Claire Croft Talks Abahna – Enjoying a relaxing cup of herbal tea together, paving the way to understanding the importance of a daily bathing ceremony, and why more of us should be enjoying this simple luxury.
“A warm, scented bath is the perfect antidote to the stresses of modern-day living,” says Claire. “We all have such busy lifestyles and it is important to take time out. So why not enjoy it to the full by creating a deeply pleasurable experience that revitalises your mind, body and spirit?”
Claire and her husband Edward founded Abahna in 2005. “Starting a business from scratch was a total learning curve for us,” Claire admits.
“My background was focused on design. My mother had a successful career as a designer and I was fortunate to have grown up surrounded by stylish influences in architecture and interior design.
“After gaining a degree in architecture at Manchester University, I worked in my mother’s interior design business in Ilkley. There was a gift shop attached to the office, which gave me the idea to create a bath and body range. I found a local manufacturer and started with a couple of ranges of toiletries for the shop.
“In 1997 I moved to London and began creating own-label products for high street retailers as well as own-brands for Monsoon, Debenhams and Oasis.
“As global travellers, Edward and I loved to visit exotic locations in India, Indonesia and Bali where bathing is considered to be a ritual. Throughout the ages, bathing has involved so much more than just getting clean. We were totally inspired by the whole ceremony of bathing and wanted to re-create this in our own range.”
The scent is a powerful ingredient it can transform your mood and heighten your feelings, which is why Claire and Edward carefully chose gorgeously scented pure essential oils and combined them with organic botanical extracts. They use organic ingredients in the Abahnarange as they believe that plants grown without chemicals have more benefits and fewer harmful side effects for your skin and body.
Their pure essential oils and bases are derived from vegetable and plant oils. Abahna never uses synthetic perfumes, artificial colourings, mineral oils, paraffin, parabens, SLS and SLES and does not test its products on animals.
This philosophy extends to their packaging, which is recyclable and they only use paper from FSC-approved forests. Added to this their inks and glues are water-based and kinder to the environment. And it seems that the colour sells. “We recently changed the colour of our packaging from cream to bright, bold colours so that our range would stand out on the shelves and make it easy to identify the four fragrances. As a designer, it is very exciting to try something new. This actually resulted in a staggering 50 per cent increase in sales.”
Following the traditional principles of aromatherapy, each of the four fragrance blends in the Abhana range evokes a certain mood:
Mandarin & Sicilian Bergamot is uplifting – a light, refreshing blend, the perfect way to start the day.
Lilac Rose & Geranium is relaxing – containing a rose essence for its nurturing properties and kindness to dry and sensitive skin.
White Grapefruit & May Chang is refreshing – With fresh citrus notes, this is a vivacious blend to lift your spirits and brighten your mood.
Frangipani & Orange Blossom is soothing – This vibrant scent brings the warmth of sunshine to mind and body.
Claire and Edward work from an office next door to their home. They have two children and launched Abahna the year their youngest child Olly was born.
“I don’t want to be a full-time working mum who doesn’t see their kids,” says Claire. “At times juggling a family and career can be challenging, but between us, we managed to do it. I can eat breakfast with the kids in the morning, and we can dine together at night, which I think is important. Edward and I share the school run, so everyone is happy. The great thing about being self-employed is that you are flexible and now the children are a bit older ‘juggling’ has become much easier.”
Claire and Edward Croft have successfully created a brand that is now sold in some of the world’s most prestigious retailers in over 20 countries worldwide from Japan to Iceland. Devotees of the brand include former British prime ministers, members of the Royal family (at home and abroad) and members of the Hollywood A-list.