The Organic Pharmacy, brainchild of Margo Marrone, is making waves in Hong Kong. Vivienne Tang sits down for a chat with the beauty maven
Margo Marrone was a London-based pharmacist, specializing in herbal medicine, when she discovered homeopathy. It immediately revolutionized not only her practice and her family life, but also the organic skincare industry.
Marrone had always been looking for a new and gentler type of medicine, because she felt as a pharmacist that her hands were tied and that she was unable to help people in a significant way. She tried everything, such as Bach Flower essences and other remedies, but it wasn’t until she discovered homeopathy that real, new opportunities were created for her.
“This is a medicine that looks at disease in a completely different way,” Marrone says. “It will look at emotional symptoms. It will look at when it happened and why it happened, how long ago, all your family history. It treats it in a truly holistic way, and when I started to treat myself and my family, I could see what a huge difference it made. I also came across the word organic. Before that I had no idea what organic meant. I thought if I ate an apple I was being really healthy; but then I found out that they spray it 16 times with pesticides, and I was really shocked.”
Around the same time she also read an article about the ingredients used
in cosmetics and how these can affect a person’s health, particularly that of children. When she became pregnant 15 years ago she decided to change all of her skincare products, but finding that little was available, Marrone and her husband Franco decided to set up shop.
“What was really frustrating was that I was a practicing homeopath, so I had a lot of patients,” she says. “But I didn’t know where to send them. If there’s no alternative, how do you change your lifestyle when you have nothing else to use?
“So I took my idea to Franco to have a pharmacy where everything is organic, where we have a homeopathic dispensary. I have my clinic, and we do beauty treatments, so we can really have a completely holistic business, something that represents what we believe in. He loved the idea.”
Marrone started working on new formulations and the actual day-to-day operation of their first store on King’s Road, Chelsea, while her husband, who has a background in design, came up with the logo and the visuals for the brand. Luckily women in the United Kingdom were already in tune with alternative medicine, not least because Queen Elizabeth is an avid supporter of homeopathy.
Today, the pioneering husband-and-wife team runs a chain of The Organic Pharmacy wellness clinics with a full range of luxury toxic-free skincare products and organic fragrances, complete with an Organic Glam make-up range, located around the world. The brand, which stands for quality, integrity and ethicality, built on natural medicine, is registered with The Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, and has gone far beyond what you might expect from an ordinary clinic, offering everything from homeopathic consultations and health assessments to body treatments and organic facials.
“We really took skincare to the next level, where we were able to offer women, who use Crème de la Mer and all the high- end brands, something alternative and effective,” Marrone adds. “When you use it you don’t feel like you’ve stepped down.”
However, despite the success, there’s no slowing down for the pair. Plans for global expansion are high on the to-do list, as well as some new masks and hair colours, together with a full range of hair-styling products. Currently, Marrone’s all-time favourites are the Antioxidant Face Gel and the Carrot Butter Cleanser, which claims, among others, Kylie Minogue in its celebrity following.
And the couple is not jaded by the growing A-list clientele. On the contrary, Marrone still remembers the very first customer who walked through her door, and she constantly reminds herself of what stands at the heart of their brand. “Ultimately, we’re a health brand rather than a cosmetics or a make-up brand,” she says. “I know it sounds a bit corny, but every time we help someone, that’s our greatest achievement.”