We catch up with Kat from Clean Slate Skin Care in Fremantle!
Clean Slate products are plant based, natural and cruelty free certified. Founder, Kat Snowden, was searching for a natural alternative to the cortisone cream she was using to treat her eczema! We speak to her about how it all came about from there!
How did you get into Skin Care?
“I started making soap, about 14 years ago to help with my eczema and someone told me to use natural soap and I did – but it would last about 2 days in the shower and then it would disintegrate! Then I tried making my own and really enjoyed it! So I went on to study aromatherapy and a little bit of herbal medicine and more recently cosmetic chemistry and perfumery.”
What is your best selling product?
“The pillow spray would be our best selling product. It’s a blend of 12 oils to help you relax and chill out at bedtime.
I formulated it when I was studying aromatherapy because I was having lots of trouble sleeping.
When I opened my first store in the Myer building I thought, Ill just put it on the shelf because I need to fill space and I didn’t think anyone would be interested in it but its our biggest seller!
It’s like a ritual – you’re telling your brain that now is the time to relax and get into bed. We find it’s really popular with flight attendants as a bit of familiarity when they’re travelling around.”
What’s next for Clean Slate?
“I have heaps of half finished products, I kind of just work on things when I feel like it. I like it to happen organically. I’m also working on a lot of natural perfumes.”
Would you consider making make up?
“Its not something that really interests me, its on the list but very low down on a long list.
I had big ideas of doing custom foundation, where we would perfectly match a foundation to your skin. But yeah I think such a bespoke service would be difficult to get off the ground.”
What does a day in your life look like?
“It varies! Making product, lots of research and development, theoretical or physical, working on new products, playing with ingredients, emails, computer work, cleaning!”
What do you like the most about it? Do you like the Science side of it or do you love helping people?
“Both I think, I really like helping people with their skin conditions, I find that really rewarding and I have been able to help a lot of people with severe eczema and psoriasis which makes me feel good.
And I do also love the science side of it! I love witnessing a change of state, like when making soap or a cream where it goes from individual ingredients and you combine them and they turn into something different. With soap its oils, water, sodium hydroxide and then you start mixing it and its like lemon curd and then all of a sudden its super thick and you put it in a mould and it gets really hot then goes through a gel phase and then translucent, then as it cools it becomes opaque again. It’s just so cool after all these years I still love watching the processes.”
What’s your favourite product to make?
“I don’t know if I have a favourite, there’s no product where I think ‘Oh crap, I have to make this product today’ but I love making soap, but I hate the prep of soap because that part is tedious. I like that there’s more room for expression with soap. Coffee scrub is always going to be brown but with soap you can do different patterns and layers and that’s the bit I really enjoy.”
Do you use any other beauty products?
“I tend to keep my routine pretty simple – I will use a cleanser from Lush if I don’t make my own. I don’t know how much merit there is in ‘anti-aging’ products, I think we should embrace that, and I think owning a skin care brand where we are honest and transparent and if I’m sticking a bunch of anti-aging products on my face I feel like that’s not really in line with what we do. I like to keep it pretty simple.”
Where do you get inspiration to make new products? Do you get it from concerns with your own skin?
“I get it from customers with requests, when they ask when will you have this lip balm ready or that product ready.
Sometimes I feel like I’m the painter who has the worst painted house on the block! I do look after my skin but I could make a lot more for myself.”
What is your daily skin care routine?
“I use an oil cleanser or one of those fresh face cleansers from lush – really gentle and a couple of times a week I coffee scrub my face, I use our body oil as a face moisturiser and I often use the pillow spray to set my make up and that’s probably it.”
What works well for you in terms of marketing?
“We don’t spend a lot of time on marketing, we do social media – so Instagram is really good for us.
Mostly just word of mouth – just having a presence.
I do a lot of workshops so often people haven’t heard of us until they see the product at a workshop and its nice because I get to spend more time with them and build a good relationship.”
What made you choose Fremantle?
“I grew up in Victoria, my favourite aunty lived here when I was a kid so wed visit and I always thought Freo was cool. I went to the Old Myer Building to see them about having a pop up store in November/December for Christmas time to just test it out. I hadn’t made product in a while and started making soap for myself again and just thought I’d give it a crack and test the waters on the side of my regular job and they said I was the person they’d been waiting for, they wanted a skin care brand to give the apartment store feel and they’d be saving the prime spot next to the doorway for somebody! So I thought this is too good to be true, I gave notice to my boss and had to get myself a name and fit out and graphic design and product on the shelf and just went for it!
So I guess maybe Freo chose me?!
Its really nice, the mentality and the vibe down here people really get what you’re doing and they respect that. There’s definitely a sense of loyalty.”
Clean Slate are located at Stackwood – 10 Stack Street, Fremantle
Check their website for all stockists and locations – www.cleanslate.com/where-to-buy/