Goe Oil is one of those cult beauty products we'd been hearing good whisperings about for a while, so when it came to updating our bath and beauty department, Jao Brand was front of the running for shelf space. We love their sustainable ethos, beautiful packaging, and the face cream is truly amazing, we're all total converts. Here we talk to the lady responsible, Jao Brand founder, Gale King.
Tell us about the original inspiration behind Jao Brand and how you got started.
Jao was inspired by an impulse I had to be able to wash my hands when I was working in the field (as a videographer), and not near a faucet. This was before the idea of hand sanitizers was even in the marketplace, like 1994. My father at the time had retired from his job as a chemist in research and development, and had built himself a small lab to do R&D work for private clients. He decided to work with me on our instant hand wash. We worked together formulating this and by the time we got our formula right, Purell had hit the mass market. We were the first hand sanitizer to use essential oils, and to market our product as multipurpose. This came about because my husband began using Jao Hand Refresher as his aftershave, while I was putting it on a cotton pad and wiping off the NYC summer grit from my face! It worked fantastically well.
The multi purpose idea appealed to me, as I do not like to buy products and then not use them. I hate all the clutter. Not to mention the waste! So it became the ethos of the idea behind the brand. Each product must solve a problem, and be useful in a few ways. It also allows creativity for the user to discover best uses. It makes the whole process of using the products more personal and necessary in someones life.
Describe a typical working day at Jao Haus.
A typical workday is many emails back and forth and phone calls between the Jao House in Pennsylvania and myself in Brooklyn. I go back to visit for a few days every two weeks. I wish I was able to set the business up where I lived, but I did not have the funds to set the company up in Brooklyn! We have 4 employees at Jao and everyone has their specific jobs. We all converse daily. There are typical issues on product stock, working with the manufacturers, store requests, shipping issues, managing growth and expanding our footprint with small and medium sized retailers.
Who or what couldn't you work without?
I couldn’t work without my iphone7. I just got the larger size phone for Instagram and photography, inspiration, emails, checking website orders. It’s amazing that I can stay in touch with everyone in PA while being in Brooklyn. I think one thing you will hear them say is that I can often be an annoying itch!
What do you like most about what you do?
I think what I like most, as a creative person who was not a good student, is having the ability to have an idea, create it, put it out into the marketplace, and have it find a home with strangers. I do get complete satisfaction when
people buy Jao Brand, and then absolutely love it. It’s a really good feeling
knowing we can do this with such a small, all woman crew, of 5 people.
We love the sustainable ethos behind Jao Brand's multipurpose products. Tell us about the process of developing new products.
The process of creating products for me is the best part. I cannot just see something in the marketplace and copy what someone else is doing. That just seems so boring. And most of what people buy is literally packaging! I am really concerned with what is inside the tube or bottle. What can this product do for me? What problem can it solve? What do I need in my life? How can I create this product cleanly with no silicones or dimethicones to give it that silky feel?
It is so hard to create natural beauty products that are safe, effective, feel good and be multipurpose. It is a challenge, but a good one. I often describe each product’s provenance the way a songwriter creates a song. The product idea just kind of comes at you, sometimes fully formed. And they don’t come very often. Jao Brand will be a very small line. You will never see hundreds of products, or different “scents” to get a full line extension to take up shelf space. I am totally uninterested in that idea. I find it wasteful.
Who or what inspires you?
I am inspired everyday. Recently I saw a smashed paper bakery bag on the sidewalk from the famous Brooklyn bakery Junior’s. I loved the way the crushed lines on the bag folded into each other. I snapped a photo of it and
I made it into the packaging of our bags. That kind of creativity really inspires
me. I have no idea why. There are photos of this on my IG feed.
What has been your proudest Jao Brand moment to date?
I think the proudest moments were when stores that are not American, like Colette in Paris, picked up our product, on their own, and decided to sell them without any hard selling on our part! And they have continued to stock us now, for years. It’s an amazing feeling to be a small brand and have these beautifully curated stores come to you to be a partner. I decided that is the best way to sell the product. Let it sell itself. It’s a great moment to feel that you can allow that to happen and not have to constantly be trying to sell yourself. If the product is good enough, word of mouth will be the driver of sales.
What has been the most important lesson learned?
Patience. Jao is now a 20 year old company. So we are the slowest growing story. I think that is the most important lesson learned. If you believe in
it, and there is positive growth, no matter how slow, it pays to grow your own
garden so to speak. If you can stay in the game, not go broke, not spend in
foolish ways, and trust that what you have made is good, then you will succeed. So the most important lesson is to believe in yourself and what you create.
What would you like to do in the future?
In the future I would like Jao Brand to move in directions that are not necessarily in the beauty category; maybe supporting artists and their work, in some way.
