Can you introduce yourself? How was Namaki created?

My name is Vincent Bascoul, and I founded Namaki in 2013. I originally trained as an engineer and wanted to change direction after my various jobs. So I decided to create a brand from scratch. I set up the company with my wife, Marie-Laure, who was already working in organic make-up.

Our starting point was the observation that there were more and more certified organic make-up brands for adults, but paradoxically, there was still nothing clean for children. So we said to ourselves: we know how to do it, we want to do it, so we're going to do it. So we released the first products in early 2014, starting with face painting kits: the 8-color face painting kits, which are geared towards "face paint". Then little by little the range expanded with nail polishes, hair mascaras then glitter powders and so on. We've tried to move into different universes, and we've still got lots of ideas in the pipeline!

Where is the company based?

We're based in the Valence region, in the Drôme. This is an area where there are a lot of organic companies, and organic cosmetics in particular. We're just a few meters from the headquarters of Cosmebio, for example: the label that federates all organic cosmetics companies. So we're in the right environment.

So can you tell us about what's inside your products?

That's exactly our approach when we set up the company, which was to offer children's make-up that was certified organic, but also environmentally friendly and as safe as possible for children's health. We started from the observation that what was available on the market was neither very ecologically clean nor very healthy. This is often highlighted in consumer magazines around Carnival and Halloween.

So we really wanted to change that, to offer both a certified organic and hypoallergenic product, and one in eco-designed packaging. So we tried to do everything at the same time. It's not always easy, and there are some products we don't release because we can't meet all these conditions. But in any case, for all those that now represent the range, we can say that we have succeeded in combining them.

For all our products except nail varnishes, we will use compositions of between 99 and 100% natural origin, and our pigments are of mineral origin, excluding all petrochemicals and synthetic colorants. The same applies to preservatives: we use only those authorized by Cosmebio and Cosmos Organic for organic certification. We are, however, obliged to include preservatives, as some products are used with water, so there is bound to be bacteriological development, so we are obliged to use preservatives for safety reasons. We can't go "preservative-free" and say that the products are completely safe, because without preservatives, bacteriological development can occur, which is not necessarily very good. So we have to find the right balance between using preservatives that are not too harmful, and ensuring that the products remain safe to use for a certain length of time (6 to 12 months, depending on the product).

Can you tell us about one or two products that you particularly like?

For example, we have the sparkling case, which generally works very well at Christmas time. It's an organic cotton kit with inside: a magic brush with a small refill of all-mineral, certified organic glitter that we put inside the brush to diffuse the glitter on the face, hair or body. In the kit, there's also a certified organic moisturizing lip balm that will lightly color the lips. It's a good time of year to use these products. We try to have products that are both healthy and fun to use. The lip balm is a good example: we have a product that is very moisturizing, that will take care of the lips during the winter period, but that is also fun: since it is slightly colored. So there's this dual approach: both healthy and fun.

Another product we brought out at the end of last year had a very successful launch: a 7 eyeshadows palette. It was eagerly awaited by our customers, and we put a lot of work into it. It's called "My secret play makeup", and contains 7 colorful, playful eyeshadows that are still soft and suitable for children. It also includes a small applicator and a mirror, so kids have their first complete make-up set to take anywhere. We're really presenting it as a make-up set for festive occasions such as New Year's Eve, a dance gala or to complete a costume. A much-awaited product that works very well!

Can you tell us about your varnish range?

Indeed, we had made the choice to complete our range with nail polishes, we did it quite early, in 2015. The difficulty with nail polishes is that they can't be certified organic. For children's nail polishes, it's even more complicated, because they're water-based. When I say "complicated", I mean that it's actually impossible given the current state of research. If it were possible, we'd have done it! The difficulty lies in having a water-based formula that will remove all volatile organic compounds, alcohol and solvents. On the other hand, plasticizers and preservatives are also needed, so we have to strike a balance between the harmful elements of the varnish we want to remove, while adding things that will still enable us to have a product that is satisfactory in terms of use. In addition to the water base, we have chosen to formulate peelable varnishes to make them fun to apply and remove. It can be removed without solvent and very easily, because when dry, we can peel the varnish off the nail like a sticker.

So we can wash our hands without removing the varnish!

There are two main types of water-based varnish: those that can be removed by washing and rubbing, and peel-off varnishes like ours, which don't wash off, but can be removed by peeling off the varnish layer. It remains easy to remove, for example after a bath, when hands are soaked in water for 5 to 10 minutes, it comes off even more easily. That's kind of the philosophy with us, which is that products have to be both easy to apply and also very easy to remove. We really design our products from a parent's point of view, and that's just as well, because we're parents too, and we test our products on our children too! The basic idea is that the product should be very easy to remove, to remove the apprehension of parents who might not want to put make-up on their children because it's too complicated, because they think they don't know how, because it's too messy or too difficult to remove. It's really to say to parents: you can go ahead! Not only is it safe for your children's health, with no dermatological problems, but you'll have no trouble removing it after the fun session!

So you're both a couple and partners at Namaki. What's special about the two of you?

Marie-Laure's experience in organic cosmetics means she's more involved in product development. As I created the company, I'm more concerned with strategy, marketing, finance and administration.

How many of you are there today at Namaki?

There are currently eight of us.

Before we finish, would you like to add anything about Namaki?

We've still got lots of ideas coming, so don't hesitate to give us your ideas. We also like this kind of exchange. There are lots of products that we've been able to bring out thanks to our customers' ideas. We really appreciate this co-creation aspect with our customers, because that's what we're here for, to meet the needs we try to capture, even if most of the time we manage to pinpoint those needs. But don't hesitate to tell us, for example, "I've got a daughter at home who'd love to have this..." and we'll make sure she does!

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