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The Interview: Caroline Sims, Founder, Botanycl

Sophie Smith
18 January 2022

Botanycl is a health and beauty supplement brand in the UK, founded with the aim to tackle problem skin using 100% natural and plant-based ingredients. The brand was founded by Caroline Sims, a former mental health nurse, who experienced long-lasting skin problems in her 20's and wanted to find her own skincare solution.

Formulated from scientific research, Botanycl's products target a range of specific health concerns including problem skin, mood and immune support, without the use of artificial and synthetic ingredients.

In this interview with, Sims speaks about the growth of her skincare supplement brand, from the initial idea to its recent expansion in retail locations like Superdrug.

Tell me a little bit about yourself and your life before Botanycl?

I did a psychology degree at University. I didn't really know what career path I wanted to go down. So, I tried a few different things. I then experienced a bout of anxiety and depression, which led me to want to use my psychology degree. I started working on a mental health ward. During this, I was experiencing acne and problems with my skin. I had this since I was a teenager, but it never went away in my 20s. When I was 25, my acne was probably the worst it has ever been. It was a bad time for my self confidence and I stopped doing things that I used to do.

I tried lots of different remedies for it. I tried GP prescriptions, retinoids, laser therapy, antibiotics, everything that you can try - except for Accutane and the combined pill because of health reasons. Nothing worked, so I started to think whether it could be hormonal. I then spent a lot of time just sitting researching different hormonal treatments and remedies.

What did these remedies you researched do for your skin, and subsequently prompt the brand idea? 

I was sceptical that the ingredients would actually help me at all. However, I started using them and my skin just cleared up. It was amazing! I took those ingredients for nine months and my skin has stayed clear ever since.

I was really happy with the results and didn't even think about developing a product. My partner had just started a smoothie company and said that there was a gap in the market. These ingredients were not being combined in a supplement for skin. So, that kind of planted the seed into my head that something could happen. I then started to do more research to develop the perfect formula.

What were the next steps in taking Botanycl from an idea to an actual product? 

I did everything on my own and didn't have anyone guiding me. I just did a lot of research into it all. The first thing was finding a manufacturer that could manufacture the ingredients together. It was important to find one that you can trust, that has a really good quality to its formulas and that can ensure you are sourcing the best ingredients. It took about a year of just getting everything sorted out. I was also still working full-time at the mental health ward too. I guess that's why it took a whole year because I didn't have that much time to dedicate to it. I spent as much time as I could in the evenings and weekends. Finally, Botanycl launched in 2018.

Botanycl now has three different supplements, tell me about them.

All of the products are completely made from plant-based ingredients. They are also vegan and gluten-free. I think that's one of the unique selling points of Botanycl, that you won't see any artificial fillers or synthetic vitamins in the products.

The Skinclear Elixir came first. This is 100% plant-based and contains Saw Palmetto Berry, which is one of the key ingredients to balance hormones. I then launched the Vegan Vitamin D supplement. This is made from lichen, the only known plant source of Vitamin D3. There is a lot of research around Vitamin D and how it can help immunity, mood and energy. The Natural Vitamin C supplement comes from asada cherries, camu camu berries and rose hip. There is no artificial Vitamins C, it is all natural. There is also quite a lot of research to show that plant-based vitamins are absorbed better in the body. The supplements also contain things like antioxidants and bioflavonoids, providing other benefits in addition to the vitamins.


What kind of reaction have you had from consumers since launching? 

I've had an amazing reaction from women. I tried these ingredients and they worked really well for me. However, at first I was a bit fearful because I thought what if they don't work for other people, even though there is loads of science behind them. I then got my first 50 emails saying that it cleared peoples' skin and I thought this actually has a real potential because it's helped.

Looking back at the early stages of the business, how do you feel about the brand's growth since then?

I'm so passionate about the brand that sometimes I think it's never going to be good enough until the whole world knows about it. At the same time, obviously I'm really happy about it and proud of myself for doing it. It's given me a lot of freedom in terms of my career and being able to work for myself is really rewarding. Also, being able to help other people is really rewarding. So yes I'm really happy with the way that things have turned out.

Finally, what are some of your ambitions for Botanycl going forward? 

I just want to grow it as much as possible.

I've just launched in America and I'm already in talks with a distributor in America. I'm doing everything I can to push it out there. In the UK, I'd love Botanycl to be stocked in Selfridges, Boots and some big pharmacy chains. I think probably the dream place would be Cult Beauty as well.

I also want to soon develop a hair growth supplement. This would work in a hormonal way, but also have some added specific haircare nutrients as well. So that's next on the agenda. I'm really excited about that as I want to add to the beauty range, so the brand becomes more established as a beauty brand as well as health.

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