Inside Cowshed: The Quirky-Cool Spa Brand
- Written By:Julia McVeigh
With 23—and counting—Soho House locations across the globe, Nick Jones, the Founder and CEO of Soho House & Co. is not simply running a members’ only club. He’s at the helm of an immersive lifestyle brand.
After all, anyone who has either visited or stayed at a ‘House’ can confirm that they are thoroughly experiential places, capturing both the definable and indefinable essence of a given place—the Art Deco shimmer of South Beach, the rustic sophistication of Babington, the ramshackle chic of Berlin. Nevertheless, each House feels inextricably linked to an overarching brand vision, one that operates by a members-first philosophy while truly elevating the notion of “home away from home.”
Given Soho House’s stature as a 360-degree lifestyle experience—one that explicitly caters to its discerning clientele—it is not surprising that Cowshed, its spa-grade beauty and grooming brand, has been so successful. Distinguished by its cleverly off-color branding (a best-selling product is Cow Pat Moisturizing Hand Cream, named after a pile of cow dung) and efficacious, ingredient-driven formulations, Cowshed products are a far cry from typical hotel toiletries. Fittingly, perhaps, given that Soho House is anything but a typical hotel brand.
Ahead, Jones answers our questions on Cowshed—from its humble beginnings to the brand’s admirable commitment to sustainability. Read on!
In brief, can you explain the genesis of Cowshed?
Cowshed was born at Babington House in Somerset because we opened our very first spa in the old Cowshed there. It was a man called Richard Howard who persuaded me to make our own products to use in the spa and bedrooms at Babington using ingredients from the Victorian walled garden on the estate. It was an accident; when we did all this, we didn’t plan to sell them, anywhere. But then people would come and stay and say, “Well, can I have these at home?” It has now grown into a substantial business and a brand people love.
Describe Cowshed in three words?
Honest, natural, effective.
What makes Cowshed unique in a sea of grooming and beauty products?
Cowshed is first and foremost a spa brand; all our products are used in our spa treatments, so you know they’re professional-quality. Our therapists use our oils, lotions and scrubs in therapies ranging from massages to manicures and they tell us how customers respond to them. Cowshed was one of the first natural brands to use aromatherapy and organic, wildcrafted ingredients in the products. There’s a proper back story to what Cowshed is, and that is why our customers like it.
I find that there is something distinctly British about the branding and overall ethos of the company. Can you elaborate?
I associate being British as having a sense of fun. There is also nothing more British than the countryside and its tradition of local craftsmanship—and we’ve incorporated both these elements into Cowshed. The countryside is often seen as a place to relax and rejuvenate from the city and we hope our Cowshed products bring this sense of calm to our customers in both the town and countryside.
Can you discuss the inspiration behind your formulas?
All our ingredients are ethically sourced, many are certified organic and wildcrafted. We’re constantly working to improve the sustainability of our packaging. We’re currently trialing plastic-free amenities in the bedrooms at Shoreditch House.
Do you have any signature products you'd like to highlight?
The Wonder Balm is a one-stop pot that can be easily integrated into your routine. It can be used in a variety of different ways, including as a moisturizer, body butter, cleanser, hair mask, massage oil, lip balm and mood reliever. It is our solution to cluttered shelves.
How is Cowshed an extension of the Soho House brand?
Everything we do is driven by our members and Cowshed is no exception. Cowshed came about by listening to our customers and it is an extension of our brand. Cowshed allows our members and non-members to take a bit of House home with them and our Cowshed spas provides a space for our members to relax and unwind in.