Childs Farm started off in 2010, as a quest by founder Joanna Jensen to find a shampoo and conditioner to deal with her two daughters’ fine hair and sensitive skin. She found that without using conditioner, it was impossible to comb her children’s hair after washing it, but she couldn’t find a conditioner that worked but which didn’t contain parabens and other nasties.
Joanna also noticed that children’s toiletries fell into two camps. Either they were fantastically packaged but used the same ingredients as adult products, or else they were specifically for children but looked like they should be in the medicine cabinet. Joanna thought it was time that children had the same decent product and packaging that adults enjoyed in a luxury toiletries range.
As a horse owner and breeder, Joanna was used to making potions and creams for her animals. So she made a natural base shampoo for children, and added her favourite essential oils to make it smell great. Using this sample, she went to various manufacturers, with a clear idea of what she did and didn’t want in her products. Most, however, tried to make her change her mind or told her she could get away with a paraben or two… The only manufacturer who didn’t do this was Medichem – who had also made toiletries for Duchy Originals’ organic toiletries range (including their baby range).
Joanna and Medichem worked together on a shampoo recipe, and Joanna herself chose the essential oils and fragrance, originally strawberry and mint.
She found that she no longer had the problem of screaming girls running away from the hairbrush after bathtime, and decided to try out her new shampoo on her friends’ kids too. Some of them had eczema, which wasn’t irritated by the shampoo – and even started to get better after using it.
Pleased with these results, Joanna and Medichem went on to make a conditioner, and then expanded into sweet orange hair and body wash, and tangerine bubble bath.
In November 2011, with 1,000 bottles of each product piled up in her Hampshire barn, Joanna began selling online to individual customers and small retailers.