Karen Sinclair Drake of Sophyto

"Organic principles are a point of difference between an authentic brand and a bogus one. Organic also supports the farmer as opposed to the petro-chemical industry."

Karen Sinclair Drake of SophytoKaren's personal quest searching for an effective natural anti-aging line has indeed taken many years. Working with expert chemists and doctors, she found inspiration from complementary and alternative medicine which emphasises the body's innate ability to heal and maintain itself. Taking this concept and applying it to skincare supported her theory that skin has the ability to defend, heal and maintain itself.

This holistic has attracted more customers who are dermatologists and naturopathic doctors who appreciate the science behind the ingredients.

Can you give a short history of how you got to where you are now, including why and when you went organic?

We joined the UK Soil Association in 2002 where we spent five years in research and development formulating a professional line to very strict, robust standards. Sophyto was the first professional skincare company certified by the Soil Association and in early 2008 we launched the line at the American Academy of Dermatologists in Texas. We felt it was important to gain support from the scientific community as there are still many people on the fence about how effective organic and natural products are. To this day we work with skincare professionals around the world and that really helps endorse just how effective these products are.

Organic principles - why do they matter?

They're a point of difference between an authentic brand and a bogus one. Organic also supports the farmer as opposed to the petro-chemical industry (in relation to health and beauty care standards).

What does the Soil Association mean to you?

We view the Soil Association as the Rolls Royce of eco symbols. Just after we became certified after all those years in R&D, we were invited to join the health and beauty care standards committee, which was a great honour. We work as a US arm of the Soil Association and enjoy educating potential licensees to the many benefits of carrying such a prestigious symbol on their products.

Who are your customers and where are they?

Our customers are naturopathic doctors, plastic surgeons, dermatologists and spas and online specialty retailers, as well as organic-loving consumers everywhere. Our biggest market is the US and we also have a wonderful loyal UK customer base who can shop directly from our website.

What do you love most about what you do?

Pushing the boundaries, seeing the invisible and watching our team conjure up fabulous products from nature's bounty.

What do you find most frustrating about what you do?

Travelling and staying in hotels takes its toll sometimes.

If I wasn't doing this, I would be...

...designing sustainable textiles.

Who or what is your biggest inspiration?

It sounds like a cliché, but my biggest inspiration comes from nature.

If I was Prime Minister I would...

...make every citizen more accountable for taking care of our planet and its inhabitants.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

Patience.

When were you happiest?

When I had both of my parents.

What is your favourite meal?

Organic roasted vegetables drizzled with white truffle oil, a little celtic sea salt and cracked black pepper.

Dream dinner party guest?

Karl Pilkington, so he could share his tales of visiting the seven wonders of the world. I think he's hilarious!

To find out more visit www.sophyto.co.uk



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Luke Hasell of The Story Group in Compton Martin, near Bristol
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Christopher Dawson of Clearspring in West London
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Jonathan Smith of Scilly Organics in the Isles of Scilly
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Jeanette Orrey, School Meals Policy Advisor to the Soil Association
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Henry Edmunds of Cholderton Estate in Wiltshire
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Andrew Davenport of QR Composting Solutions in Bingfield, Newcastle upon Tyne
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Geoff Sayers of The Well Hung Meat Company in Devon
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Jane Shepherd of Organics for Kids in Oxford
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Geetie Singh of the Duke of Cambridge in North London
"Always stand by your principles - you may be less well off financially, but you will be better off in yourself. Money just buys you the same stuff but at a higher price."
Dale Orr of Churchtown Farm in County Down
"I decided that organic farming was the only way I wanted to farm because it is sustainable and gives due consideration to animal welfare and the environment."