Discussing clean living: Q&A with KINN’s Sophie Lavabre-Barrow
A company after our own heart, KINN – a start-up organic lifestyle brand started by Sophie Lavabre-Barrow and her mother (Marie) which aims to provide you with easily accessible products such as Organic skincare and Plant Based home care products. We sat down with Sophie to find out more about her daily lifestyle routine and her inspiration behind starting KINN.
What’s your morning routine?
My typical morning consists of a hot water/green tea with some lemon juice and ginger, I don’t usually tend to eat breakfast but if I do it’s a boiled egg with a sprinkle of salt or some fruit. I check my emails and make my to-do list for the day and reply to anything urgent. Depending on how busy my day is looking I either try to head to the gym after this, or I leave it until the afternoon.
What does your average day look like?
Making sure I actually do plough through my to-do list. I try to spend at least one hour a day at the gym and then I head to the shops and pick up some food for dinner. I like to cook all of our meals using fresh and organic ingredients and I always try to make sure to get some fresh air during the day. Come evening I like to relax with my boyfriend or have a bath and read.
What’s the best piece of advice you have ever given and received? This can be on anything!
I think some of the best advice I have been given is that I shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking I can do everything, it’s great to reach out for help, to learn from others and admit when you are stuck on something. It’s amazing the people you meet and how far forwards you can go when you reach out.I’d say the best advice I have given is that if you’re always waiting to get everything perfect, you’ll probably achieve nothing, perfection is an illusion you’ll always be chasing. I believe fully in jumping into the deep end and learning as you go!
How would you describe your personality in three words?
Curious, travel bug, ambitious.
How would you describe your lifestyle in five words?
Lucky, family, love, travel, work.
What is your career highlight to date?
For me, it would be being interviewed by Stella Magazine about what it was like to launch my own business and to work with your mother. That and launching my business of course.
What inspires you for work/in general?
I’d say I have many different inspirations for life and work in general, I’m inspired by my parent’s lifestyle when I was young, there was a lot of hard work but also a lot of travel and freedom, parties and friends. I like the idea of being in control of my own time and how I choose to use it and who I choose to spend it with, it’s one of the big reasons I wanted to work for myself.
During your career, what have you learnt about the business of beauty?
My company is more lifestyle based with a range of body care and home care products. I would say that I am no expert on beauty, but I would say that I have learned a huge amount about what goes into a beauty product and how product development really is a long process.
Which five websites are always in your browser history?
Mr & Mrs Smith, Google Translate (for the documents Zurich city insist on sending out in German), Sky Scanner, House Seven, Net-A-Porter (to plan my sales hit list!)
How important is it that your beauty and homecare products are ‘clean/green’? Where do you think the ‘clean/green’ movement is headed?
For me this is a top priority and one that is really non-negotiable, I was so happy when they finally banned microbeads (hello, why is it ok to wash little plastic balls down the sink!?). My family have always chosen to use as natural as possible products and a lot of my family in France have farms, so I’ve seen how food gets to the table and I do not want to be a consumer of the factory farming, heavy chemical laden process, ever! I hate the idea of animal testing and see no place for it in the modern beauty and homecare world. I think as more and more people become aware and have access to the information from behind the scenes of the homecare and beauty world that there will be a rise in consumers looking for products that align with a more eco-friendly and natural approach. The health trend towards food is only getting bigger and bigger and I think that homecare and beauty are still behind in some respects.
What products would we find in your washbag and handbag? Please name at least three.
I’m absolutely terrible as I hardly wear make-up, I only carry organic lip balm and organic hand cream (it varies month to month) in my handbag. In my wash bag you’ll find Pureology Shampoo and Conditioner that George Northwood introduced me to and Susanne Kaufmann Eye Fluid Line F and KINN Organic Body oil.
How important is it that your diet is ‘organic’? What’s a typical meal for you?
This is very important to me, I have been brought up to choose organic food wherever possible and I always cook from fresh. A typical meal for me involves either salmon or chicken and a lot of vegetables and salad, but I also love making quesadillas when I’m feeling lazy and a home-made soup is always a winner! I’m not the biggest fan of cooking so I try to vary what I make so I don’t get bored of making the same thing every night, I’m always trying out some vegetarian recipes as meat and fish in Zurich is very expensive.
What homecare products do you swear by?
My own products of course! But the KINN kitchen spray and KINN washing up liquids are my favourite.
What’s your best life hack and why? This can be on anything!
Always book your holidays/trips/flights/care hire in privacy mode on the internet!
What are your hopes/dreams for your brand within the next 12 months and 24 months?
I’d love to see the brand grow and to bring out more products, I really want to tackle and focus on the eco cleaning market as I feel there is still so much we can do with our products. In 24 months I’d love to see KINN available in more places across Europe.
What advice/top tips would you give to someone wanting to launch their own brand? Please explain.
Network. It’s not a word I like to use, but really it’s so important that you get out there and meet people, don’t be afraid to discuss your ideas and reach out to those in the industry who are already killing it, quite often they are great and helpful people who want to see the industry grow, and if one person can’t answer your question they’ll almost always be able to point you to someone who can help you find the right direction.
What would you say the key(s) to your success so far is and why?
Hard work, passion, a sprinkling of luck and getting ourselves out there meeting and talking with others in the industry.
What’s your favourite way to unwind after a busy day?
I currently live between two countries as my company is based in London, but my boyfriend is based in Zurich. When I am staying with my mum in Surrey, I like to relax with the dogs on the terrace (she has a beautiful garden) with a magazine or a book and on Friday’s I like to add wine to the mix. Now that the weather is heating up in Zurich, I’ll either head down to the lake and sit with a book, but mostly I just enjoy when my boyfriend gets home from work and chatting with him, maybe playing cards or watching a movie, we currently don’t have a TV which I like as it encourages us to not just turn into comatose vegetables on the sofa.
HIIT session or yoga?
If it’s a class, it’s Yoga all the way!
Coffee or green juice?
Green juice, I think I drink coffee maybe four times a year!
Heels or trainers?
A tough one, I love my heels, but you’ll find me in trainers most days.
Lipstick or lipgloss?
Neither, I only ever wear lip balm. I only wear lipstick when I’m going to a ball and I’m properly dressed up, and even then my rule is to either have a dramatic eye make-up, or to wear lipstick, never both!
What’s your failsafe outfit for an important business meeting?
Black skinny J-Brand jeans and a nice silk shirt with a blazer.
Who is your celebrity style icon and why?
I don’t have one, I don’t really follow fashion or celebrities and I like to wear what I think looks good on me… my wardrobe is pretty much black with a few colourful items thrown in for summer.
What’s the last book you read/TV series you finished?
I recently re-watched Game of Thrones. I’m always reading and usually have two to three books on the go, but I recently finished reading Brave New World by Huxley, and The Girls by Emma Cline.
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