Saturday, August 15, 2015

Talking to: Marta Maria Camara of Martina Organics


It’s not often that I fall in love with a skincare brand from the get go, usually it takes trial and error and a little more trial and error, then things start to fall into place.
This was not so with the near-flawless Martina Organics brand, which I used once and immediately fell for. Hard.
Hand blended in small batches; Martina Organics describes itself as “an artisanal skincare range” using certified organic ingredients. Selected from both New Zealand and more exotic locales like Morocco, Japan, Africa and Israel, their botanical oils harness the power of plants that have been used for hundreds of years and they feel like heaven on the skin.
The range is unisex and comes packaged in unassuming glass bottles with minimal labelling, which is then easily peeled off so the bottle can be re-used for whatever you fancy.
Its creator is Marta Maria Camara, and the range is named after the name her parents called her as a child. Born in Lisbon, Portugal, she moved to Wellington with her family when she was two and grew up living above the iconic 90’s café Cuba Cuba on Cuba Street, but is now based in Auckland.
She lives and works in a big warehouse-style studio home in Britomart, where all of her oils are hand blended in small batches. “Most of my stockists are in Auckland so I thought it would be great to be closer to everything that was going on with the brand,” she explains, “that way I could participate in shop events, meet everyone and train up staff when needed.” Plus her “partner in crime” Tamzin, owner of Mavis and Osborn had decided to move up, so the pair thought it would be cool to get a studio home together and focus on their businesses full time.
Her oils are expertly blended from some pretty amazing ingredients, so I ask: where does she source them? “From all over the world, and of course New Zealand,” she tells me. “The Oil Cleanser and Oil Moisturiser contain eleven different oils each, including Camellia Oil - which is what the Geisha use in Japan, oils from Morocco, Africa and Israel, to name a few.”
When asked to name a favourite blend she says that she loves using the Oil Cleanser, “As it's your base and sets the tone for your skincare routine. But the Oil Moisturiser stays on for much longer so the benefits are stronger, so I'm going to have to say the Oil Moisturiser even though I love them both!”
Marta trained as a beauty therapist and had a small salon in Wellington, but says that she doesn’t have the space to set up shop in Auckland again and probably won’t,
“As my main focus is on the products now”. She is happy to offer a consultation to anyone that is interested in having a bespoke oil blend created especially for themselves though, an idea that gets me particularly excited.
We talk about the amount of people who are still afraid of using oils on their skin and she says that first of all, “don't worry about feeling greasy. Dry botanical oils have a molecular structure similar to the skin’s own natural oil, so they don't clog your skin and are easily absorbed”. She adds that they're rich in skin essentials such as moisturising fatty acids, including omega-3 -6 and -9, which strengthen the skin’s lipid layer, preventing water loss, plumping the skin and stopping the signs of aging.
 Her products can be found in some beautiful, design-focused stores, and I am guessing that the beautiful packaging and bottles help immensely getting in the door. She says she spent months trying to find the perfect bottle. “I really wanted packaging and a brand that was minimal and that wasn’t intrusive in your bathroom or bedroom, and that also looked beautiful, had style and an edge to it,” she says. Everything about the brand was selected with the environment in mind, “so that’s why the bottles are glass and all the printed collateral like the boxes and booklets are made from recycled eco stock. My talented designer Becca O’Shea then designed the branding, boxes and labels, and she made it all come together perfectly, I knew she would understand my vision for the brand right from the start.”
Next up are some refill bottles that will be out very soon, and Marta is also working on a Face/Beard Oil for men. As well as slowly completing the range without over complicating it, she is also finalising the details of a Cream Moisturiser and a Face Mask, and potentially a scrub.
When I ask if she plans to take the company internationally it appears that she has already got there, having recently picked up boutique stockists in New York and Canada “which is really exciting for the brand. I have a few stockists in Australia already too. But I’d love to be stocked in other boutique stores around the world, it’s definitely something that I’ve wanted for the brand right from the start.”
Lastly, who inspires her most – as a creator, a businesswoman? “So many, like Gosia from Kowtow and Megan from Little Bird Organics. I rate anyone who has integrity, is ethical, and has environmentally friendly products with a real focus on craftsmanship.”

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