By Chere Di Boscio
Dutch couple Floris and Ingrid do pretty much everything together. They are the creators of upbeat music as DJ Flowing, mineral makeup entrepreneurs, and parents to a vintage-wearing little boy. From their base in Germany, they also run the online natural cosmetics site Amazingy, which features all of the makeup, hair care and skincare brands we at Eluxe love the most.
Here, we’ve asked the upbeat, adorable couple about their views on and keeping love alive.
It is highly unusual for a couple to DJ and work together! What’s the dynamic? What are the pros and cons of working together?
Floris: “It might be unusual but I can recommend it to everyone. So many couples grow apart because they hardly see each other then when they do they are too busy with the kids or other things. We don’t have that problem. We’re living the same dream and can celebrate together when we succeeds, or fix something together when something fails. This is exciting and brings lots of energy.” Ingrid: “Floris is the best partner to work with, I wouldn’t want it for the world to change. We have always something to talk about because we share our passions; music & our company. Besides that we are a good team. I think the magic is in the synergy. When we need to write something for example, I start with it and than Floris finishes it. Floris is more technical and more of a perfectionist, and I’m maybe more practical and can be quite tough, i’m sure Floris is a much nicer person to work with, haha. Yes I’m very lucky that we can be partners in work on all facets of life… never a dull moment, I assure you!” Floris: “Oh come on, you act tough but really you’re soft as a baby’s bum!”
Tell us a bit about why and how Amazingy started
Floris: “It all started when we decided to move to Berlin. After 7 years of living the Rock ‘n Roll Party Life we decided it was time for a new adventure. We had different business ideas and after researching all of them, the one that we went for was my idea of starting our own brand of natural cosmetics with an online store. We were getting more and more eco-conscious, watching what we were eating, recycling, and Ingrid got into natural makeup at this time, but ordered most of it the UK and I thought – why isn’t she ordering from Germany? Turned out the brands there were simply not sexy at all. So I brought it up to Ingy and that’s when HIRO was born.
HIRO in Japanese means being openminded, generous, courageous, and so on. Isn’t it great that this is all the same word in Japanese? The word fit because we wanted to do things differently, not just a new brand but connected to charity, by giving away a percentage of each order to small charities. So Ingrid started writing a business plan (she’s one of the few persons on Earth who likes doing this it seems) and we went on researching. That is when we discovered a lot of great organic/natural cosmetics brands, most of them unavailable in Germany or even Europe. After some months and already being quite far with the HIRO shop, we went out for dinner and brainstormed for hours about our plans. Because how on earth where we going to sell a brand that nobody knew, without any marketing budget. Plenty of wine was consumed and then we came up with instead of starting a HIRO shop, we would start a shop where we could sell other brands as well. Brands that were already out there, and people might be looking for.
Now it so happened that some time before that dinner I had given Ingy the domain name Amazingy.com for her birthday to start her own blog. And after thinking of 100’s of names for the shops, it struck me: Amazingy would be a great name for the shop and our blog, now called Amazingy Magazine, connected to the charity in here and well, that’s how Amazingy came to life.”
Amazingy promises every purchase helps to plant a tree. How does the tree planting scheme work? Where do you put them?
Ingrid: We have partnered with Trees for the Future for this project and even though we could choose a location, we let them decide, because they know better than us where they are needed. Many people only think about the environment and the fact that there are less and less trees on earth, but it actually helps with a lot of other things as well. It helps renew and regenerate over-harvested land, enrich soil, so food can be grown more sustainably; create a living fence that keeps animals away so they do not eat the crops; enable farmers to plant diversified crops so they can produce income all year long; replenish the atmosphere with oxygen, and absorb CO2. Therefore we think it’s a really good way of giving something back.”
Why do you think Germany and northern Europe are so keen on organic cosmetics?
Floris: “I think people are becoming more and more aware of things. They read ingredient lists, know what they are eating, and so on. Germany has always had a huge organic/natural market available with brands like Dr. Hauschka, Weleda, and so on. But these brands are not for everyone. We saw that there was a market for beautifully designed, high-end organic / natural cosmetics as well. You know, products that look great in the bathroom, and can compete with conventional brands in terms of performance as well as design.” Ingrid: “As for the other countries, I think it comes with the hopefully here to stay trend of clean eating – a much more conscious way of eating. Same for us, we were compensating our weekend rock ‘n roll style with healthy food and drinks during the week, eating less and less meat, cooking organic, seasonal and regional as much as possible and at some point we also got interested in other things we consume; skin care and clothes. Transparency is key. Our generation is thinking about everything, we don’t accept the marketing b-shit we read on labels anymore. We ask questions and Google stuff.”
