Love the life you have: Skin Elixir: moisturiser and perfume: handmade and lustrous: empathy and serendipity

Keith Jarrett Kolne Concert most watched piano concert ever

When Keith Jarrett, famous improvisational pianist, agreed to an invitation to play in Kolne, on a poorly tuned piano, he empathised with the 19 year old Vera Brandes, then  Germany’s youngest concert promoter.

1400 people had bought tickets,

She/he couldn’t let them down.

Although he wasn’t happy, playing, with an out of tune and broken pedal piano and he wan’t really over the moon about the result, the Keith Jarrett Kolne concert became the all time best selling piano concert album.

The synergies, connections, that the young promoter Vera realised through that experience, what she learnt in in what Keith Jarrett produced that night in Kolne, led her to study the brain and music and led her to a career where music could heal.

Keith Jarrett renowned jazz pianist and Vera Brandes former promoter and now music and brain researcher.

Anita Roddick (then Anita Pirilli, daughter of Italian immigrants), came across a book about the Nazi concentration camps at ten she felt “a sense of outrage and a sense of empathy for the human condition” and believed that the observing eye could also tell a better story through making and campaigning.



Anita Roddick Image courtesy of The Soul of Enterprise

Anita made use of the cocoa butter she’d seen used by Polynesian women to become a business that walked the walk. I remember Bodyshop before it became Bodyshop: gorgeous pots of face cream in unusual outlets, geranium, the felt as if you were being nourished.

And nourishment, nourishing your skin, nourishment of your senses, is at the heart of Skin Elixir, at the moment a single, perfect line of moisturiser and perfume:



Above pots of Skin Elixir Moisturiser: here’s what’s inside:

Organic essential oils of

Frankincense and May Chang

Base of certified organic Shea butter, organic sweet almond oil

Unrefined Virgin Black Seed Oil

Full of nutrients and naturally-occurring vitamin E.

Frankincense oil is the ‘king’ of oils

Used by  Babylonians, Assyrians and Egyptians

Calming, increasing clarity,

Circulation, promoting  elasticity.

Minimising wrinkles.

Healthy, dewy, glowing skin and complexion

May Chang, Litsea Cubeba,


Anti-fungal, antimicrobial

Anti-inflammatory properties.

For anxiety and stress,


Increases circulation,

Enhances skin-tone.

Controls sebum.

and a perfume: Sang Froid:


Above Shona Munro, with Skin Elixir and a Vial of Sang Froid

Here’s a view:

Warm, comforting, sensual, sexy

Balsam de Peru

Rich-vanilla like, earthy, fresh, balsamic aroma


Woody, fresh hints of spice and fruit, calm aroma,


Smoky: yellow/orange

Vanilla Absolute

Rich sweet vanilla,

Hint of Patchouli

Fresh fruit tones,

Warm and earthy,

Accented-a sweet top note

of Orange

Sweet and tangy

Mid note; Geranium

Sweet and lingers.

Like a Midsummer Night’s Dream

Skin Elixir is Shona Munro’s ethical production business.

Detailed customer research, an understanding of the food supply chain, social enterprise and small biotech business in Nottingham over the last fifteen years means that it’s not surprising that Shona Munro has got so far in three months with Skin Elixir. Connecting to the SEO and social media Bluestocking Debbie Dooodah, was also a great move.

Shona has the courage, creativity and knowledge  because she sees things in a complete, and whole way. She’s smart and she values the heart and challenging the accepted thinking on things: change comes from within us first.

In Shona’s view, we have to be the change we need to see.

Originally from Hull, the place where they have white phone boxes:



Shona had studied French and Strategic Business, her role models being a father who’d worked with big brands like Heinz and an uncle who developed his own successful printing business from scratch.

The spirit of can do is in her family and, three months into her post redundancy project they’re as motivated as her. She’s doing this for her four year olds as well as for herself.

In Skin Elixir, Shona’s developing a business that will be predominantly online but with rich pockets of local distribution and development and Made in Nottingham might be a good outlet.  She wants to get to a production level of 400 units a week over the next two years.

I get the feeling that this business is about showing that something can be profitable that’s grown in Nottingham, she can make a living through it and yet it’s also about creating social and cultural value, sharing knowledge and collaborating.

A good example of this distribution of the ability to create, make and do is Primary in the heart of the city where art, making, printing, gardening, bread and cake baking and a cafe have come together for the good of everyone. Chris Lewis Jones of Nu Urban Gardeners is based there.


Primary is curled around  the idea of distributing the creativity and knowledge that regenerate the city and to create new forms of value.  I think that Shona, experienced in businesses of all kinds,  talented jazz musician, poet,  is part of that movement.

A bit like the work of Jennie Syson in her research and development work and projects for Hinterland and setting up the very first mid career gallery for contemporary art and artists, Shona is driven to succeed and in an ethical and rejuvenating way.

You can buy Skin Elixir here


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