Every week, we shine a spotlight on the best small brands we think are worth shouting about. We love our great British high street, but there are so many fantastic independent brands out there making clothes, accessories, homeware and more from a place of passion and love and we need to support them – now more than ever.
From fashion and beauty to homeware, accessories and food, we bring you the best small businesses you need on your radar. This week, we chat with beauty guru Estée Lalonde, founder and CEO of her brand MIRROR WATER.
How did MIRROR WATER come to life?
When I was 19 years old I moved from Canada to England and discovered social media as a way to find connections and friendship in my new home. I focused largely on beauty, lifestyle and wellness on my YouTube channel and Instagram. My own vulnerability was at the core and heart of what I did and still do today. I think it’s amazing that you can post something on the internet chatting about lipstick and end up talking about self-esteem.
I have always dreamt of combining my ten years of experience as a content creator and my passion for beauty. I wasn’t sure how that dream would take shape, but when the pandemic hit I was faced with a lot of time to self-reflect on my purpose and personal goals. I have struggled with my own mental health for most of my life and have found the ritual of bathing to be a very valuable tool for managing my depression and anxiety. Showering and bathing are things that we do every single day and it gives us all a safe space to hold a mirror up to our lives, reflect and figure out what’s working and what’s not. That’s how MIRROR WATER was born.
What three words describe MIRROR WATER?
Submerge, Reflect, Resurface.
Who is MIRROR WATER for?
If you need a break from the stresses of daily life, MIRROR WATER is for you. MIRROR WATER is a community and lifestyle brand for anyone interested in beauty, wellness, self-care, self-reflection and slowing down for a moment.
Tell me about your product development process.
I love being in nature, so I used that as my main inspiration. I see bathing as one part of self-care, but there are a lot of other things I lean on to attempt to maintain balance. Being in nature, specifically forests, is where I’m the happiest so I wanted to replicate that feeling with my products.
It has taken about two years to develop the brand and the products. I wanted to take my time with it and make sure everything was perfect. I am a lover of beauty and appreciate good quality products. I enjoyed the product development process so much! I knew that I wanted naturally-derived products using the benefits of essential oils, so that was our starting point. We landed on the most beautiful essential oil blend of vetiver, Canadian black spruce and bergamot that is used across our entire product range. I live in London, so it’s not always possible for me to escape to the countryside but the MIRROR WATER woody fragrance helps me take the edge off between forest walks. I wanted the products to make people feel grounded and uplifted at the same time.
We launched with three products, SOAK, our bath salts, SMOOTH, our body oil and RUB, our solid balm for dry areas of the skin like elbows, cuticles and knees.
What does a typical work day look like for you?
There is no typical day for me and that’s what I love so much about what I do. Every day brings a new challenge, new inspiration and new connections. I spend a lot of my time on Zoom (like the rest of the world!), I meet with people who can help me with packaging, distribution and logistics as well as creative people like designers and videographers. When I’m not in meetings I’m usually answering emails, brainstorming for the future or interacting with our highly engaged community on Instagram (my favourite part!).
What’s the best thing about running your own business? And the most challenging?
The best and worst thing about running your own business is the flexibility. I love being able to make my own hours, but that also means I work constantly so work/life balance can be a struggle. There’s always more work to do and it’s hard to know when enough is enough. It’s something I’m hoping to work on in 2022.
The best moment so far?
The most memorable moment so far was our launch day. I had no idea what to expect and I had a lot of nerves going into it. Obviously I adore the products, but I had no idea how it was going to be received. I don’t think I slept the night before at all! When we finally launched and I saw the support and enthusiasm of the community we have built I was completely blown away and became quite emotional. MIRROR WATER is such an extension of my inner world and I was so honoured that people could recognise that.
Which product is your favourite?
It changes all of the time. Right now my favourite product is SMOOTH, our body oil. It’s our bestseller and I totally understand why. Body oil is such a luxurious product, but I wanted to create one that could be used every single day, not just for special occasions. It has a non-greasy formula (that part was very important to me) and sinks into the skin beautifully.
Anything exciting in the pipeline for the brand?
Our body scrub is launching 6 February! Is there anything better than exfoliating head to toe, having a bath and following that up with body oil? I think not. BUFF, our body scrub was the missing puzzle piece to our trio and I can’t wait for people to get their hands on it. After that I would love to work on some home fragrance items and maybe skincare. My ideas are endless…