Homework, soothing treatments inspired by traditional Chinese medicine
Who is it? Homework was started by Stephanie Hannington-Suen, a former graphic designer and art director based in London. After years of working in design studios across the capital, she began to feel exhausted: the long hours and difficult clients, coupled with the blurred lines between work and time at home, saw her become more and more dejected. “I was doing design work in-house for some big brands that didn’t really match my beliefs,” she recalls. “But I’ve always been fascinated by skin care. “
This fascination with skin care came from her parents, who ran an acupuncture and herbal medicine clinic when she was little. Hannington-Suen began to revisit their methods, which were rooted in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and the power of plants. “The whole philosophy of TCM is to find a balance,” she says. This includes mental and emotional balance, as well as physical and spiritual. For Hannington-Suen, this ancient practice led her to also reassess the unstable imbalance between her family and work life – a goal that ultimately led to the name of homework. “This is how everything is linked,” she adds. “The ethics of our brand is a question of balance, of time for oneself and to take care of oneself.” After experimenting with making her own soothing scented candles in January 2019, she began to take the brand more seriously – officially launching, with bigger ambitions, in October of the same year.
Why do I want it? Homework specializes in delicious earthy aromas. Its flagship products are its essential oil blends and sustainably packaged toxin-free scented candles (which range from smoked sandalwood and Chinese cedar to transport blends of green leaves, tobacco and clary sage). The brand also began to diversify into skin care, launching a line of soap bars, shampoo bars and bath salts, all based on the wisdom of TCM. With an emphasis on high-quality botanical ingredients and minimalist packaging, Homework aims to pay homage to the natural world. “I think people underestimate how powerful nature can be,” says Hannington-Suen. “I always consult my parents every time we create a new product and find out what they recommend. We actually developed our dandelion bar soap with them – dandelion is great for people with psoriasis or eczema – and they are now sending it to their patients. It is considered a weed in Western society, but it is actually a very powerful remedy.
All products are formulated and made in South East London, by hand, at the Homework studio. To stick to their sustainability principles and combat the tendency to overconsumption, Hannington-Suen is opening up the space and offering workshops to the public so they can see how products are made – and thus learn how to formulate them. products themselves. Currently, this comes in the form of a natural perfume oil workshop, but she plans to expand the program in the future. “I really like the idea of teaching people how to make these products at home,” Hannington-Suen said, hopefully. “Later I would like to teach people that they can make their own moisturizers and they don’t always have to buy expensive products. [products] with a lot of packaging on the shelves. I would really love to do that.