What’s the best thing you do for the environment, overall?
Ingrid: “It’s not just one thing. We try to implement things everywhere. You do what you can, you know, but you have to be realistic as well; it’s not always possible or realistic to recycle everything, to be 100% vegetarian, and so on. Especially with a baby/toddler around, it’s really hard. But I think it’s important not to stress too much about it, just do as much as you can, On one hand it’s the practical stuff, we try to work as environmentally friendly as possible. We use green power, our employees come to the office by bike, we have a weekly delivery of regional and seasonal organic vegetables & fruit. And then there’s the bigger picture, planting a tree with every order and making people aware about the current situation. Our magazine plays a huge role in this. We would like to inform people about a concious way of living. And that a concious way of living is not dull, boring or eco. We tell about designers, vegetarian recipes, ingredients… all you can think of. And with that we’d like to inspire everyone to get involved.
What’s your greatest ‘eco sin’?
Floris: “Until March we did not have a car, but now we do. I feel bad about it, I do. But with the company and our little boy it is so handy to have one, you know if you have to bring him somewhere and it’s raining or minus 10. We don’t use it that much though, being Dutch we take our bikes as much as possible. We’re real walkers too, I love walking. Ingy: “Also buying clothes, I try to buy as much as possible vintage and second hand but sometimes I do buy some basics at the bigger conglomerates.” Floris: “Yes but you really do buy a lot of second-hand stuff. Toys, clothes, and so on. Jamie, our son, sometimes looks like he came out of an 80’s movie – a cool one though”.
What’s your earliest memory of being in nature?
Ingrid: “In autumn my parents always used to take me to the nearby forest on Sunday afternoons to collect nuts, leaves and to have a nice long walk with our dog. Autumn is still my favourite time of the year.” Floris: “I grew up almost next to the North Sea so…. the beach and the sea!”
How do you select products for your site?
Floris: “We find most brands by reading blogs and talking to other people in the industry. Then we connect, and test. We always test new brands before we consider it for our shop. Ingredients and style are also very important of course. And a brand has to have that “Amazingy feel”. Some brands are great, but they just don’t feel right for Amazingy. It’s hard to explain. We also get tons of requests from brands, so much so that I always have about 50 mails open with brand requests that I need to check out and answer. I always answer but sometimes it takes me months to get to them. To those brands I just want to say: I’m sorry!”
What are some of your best sellers?
Ingrid: Kahina Argan Oil (simply the best argan oil on the market), PRTTY Peaushun (whenever I go out with bare legs, that is what I need), Pai’s Rosehip oil, the Hiro (Out of ) Space Balm (my concealer of choice) and Hiro Foundation, ILIA Beauty’s Tinted Lip Conditioners, RMS Beauty Living Luminizer, Kjaer Weis Foundation, and since a while Jack ‘n Jill toothpaste has really taken off. Floris: “Oh and let’s not forget about Dr. Alkaitis Soothing Gel and Nourishing Treatment Oil (all time favourites form so many customers and myself), and Eco by Sonya’s Invisible Tan – that one sold like hot sandwiches all spring and summer long – we could hardly keep up with stock.”
Who are some of your ‘eco heroes’?
Ingrid: “Hahaha I have no idea, I don’t believe in heroes. Everyone is a hero!” Floris: “Agreed.”
Any last words?
Ingrid: “I wish I could share our latest project with you, but it’s still very early stages and very hush-hush. Soon though, I promise!” Floris: “Assuming you mean for this interview and not before you cut my head off….well, why not: be open-minded, treat people as well as possible, with love, honesty and respect. Looks may seem important, but in the end, it will be only your actions that count. Don’t complain, not about anything. It’s totally useless. If you’re down; smile, act happy, and you’ll forget you were down in the first place. Give away without expecting anything in return. Be vulnerable, humble, and accessible. Life is like the cha-cha: two steps forwards, one step back.” Ingrid: “Where did that come from all of a sudden? Floris: “I have no idea.