Friday, November 20, 2009

Interview - Natalie Bloom

Bloom Cosmetics - Chapel st Store

Bloom Cosmetics - Chapel st Store

Chapel st store - floral plaster detail

Natalie Bloom's first book, Beauty in Bloom , gives a personal insight into Natalie and the essence of her beauty brand, and features gorgeous illustrations by Rebecca Wetzler.

I am very excited today to share an interview with Melbourne cosmetics queen Natalie Bloom! Natalie's incredible success with the Bloom Cosmetics brand is well documented... but what you mightn't know is that Natalie first started out in graphic design! Feeling very uninspired in her first job in a small graphic design studio after finishing uni, Natalie started making her own cards and gifts... one thing led to another and before she knew it, Natalie had launched her own business - at the tender age of 22!

16 years later, Natalie's business has gone from strength to strength - Bloom’s range now features over 300 products including colour cosmetics, skincare and a bath and body range, and is stocked across the globe, from From Dubai and Bangkok to London and Beverly Hills. Bloom also has a beautiful flagship store in Chapel st Prahran... and Natalie is very much an inspiration for many young Australian women in business.

Natalie's passion for beautiful design is evident in every facet of her business - from Bloom's gorgeous, varied packaging, to the Chapel st store design and Natalie's recent book, Beauty in Bloom, lovingly illustrated by Rebecca Wetzler. Natalie has collaborated with some fabulous local designers over the years including TDF favourites Neryl Walker and Kat Macleod!

Read on for a unique insight into Natalie's work and home life.. and some seriously gorgeous pics of her products, her inspirations and her beautiful home office!

Tell me a little about your background – what path led you to found Bloom Cosmetics?

After studying Graphic Design at RMIT, I found myself working in a small studio. As the work was terribly uninspiring, I started creating and selling handmade cards and gift ideas in the hope I would feel more creatively satisfied. Before I knew it, my hobby had turned into a business and since then there has been no looking back!

How has your vision for Bloom changed since you first started the company (at just 22!) ?

Over the last sixteen years, Bloom has evolved and matured as a business and brand. The fundamental principles of a spirit of fun, commitment to product integrity and directional design have remained the same though.

Bloom skincare and makeup products

You’ve become a great inspiration for women in business – If you could give just one piece of advice to young women looking to start their own small business, what would it be?

Firstly, you have to love what you do. If you’re not passionate you can’t sustain your business and keep going through the hard times. And secondly, whatever you do, do it with integrity. This has been my mantra for running my business and has been the yardstick that I have measured all my decisions against.

Beauty in Bloom at The Society inc. in Sydney

What does a typical day at work involve for you?

Whilst I’m still incredibly hands on at Bloom, no two working days are ever the same. The only similarity is that each day is pretty chaotic and filled with a demanding mix of meetings and creative brainstorming sessions on product, business and brand development.

Where do you turn for creative inspiration – nature, travel, books, magazines or the web etc?

I’m constantly surprised by the different guises creative inspiration comes in. Whilst I often pour over Greville St Bookstore’s incredible range and am a magazine fiend who never misses an edition of Frankie or Italian Vogue; increasingly I’m turning to blogs for inspiration. Aside from the Design Files (of course!) I regularly visit Meet me at Mikes and Handmade Romance.

Which designers / creative people do you admire?

Where do I begin?! Most of the creative people I admire are very close to home. At the top of my list is my good friend, Mirka Mora, who is an artist in the true sense of the word. Her free spirit, use of colour and part in Australia’s art movement continue to inspire me. I also admire Yeojin Bae and Ortolan who both have a whimsical and feminine aesthetic that is similar to my own and Rebecca Wetzler for her exquisite illustrations in fresh, fluid lines - and work on my book Beauty in Bloom!

A painting of Natalie's family by Mirka Mora

What would be your dream creative project?

The best part of my job is that I often get to work on highly creative projects. At the moment we’re developing an Organic range. It has been a couple of years in the making, but working on this collection makes me feel as though all my dreams have come true! It has allowed me to take pure natural ingredients and create formulas that have such integrity. Plus it has given me an excuse to work with one of Australia’s most exciting artists. Watch this space!

What are you looking forward to?

After a pretty heady year, I’m really looking forward to having a break over Christmas and spending time with my family and loved ones at the beach. I’m also itching to launch our Organic range which will hit stores early next year!

Melbourne Questions -

Where is your favourite shopping/strolling neighbourhood in Melbourne?

That’s easy - Gertrude and Smith Streets!

What/where was the last great meal you ate in Melbourne?

I know it’s the flavour of the month with many Melbournians, but we recently had a stand out meal at Hellenic Republic. I love their no fuss approach while still remaining true to a traditional sensibility.

Where would we find you on a typical Saturday morning?

I love starting my weekend at home. While I read the papers over a lazy breakfast, the kids play amongst themselves. We then take the girls to ballet classes and head to Prahran Market to stock up for the week ahead.

Inspiration wall in Natalie's home office

More home office details

Melbourne’s best kept secret?

Lawson Grove is hidden in a quiet cul-de-sac just around the corner from my house. It’s the perfect spot for coffee and sweet treat and was my ‘home away from home’ while I wrote Beauty in Bloom.

Huge thanks to Natalie for her time, and to Elise at EGPR for facilitating the interview and sending through such a stunning selection of shots! I don't know about you guys... but I'm completely inspired after posting this!


  1. Such a stunningly beautiful post! Thank you.
    Natalie Bloom is definitely a very inpirational woman.

  2. Beautiful post to read and look at... that inspiration wall is amazing. thank you!

  3. So beautiful! Definitely inspirational. Chuffed about the mention too!! Thanks for another great post Lucy x
    And thanks for your lovely comment. I probably lean a little to the same thinking as your guy or at least I used to a lot more. I guess I've change. You never know he may but then it doesn't matter, happiness is more important than any piece of paper xx

  4. So beautiful! Definitely inspirational. Chuffed about the mention too!! Thanks for another great post Lucy x

    And thanks for your lovely comment. I probably lean a little to the same thinking as your guy or at least I used to a lot more. I guess I've change. You never know he may but then it doesn't matter, happiness is more important than any piece of paper xx

  5. oh it's all so beautiful i can hardly stand it! i'm going crazy over that inspirational wall in her's inspiring me from afar:-)

  6. wow - I'm always in awe of ladies running succesful creative businesses - and Natalie does it with such style. Thanks for a lovely inspirational post :)

  7. there's those words again - passion and integrity - just like abigail crompton used. ultra inspiring words and pics. (and you know, ya gotta love someone who loves gertie and smith streets!!) loved it. keep it coming, ms lucy. x

  8. I absolutely love Natalie Bloom, she is someone I look up to creatively, professionally and also for what she embodies. So authentic! Thank-you for sharing this :)


  9. I think Natalie Bloom is absolutely amazing.

  10. I wonder if the new range is a Bloom baby range ? We shall have to wait and see...