Mother Knows Best | Living North

Mother Knows Best

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Christina Kolaiti
With a batch of nappy cream ‘on the boil’ and bars of her body butter curing in the corner, Cath Mather takes time out from her Tynemouth-based studio to talk to Living North and tell us more about her award-winning natural skincare business Bare Bodycare
‘Every product in the Bare Baby range is 100 percent handmade, fragrance free and suitable for use from birth’
Christina Kolaiti
Dried medicinal herbs

Having spent ten years in the health industry as an Occupational Therapist specialising in Hydrotherapy, Cath Mather became increasingly frustrated by the chemical-laden creams she was repeatedly prescribed for her son Asa’s eczema. ‘My pleas of ‘‘those creams aren’t working, his skin can’t breathe’’ fell on deaf ears’, Cath explains, so the mum of one decided to put her skills to good use and make a cream which Asa’s delicate skin could tolerate. ‘I made the mistake of telling a GP once that I had created my own cream for my baby, of course this went down like a lead balloon’, Cath laughs, but despite her GP’s initial misgivings, Cath set up Bare Bodycare in 2012 and has gone on to create a range of award-winning natural skincare products for both adults and babies.

Her massage oil, part of the Bare Baby range, was awarded the Green Parent Beauty Award in 2013, beating over 100 competitors nationwide to the coveted title. ‘I wanted to create a massage oil which would condition babies’ skin without the associated greasiness’, explains Cath, so she set about combining oils which are easily absorbed and ‘glide’ across the skin such as sweet almond, sunflower and olive oil, and a drop of jojoba for good measure. Every product in the Bare Baby range is 100 percent handmade, fragrance free and suitable for use from birth.

The journey from pot to packaging varies with every product at Bare Bodycare. ‘Every ingredient has been chosen for its individual properties; avocado oil for its shine and conditioning properties for example, whilst my absolute favourite, shea butter, nourishes the skin and scalp’, Cath shares. The Bare Baby body wash bar, for example, has to be cured and dried for a minimum of four weeks to make it longer lasting and incredibly mild. ‘The whole reason behind setting up Bare Bodycare was to try and change people’s perspectives on skincare, as well as creating a product that was safe and kind enough to use on both mine and my son’s skin. At the time, everyone thought I was a bit mad’, Cath laughs, ‘but now I get people from across the country asking for my advice’. 

With her heart still very much ‘in both camps’, Cath continues to work one day a week as an Occupational Therapist whilst juggling her roles as a wife, mother and businesswoman. Continuously looking for ways to use Bare Bodycare as a vehicle to do good in the local community, Cath has formed close links with Able2, a day service for adults with learning disabilities in association with the Percy Hedley Foundation. ‘I have the most fantastic website thanks to a student at Able2, it actually won an award from Mumpreneur which was a huge boost for us both’. Cath also makes good use of Able2’s commercial printing services for her stationery and labelling needs, as well as regularly donating boxes of her products to worthy causes such as women’s refuge shelters and the Mother and Baby Mental Health Unit at St George’s Hospital. 

On rare days off, Cath can be found wandering along the beach with Asa and the family labradoodle in tow. On busy weekdays, however, she’s holed up in her studio stirring a bubbling pan of potential new products. ‘I absolutely love my brand and definitely want to still be doing this in five years time, it’s exciting to see the business evolve to match Asa’s changing needs. Right now I’m researching and developing products for children aged three and older’. Cath is currently in the process of creating soaps for little hands, massage oils infused with essential oils for a good night’s sleep and a mum-to-be range which will soon join her successful range of products, available to buy online.

Crediting her son Asa – whose name means ‘healer’ in Hebrew – as the inspiration for her success, it’s entirely fitting that a brand such as Bare Bodycare, which seeks to protect skin from harmful additives, is built on a mother’s love. Let’s hope a teenage Asa makes the most of his mum’s talents when it comes to spot cream and aftershave...

Published in: November 2013

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