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BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 02 Apr '15
Loredana Spiezia: the female dynamite behind Inlight organic
Mariano Spiezia pioneered the UK’s first 100% organic skincare products which, at the time, were so radical that they had to be assessed as food products in order to achieve organic certification. Still today, Mariano’s products carry a stamp of approval that shows they’re genuinely good enough to eat.
But behind Mariano’s pioneering spirit is a great woman whose female energy injects the ‘care’ into Inlight organic skincare. Loredana Spiezia is pure dynamite. ‘I have always tried to consider the business as an extension of my role in life and the things I’ve always been’, Loredana told PQ.
To her, that’s a mum, a partner and a positive, bubbly person who teaches her children that there’s always a bright side if you look hard enough. Still today, this positive energy runs right through the heart of Inlight organic and its HQ in Cornwall.
When Loredana and Mariano Spiezia first visited Cornwall, they were on a four-week holiday with their three children. ‘The story is as simple as this’, Loredana explains. ‘We went back, packed everything up and moved over here after a few weeks! Crazy Italians? We just followed our hearts. Mariano, my husband, has spent most of his life researching herbs, roots, flowers and their properties – so what better place than Cornwall for providing inspiration for his work?’
The combination of Mariano’s expertise and Loredana’s passion for life and people very soon resulted in a few balms being made up around the big kitchen table while the children were asleep. A neighbour, Anne McGregor, was the first guinea pig; she asked whether Mariano could ‘make up some herbal stuff ’ to try on her skin, and the results were so impressive that word quickly spread.
‘I knew almost immediately that we were at the dawn of a new big adventure’, Loredana remembers. ‘I also think that when you believe in something, if you clearly ask and patiently wait, sooner or later the answer will definitely come.’
The answer came in the form of ‘a magical fairy’ who was, at the time, beauty editor of You magazine with the Mail on Sunday. ‘When she said Mariano’s cleanser was ‘probably the best in the world’, I thought she was just being kind’, Loredana recalls, ‘but I saw it wasn’t a joke when I opened the paper that Sunday!’ The phone didn’t stop ringing for three months. ‘Soon I had to realise we were a proper business and that I was the manager.’
The Spiezias rocketed to fame overnight: neighbours Annie, Clare, Jenny, Bob and Eileen – plus Loredana and Mariano’s children, Marco, Maria Chiara and Francesco – became staff , taking orders, helping with the accounts and packing up products. Soon the storm became a dream; ‘In the morning, everyone was ready – with a big smile – to start telling people how important and easy it is to care for yourself and for Nature. We explained how we made the products without adding any unnecessary chemicals or preservatives – or even water – so we didn’t dilute the powers and properties of the herbs.’
At lunchtime, when there was finally time for a break, the bright red packing table became a lavish dinner table, where staff feasted on Italian meals that Mariano and Loredana had prepared at dawn in their cottage next door.
The test came on a full moon night in May 2004: a neighbour knocked on the door at 3am to alert the Spiezias that the lab in their converted Cornish barn was on fire. ‘The flames were so high that we couldn’t go too close, but it was already too late. Mariano, the children and I stood there watching all this hard work disappearing in the smoke; nothing could be done by the lovely fireman, Trevor, or his team – even though they were there within
Maria Chiara, who was 16 at the time, reminded Loredana that there must be something positive to be taken away from the ashes. ‘The flames were the only bright things I could see in that moment’, Loredana confesses, ‘but I couldn’t disappoint her. I had to think of an immediate answer and realised that we were all alive: no one was hurt, and that was bright enough. Besides, deep inside I truly knew that something good would eventually
Some very special support…
After only nine weeks the team was back in production, thanks to the support of hundreds of customers who were waiting for the new ‘crop’. In one day the Spiezias received 600 emails from customers who were encouraging them to keep going; many even offered to pay for orders in advance to help with finances. ‘How amazing is this?’, Loredana gushes, ‘We even received a letter from the Royals!’
The incredible support kept the Spiezias going through difficult times, but by 2005 they had had enough. ‘It’s impossible to give a reason’, Loredana told PQ, ‘but let’s just say that we were not having fun any longer. We felt we wanted to dedicate our time to more research, so we left the company.’
Nevertheless, within just two years the Spiezias were back in business. They met up with Dr Alma Rodriguez, who had been Mariano’s professor at university and was founder of the Independent University of Homeopathic Medicine in Naples (LUIMO). ‘Dr Alma and her three children have always been at the cutting edge of wellbeing and complementary health, and they’ve researched the best-ever products to distribute through their company, CeMon’, Loredana explains. ‘It was immediately clear that we were going to end up working together!’
And so Inlight organic skincare was born. ‘Only those who invent a brand can evolve it’, Loredana told PQ, ‘and Inlight organic skincare – our current range of luxury skin products – is the perfect expression of our desire to promote natural, authentic and luxury beauty with health at its heart. Dr Spiezia has been addressed as the ‘artisan’ of luxe beauty, but I like to tweak the word to ‘heartisan’!’
Every single ingredient in Inlight organic skincare is, of course, 100% organic – and the products are still produced around the table. ‘This has evolved from our country kitchen table to a stainless steel one, but the heart and accuracy is still the same – if not bigger!’ Loredana said.
Working with energy
Mariano has created a biolipophilic matrix – a specific mix of organic and cold pressed vegetable oils selected for their fine biochemical affinity, on a lipid level, with the skin. These oils are ‘empowered’ using bespoke techniques to give them ‘a unique energy imprinting and a positive conditioning’ – to use his words – as well as helping to keep the active ingredients effective for longer. The mix, which forms part of each Inlight skin product, has been developed to give the skin the essential natural elements it needs to be nourished and regenerated.
It’s not surprising that Dr Spiezia has been profiled as one of the top 25 personalities in the cosmetic industry by the Who’s Who in Natural Beauty awards – but this is a relationship of equals. ‘There is that ‘feminine’ characteristic that says it all, called ‘care’. Care for ourselves, care for what we do, care for the people who are around and the world we live in’, Loredana told PQ. ‘Many customers now say that they couldn’t live without Inlight skincare products; as well as the wonderful active ingredients, I truly believe that all our products still carry our genuine love for life, our care and all our friends’ enthusiasm – just as they did in the old days when we first started this never-ending adventure.’
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