Protecting sensitive skin by bringing back what is almost forgotten
Sometimes the best solution is the simplest solution. But in the modern skincare world, marketing uses complicated names of unknown ingredients to impress the audience and make consumers buy a cosmetic. This encourages ladies to buy creams with "pearls and gold" for hundreds of euros because they believe this will make them younger by decades. Andrew Kawalec went exactly the opposite way and chose an old tradition and brings back an almost forgotten natural and simple solution which works and costs no more than a bottle of a good wine!
Żaneta Geltz: What was your first inspiration to start working with lanolin?
Andrew Kawalec: I have been involved in commercially supplying lanolin to cosmetic companies for more than 10 years. Over that time I have been regularly disappointed with the lack of interest from cosmetic brands in making new formulations with lanolin, simply because of it being an animal by-product. The brand marketing teams being only interested in new plant based formulations.
My view however is that there are good plants as there are bad plants, there are good animal by-products as there are also bad animal by-products. It is therefore very important to differentiate and understand that both good plants and lanolin really help people. Therefore in deciding not to make new formulations with lanolin, was in effect denying giving the true benefits of lanolin to people, just because it comes from sheep! This I truly believe cannot be in the best interest of people.
Over time my motivation and desire grew to bring back to attention again to people, the wonderful and trusted natural ingredient that is lanolin, which has been bringing true benefits and has been caring to skin over generations.
I realised however that in order to make a difference I would need to take ownership of the lanolin supply chain back all the way back to sheep and take pride in it. Lanolin is a natural, renewable, ecologically friendly ingredient originating from sheep. This inspired me to create a new brand "Veggilanol Gold" a quality of lanolin manufactured to the highest standards currently achievable and follow this up with new formulations.
We established our family business on the outskirts of Hamburg with a mission to revive and revitalise a natural product that has been almost forgotten. Of particular importance to us are a responsible and respectful approach to nature and the well-being and ethical treatment of animals. We are fascinated by the simplicity and ingenuity of this natural raw material and the multitude of possible uses it has. Our sincere wish is to pass on this enthusiasm and passion to our customers.
Ż.G.: What is so special about your recipes?
A.K.: Holly Molly makes honest skincare products with lanolin and is always evolving in harmony with nature. We put great importance in using as few ingredients as possible, combining best quality with the highest naturalness.
We are indeed proud to be the very first company in the world to have Vegetarian approval and AllergyCertified Certification for our Lanolin ingredients! ‘Pure’ to us means trying to use as few ingredients as possible and we are always attempting to combine the highest possible quality with the highest level of naturalness.
Ż.G.: Why is your hand creme so much appreciated and used by ladies who knit?
A.K.: Holly Molly Handcreme for handknitting was an idea I had in 2015, during a meeting with an Scandinavian handknitting brand and wool customer. I spontaneously asked her if she could imagine selling a very pure lanolin hand cream as a handknitting accessory, to relieve stressed hands after knitting to her hand-knitting customers through shops and also online. Happily she said yes, make it!
The challenge therefore was to create and formulate a very pure, hypoallergenic, ecologically friendly lanolin hand cream to care for hands, to be used after knitting and all creative work so that hands could feel immediate benefit and be revitalised.
After a long and challenging, but very fulfilling learning curve, we succeeded and our very first major commercial order which was produced and delivered in February 2022.
Since then our handcreme has become increasingly popular with knitters who wanted to relieve their stressed hands and revitalise skin. Holly Molly Handcreme has proven that it is not only good in relieving stressed hands after knitting, but can also help after physical, recreational such as gardening or craft activities, or simply to give quick and lasting relief to dry hands and also problem skin.
Lanolin not only will helps to form a good protective barrier on skin against water, but can also bind water itself. As a result skin remains supple and smooth over a long period of time, and sensitive areas in particular are optimally protected against dryness and irritation.
Ż.G.: What is your daughter’s contribution to Holly Molly brand?
A.K.: Holly Molly brand is proudly inspired by and named after my daughter Holly (whose nickname is Holly Molly).
I was searching for a name for the hand cream for about two years feeling very frustrated that all the “good” names were already taken. Holly, who was 12 years old at that time and had long straight blonde hair, came into the bathroom one morning after having experimented with her hair the evening before, I was delighted to see her in front of me with head full of lovely curls.
“Eureka, Holly Molly!”
This inspiration gave me a possible future name for our brand. Happily the name was not registered elsewhere and after due diligence a new brand was born!
