I recently purchased a Milo + James lip balm set as I wanted to support another local Hertfordshire business, which is so important and even more so at this time. In fact Milo + James are based in St Albans so I couldn’t get more local to me! I was so impressed with the lip balms that I was inspired to get in touch with them to find out more about their business. Read the below interview to find out more about Milo + James; how they created the brand and what the future holds for them.
Qu: A husband and wife team… amazing! How did you both meet?
Ross and I have known each other since our first day at secondary school! It’s mad sometimes to think that we’ve known each other for so long, but it’s lovely that we can reminisce about our school days and teachers together!
Qu: Have you always been based in St Albans?
Most of my childhood was in St Albans and after University in London followed by a few years in Southampton, I returned back to my home ground. I love St Albans and everything it has to offer, the amazing independent businesses, the supportive community and with London and the countryside so close by, I think it’s one of the best cities in the UK.
Qu: Where did the name Milo + James come from?
Milo + James is named after our children and the concept of Milo + James came shortly after our eldest son was born. He was born with very dry skin and it was from there that I started to learn more about the different ingredients that are used in the cosmetic industry and how some of them can be harmful to us and the environment.
I researched for hours and attended various courses and workshops across the UK and after a lot of time at our kitchen table, making lots of different samples, Milo + James was created.
Qu: What gave you the inspiration to start making lip balms?
We started with lip balms as, for me, they are an absolute essential and I always carry one in my handbag or pocket. It’s great hearing how other people find other uses for our lip balm too, the best I’ve heard so far is it being used for a brow balm. I love hearing how resourceful people can be with a little lip balm.
Qu: So can you tell us a bit more about your lip balms? How are they made, packaged etc.
Our products are all handmade in small batches in St Albans and by making them this way we can make them as fresh as possible.
An early decision by us was to choose natural and organic ingredients in our products. This was important as I had learnt about some of the ingredients that are used in some leading skincare products and the potential harm that they can do. So we chose to use organic and natural ingredients that are all known for their moisturising benefits and do not include parabens, sodium laurel sulfates, mineral oils or fillers. We also never test our products on animals as we don’t believe it’s kind or necessary.
Also we’ve recently launched our lip balms in recyclable and re-useable aluminium tins as we constantly strive to lower our impact on the environment. This is something we’ll continue to look at as we move forward as a business too.
Qu: When you’re not making lip balms, where are your favourite places to go or things to do in the local area?
When I’m not working on Milo + James, I like to slow things down and spend time with my family and friends. We like to go on long nature walks or bike rides and it’s added bonus if there is a river for us to paddle in, so walks along the River Ver and Grand Union Canal are ideal for this.
Qu: So where do you see Milo + James going from here?
Like most of us, the Covid-19 pandemic impacted our immediate plans for Milo + James and as lockdown starts to ease we’re hoping that we can start things up again. We’re looking to broaden our skincare product range and have our products stocked in some local independent shops. So watch this space!
Qu: Finally, it’s important to us now more than ever to shop and support local. What are some of your favourite local businesses you can recommend?
There are so many amazing independent local businesses in St Albans and it’s been fantastic seeing so many people continue to support local businesses in lockdown. A couple that I would like to recommend are Beeutiful Creations by Bee for beautiful, organic and ethical clothing and Per Tutti for the best, homemade tiramisu!