We catch up with Graeme Hume, Director of ORGANii.

 

My background is in Logistics, in 1990 I started Juniper Fine & Organic Foods which I later sold in 2003 after launching the distribution company Pravera in 2001 to offer natural and organic skincare. Later, in 2012, I launched my own organic brand ORGANii. For those that have no paper qualifications, neither do I, everything I’ve achieved is through experience and common sense. It has sometimes been painful but for the most part enjoyable. Definitely no career path. As a school dropout never in my dreams would I have believed I would sell lipsticks, tampons, baby oil or plasters!


How did you get into organic?
Organic is pretty much in my blood, my father used to grow organic before it was called organic, so I learnt at a young age about seaweed, compost and manure, weeding and crop rotation without the use of insecticide, fungicides and herbicides. Over the years, understanding the huge use of petrochemicals for skincare led me to consider organic and natural skincare without the use or petroleum derived ingredients. Enlightenment of skin demands care came during the latter days of Juniper when I realised Sun protection was not solved by eating organic! That’s when I started distributing lavera Sun and later launched our ORGANii Sun range.

Can you tell us a little about the history of your Company?
About 10 years ago there was a groundswell of innovation in the organic skincare business and much of this was from small brands. The brands in themselves were going to find it hard to make a mark in the market so ORGANii evolved as an umbrella to bring together that innovation. I also felt that many organic products were over priced and sourced some products that offered better value for money to the family shopper. One of those products was ORGANii Sun which is now our most successful line.

What do you think are the biggest opportunities facing the organic sector?
Education and integrity. There is so much fake news and advice churning through the media and social media, which has become much more prevalent through the Covid crisis and has highlighted that the consumer should be more wary of news and advertising. We, therefore, need to work with reputable certification bodies who audit and promote them as our anchors for building understanding and belief in the organic movement. We need to help consumers challenge and research for themselves, review the foods they eat and the products they put on their skin.

And what do you think are the biggest challenges?
Education and integrity. There is so much fake news and advice churning through the media and social media, which has become much more prevalent through the Covid crisis and has highlighted that the consumer should be more wary of news and advertising. We, therefore, need to work with reputable certification bodies who audit and promote them as our anchors for building understanding and belief in the organic movement. We need to help consumers challenge and research for themselves, review the foods they eat and the products they put on their skin.

What do you think can be done to educate consumers about the importance of moving to organic?
There are two ways in my mind; carrots and example. With carrots we can tempt consumers with prices, gifts, visuals (packaging & advertising). With example, is to lead by example, this is a long haul but showing health of the land under organic farming, health of the body and health of the mind can get people thinking and slowly change. Organic is just part of the solution to the bigger issue or pollution, plastic, chemicals, personal freedoms and needs.

What do you think the impact of the COVID pandemic will be on the future of organic consumption?
I think it will slow the growth of the organic movement. Yes there will be a minority of people who see through the fiasco but the control mechanisms in place as I write will mean less choice and greater consumption of foods and skincare from larger manufacturers with lip service paid to the minority. This however is an opportunity for the Health Stores and small retailers to retake their position on the High Street and show leadership by example.

Do you have any plans or news that you can tell us about?
We have been strengthening the integrity of our products by adding extra certifications. Our Shower Gels, which were previously certified ecocert organic, are now certified to the COSMOS standard and, while our range has always been vegan, every product in our portfolio has now gone through the Vegan Society registration audit too. We have also been adding new everyday organics to our brand including our Purifying Hand Gel and Purifying Surface Spray which we worked hard to keep affordable for our family consumer while ensuring the formulation is certified natural, vegan and cruelty free. We will also be expanding our multi-award-winning Parent & Child range this year with our new Dry Baby Oil.

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