Business, botanical apothecary & burnout with Samson & Charlie CEO & co-founder Carole Staeck

Business, botanical apothecary & burnout with Samson & Charlie CEO & co-founder Carole Staeck

Today on, I am excited to welcome Carole Staeck, CEO and co-founder of Samson & Charlie Botanical Apothecary. Samson & Charlie Skincare is a clean beauty brand that’s 100% vegan and cruelty free. Made in Australia, Samson & Charlie offers skin solutions via uncomplicated, natural skincare that create real results. Their products are designed to fit seamlessly into busy modern lives, offering simple skincare routines. Their products work to noticeably improve skin tone, complexion and boost your confidence to help you love the skin you’re in. Today, Carole and I chat about all things business including avoiding burnout, as well as what botanical apothecary means in the modern day, and the amazing Samson & Charlie range.

Hi Carole, thank you for joining me today on! Tell me about yourself...
I am the CEO and Co-Founder of Samson & Charlie Skincare, an Aussie skincare company created to simplify everyone's and anyone's skincare routines. I’ve been blissfully married for 11 years to Aaron, the brand’s co-founder, and am Mum to two fur babies. I have a background in business development, general management and deployment, and was a CEO in the past. This corporate experience helped build our unique perspective on skincare.

Let's chat about creating your beautiful brand Samson & Charlie. What was your journey to starting Samson & Charlie (your inspiration, motivation and your why)?
The inspiration was founded in a desire to spend my energy creating something that gave back to the world in a positive, meaningful way. I wanted to give people a ‘feel good’ moment in their day. The inspiration wasn’t a singular moment but a compilation of events over many years. My affinity for craftsmanship in skincare percolated for many years as I studied formulating and began creating products with natural ingredients. While on forced bed rest during a bout of illness while at my old job, I Googled 'how to make a body scrub'. That opened up a whole new world to me. I began making scrubs and body oils but quickly started to research the ins and outs of formulations and preservation. By the end of 2012, I was properly formulating cleansers and moisturisers. Aaron, my husband, built me my own lab: My happy place. I even managed to drag him into the mad scientist sessions of formulating. I learned there is something very real about creating a product from natural, pure ingredients. I relied on a 2-in-1 exfoliating cleanser and deeply hydrating moisturiser. These would go on to become Samson & Charlie’s flagship products.

My husband and I started our own business for a lot of reasons, including the desire to do something that was our own. We wanted that feeling of total control and the ability to grow and develop without limits. At Samson & Charlie I get to do what I love every single day, and last but not least I get to build something with my husband that really helps people feel good . I wanted to be hands-on creating the brand from the logo, website, products and dispatching orders. So we run the business from start to finish and we are proud of every product we sell. We continually reinvest and reinvent products to stay ahead of the game, so that we can continue to provide our customers with a premium quality skincare range that offers attainable luxury. I think because my career began in the mining environment of Western Australia where strict safety and quality regulations are a core element of the job, I have a deep understanding of how these two principles drive better performance outcomes. These ingrained principles of continual process improvement, centered around the customer, are truly the foundation we built Samson & Charlie on.

Tell me all about the super cute name...
We decided to name our skincare brand after our two fur babies Samson (our Black Russian) and Charlie (our Maltese Shit-Zu) who have been a huge part of our lives. We wanted them to have a legacy. Samson & Charlie, the company, was born.

What has been a highlight or something you think back on and reflect and think, wow - I did that and it really made an impact!
Samson & Charlie as a whole! I read the feedback from our customers and it 100% gives me that 'wow I can't believe we created this!' feeling. It’s not just about the products themselves, it’s about giving people that moment of self-care, luxury and ‘me-time,’ plus visible results. That’s what I’m really proud of. I'm so humbled and grateful for the reception of our creations. It is utterly mind blowing. Especially after two tough years when so many brands have folded, we’re so thankful to our customers and our ingenuity for helping Samson & Charlie thrive throughout 2020 and 2021.

Samson & Charlie is based on the Botanical Apothecary. Tell me more about this...
We wanted to create a clean beauty brand that celebrates natural botanical ingredients. We look for unique, potent, high- performance natural ingredients that deliver results: This is the ethos behind the Botanical Apothecary. To name just two: We use blue Tansy to help balance acne-prone skin, and prickly pear seed oil for deep hydration, made famous by Nigella Lawson. In summary, Samson & Charlie is a vegan brand that is focused on luxurious formulations that feature extraordinary botanical ingredients to rejuvenate and nourish.

