nature of Things with a vision to enhance people’s lives with simple, natural and ethically produced products.
We used the symbols associated with alchemy and apothecary to capture our integrative philosophy, bringing together nature, traditional knowledge and modern science. Our bold and colourful illustrations represent the elements and colour palette of the ingredients found in our essential oils, room sprays and perfumes.
What makes your brand unique?
We are trying to bring a fresh look in the essential oil category by curating high quality oils from reliable and ethical suppliers and by presenting them in a fresh colourful packaging. Our long term goal is to stimulate people to use the oils in their day to day lives, showing how easy they can be incorporated in home and personal care recipes, and how they can support a more sustainable living.
What are your company’s core values?
To put it very simply: quality and sustainability
How do you support your community?
We are member of 1% for the planet and as such, 1% of our sales go to environmental causes. We believe protecting biodiversity is crucial and can be achieved by preserving large ecosystems all over the world, as sanctuaries for animals and plants. So we are currently supporting 2 NGOs focused on that mission:
Green Sod Ireland: land trust focused on rewilding parts of Ireland
Rewilding Europe: focused on rewilding large sanctuaries for wildlife across Europe.
What has been the most rewarding part of your brands journey?
All the things you need to learn when starting a little business has been eye opening and enriching. But we have been lucky to work among a great community of artists and craft makers at The Chocolate Factory in Dublin. That and the positive feedback on our brand and products from many consumers have definitely been the most rewarding parts.
What in your opinion makes Irish brands unique?
The connection to the land is obvious. But the creativity, passion and camaraderie between all these small entrepreneurs is great to see and live. There is a sort of common mission to deliver good and honest products.
What is your favourite product from your brand?
I would probably have to say our French Lavender oil. There are lots of underwhelming qualities out there, so offering the best quality lavender I could get, whatever its cost, was very important. It is a popular and versatile oil, a must have in your home ;)
Tell us about something that has shaped your brand?
Sustainability is a pillar of The Nature of Things, together with quality. And although I am very familiar with the sourcing aspects of sustainability, I have also been exposed as a small business owner to other aspects: waste management, energy consumption, choice of packaging materials, shipping partners, etc. And creating a more circular model for our business is what will capture our focus and shape our growth in the years to come.
What do you hope to accomplish in the future?
I would like to see more people learning how to use simple, natural raw materials – and not only essential oils - to create their own home and personal care products. The same way people learn how to cook and bake, it is fun and sustainable to create your own perfumes, body oils, small remedies, etc. If I can help achieving that I’ll be happy.