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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Akamuti: natural organic skincare from Wales

Lindsey Hedges founded the Akamuti skincare brand when she was just 20 years old. She now runs it with the help of her family from her base in rural Wales. Read on to find out more about this ethical entrepreneur....

Written by Amelia Gregory

Akamuti by Jenny Lloyd
Akamuti by Jenny Lloyd.

I first became enamoured with Akamuti skincare products when I discovered the brand in 2008 and subsequently interviewed them for the last print issue of Amelia’s Magazine. A family run business in Wales that creates gorgeous organic fairtrade products – what’s not to like? Time to find out what founder Lindsey Hedges is up to these days…

Why did you decide to set up business?
Akamuti grew out of my passion for plants! I’ve always been interested in their role in tree medicine, herbalism and aromatherapy so it feels very natural to work with all these wonderful ingredients. Akamuti began in 2003 when I was only 20 years old and keen to start my own business. I think that being home schooled from the age of 10 instilled in me a very independent outlook on life and this streak has grown with me! The business started off in a really small way, mixing up tiny amounts of creams and balms from raw ingredients – always using only the best natural ingredients that we could source. Then I would set off to the local health shops with my little box and try to sell them. It was really exciting to get a positive response and this spurred me on to set up a website so that people could order online. From these humble beginnings the business slowly but surely began to grow. Nowadays the whole family are involved in the business, with five of us working together. Our combined enthusiasm for a holistic way of living, eating and healing keeps our creativity focused, ensuring that our products reflect our ethics.

Akamuti skincare by Karina Yarv
Lindsey Hedges, founder of Akamuti. Illustration by Karina Yarv.

Why is being part of a family business so satisfying?
It’s good to work together because you have people you know that you can rely on in a crisis. We understand each better than anyone else and thankfully we all seem to rub along nicely so we make a good team.

How did you train yourself to make skincare products?
When I was 17 I did a herbal medicine course that taught me how to make balms and macerated oils, which was great fun to do in the kitchen. I loved drying herbs, hanging them from the airer so that they made a mess on the floor. I experimented, researched and got my hands dirty until I found a recipe that I was happy with. I’ve also worked in aromatherapy for many years so I know my ingredients inside out.

Akamuti-rose & marshmallow beauty mask
Akamuti’s Rose & Marshmallow Beauty Mask.

How is your organic vegetable garden, and do you grow any of your own ingredients?
I really love gardens and I’ve been trying my best to grow veg for years. This year I managed to coax some lovely potatoes out of the ground as well as salads, tomatoes and a million cucumbers. Sadly, my onions and garlic didn’t even get chance to see the sunshine this year (slugs!) but I plant them every year because it feels wrong not too. We have plenty of space so it’s been a dream of mine to grow our own ingredients for a few years now… I just need to find the time. I’m hoping to plant a lavender and rose garden at some point so that I can make a small amount of my own rosewater. 
 
Can you describe the set up in Wales?
We work from our workshop in a beautiful valley in south west Wales overlooking the Brechfa Forest. We have a smallholding so it’s not only home to us but a few unruly animals as well. It’s a truly inspirational place to live, with nature literally on the doorstep and natural beauty around every corner. I love the peace and quiet here, it really nourishes the soul.   

Akamuti-by-Nina-Hunter
Akamuti by Nina Hunter.

When you have visitors where do you take them out?
I would take them to our little town of Llandeilo to shop for organic bread and homemade ice cream, then we would visit Carreg Cennen Castle, dramatically perched on a limestone outcrop. I’d make sure we visited the seaside where there are countless coves to choose from, so we might just do them all. And to finish, we would end up in our local pub which has the best beer garden in the world.

Carreg-Cennen-Castle-by-Yelena-Bryksenkova
Carreg Cennen Castle by Yelena Bryksenkova.

What are the benefits of being in Wales, and the pitfalls?
I love the wild side of Wales most. It’s great to nip out the door and within minutes be in a forest, a meadow, or on a mountain. I love the trees and fields, the castles, the coastline, the views out to the Brecon Beacons, the stunning drive through the Towy Valley. There is a strong craft community here, we have several community run shops, and there is a lot of great food and farm produce about too. The pitfalls… what pitfalls!?
 
lindsey_akamuti_darren fletcher
Lindsey Hedges by Darren Fletcher.

Been anywhere else lately?
I’ve just got back from southern Snowdonia where I stayed at the foot of Cadair Idris. There is a beautiful lake there which I love. It is very cool and quiet – you could be anywhere in the world. I’ve also recently discovered the New Forest – I particularly like all the animals wandering freely through the villages.

Cadair Idris by Karina Yarv
Cadair Idris by Karina Yarv

How do you source your fairtrade organic ingredients?
Thankfully the internet makes this very easy. We find new suppliers quite quickly and many come by word of mouth. A lot of the time I stumble across people doing amazing things which I note down for the future.

What is the first thing you do when you want to invent a new product?
I make myself a coffee, find a comfy spot, get my notebook out and start writing. I think of what I want to achieve with the product and what I would like to go in it and then I start putting them together. I also brainstorm with everyone else. A bit like planning a garden, the best part is picking the plants! 

Akamuti-buttered rose & almond hand cream
Akamuti’s Buttered Rose & Almond Hand Cream.

What exciting new products are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on a flower based perfume at the moment, so I’m playing around with sandalwood, rose, jasmine and a number of other oils to get the best combination. I’ve decided to keep the perfume as an oil, much like the ancient Attar perfumes, which were based on sandalwood oil. I am a big fan of eastern aromatherapy and I like the way the scents make me drift away to the ancient lands of Persia or Anatolia in my mind.  

What is your favourite ingredient to work with and why?
I’ve got a few favourites but I’ll try and narrow them down. My first love is definitely Rose Otto oil – it works so well for many physical and emotional problems, as well as smelling beautiful. I also love working with Neroli essential oil because it is so uplifting. If an oil could have the quality of kindness then this is the one. 

Why should people buy your products?
Because they are good for the skin and the soul! They are made with 100% natural ingredients from start to finish without any additional rubbish, and we try our best to harness all of the natural goodness of trees, plants and flowers in each product so that our customers get the very best we can make. Our products are people and planet friendly, and they are affordable too.
 
Akamuti-replenishing rose facial oil
Akamuti’s Replenishing Rose Facial Oil.

What do you expect to top your Christmas bestsellers list this year?
At the moment, our Replenishing Rose Face Cream is selling very quickly so we are making lots of it to try to keep up with demand. Over the winter the skin tends to dry out much more (I know mine has!) so your skin will really appreciate a good, rich moisturiser to put back all the goodness which the cold weather takes out of it. Replenishing Rose Face Cream is a welcome treat for tired, hungry skin because it is very rich and softening, combining nourishing raspberry, precious pomegranate and rosehip oils with luxurious Rose Otto oil. I expect all our face creams and exotic butters to be the bestsellers over Christmas because they make lovely, unusual presents that are totally natural and ethical.

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I recently chanced upon a bottle of Kalahari Watermelon Body Oil that had been kicking around in the back of my bathroom, and let me tell you it is a glorious treat after a brief interlude of using a cheap Superdrug moisturiser. It smells utterly heavenly and soaks in really well, leaving a delicate waft of essential oils in its wake. You too can shop with Akamuti on their website and at independent retailers across the country.

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