Interview With Freddy Furber, Founder Of Q+A Skincare
Natural, clean, and ingredient led, Q+A is a skincare brand on a mission to simplify and demystify skincare. Founded in 2013 and based in Norfolk, all of their products are free from silicones and are 98% natural, vegan, cruelty-free, and feature a range of key natural ingredients to give you your best complexion yet. In their product range, you'll find a variety of gentle cleansers, hydrating serums, and nourishing facial oils suited to all skin concerns for a radiant, healthy complexion.
Read our exclusive interview below with Q+A founder Freddy Furber to find out more about the story behind the brand, the process behind launching a new skincare product, plus what's next for the business...
1.Tell us the journey that lead you to launching your brand, Q+A
After spending my teens and early twenties either studying music or performing it in various bands my hopes of perusing music as a career were waning, due to mostly a mixture of exhaustion and bad timing.
I had always wanted to start my own company, so I set up business as a sole trader trading products online (eBay & Amazon) with the goal of simply surviving.
Fast forward 10 years and Ellipsis Brands (the brand business that is responsible for the development of Q+A) is thriving and has become something a lot bigger than ever planned or anticipated. It is still totally boot strapped too, and independent.
Prior to launching Q+A, we founded a men’s grooming brand, Percy Nobleman, among other brands and projects! I have an immense passion and obsession for brand and product development, I really enjoy the scientific, research and development side to the business, as well as managing the team and enjoying each day.
Q+A was launched after I recognised that many customers felt overwhelmed and confused when purchasing skincare – there are so many options out there, with so many different claims (some a little far-fetched too). My main goal was to make skincare accessible, with affordable prices and clear skin-benefits. Natural ingredients are at the core of our brand business, and the 98% natural Q+A range is something I’m immensely proud of.
2. Skincare can be really confusing to people. How do you make it more understandable and where do you recommend people start?
We try to focus each Q+A product on a specific skincare ingredient e.g. Hyaluronic Acid, to help break down the barriers in understanding which ingredients work best for your skin type. This could not be clearer than in our skincare checklists which offer simple guidance on which skin concerns and skin types the products are good for.
Generically skincare has always been about selling a miracle or dream, the marketing messages being often fanciful or unclear. I think this has led to people feeling as if they are chasing something that is simply unattainable.
Start with a simple regime that follows the “cleanse, target, hydrate and protect” – a simple and effective cleanser, a product that is targeted to your skincare concerns, a good hydrating moisturiser and a layer of protection, whether that be with antioxidant products at night, or SPF in the daytime. Be consistent and results will follow…
3. What’s the process behind launching a new product?
We are very lucky to have a vertically integrated business, which allows for total control and creative freedom. I am very fortunate to still be responsible for developing the product briefs and concepts. Each product starts with an idea, then I usually spend time with our amazing development team in the lab discussing the pros/cons and ‘can we do this?’ At that stage we start sourcing the various raw materials and running experiments in the lab and passing around development samples for the team to try. Once approved the samples go out for wider review, and we start to put the product into various critical paths (over 80 steps!) to ensure it’s ready for market. We are always looking to discover unique, diverse and innovative ingredients so a lot of our time is spent speaking to our partners and on discovery missions!
4. What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced as an entrepreneur so far?
I feel to succeed in business you need a relentless energy, enthusiasm and love for what you do. Honing this when the chips are down can be a challenge. Recently, finding time to be studious hasn’t been easy, at the beginning of my career my head was always in one book or another, finding the next call for inspiration… now I have to make time for that. I am always trying to keep my diary clear for deeper thought and reflection, but I’m fighting a losing battle.
5. In your opinion, what sets you apart from other beauty brands?
Due to the vertically integrated business model we are able to deliver products to a very high quality at an affordable price, in record time! We are doing this all the while maintaining a huge focus on natural materials.
Our formulations are all unique, as our some of our manufacturing techniques. A great example is our Grapefruit Cleansing Balm, this product literally melts off your makeup, you won’t find another product like it on the market… and here’s why… it’s nearly impossible to manufacture.
6. Looking back since launching the brand, is there anything you would do differently?
I try to not think in ‘what if’s’ because life is challenging enough to be constantly beating yourself up, and there is a lot of opportunity for that in business. However, with Q+A, it was the 6th brand we brought to market, so we were lucky to make a lot of the mistakes on previous launches, and take all of that into Q+A. There are plenty of things we would like to do, to push the brand as far as we can, but ultimately there is a balance, and our resources are always carefully monitored, because the business is growing quickly.
7. How much has social media played a role in the success of your brand?
It has been a great platform to create an amazing skincare community. Community is everything, so I would say hugely important! We have been really blessed to have such an amazing marketing team who have really put everything into the brands launch on social, along with our press and sales teams too, and all our wonderful collaborators. They have all had such a focus on staying true to the brands values and DNA… I couldn’t be happier!
8. What’s next for the business?
We will continue to innovate, launch new brands, and champion natural materials! We have been on an aggressive cycle of reinvesting back into the company, be it in manufacturing, development or our team. We are really happy with where we are and just wish to keep going. For Q+A, it’s all about working with more innovative natural ingredients, and growing the ranges that our customers love.
9. What does self-care mean to you?
Time to yourself to prepare for the day ahead. Time with the family. Time to reflect and think!