An Appointment with... Imelda Burke

October 1st 2014 / Emma Jones

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If you're looking to clean up your lifestyle, there's no better mentor than Imelda Burke. Find out what this organic pioneer does to stay successful in every area of her life...

With exquisite taste and an encyclopaedic knowledge of all things natural, there's nobody better to help you clean up your act than Content Beauty & Wellbeing founder Imelda Burke. A holistic health addict and organic pioneer, Imelda set up Content to fill the gap in the natural beauty and skincare market left by a lack of variety of brands and organic boutiques. Working to pull together the best in natural luxury ever since, Content is now a thriving hub for all things holistic. To find out how this wellbeing wonder runs her life - and her business - check out her interview below...

Why did you decide to specialise in natural beauty and wellbeing?

I had been using natural products for years but was disillusioned with the shopping options, most beauty boutiques only had one or two natural brands to choose from and as much as I love health food stores I didn’t want to shop for my beauty products in one.

I also wanted a more holistic approach to skin and health. Good skin is a reflection of your overall health and for me an integrated clinic and specialist natural beauty boutique was what I personally wanted from a 21st century beauty store.

When was your big break?

Luxury organic skincare was a bit of an emerging trend when I opened the store six years ago so it was more of a slow burner rather than one moment that changed everything. Having said that, we were supported by lots of international press so it became a global destination for natural beauty fans. Winning the Wallpaper Design Award for Best International Facial in 2010 was one of our first highlights. This put the Dr Alkaitis Skin Food Facial we have had available from launch on the map and drew lots of international attention to the store, which continues today.

What does an average day look like for you (if there ever is one?!)

We have a clinic and store in Marylebone and run the website and online magazine from our office location in Angel. It varies greatly but I work between all areas online and offline and both locations. We often launch brands into the UK so it could be overseeing a new launch or developing ideas for our annual wellbeing festival through to paying the bills and developing new treatments.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The customers, the Content team and the variety. What could be better than spending your day with like-minded people helping others to feel better and look healthier, all while avoiding synthetic ingredients and unhealthy food!

I love being in the store – it’s such a treat. We have the most incredible customers. Often they come to organic skincare via an illness or a review of their health and lifestyle and it’s amazing to watch them transform their life or see their health improve. They all share great product tips and feedback – it’s like a ‘Content’ community.

I also love finding new products and supporting emerging brands who are making beautiful products but may not be able get onto the shelves of larger stores. It is an honour to work with the ranges we do. Behind every niche, natural brand is someone who has taken a chance, creating a new range to give people the choice to use organic skincare and make-up.

Are there any aspects of your job that you find challenging?

Although we are just one physical store, having a web store, online magazine and the clinic it can be like running four different businesses, which can be a bit of a juggling act. But I love it all as each is a key component of what makes Content different.

What's the most common question you get asked by customers?

It’s a tie between ‘What is your best miracle cream….’ and ‘What should I use for sensitive skin…’ followed by ‘What’s that make-up line Miranda Kerr uses?’

What's your team 'me'? Who do you rely on to keep you happy, healthy and sane?

Firstly, the Content team - all a talented bunch of smart, creative people who have their hearts focused on living well and inspiring others to do so too. My partner who makes sure I’m fed and that I remember to go to sleep once in awhile. I treat myself to a spa treatment when I get the time – I love the Aman Spa, they have beautiful holistic treatments and it shuts me off from work and the world for a few hours! Various other friends who also own businesses in the wellbeing sector are great at making me laugh and giving perspective.

How is your industry changing?

It is evolving rapidly with organics showing up in mainstream locations more and more, giving people more access to natural products. New EU regulations on how skincare products are registered to be sold is a challenge. Many of the smaller international brands we love can’t afford to undergo the process of registration, which does limit a bit what we can sell.

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