The story of Mrs. Sylvia Pavlov, Manager of the prestigious Orenda Group Ltd. (known under the trademark of Wooden Spoon) was chosen in the European Comission campaign “Ready to Grow”. The company is a customer of the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) at the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which helped it enter the Swedish sunscreen market. The “Ready to Grow” initiative aims to promote successful stories through EEN and is a fantastic opportunity for companies to gain international recognition and popularity. The latest edition of the campaign was aimed at female entrepreneurs.
Sylvia Pavlova begins her business with the mission of making organic skin care products so clean that they can be eaten. She started her home business in 2014. Today, this successful female entrepreneur has three laboratories, and 70% of their wide range of natural products for adults and children are destined for export.
A team from the EC talks to Silvia about the challenges of starting a business in a highly competitive cosmetic industry and its plans for the future. We offer you an inspiring meeting with her.
How did the idea to start a business in organic cosmetics was born?
In my student years, I had the opportunity to travel and study on three continents, meet local people and share my everyday life with then. The most exciting part fir me was their rituals of beauty. Old recipes, herbal remedies, rare roots, precious oils, all blended together in perfect synergy – forgotten ointments that revive the world of beauty. I wanted to be a part of this world, to create and make products that bring a real change to the health and beauty of the feminine skin. I wanted to create products so clean that we can eat them for breakfast! That’s how it all started. We created a cosmetics company that produces organic edible products, following the “if you can not eat your cream, do not put it on your skin!” It took me 20 years to get enough knowledge and to find the courage to find my own lab to keep my own cosmetics rules.
What challenges did you face as an entrepreneur with little business experience?
The initial challenges in creating and developing new business were exciting. Every little step we celebrated as a great achievement. We tried to ignore the small pebbles on the road and stay focused on the basic idea. As a proud European company, we had an incredible international start. The doors were open to us and we sold in eight markets only two months after the company was opened! Adrenaline and our dedication made our first two years definitely memorable.
The real challenge came when our small lab could no longer carry out all the orders. We had to figure out how to expand our business quickly, preserving the original idea of handmade products made with nutrients. And the logistical challenges turned out to be something that no one could prepare us for! Funding was crucial to the success of our growth. We had to increase the volume of packaging and raw materials stored and for this important investment we wanted to make sure we had the right financial partner. Our good and intensive training has paid off: providing this investment has helped reduce our production costs by becoming even more attractive to foreign partner markets.
How do you see the organic bio cosmetics market in the coming years?
We are at the very beginning of a huge organic wave. Today’s consumers want to know the origin and the way they manufacture the products they use. They read the labels and actively seek information. At the same time we see an increase in skin problems and health. This combination of factors opens a niche for organic cosmetics that returns forgotten natural remedies that are clean and effective. I believe that this trend will lead to the transformation of organic cosmetics from an alternative into mass-used products.