Lucky Cloud Skincare is a beauty brand with a difference. A skincare company focusing on lovingly handmade products and natural ingredients, Lucky Cloud aims to create products which are not only good for your skin but also good for the environment. Lucy Cardwell, founder of Edinburgh-based Lucky Cloud, first became interested in skincare whilst experimenting in her kitchen to create natural products which worked with her eczema-prone skin. Now, two years down the line, Lucky Cloud have two main ranges (Soothing and Hydrating) and produce truly natural skincare which is vegan-friendly, cruelty free and ethically sourced. We caught up with Lucy to find out what goes on behind the scenes when she’s creating a batch of products in her Edinburgh studio.
How do you set up your workspace ready to make a batch of Lucky Cloud products?
Before beginning a batch of products I usually re-read through my recipe and check over my stock of ingredients, making sure I have enough to make the required number of products. There’s nothing worse than starting a batch and discovering I’ve run out of something (yes, it’s happened…)
Using really good quality ingredients is highly important to me.
I always “make” to music, it puts me in a good mood and creates a happy vibe. It’s usually either 6 Music on the radio or a mix of upbeat songs on a Spotify playlist. I like to be barefoot too, well socks at least. I feel more comfortable and grounded when I’m not wearing shoes. One of the great things about having a studio to work from, now that I’ve progressed from working out of my kitchen, is that everything is to hand and easily accessible. It also means that it’s really easy to keep things tidy as I go; something the organiser in me loves.
The next step is disinfecting all my bowls, utensils and equipment. It’s a crucial step that makes sure there’s no contamination. Then, with a hairnet and gloves on it’s time to start making!
What kind of ingredients do you use in Lucky Cloud products?
Using really good quality ingredients is highly important to me. I want my products and brand to be known for their luxury quality, whilst still making sure that each ingredient is there for a purpose. I spend a lot of time reading about different oil, fat and butter qualities. For instance, oats have been used for centuries to help itchy, dry skin – so finding a way of incorporating them into the range was high on my list when developing recipes.
Some of my key ingredients include: Oat, Olive, Sweet Almond, Calendula, Apricot Kernel, Thistle and Evening Primrose Oils, Shea, Cocoa and Coconut Butters and, as all my products are vegan, I use Soy Wax instead of Beeswax.
I purchase 95% of my products from a Scottish company called Aromantic. Although a number of my ingredients are sourced from Scotland or the UK, it’s impossible for everything to be (such as Shea Butter which comes from a tree grown in West Africa). Everything is always ethically sourced and produced.
Can you briefly talk us through the process of making a batch of products?
If you imagine baking like it’s a science experiment that should give you a pretty accurate picture of what making a batch looks like! There’s a lot of carefully weighing out ingredients and combining them in a particular order at specific temperatures – with a lot of whisking and mixing at each stage.
I purchase 95% of my products from a Scottish company… Everything is always ethically sourced and produced.
Each product is made in stages. The “fat” stage is always first, whereby all the oils, butters and waxes are melted together, then the second stage combines the “water” stage (if there is one) to the fat stage. Then as the mixture cools other ingredients, such as active ingredients, vitamin e oil, botanical extracts and essential oils, are added at various temperatures. Then the mixture is poured into jars or bottles and left to cool/set overnight before hand-labelling the next day.
Lucky Cloud was born out of experimentation with really simple lip balm recipes. They didn’t work first time around, and I was really surprised how addicted I got to trying to figure out a solution to fix what went wrong. I then bought more ingredients, books and enrolled in some short courses.
How did you come up with the Lucky Cloud branding?
Coming up with branding and naming for Lucky Cloud was such a difficult and long process. It felt like such a big deal – akin I’m sure to naming a child! Jokes aside, it did feel quite weighted as once the name is out there you have to love it – hearing it over and over again, saying it out loud and so on. I toyed with a number of names before I got to Lucky Cloud. It’s a combination of a few things; my initials, an old nickname and the idea of clouds (which I visually love) being an integral part of nature, our environment and the provider of water and moisture.
As for branding – all I can say is work with a professional. Initially I tried to do it all myself, which took many, many months and got me nowhere near where I wanted to be. Luckily I have a lot of supportive, creative friends and one of them offered to help me. Martin Baillie, an Edinburgh-based graphic designer, is fantastic. He’s worked with some really big creative companies, so to have him on my side is a huge kudos. He also “got” the style I was looking for and what Lucky Cloud was about pretty quickly. Another plus.
Where can we find Lucky Cloud products in Edinburgh? What are your favourite independent shops in the city?
My Edinburgh stockists include: Century General Store in Marchmont, Scottish Design Exchange in Ocean Terminal and the Fruitmarket Gallery on Market Street. You can also find me at the Leith Market on the first Saturday of the month and, of course, online!
As far as shopping local, I love grabbing an indulgent doughnut and coffee from Twelve Triangles on Brunswick Street, or breakfast at Word of Mouth café on Albert Street or Renroc on Montgomery Street (is it obvious yet that I’m a Leither?). For independent gift shopping, I love wandering along Broughton Street – there are so many great shops including Curiouser and Curiouser, Life Story and Concrete Wardrobe. I always love popping in to Red Door Gallery if I’m in the Grassmarket.
Thank you very much to Lucy for giving us an insight into the world of Lucky Cloud Skincare, and thanks also to Ellie Morag for capturing the story behind making a batch of products with her wonderful photography.