Talk us through some of your key products; their benefits and the results.
Our key products are Famous 24K Glow Face Oil (anti-aging) and The Gift Balancing Facial Oil (to restore balance). They are both designed to address common skin concerns our customers face as they work directly with a specific skin type We found people really responded to the specificity of these products so we built two clear routines: 1. Renewal Anti-aging and 2. Balancing Clarifying range for Combination and Oily skin types. They both contain simple, easy-to-use, natural vegan ingredients that will transform your skin.

We can also enjoy Beauty Teas and a range of beauty tools alongside your range for the ultimate self-care package. Tell me more about these…
We have taken a holistic approach to beauty and believe that the addition of antioxidant rich herbal teas will help to support a healthy glow from the inside out. And in true Samson & Charlie style, the beauty tea is an indulgent experience full of incredible, organic ingredients.

For anyone thinking of starting their own brand, what would be your top 3 tips?

  1. Authenticity - Don’t create something if you're pretending to be something you’re not. In other words, if cat products are selling like crazy but you're a dog person who has never owned a cat, your brand is going to be so much more challenging. Instead, create a brand around something you’re truly passionate about! Customers can tell when you’re not being authentic.
  1. Run your own race - Stay in your lane and stay focused and recognise your own level of success. Don’t look at what everyone else is doing all the time. Comparing yourself to anyone else is a waste of energy and neve a fair assessment anyway, you only see what they want you to see.
  1. Prepare to learn - No matter how well educated or experienced you are there’s always something new to learn. Every new endeavour parts water in a new and different way that requires you to understand the environment you are really in. You’ll constantly discover new tools and skills required to help you navigate your business world. Consumers behaviour and trends are shifting at speeds never seen before, the vigilant and adaptable will learn how to make this work for them.

"At Samson & Charlie I get to do what I love every single day, and am building something with my husband that really helps people feel good. We run the business from start to finish and we are proud of every product we sell. We continually reinvest and reinvent products to stay ahead of the game, so that we can continue to provide our customers with a premium quality skincare range that offers attainable luxury."

- Carole Staeck, co-founder of Samson & Charlie

Let's talk about burnout: Knowing the signs of burnout is SO important. What is your experience with this?
I think I could write a book about burnout. While working across the telecommunications industry in various roles across my 15 years as a project executive, I experienced first-hand the physical toll and consequences that stress, anxiety and work-life imbalance can have on women’s health. One thing I didn’t know about was how to recognise the signs. It’s important for our physical and mental health to understand what burnout looks like and when action is required. I can’t stress enough how important it is to listen to your body, not your head in these circumstances. I learned that the hard way. I didn’t read the signs. The first sign I was headed into serious burnout with long term medical implications started with a compulsion to respond to emails no matter the day or time. I was always on. Not being able to switch off and be present in your personal life is a major sign you're on a slippery slope; destination burnout. I started to get sick with a cold or flu more frequently, which was a sign my immune system was fatigued. What is worse was that I was praised for working through hospitalisations and illness in my corporate role. Noticing you’re often ‘run down’ shouldn’t be a normal part of your work life. If your family and friends are concerned about you, that’s a huge sign that things are worse than you realise.

If someone feels like they may be experiencing this, what would be your advice to them based on your own experience?When you no longer feel joy going to work, it's time to change. Sometimes, without you realising it, a workplace is just not a good fit for you. Other times, your workplace is just not a healthy work environment. Some of the most toxic work environments are ones that encourage you to work unpaid hours consistently without concern for the long term impacts on your wellbeing. Beware of those! The main thing I learned is: Don’t be fooled. It's not a badge of honour and you're not a hero when you're broken. It won't be the employer who will fix you. That falls to your loved ones, and ultimately to you.

What's planned for the rest of 2021 and any exciting news/plans you would like to share?
Now that we are settled in our home state of WA after moving from VIC, I'm back into developing the next generation of exciting skincare solutions. For the Christmas period we are excited to introduce 3 new amazing Beauty Hampers that will make fantastic gifts for every skincare lover. Stay tuned!

Where can we find you, shop the range, and learn more about Botanical Apothecary?
Visit our website and join our Instagram community @samsonandcharlie. Enjoy 15% off our skincare and beauty hampers this Christmas with code Pretty15% at checkout!

Thank you for joining me today and sharing your journey and experiences so honestly for our community. Congratulations on creating a beautiful brand and range that promotes confidence and loving the skin you are in. Be sure to check out the range (don't forget Pretty15% at checkout!) and join the Samson & Charlie Instagram community!

Hayley x

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