Article Written By Pepper. B
Bloomsbury Sq takes its name from my favorite urban sanctuary in bustling London. As a student there, I learned how to balance the constant bustle of city life with the simple pleasures of eating a wholesome lunch on a garden bench, getting grounded with a barefoot walk in the grass, or just enjoying the seasons change one bloom at a time. Although I was far from home, the lush green and exuberant patches of flowers reminded me of the countless afternoons I whiled away plucking fresh fresh fruit and mint sprigs in my grandmother's yard back home in Kentucky. Bliss!
After moving to Paris I continued to work and travel. Wherever I found myself be it in Iran, Egypt, Italy, or my weekly wanderings in Paris, the first thing that I always did was to head to open air markets and ateliers to restore. After living in Europe for 12 years fresh food became my go-to, apothecaries became my pharmacy, and connections with others my calling.
When I moved back to The States I brought back with me a true appreciation for urban gardens. The garden's simple and pure beauty inspires me to bring the luxury of nature to you with wholesome and nutritive oils, decadent butters, and fragrant botanicals. No need for synthetic ingredients, artificial foaming agents, or preservatives. Instead, I delight in making products that let Nature do what it does best: nurture the body and mind. Source: Here
How did you start curating skincare ?
I actually started making body balms when I was a grad student in London because I was homesick and it reminded me of my hometown in KY. When I later moved to Paris with my husband my friends began to ask me to make small pots of balm for them. They had to convince me to accept payment! When I moved back to the US I ran DIY Spa socials for a couple of years. But when I started looking at the toxic ingredients that women were putting on their skin, I decided to create a line that was fresh, safe, and convenient for busy urban women.
What 3 tips should one know when looking to improve their skincare routine using your products? Especially if you are new to natural skincare, try products one at a time so that you can really understand what is working for your skin.
Have fun exploring ingredients. I love cold-pressed oil as moisturizers! Skip the hype and make sure to find the right oil for YOUR skin needs. For example, we love the idea of coconut oil, but for most of us with combination / oily skin it congests the pores. Lighten up your Spring hydration with non-clogging oils like hempseed or grapeseed.
Exfoliate weekly. When your skin looks dull and tired exfoliating gives an instant glow. My favorite is unbleached kaolin clay because its super fine and gentle enough on sensitive skin.
What is the most challenging part about owning a small business ? Perfectionism is a hard ism to overcome because I was raised to think that is the goal. But I’ve gradually shifted into thinking of my business as a conversation. My customers are not shy about feedback and each iteration of my product line reflects our connection.
Who is your muse ? Oh, I have so many. But at the core it’s my grandmother, Susie Mae. She was a country girl from Alabama who loved to garden, loved to laugh and do for others. She had this mirrored tray to display her cherished beauty essentials. A trio of rose crystal perfume bottles, Ponds cold cream, an apothecary jar of cotton balls, and her poppy red lipstick. Everywhere else in her house was communal. This space was just for her. It felt sacred.
You’re a huge fan of podcast. What are the last 3 podcast in your playlist ? Just 3? Oy! Ok, so “Yes Girl” is my current binge . Hosted by staffers at Essence Magazine. It’s always celebrating Black Girl Magic. Black Girl Pod. It’s unapologetic, soulful, personal, unfiltered and a party all at once. Beauty is Your Business. My weekly masterclass from industry leaders. Can I sneak in a 4th? Therapy for Black Girls. When I closed my shop last year I got quiet and began to face some hard facts about the limiting thoughts I tend to replay in my mind. This podcast helped me to remember who I am.
What are some of your favorite natural ingredients that are multipurpose ? Hempseed oil. (Kentucky hempseed oil cold-pressed in my hometown to be exact. Lol) Rose Geranium essential oil and hydrosol. Moringa Green Tea (powdered and oil). Hibiscus. I think of hibiscus as my floral muse.
What's the last album you listened to in its entirety ? Emily King!
If you had any other career what would it be ? Cultural event planner. Who doesn’t love a good festival?
You are a mom how do you get your children involved in your business ? I don’t really. My kids actually need me to unplug, focus on them and just love on them. If anything I think they get me out of my head. I’m pretty introspective and growing a brand requires me to be out of my comfort zone. So, like when my biz was recently featured in Essence, I showed them the issue. They were proud for a minute and then asked me what we were having for breakfast. Ha! It’s important to remember that Bloomsbury Sq is what I have created, not who I am.
What are 3 items you can’t leave home without?
My phone. My passport cuz I don’t drive and it’s my ID. Lol. My fresh ginger double dip balm. It solves most of my emergencies from head to heel.
What’s your skin regime like, Do you have any hidden skincare tricks ?
I’ve exclusively used B Sq on my face for about two years so that I can truly experience our line. And also finesse the products when I need to. My fave beauty hack is that I use our clay-based micro-scrubs instead of face washes to cleanse my skin every few days. I just sprinkle some powder in my palm, drizzle with water and gently massage into my skin. No one knows that I’m a 44 year old sleep-starved mom of 2.
As I said earlier I am also so obsessed with hibiscus and hemp. It’s like the new friend who’s name you’re always trying to drop into a conversation because she’s so fab. Y’all, please don’t come for me but the thought of acid skin peels kinda freaks me out because I have sensitive skin and I get dark marks easily. So, I created a night oil called the H2 Oil with Hibiscus x Hemp that offers far gentler flower acids for gradual brightening. I’ve been testing it for 6 months and I Am Obsessed. It’s transformed the tone and supple feel of my skin. I’ve rediscovered mirror time.
If you had to describe Bloomsbury SQ in 3 words what would they be ?
"Modern folk beauty"
If you could leave a message for women behind what would it be ? Get in sync with the season you’re in, physically and emotionally.