There's often talk of "hero" products in the bath & beauty world. Do you have a single "hero/ desert island" product?
We had no idea that Goe Oil would be so successful so quickly. I knew when I was formulating it with my father that I loved it. But I didn’t think others would. In fact I thought it would be a REALLY HARD sell! Instead it became this cult thing. It has been called a “hero” product. And in a way it is. We were the first “solid oil in a tube”, and we are still probably the only ones who were crazy enough to attempt to put 28 plant, fruit, flower, oils and butters together! This is a total challenge that my father fully accepted, and we formulated a lovely product.
And finally, what is team Jao's guilty pleasure?
Jao’s guilty pleasure is when I am there at the Jao House and we are all there discussing business and we have our Aperol Spritzes. Its guilty when
we decide to start having them before 5pm!
March 26th is fast approaching. And we have everything you need to show your everlasting love and appreciation for the best woman in the world. Happy Mother's Day all you mums.
We love working with this brand and they consistently come up with the goods so there was never any question over inviting them back for a second stint in our project space, this time launching their SS17 menswear and womenswear collections.
The lovely Tom, who looks after their UK sales and marketing, arrived on Friday to set up and talk us through the season. Four rails of clothes and a flat-lay of accessories later, the space effortlessly transformed into a perfectly clean and simple presentation of Norse Projects SS17. And with that it was time to open it up to Winchester's Norse Projects fans for a special Friday evening gathering. Boys and girls, young and old, it was typically Danish and relaxed in style. We sampled some Danish pale ales, swiped some Norse socks from a lucky dip, and had a closer look at what the rails had in store.
As always, Norse Projects are sticklers for good fabrics and this season is a real highlight. There's lots of Japanese and French expertise here; for the guys, a double layered popover shirt, breathable hemp t-shirts, mercerized cotton tops and inside-out sweaters; and for the girls, a true indigo short-sleeved denim dress and proper PrimaLoft collarless jacket. They've also collaborated with Elka again on a really great men's and women's raincoat. And we are loving the Rothko-inspired pastels.
It's all here until 18 April, and to mark the ocassion we have a bundle of their iconic accessories to giveaway. Just follow the link below to enter.
If you’ve been in store lately you might have spied our homewares department looking particularly sunny in time for spring; loaded with colour and a good measure of kitsch, largely thanks to the arrival of Sun Jellies and their rainbow range of retro plastic baskets.
If they look vaguely familiar and resurface childhood memories then it’s probably little surprise that the bags are indeed an extension of the Sun Jellies brand which started out retailing the original jelly shoe. And we have a lovely lady called Kelly White to thank for bringing jelly bags and shoes back into our lives.
Having moved to Worthing to live the seaside dream with her family she found herself searching unsuccessfully for some jelly shoes to wear on the pebbly beach. It seemed jelly shoes had disappeared and no-one in the UK was selling them. What she did discover though was the story behind the jelly shoe – originally created in 1946 by Frenchman Monsieur Jean Dauphant in response to a worldwide leather shortage - and much to her delight, the classic t-bar fisherman weave design was still being made in France using the original moulds.
So excited to find plastic shoes not made in China, and convinced they could become a wardrobe staple, Kelly made it her mission to bring jelly shoes back, and in the process launched her own range of jelly bags in 2014, recreating classic styles crafted from 100% recyclable PVC. We're stocking the Carnival and Retro baskets, Fiesta shopper and Atomic tote, and finding them all kinds of useful for grocery shopping through to household storage. Thanks Kelly.
One of the favourite new reads we have our Newsstand Project to thank for, Pasture is a new bi-annual magazine inviting you behind the plate of food. Beautifully photographed, the magazine delivers stories delving into the environment, the product and people behind the food we eat. We had a chat with the magazine's founder, Samuel Moppett.
Tell us a bit about how Pasture magazine came to be & the inspiration behind it.
Pasture exists as a platform to explore everything and anything that happens before a finished plate of food arrives, in short, where things are from. It happened because I couldn’t source information in a way I felt would inspire or educate me, and I was clueless on far too much. The inspiration comes from the acceptance of not being afraid to always ask questions and do things a little different.
Describe your typical working day.
A typical day for Pasture; tea in bed (if I'm lucky), cycle to town, a Monmouth coffee, picking photographers, researching, reading numerous drafts, ignoring emails, lots of phone calls, charming whoever will listen, teamwork, not enough food, being stuck indoors when your magazine is the opposite of being sat at a desk, arguing with my sub-editor on whether jam jars can graduate, hobbling to the post office, staring at beautiful magazines in a pile and not reading them, planning a wedding, renovating a flat and meeting people for cake. Pasture is a personal project at the moment, I still work full-time as an art director 9-5, so technically I’m not* doing anything on Pasture, it's all early mornings and late evenings. *a lie
Who or what couldn't you work without?
