You might have noticed that things look a little different around here. That's because twenty years after we opened our very first spa at Babington House in Somerset, we realised that Cowshed deserved a refresh. While the quality of our products and our commitment to natural ingredients remain unchanged, our packaging and names have evolved to make them more relevant for today.
So, what’s new?
We commissioned artist Katie Scott to create botanical illustrations of the ingredients in our products to go on the bottles and boxes. Ruth Costello, Soho House Design Director, Graphic Design & Art Direction, says: ‘Katie’s aesthetic felt right because it references heritage but it’s modern. We really wanted to show that our products use ingredients that you’d find in the walled garden – good for you, not full of bad stuff.’
We are using recycled coffee cups in our packaging, supplied by GF Smith and made at a paper mill in the Lake District. Our new bottles are made from a carbon-neutral bioplastic which is a by-product from the sugarcane industry. We already use aluminium and glass where we can but our goal is to be entirely plastic-free in the near future.
This is the big one: our famous moods – Knackered, Horny, Grumpy and the rest – have been reborn to simply say how they will make you feel. For example, everyone knows Moody as our balancing mood, so it’s now known as Balance. Beth Blakeman-Shead, Cowshed's Managing Director explains: ‘We need to recognise that the world’s moved on and what was right for our brand twenty years ago and stood us apart at the time could also make us not relevant now. In the end, we settled on a very ‘Soho House’ approach - Soho House is a house in Soho! You buy this shower gel because you’re going to find it relaxing. A keep it simple, does what it says on the tin approach.’
And what’s stayed the same?
Everything else: our values will never change. We believe in making honest, natural products that offer genuine, therapeutic benefits and make a positive difference to the wellbeing of the mind and body. In other words, we want to make people feel good, whether they’re using our products at home or experiencing one of our famously restorative therapies in our spas. Beth says:
‘I saw the refresh as an opportunity to re-establish us as an authority in natural beauty. The challenge was to be totally respectful to the origin and the heart of the brand, yet move it on in a way that made it appealing to new customers. The most enjoyable part so far has been seeing the responses to the new designs. Overwhelmingly it’s been incredibly positive. What we’ve ended up with is something that I believe is much truer to the brand. It’s hand-drawn, more sophisticated and tells a clearer story about what Cowshed is.’
Cowshed's Head of Product Development, Oliya Kalashnikova, was committed to keeping Cowshed's signature sense of fun, while making the packaging do justice to the quality of the product .
‘Cowshed was one of the first natural brands to use aromatherapy and organic, wildcrafted ingredients in the products - making it local, making it fresh, making it authentic. We didn’t try to change anything, we just tried to highlight who we are and the association with Soho House, where Cowshed was born. We’ve been doing this for 20 years, we’ve just never talked about it. We were very low key, very British! But that’s not necessarily fair to your customer because they want to understand why these products are better than something else they might pick up.
The product is serious, but we’re not pretentious. It was important for us to understand the DNA of Cowshed, why after all these years people are still coming back - there must be something really special about it. It was about bringing it to life, not changing it, highlighting who we are and why we do what we do.'
Watch our short film to learn more about our new look