Holly Molly is therefore not just a name but is in fact a real person who was and is a true inspiration to me. "Holly Molly" written on all our products are based on Holly’s signature when she was 12. The Holly Molly logo is based on a photo of Holly holding a one day old lamb taken in a photoshoot that we did in our local village Wohltorf, near Hamburg, Germany.
Sheep give birth to lambs and all have to be shorn: wool and woolgrease on the wool (from which lanolin is won) are natural and renewable resources. Within our entire supply chain, the ethical treatment of animals and the welfare of the sheep are very important to us. All wool is ethically sourced and naturally washed and biodegradable.
- that was my daughter’s expectation, she is a true animal defender.
Ż.G.: What types of products do you already have, and what is going to come?
A.K.: All our products are based on lanolin. We started with 4 Holly Molly Cosmetic Products which are: Holly Molly HYDRO CARE and Holly Molly LIP CARE made from 100% Lanolin. Holly Molly Handcreme and Holly Molly Body Cream have been made with the optimum percentage of Lanolin to produce a maximum nourishing and moisturising cream that is easily absorbed into the skin. We recently introduced a fifth product Holly Molly HAND CARE in co-operation with the German Handball Bundesliga to help stressed Handballer Hands and are growing this project with Handball Bundesliga Teams.
We have currently about 10 further products based on lanolin that are in various phases of planning and development and are now working hard and hope to launch a Lanolin Delicate Wool Wash in 2023/2024, which will be aimed for washing delicate wool products.
Scent, consistency and colour may vary slightly in all of our products due to the use of natural raw materials. Every ingredient in our products has a specific task. We do not use any unnecessary filler ingredients. Sunlight and temperatures above 25°C can lead to a change the consistency, but this does not affect the quality of the product. Nevertheless, the products should not be stored too warm, so that the intended consistency is retained. Thanks to our expertise and our belief in innovation, we guarantee to only use the finest quality Lanolin.
Ż.G.: Why lanolin from Veggilanol Gold is appropriate for vegetarians?
A.K.: All Holly Molly products are made from LanEsters Veggilanol Gold Lanolin, a very pure lanolin that we are proud to say is AllergyCertified, Vegetarian Society approved and also Natrue Approved.
Vegetarians care for animals by having a very strong philosophy for animal welfare and the ethical treatment of animals. We fully agree and share this philosophy as our lanolin is derived from wool grease, obtained by the washing of wool that is only shorn from healthy live sheep. Veggilanol Gold Lanolin is Vegetarian Society Approved in recognition of the ethical treatment and welfare of animals in our supply chain and is therefore completely appropriate for Vegetarians.
We strongly believe that manufacturing of lanolin brings out only positive aspects for both humans and animals. We believe it is important to draw special attention to this in an effort to address and eliminate old reservations. We fully believe and stand for the ethical treatment and welfare of sheep and all animals.
I have been personally involved in the wool sector since 1978, and in fact I am an original signatory to the Dumfries House Wool Declaration of 9th September 2016.
For many years much has been done for the welfare of sheep around the world through the patronage of the IWTO (International Wool Textile Organisation), governing body of world textiles. To this matter I would highly recommend reading the IWTO’s concise summation of good practice principles for ethical wool sheep production:
LanEsters are proud to be the first lanolin company ever to become an associate member of the IWTO.
Ż.G.: Is Holly Molly good for allergy sufferers?
A.K.: The good experiences of our convinced customers tell us that using Holly Molly products can help give relief to allergy sufferers with problem skin such as:
- eczema and
Ż.G.: What is the effect that you can guarantee to your consumers?
A.K.: We know and guarantee that Lanolin is one of nature's most powerful moisturizers. It is rich in lipids and kind to the skin, a natural, biodegradable and sustainable resource. Lanolin keeps skin supple and soft and is the perfect care for people with dry and stressed skin. it can also be helpful for problem skin.
Ż.G.: How can one buy your cremes in their country?
A.K.: Holly Molly products are available to buy in our webshop:
All prices quoted are with free shipping within the European Union.
Managing Director LanEsters GmbH has been involved in wool and textiles since 1978. He is an associate of the Textile Institute. He has lived and worked gaining experience in Germany for many years.
He started his wool adventure as a 17-year-old sample room assistant at a wool merchanting company in Bradford, England.
Travelling the world for the next 30 years as a wool, speciality fibre specialist (such as Cashmere, Silk, Angora, Mohair, Alpaca and Camelhair), and more recently Lanolin. He has learnt the importance of purity, supply chain partnerships and ethics in the wool industry as well as the importance of animal welfare. His vocation is to help people with lanolin, making it as pure as possible and derived in the most ethical way.