As co-founder of Votary, Arabella talks to us about how she created the brand from her kitchen table, which is her favourite product and what her tips are on what to wear to an important meeting. Arabella lives in the Kent countryside with her husband and 2 children.
Where did the idea for Votary come from?
I was working as a make-up artist in London and would always use cleansing oils to remove make-up and facial oils to prep the skin of my clients. It got to a stage where I knew enough about oils and was so opinionated about their varying properties that I started to blend my own at my kitchen table. I was adamant from the start that it was possible to create natural plant oil blends that were truly effective. I told an old friend and colleague, Charlotte Semler, what I was up to and we pretty much decided to set up Votary on the spot.
If someone was discovering the brand for the first time which product would you recommend?
Our original Rose Geranium Cleansing Oil, without a doubt. I firmly believe that the cleansing stage of skincare is the most important. When it goes right, it can be truly transformational. A cleansing oil can balance dry, dehydrated, sensitive, combination and even oily skin.
Your packaging is a beautiful addition to any bathroom shelf. Where did your inspiration come from?
For me, a large part of my skincare routine is about self-care and taking a moment for myself. I like great design and felt like it should be possible to create a skincare line that customers wanted to keep out on their washstands, not hide away underneath the sink. Our beautiful green glass bottles also help act as a natural preservative.
What is your best time saving tip in the morning?
Honestly, get up 5 minutes earlier so you can do what you need to do. So painful and boring, like a lot of common sense.
What do you always tend to reach for in your wardrobe when you have an important meeting?
I have a stash of smart Victoria Beckham jeans that go with everything in my wardrobe. I pop a Cefinn printed blouse on top and a blazer which makes me feel pulled together but relaxed too. It's taken me 20 years to work out that the more important the meeting, the more important it is you feel and look like yourself.
What is your idea of a perfect day?
A summer’s morning gardening at home, followed by friends coming round for lunch when all the kids exhaust themselves running around barefoot. Then a great box set in the evening and an early night.
What is your favourite journey?
The drive back to my house in Kent after a long day in London.
What is your favourite book and why? I finally got round to reading Anna Karenina a few years ago and don’t think any book has lodged in my brain in the same way. I can still quote lines from it and my memory is, in general, pretty terrible.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
A fashion designer or stylist. It never happened but it did land me in the fashion industry. I grew up in rural Shropshire and would pore over copies of Vogue, dreaming of this glamorous other existence.
How do you relax?
I have a long, hot bath at the end of every day, even in summer. Oh, and putting my phone in a different room helps too.