Margo Marrone found herself in retail beauty quite by chance because her main passion had always been health. As a pharmacist, she specialized in herbal medicine at university and always searched for new therapies to heal the body. She studied aromatherapy, nutrition and eventually homeopathy, which was the one form of medicine that completely changed the way she looked at wellbeing and health. This passion eventually led her to form The Organic Pharmacy in 2002, a retail boutique that carried, herbal and homeopathic remedies, organic skin care, mineral make up, supplements and beauty treatments. The store was different than any other because it was teamed by experts – pharmacists, homeopaths and estheticians for the highest caliber advice. A fully functional herbal and homeopathic dispensary meant each client could get a customized mixture of exactly the combination they needed. And being organic meant a different level of health. Below, Margo shared the three most important lessons she learned as a new shopkeeper.
1. Listen to the customer. “As a new store what my customers thought and wanted was so important. Working in the store gave me incredible insight by speaking to my customers directly and asking them what they thought and listening to the products they wanted. It helped me more than any market research ever could.”
2. Choosing and training the right staff. “Being in a well-being and service environment the first trait I looked for in an employee after qualifications was someone who had a natural caring strain. I can train a person on herbs etc., but I can’t teach them to be kind and caring.”
3. Offering in-store services is key. “Services are so important and still are today. Not only are they a wonderful way to experience the products and our brand, but they are also a very important part of wellness and helping each client achieve balance.” Today, The Organic Pharmacy has stores both in LA and New York and offers health assessments, homeopathic consultations, organic facials and of course all of the brand’s skin care, make up and health products.
“When I first opened our store on Kings Road in London I was inundated with requests from customers who had reached the end of their rope with problems such as acne, eczema, psoriasis and sensitivities. My approach was always internal and I often combined nutrition, supplements, herbal medicine and homeopathy to tackle the root cause of a problem. For example, in the case of acne, I would give the client probiotics to boost the immune system and balance the gut, an herbal tincture that would also boost the immune system, and I would make a topical cream to help with the symptoms of acne combining essential oils, herbal tinctures and vitamins that I knew would help clear the skin. I found this combination to be powerful and very effective and that clients came back again and again.”
Today, all of The Organic Pharmacy’s 200 skin care and body care sku’s are based on the same natural medicinal principle. Their approach to wellness is based on treating the whole body, which includes correcting deficiencies/imbalances in diet, correct supplementation and skin care that not only is natural but also organic and scientific.