people for plants

Who are People for Plants?

Andrew Brown, his wife Anna Addicoat and Jamie Durie launched a certified organic skincare brand in 2013. We chat to Andrew about the rise and rise of People for Plants.

What inspired you to create a certified organic skincare range?

The journey began 13 years ago when my wife Anna was pregnant with our twin daughters Tiger and Angel. She started having problems with her skin and was advised by her doctor at the time to try to avoid as many chemicals as possible during her pregnancy.

I stepped in to help and started buying raw organic ingredients and making basic skincare products, as I couldn’t find anyone selling the kind of products she wanted to buy. After the girls were born, we gave our homemade products to our friends as gifts and they were so popular we eventually decided to commercialise the idea. We wanted to create something affordable, with the highest possible levels of certified ingredients, and be sure they worked as well as other natural and synthetic products and had a long shelf life, as we had really struggled to find anything like that.

How did you first twig there was a market for a range like this?

When I started to see the great results Anna was getting from using the products I made; however, there has been a consumer movement towards natural and organic beauty products for years. Certified organic products are the natural progression, and this is the fastest-growing area in the Beauty industry. I recognised the potential for a skincare brand that provides a wide range of products made with the highest levels of organic ingredients and is affordable, cruelty-free and widely available.

Your background isn’t in skincare. How did you — and do you — go about formulating your products?

I owned an inner-city pub in Sydney’s Darlinghurst for many years before I started this brand. The process is very long and involved. We have our own in-house cosmetic scientist who is one of the world’s best in the natural and organic field. We work collaboratively to develop new products; each one normally takes about 12 months! Much of this time is put into research to make sure we’re using the best ingredients with the best extraction method, and then testing and tweaking the formulations to make sure they work as we want, and that they feel great and smell divine. We’re certified organic so we then must go through a laborious process of audit by the ACO (Australian Certified Organic) to ensure that every step, from the planting, harvesting and extraction of ingredients to the manufacturing and handling process, meets their strict guidelines.

How did Jamie Durie get involved with People for Plants?

A few years ago during the early stages of development, I asked my mate Jamie to become part of the People for Plants family. He’s spent a lifetime connecting people with plants as a landscaper, so he saw this as a very intimate way he could connect people with plants and his wealth of knowledge about the incredible healing properties of some plants. As a TV presenter and former model he has always been very conscious of his skincare regime, so there were synergies on many levels.

Tell us a bit about your farm and its impact on your lives.

We love it. We lived in [Sydney suburb] Mosman for 20 years, which was beautiful, but we decided to make the “seed change” about four years ago. We have a gorgeous 20-acre property on the Hawkesbury River. I grow all my own fruit and vegetables and breed some cows, sheep and pigs, chickens etc. We literally live paddock to plate and everything is organically grown. We’re surrounded by thousands of native trees, which I planted, and have the Hawkesbury River at the end of the lawn. I also love the sense of community you get when you live in the country; the pace is slower and the people are so friendly. Our kids love it. We’re blessed and inspired and, hopefully, the brand reflects our lifestyle.

How do you and your family look after your own wellbeing?

I am in the city midweek and exercise whenever I can, so I tend to get around on my fixie bike or swim at Bondi. I do yoga or hit the gym to do weight training every day — it’s how I like to unwind. Anna spends more time at the farm and she goes for her daily run on a lovely quiet country road outside our front gate. We’re both very conscious of our diets and, as we grow lots of what we eat, we understand the provenance and nutritional value of our food, as do our kids.

How do you see the market for certified organic products evolving?

It’s growing steadily in Australia as consumers grow in awareness of the benefits of switching from synthetic to organic. Your skin is your largest organ and up to 70 per cent of what you put on it is absorbed into your body, bloodstream and organs. A lot of the chemicals found in beauty products are endocrine disruptors, which means they block or mimic the effects of our bodies own hormones. A 2009 British study highlighted that the average woman used over 500 chemicals a day on her skin, so imagine how many are being absorbed into the body daily and how hard our livers have to work to detox our systems of those chemicals. Once in our bodies, these chemicals can also accumulate because we don’t have the necessary enzymes to break them down.

The organic skincare market is already well established across Asia. They have a long history of natural and herbal remedies for maintaining good health and this has translated to a huge appetite for organic beauty products.

What lies ahead for People for Plants?

We’re concentrating on growing the brand presence in Australia primarily, however we’ve had strong interest in the US and across Asia. That’s something we’ll actively pursue in 2015. We want to engage as many people as possible with the brand and introduce them to Australian-made, certified organic skincare. We’re relishing the opportunity of telling the world about our products.

For more details, visit

Kate Duncan

Kate Duncan

Kate Duncan is the Editor of WellBeing and WILD. She loves surfing, creating raw desserts, flowing through nourishing yoga sequences and spending time with her new pooch, Maribou.

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