Jessica Frankopan is the owner of nature-inspired British wellbeing brand Green and Spring as well as the founder of contemporary country house hotel Cowley Manor, and the Curious Group of Hotels. Susannah Taylor met with her to talk hedgerow and kitchen garden ingredients, vibrant interiors and juggling motherhood with enormous amounts of work.
ST: How did you think of the name Green and Spring?
JF: I got the name whilst I was in massage nirvana. ‘Green’ has a sense of renewal and ‘Spring’ for its health benefits.
ST: The products feel very British. Is it all made in the UK?
JF: Yes, our products are made in Somerset using herbs and flowers native to the British Isles. We have an amazing ‘nose’ who’s a total hippy and a real artisan and his workshops are like a mad laboratory. As well as being the nose he is also the apothecarist. I get hugely inspired by the gardens here (at Cowley Manor), and the water from the natural spring is used in the products.
ST: Why was it important to you to have a nature-based brand rather than something more clinical?
JF: For me home has always been in the countryside, and I also like to put natural things into my body. We wanted to create a brand that reflected the beauty and abundance of the British countryside – herb gardens, flowers, green grass and meadows and so we have included everything from dandelion to fennel, red clover and elderberry. I have always been worried about the synthetics of products seeping into my pores. I am a nature girl at heart and try to eat as organic as possible too – when I had children I drank no coffee or wine for years.
ST: Aromatherapy is obviously all about scent – how important is that to you?
JF: I spend a huge amount of time creating the scent of each product – how natural fragrances work together is far more complicated than synthetic fragrances. I cannot bear synthetic fragrance.
ST: The brightly coloured British birds on all your packaging are so different to other spa brands…
JF: I wanted to find an icon that represented British wildlife – and so there are different British birds on every product. Every bird is slightly tweaked to look more contemporary.
ST: From the look of Cowley manor (a beautiful contemporary country house hotel set in 55 acres of woodland in the Cotswolds ), and the beautifully coloured birds on the Green and Spring packaging, aesthetics are very important to you. How would you describe your taste?
JF: Colour is a huge part of my life – everything I touch is colourful from my house to my clothes. If you open my wardrobe you won’t find any black. I have a house in Oxford and I literally couldn’t find colours bright enough for it. Our bedroom has a real boudoir feel for example and I’m a big fan of painting one wall a bold shade. Purple is my favourite colour, but I used to have a real thing for turquoise when I was younger. I remember as a child having a great turquoise jumper from Benetton and I was teased for its brightness.
ST: You have four children – how do you cope with them and running these businesses?
JF: I have childcare! There have been times when it wasn’t the right balance between work and home life at all. For two years I worked too hard. I am now more modest about what I’m setting out to achieve rather than being unrealistic. You realise that you can’t be perfect.
ST: How do you manage your workload?
JF: I try to look at my email in time slots – it’s really important not to let it barrage you – and when it comes to paperwork someone once taught me to see every piece of paper like a grain of sand and to pick up whatever is on the top of the pile and deal with it thoroughly and completely before moving onto the next one. I also try not to open mail more than twice a week.
ST: How do you relax or switch off?
JF: I find it quite easy to switch off these days – but I consciously use yoga techniques to calm my mind. I also exercise – I have a proper exercise slot and I love tennis and enjoy hitting that ball as hard as I can!
ST: What’s your favourite make-up brand?
JF: Nearly all of my products are MAC.
ST: What’s your favourite product in the Green and Spring range?
JF: My favourite products are the Relaxing range which use lavender, comfrey and rosemary. I also couldn’t live without the revitalising Exfoliating Body Wash which really gets me going in the mornings.
The Green and Spring range consists of bath oils, body creams, bath foams, candles and haircare. There’s a Revitalising range inspired by green grassy fields containing peppermint, dandelion and fennel; The Relaxing range inspired by aromatic kitchen herbs with lavender, comfrey and rosemary; The Indulging range drawn from the English country garden made with rose, jasmine, elderflower and red clover, and the all-new Repair and Restore range which is inspired by Victorian English Gardens and concocted with bergamot, lemon myrtle, lavender and chamomile. This range leaves skin enriched and deeply moisturised.