Quest for plastic free hair care led to new shampoo brand
The former hair salon owner was thinking about creating a new hair care brand for people with allergies.
When Janette Benaddi, who skippered Yorkshire Rows crew across the Atlantic in 2016, told her about the amount of plastic she saw in the ocean during the challenge, Mrs Wilkinson embarked on a mission to create a handmade vegan and plastic free shampoo and conditioner brand that helped both causes.
“When I had my salons, so many of the staff had allergies to certain products in shampoo and I wanted to make something that was as natural as possible,” she told The Yorkshire Post.
“I then had a conversation with my sister and she was saying she couldn’t believe how much plastic she saw floating in the ocean around their little boat, hundreds of miles away from the coast. It was upsetting. I thought ‘I need to do this’.”
After selling her three salons in York and Selby, the mother-of-three teamed up with another mother-of-three, former programme manager Caroline Foley, whose children went to the same school.
Together, the pair launched Dolores & Rose, taken from their daughters’ middle names. They spent over a year perfecting four shampoos and a conditioner made from ethically-sourced, sustainable and natural ingredients.
The ingredients are derived from plants or fruits so are free from sodium lauryl sulphate, chemicals, perfume, and parabens typically found in other hair care products which means they are gentle on the skin, hair and scalp.
The shampoo bars are ergonomically shaped to fit into the hand and also produce a rich lather.
One bar is expected to last for approximately the same as two bottles of shampoo or conditioner.
Mrs Wilkinson works on the creative and development side of the business and Mrs Foley is responsible for the operations side, transferring her skill set in strategy, planning and finance.
However, the business partners come together once a week to manufacture all the products themselves in a big batch from Ms Wilkinson’s home in Selby.
One year after launching the business, they now make about 150 bars a week to sell in shops across Yorkshire as well as on their own website.
They have just created a new manufacturing space outside Mrs Wilkinson’s house and have new products in the pipeline to launch next year: a deep conditioning treatment and shampoo bars for swimmers and young children.
The pair are also keen to add new retailers from across the UK to their list. “I find it really difficult because, due to travel restrictions, I’ve not been able to visit some of our stockists,” said Mrs Wilkinson. “But we’ve found ways around it, like chatting on Zoom.”
In addition, from 2021 the pair have pledged to donate a percentage of their profits to the Little Princess Trust, which provides real hair wigs to children and young people with hair loss.
“We really felt strongly about that. It’s such a horrible thing so we both really wanted to give something back,” Mrs Wilkinson said.
She is also keen to convert more people to plastic-free shampoo and added that she is enjoying being in the hair industry again. “I just want to get it out there that you can have good hair without having all the plastic in the bathroom,” she said.
“I don’t want to go back to the shop floor but I love being back in that environment, talking about hair. It’s what I know and love.”