At Raft we believe in doing the right thing. And doing it yourself if necessary. We look out for people with the same ethic and, when we get a few moments, we ask them to share a few thoughts with us.
Dom Bridges is the founder of Haeckels - a skincare and fragrance company with a difference: their products are made from natural seaweed harvested from the British coastline...
Like quite a few people these days, Dom Bridges (pictured above) moved to Margate, in search of a new lifestyle beside the sea. As he points out, there’s a heritage of healthy coastal living on the Kent coast. But not everyone who moves to the sea finds their inspiration, as Dom did, on the shoreline itself.
Seven years ago, Dom, once an ad man who made commercials for beauty products, found himself volunteering to clear up the local beach. Getting rid of the rubbish, he also came across the shore’s natural seaweed. An idea was born: to get rid of the rubbish from beauty products too and take inspiration from nature.
Dom says ‘the ocean collectively inspires and drives us forward every day’. Haeckels started from small beginnings — soaps cooked up in the family kitchen and given to friends. Once disillusioned by the way that large skincare companies were creating their products, Dom Bridges now says that there’s an honesty in what he does that he felt was lacking previously. He tells us, ‘being able to create with purpose and function whilst also striving for a better future for our oceans gives me a reason to feel inspired and motivated every day.’
So, what’s so special about seaweed? According to Dom, ‘seaweed has powerful antibacterial and antioxidant properties’ as well as being hydrating and calming. He says that many of his customers have found powerful relief from skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. He loves the positive feedback that the team gets from happy customers.
But you can’t just go and help yourself to all the seaweed you want, if you find yourself on the beach with your bucket and spade in Margate, or anywhere else. Haeckels have one of only two licenses in the whole of the UK to harvest seaweed from the British coastline. The company’s product range has extended and includes hair and skin care as well as perfumes, candles, and even beard oil.
While the company’s grown, now with a beautiful shop in Margate and a lab where they develop products, Haeckels also wants to stay true to its roots. As Dom says, ‘these powerful ingredients are available practically on our doorstep and using them ties our products back to the community and history of Margate’. Even the packaging is sourced locally.
Haeckels even offers an incentive to do as Dom once did and clean up the local beaches. Under a scheme the company calls Rubbish for Product, if you bring them a bag full of rubbish from the beach — along with visual proof you collected it from Walpole Bay — they’ll give you a free body cleanser in return.
While Dom has big ambitions for the future, he wants to continue to champion honesty and transparency, while raising further awareness about the fragility and value of the ocean.
See more about Haeckels and buy their products at www.haeckels.co.ukAt Raft we craft furniture from reclaimed teak and hand-make sofas in our own London factory. Read about our founders Mick & Heinz here.