I met the Hamilton sisters at their new flagship store in Burleigh Heads. The store is a treasure chest filled with natural and magic treats. Everywhere you look you will discover something new. These woman are strong, humble and are changing the world, one step at a time.
Tell us a little bit about yourselves, who you are and what excites you?
A: Hey! I’m Anna Hamilton, one of the Co – Founders of Cedar & Stone. I get excited over really small, trivial things and love reading about real life facts so I can relay it in a really long-winded story to my friends, who probably don’t care but listen anyway. I love skin care (luckily), music and red wine!
K: I'm Kate - also Anna's sister. I get excited over the simple things - sitting on the headland with my husband and kids whilst eating hot chips, my husky Rusty, my bees and giving my houseplants all the love :)
You are the founders of Cedar and Stone. Can you tell us about your business?
A: We came from really humble beginnings, all starting in Kate's kitchen in Currumbin Valley! We started with about 7 products. Now it has grown to just short of 60 products, everything from face oils to night creams, face masks and bars of soap. We have just about every skincare category covered.
Is natural skincare something you have always been passionate about? And what sparked the idea to create Cedar and Stone?
A: To be honest no, it wasn’t until I had a better understanding of what chemicals go into some of the mainstream products people use. That shook me to my core. It took me a lot longer to adjust to natural than Kate, she has always been into it, but my word I’m glad I did, my skin is so much better.
K: Yes, I studied natural therapies 7 years ago but even before that my whole world revolved around a natural way of living. I was making my children natural bath products and Anna suggested we bottle some up and sell them at the local markets. We had a business name that week and 3 months after we were exporting to Urban Outfitters in the USA. It was a fast wild ride!
I love that your mission is “for people to see natural and organic as normal and not alternative“. Tell us your ideas behind this mission.
A: We were given so many resources on this earth to take care of ourselves. It was our greed and expectations of quick and easy products as humans that has successfully driven the industry into fast paced skincare or products that are so genetically modified, that the main ingredient loses its core value. What happened to throwing some aloe vera on your skin after being in the sun? Now we put all these insane chemicals on our skin just so we can turn it into a spray that doesn’t have any ‘gross looking’ sediments in there. We use amber bottles on some of our products because the ingredients inside might look unappealing, because we don’t use any chemicals to make them look clear and ‘aesthetically’ nice on a shelf.
K: Yep, what she said!!
Your business has such positive and strong ethos. You advocate not only for our bodies, but also the planet. Where does this passion stem from?
A: There is a movement happening at the moment and we are front and centre. We have all the tools to try and shape our brand to make sure it has a lighter footprint on the earth, so we are doing everything we possibly can to stay true to that. Being aware of what we are doing to the earth is essential for helping it. I was ignorant for too long – in the last two years I’ve really made a conscious effort to help do my thing where possible.
K: We always knew we wanted to give back in some way - to people and the planet. It just makes sense. There are so many people less fortunate in our world and we don't take it for granted - actually, that's a lie, I'm full of shit, we do take it for granted, every single day. What we can do as a brand is so minuscule in the scheme of things but we have to try, everyone has to do their bit or to be brutally honest, we're fucked!
You are big believers in giving back! Can you tell us about the ‘$1 to charity’ and ‘planting trees’ partnerships you're involved with?
K: It's honestly the best bit. We joined up with i=change last year who donate $1 from every sale to a charity on our behalf. It's a really cool initiative. We chose 3 charities and after the checkout process the customer gets to choose which charity their donation goes to.... but that still didn't feel enough, we were in a position to give more and i=change don't have a charity on their books that supports the planet, so we have also signed up with Eden Projects and we now plant a tree for every sale made in store and online. We are finally getting to where we want to be as a brand, one step at a time but it's happening.
From the beginning Cedar and Stone has been registered as vegan with CCF (choose cruelty free). Can you tell us why this is so important?
A: Because testing on animals sucks. Us humans are the one wanting to use the products, so we should be testing on ourselves! Little rabbits aren’t going to be wearing a face mask two nights a week.
K: In my opinion, if it has to be tested on any living creature it shouldn't even hit the manufacturing facility. When you use products as gentle as us there is just no need for testing.
What would be your personal favourite Cedar and Stone product be and why?
A: The face oil, hands down. I’m actually addicted to it. It’s been the longest standing product (with us from the very start) and we cannot keep it on the shelves, we restock and it’s literally gone the next day. It’s so smooth and has so many amazing oils encapsulated in one bottle!
K: Yep I'm the same as Anna. The One - Face Oil. It's the bees knees.
What would your ultimate self care day include?
A: A Greenhouse bath soak session, followed by a facial and massage. I’d probably also have a glass of red to be honest and sit down at the creek with my partner and dog. BRB just going to book that whole day in for tomorrow right now!
K: I have 3 kids so a whole self care day is unheard of....but plonk me on a beach with crystal clear water somewhere, anywhere, with a book and some sparkling water - that's all I need.
You have recently opened your first flagship store. How did it feel to open your doors for the first time?
A: Pretty damn epic! We love our little shop, there’s a fair bit happening but it’s just the way we like it. Meeting our customers and hearing how our skincare has changed their life or how much they love it is really amazing. We have so much cool stuff in there, every time I’m in I promise to myself I won’t buy anything, I break that promise every time – always.
K: I remember when people starting coming in, I did a little smirk to myself and thought "phew, it worked"...we are big wingers around here, there was next to no planning. I was actually in India when I found out we got the lease on our shop so I ordered everything from over there at night with the shittiest internet you could imagine and just hoped it would all come together. We kind of live by the phrase "say yes and figure it out later". We do that A LOT.
Kate wears the Lottie blouse in meadow
What would your most special or proud Cedar and Stone moment be so far?
A: Hm, I’d have to say the store. We have had some amazing moments in the last few months however seeing a vision come to life is really special.
K: Yes the shop for sure, I am so proud of our amazing staff, they go above and beyond. I love that we get to pay them a wage and (hopefully) give them an environment that is fun to work in, where going to work doesn't ever feel like a chore.
Anna wears the Mercury dress in santana
Do you have any mantras you live by?
A: Life’s too short to be serious, so I’m not – Quote by my dad. Also very wise.