Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Interview with Megan from Organic Machine!

Oh Glow Blog interview Megan Organic Machine vegan cruelty free beauty
Megan La Mer

Recently, we were lucky enough to try out some of Johannesburg-based manufacturer Organic Machine's gorgeous sensual products. We loved the brand so much, we just had to find out more. I chatted with company founder Megan La Mer about how she navigates the market for handmade, cruelty-free beauty goods in South Africa, as well as her own beauty regime.*


Obviously, you live your brand, blogging about all your personal beauty tips and health tricks. However, we're curious to know whether there any skincare products that you still buy mainstream?

Since I do not yet do a day cream nor serums, I do use these from other brands (namely Nimue and Dermafix). I also regularly try out other companies products to see how mine compare to theirs, and am always very happy when I find mine offer better results. I also try them out to get ideas for what to do next and I'll continue to use serums with hyaluronic acids as that is something I don't intend to add to my products at any point, but they do offer necessary skin benefits. I also go for monthly facials that I highly recommend everyone does. If the 21st century has taught us anything it's that machines are amazing and they can do wonderful things for us. Also, with all the toxins we are exposed to daily, going for deep cleanses with intensive products administered by a professional is in my opinion an indispensable part of any beauty regime.

You mention on your website that the product line began when you were ten years old, trying to make your own lotions via a family recipe. What made you want to branch out into sensual products?

I believe it started with making an edible body butter I found in a book, and then evolved from there.

The Organic Machine lubricants contain coconut-oil. Most mainstream sources claim that oil-based lubes are harmful, especially to the vulva. How did you ensure that your products would be safe to use by everyone?

Oh Glow Blog interview Megan Organic Machine vegan cruelty free beauty
An example of a custom gift-set

I have seen more people recommend it than not, and the main concern is that because it's anti-bacterial it may upset you internal ecosystem, but for the same reason it can help should there be any infections. The other concern is of course that it cannot be used with latex condoms (which I do warn about on the label), but for people that do not use them it is a lovely lube as it does not need to be applied multiple times. It also gives just enough glide, with just enough traction (as I personally don't like the feeling of excessive slipperiness). I felt it safe enough to use (only organic, virgin, cold-pressed oil though) and have had no negative response. Other ingredients deemed safe for use, such as glycerine, have had many negative results with women. So, as with anything, if it doesn't work for you, discontinue use as soon as possible. Thus far it has not happened with coconut oil.

What is your personal favourite out of the sensual range, and why?

I love the Glide and Love Butter. The Glide is sadly not ideal to use in winter as the coconut oil hardens, but such is the way of using natural ingredients. I feel the Love Butter scent still needs a bit of tweaking until it can blow my mind away, as I use aphrodisiac oils, but am not the greatest fan of their scent. I have however found a way around this and will have a different scent in my future batches. I love that it melts so quickly with body heat, making it a mess-free romantic addition. However I sadly feel it's a product used too infrequently as too few people massage each other.

South Africa is often stereotyped as being a "conservative" society, and our braai-culture isn't often conducive to a cruelty-free lifestyle! How have you found the market reception of your handmade, vegan, organic products, as well as the philosophy behind them?

The reception has honestly been amazing and I was blown away to have Weleda stock me 3 months after launching. While there may still be many conservatives, I have been kept very busy. I also find that more of my clients are based in Johannesburg and Cape Town. Many people are becoming aware that their products contain toxins and they want to steer away from that, regardless of what dietary practices they follow.
Oh Glow Blog interview Megan Organic Machine vegan cruelty free beauty

Clearly, you work hard to promote your business! Even online health stop Faithful to Nature stock your goodies now. What do you hope is in the future for Organic Machine?

Whenever I tell myself I don't want to expand my range any further, I get more ideas for products. I brought out 7 recently, and have another 5 in the pipeline. Currently Organic Machine is my main creative outlet, and I really enjoy making gorgeous gift sets and bespoke pieces for special occasions and people. I plan on distributing through boutique sex shops and have lovely ideas for gorgeous displays that will show off the glow in the dark packaging beautifully. I doubt I'll ever want to become as big as The Body Shop, for example, as I honestly do radiate love and healing as I make the products and I do believe that makes a difference, and I don't think that will be achievable with mass-production.

I was chatting to my husband this weekend and I said how I've been feeling less passionate about my products than I was in the past. I realised it was because I took the beeswax out. Bees are integral to my life and are the reason my husband and I are together, along with my two most beloveds. Bees have inspired me from a young age and I recently became a beekeeper myself. So, for me to be true to myself, my love and making superior products, several will no longer be vegan, but instead Beegan. Most of my products will remain vegan, but the sensual range will not.


* Responses have been edited for brevity and clarity.

I loved learning more about all the time that goes into these personalised products, and highly recommend the whole sensual line. Even as a vegan myself, I don't have any problems with ethically-sourced bee products, as the monetary incentive does (unfortunately) have an impact on the continued health of the species. And we need bees to grow food to live! I will still continue supporting Organic Machine, even with the added beeswax.

If you'd like to check out Megan's work for yourself, visit her at the links below.


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