When a business is family-run, the question of when it all began can be tricky one. This is certainly true when it comes to the story of Scence, created by sisters Krista Taylor and Mel Stiles.
On paper, the company can be traced back to its official inception in 2018, but in reality the inspiration, approach and ideas that led to this point goes back much further. We sat down with Krista and Mel to find out more about their innovative business that’s committed to producing the highest quality, natural vegan skincare.
How did Scence begin?
Krista Taylor: Growing up, we were always interested in sustainable living, and in the power of essential oils and herbs, but, as is often the way, as we got older we set off on our own career paths. Over time we both became frustrated that we couldn’t find high-quality, natural skincare that wasn’t packaged in single-use containers and applicators, so we began to wonder if there was another way.
Mel Stiles: We decided to train together in anatomy and physiology, aromatherapy and massage so we could really understand more about the other options available. When you start courses like these, inevitably your friends and family start to talk about issues they’re having, so with our new-found knowledge we started creating soothing, healing balms for them, to tackle problems such as eczema and sensitive skin in our kitchen at home.
KT: Before we knew it, it was summer 2018 and five years had gone by. We’d been researching and developing ingredients and products constantly, both for other people and for ourselves, such as our aluminium-free deodorants. We decided it was time to get out there and share everything we had learned and created, and Scence was born!
What does your average day look like?
MS: As is always the case when you run a business, some days can be hugely varied, but my role is predominantly focused on the creation of new formulations and our laboratory production, while Krista handles all our ‘front of house’ stuff.
KT: Yes I would agree with Mel, some days I barely sit still, but usually you’ll find me developing finishing techniques, handling customer queries and running packaging and product design. My background is in art and design, so I worked with a UK firm for 4 years in order to create our individual, compostable and recyclable skincare packaging, which we’re very proud of!
MS: And we’re both kept busy with our new eco-friendly lab, which we relocated to last year when we outgrew our original premises… we’ve even got solar panels on the roof to generate our own power.
KT: Yes the Lab in Falmouth has been great – so much extra space to play with! We’re in the process of installing a mezzanine so we can really ramp up production as demand grows. It’s such a treat to be able to create handmade products right here in Cornwall, especially when you can have a lunchtime stroll on the beach.
Where did you get the inspiration for the name ‘Scence’?
KT: It’s always been a core part of our work that everything we create has a firm basis in scientific research, where extensive studies have been carried out into the effectiveness and safety of every single ingredient. This led us to play around with the word ‘science’, which became ‘scence’, and we loved the fact that our products really do make sense.
MS: When it came to our logo and branding, we used the inverted star where the dot of the ‘i’ would have been to symbolise the power of nature and the natural ingredients that work so brilliantly; we really don’t need to use synthetic replacements when nature’s got it covered!
What is your favourite thing about the business and your customers?
MS: I love the fact that as a company, we’re committed to always being 100% ethical in everything we do, and we really do care deeply about the quality and effectiveness of our products and ingredients – from the production all the way to people using them at home, every step has to work for everyone involved.
KT: I agree, plus the fact that we’re pioneering a new approach to skincare, both in terms of the carefully-sourced ingredients and the UK-based packaging – we’ve all got a part to play in reducing single-use plastics and we’re incredibly proud to be one of the companies leading the charge with plastic-free packaging in the cosmetics industry.
MS: Our customers are just great – so many of them have very similar mindsets to us; caring deeply about the planet and the products they use, It’s brilliant to hear about their own experiences with our products, and the positive reactions when they’ve given them to friends and family.
KT: Yes it’s certainly reassuring to know that there are lots of other change-makers out there, doing their bit, and it’s lovely to be able to help people make the small switches that hopefully will help to create the global positive changes we need.
Looking to the future, what’s on the cards for Scence?
MS: The new Lab has given us the chance to grow our operations and team, so it’s really exciting to see projects we’ve talked about for a while are starting to come to life.
KT: Yes we can’t give too much away, but we’ve got big plans to expand the current product range, and there’s a new website coming very soon. We’re also having conversations with suppliers who are keen to get the Scence range in shops around the world – we can’t wait!
As Krista and Mel head back to the Lab to continue working on their top-secret new Scence products, why not get yourself onto the Scence mailing list, so you’ll be the first to find out about them?