Curiosity, honesty, and good people. I have no time for narcissism.
What is the most fascinating thing you've learned while working on Pasture?
How little exposure is given to the source. Luckily this seems to be changing.
Tell us about your ultimate supper date. Where would you go? Who with? And what would you eat & drink?
Italy. Cara and friends. Walk down to the veg stand at the end of one of the locals farms, pick up some Roma tomatoes, find the nearest market, pick up burrata and handfuls of basil, head to the beach, find a stall that sells deep fried calamari, wash the tomatoes in the sea, crack open a cold small can of local beer. Eat. Relax. Get burned.
Are there any foods that are strictly off the menu?
Brussel sprouts. I don’t get it.
You talk about the magazine taking readers on a food adventure. Which food adventure in the planning are you most excited about?
Soil. I am way too excited about this one. I hated science when I was younger,
it was too self-absorbed for me, here we are going at it with two wonderful
scientists and an ace photographer in a digestible way. It should be good.
What has been your proudest Pasture moment?
The acceptance of our first issue. It's gone above and beyond expectations.
What would you like to do in the future?
Become big enough to own a farm and run Pasture from the countryside.
Does team Pasture have any food-related guilty pleasures?
Cara and Frances’ favourite meal in the whole world is probably KFC, with Mcdonald's curry sauce.
Lastly, if we were to go on a foodie tour of any city in the world, where should we go & what should we eat?
If you read Lucky Peach, Tokyo is the place for everything. But my grandfather was born in India and so was Cara’s grandmother so I’d explore Kerala and hope Rick Stein comes away for the weekend.
The bath and beauty department is getting a bit of a re-jig for spring with lots of lovely new brands on the way. First up is Tangent GC, arriving in full spring clean style with their range of beautifully simple and natural products made in Sweden.
GC stands for 'Garment Care', something we've become woefully bad at in the age of mass production, according to co-founder David Samuelsson. Tangent GC have thus made it their business to "provide a superior range of garment care products that will naturally and effectively give your garments a long life."
We're stocking their delicate liquid detergent with orange oil as well their organic hand soaps. We've sampled a fair few hand soaps in our time and these are very, very good.
In the competitive world that is The Hambledon, we ask: New York City or National Exhibition Centre? Rob goes to New York for a week of shows; hangs with the fashion crowd; stays in Brooklyn's super nice Carroll Gardens with the lovely Emma and Roger; shops for rare vinyl; visits a very photogenic Coney Island; frequents jazz clubs and pizza parlours and attends parties with the great and the good of menswear. Lucy and Victoria head to the Midlands and Spring Fair for a day of strip lighting, Subway sandwiches and volume gifts. But who found the choicest pieces for the shop? The race is on.
Introducing the latest additions to our Newsstand project: The Moth and The Caterpillar - two very charming and beautiful quarterlies featuring poetry, short fiction and art by established and up-and-coming writers and artists.
Created in Ireland, The Moth (the grown-up one) launched in 2010, and has been described as a "a rare literary gem" and "exquisitely designed and choc-a-bloc with exciting new artworks and wordworks." It is indeed. As is The Caterpillar, The Moth's younger sibling. It's aimed at 7-11 year-olds though we're equally as taken with it so looks like we'll be starting yet another magazine collection.
Welcome to SS17 at The Hambledon. We’re calling it Miami Nice. Womenswear, menswear, homeware, it’s all feeling a bit ‘80s coming-of-age summer in a good way; endless sun-soaked days, beach loungers and pool parties. Basically, all the fun without the bad hair and shoulder pads.
Saturated pastels, metallics and strong prints feature across the board in Womenswear. Accessorised with turquoise and yellow Nailmatic, a rainbow of plastic baskets by Sun Jellies, and all kinds of ban.do attitude. Meri Meri and Rice flood Homeware with summer colour and everything to get a party started. And the fun and colour carries on down to Menswear too with pastel Ts, shorts and beach accessories. Game of frisbee anyone?
Australian mum-of-two, Kate Berry, launched Lunch Lady blog back in 2013 after her daughter was bullied at school for eating a homemade packed lunch. Her aim was to inspire parents to make delicious lunches for their children and it proved a huge hit. Fast forward a few years and issue 5 of Lunch Lady magazine is currently sitting pretty on the shelves of our Newsstand project.
Choc full of great recipes, inspiring family stories, beautiful photography, art and cooking projects, as well as funny opinion pieces about the ups and downs of raising kids - it's one of our favourite new reads. Plus we're a bit in love with Kate's gorgeous Instagram feed, so we asked her to pick some favourite moments from life behind the scenes at Lunch Lady.