OUR STORY

Uoga Uoga - we take it personally!

As the creators of “Uoga Uoga” Lena Sokolovska and Jovita Vyšniauskienė say, the name of the company is the quintessence of their cosmetics: “Uoga Uoga” (translated from Lithuanian means “Berry Berry”) is natural and fresh as a forest berry. The story of the company, which was founded in 2010, started from the true friendship and true berries, but let’s go to the beginning and let’s hear the story from the lips of the founders.

TARPAS

- How did “Uoga Uoga” start?

Lena: In 2009 we both worked at a hedge fund: Jovita as an accountant and me as a financial analyst. We had great and well-paid jobs, however, it always felt as if something was missing. I had too little time to spend on what really interested me: skydiving, snowboarding, travelling and music. That is why one day I decided to quit my job and take what life had to offer.

Jovita: My family had already been living in the countryside and planting organic vegetables when the business idea occurred. We always wanted for our children to live in a healthier environment. At the time of business inception, organic cosmetics were prohibitively expensive and so I tried to make something at home. The possibilities fascinated me and this is how natural cosmetics came into my life.

Lena: And Jovita lured me into this too! (Smiles) 

Jovita: One evening our families came together around a table and made a business plan: we will make natural cosmetics - we will produce fresh face masks from fresh berries. That’s how it all started and how the name “Uoga Uoga” came about.

TARPAS

- What’s so special about “Uoga Uoga”?

Lena: It’s natural, true, handmade and always fresh. We only choose ingredients of the highest quality: natural unrefined oils, clays, flower waters, Lithuanian honey and herbs, organic essential oils. Our make-up line is created using natural minerals and it is further enriched with pure Baltic amber. We do not use anything that we would not put on the skin of our children.

Jovita: What is more, our cosmetics is not only about special ingredients. It is also eco-friendly and our family-like community seems to appreciate it. We believe that with “Uoga Uoga” we can make the world a little cleaner, purer and more beautiful, and this thought makes us move forward.

TARPAS

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Our team is passionate about our ideas and we feel that our stores inspire women not only to lead healthier lifes, but also to be freer and stronger.

TARPAS

- Who creates all the product recipes?

Jovita: We create and manufacture everything ourselves, however, before bringing the products into the market, we perform all the tests and safety assessments in the Lithuanian and UK laboratories. 

Lena: We also test-try the products ourselves for an extensive period of time: the new products are tested by our team and family members, and believe us, - these guys are the strictest critics we could hope for. Only after the products have been vetted, improved and approved, do they make their way onto the shop shelves.

TARPAS

- In 2015 a part of your products received a „Soil Association COSMOS Natural“ certificate. What does that mean to you?

Lena: It is a big win and a step forward for our company. The certificate confirms that our products are natural and our manufacturing processes are eco-friendly. This assessment was the result of our 5-year hard work.

TARPAS

- Five years went by, what inspires you to go forward?         

Jovita: First of all, it’s because we do what we truly like and believe in. Also, it’s the feedback from our clients and our team members who appreciate what we do. We have a lot of permanent customers who share their positive emotions and findings with us. This makes us feel the benefits of our hard work first hand and pushes us even harder to make progress and deliver better and fresher products going forward.

Lena: I am utterly fascinated by the fact that our products not only became a hit in Lithuania, but we also managed to inspire some women to try and make natural cosmetics at home. That’s really fantastic. It’s also great to remember our achievements along the way, which were indicators that we were progressing in the right direction: we were awarded numerous prizes for the best Lithuanian products during cosmetics exhibitions in the country, The Ministry of Economy chose us as the most successful young company in Lithuania in 2012, and we also got an award in the ‘Women Entrepreneur’ category in 2013. I hope it’s just the beginning! (Smiles)

TARPAS

- Is “Uoga Uoga” still a family business?

Lena: Yes, definitely. Even though we have grown as a business and we are one of the leading producers of natural cosmetics in Lithuania at the moment, we still produce all of our products by hand and in small batches, so that all the products reach our customers fresh. We still create all of the formulas, aromas and designs ourselves. Our husbands help us with our stands and shop furniture, give lots of advice and sometimes even create the poems for our make-up products.

Jovita: We take “Uoga Uoga” very personally, and that is probably why it is so special. And we still use fresh berries!

OUR PHILOSOPHY
"It's about ecology-friendly and family-like atmosphere within the company, which extends to our clients."

At “Uoga Uoga” we pay a great attention not only to effective production of natural cosmetics, but also to how we do it and which exactly ingredients we use. „Uoga Uoga“ values embrace the whole company‘s culture and touch every member of the team. We could write about our values for hours, but not to tire you we’ll try to be brief, so it is important to us that „Uoga Uoga“ is:

Natural. We work closely with „Soil Association“ in order to implement and abide by the unified natural cosmetics standard “COSMOS Natural” in every step of our manufacturing. We use only those ingredients, which are allowed to be used in natural cosmetics. We choose unrefined cold-pressed oils of the highest quality, cosmetic clays, Lithuanian honey and herbs, fresh berries, precious amber – also called the gold of Baltic Sea, and pure organic essential oils. We do not use any synthetic colours or fragrances, mineral oils, aggressive artificial preservatives and other materials, which are thought to be harmful to people or environment.

Fresh. We make „Uoga Uoga“ products by hand in small batches in order to ensure that customers always get our cosmetics fresh. Did you know that you can buy a cream in “Uoga Uoga” store or online, that was just made this week? We use only few mild preservatives, which allowed for natural cosmetics, and this is why the shelf life of most of our products is quite short. But believe us- it‘s worth it!

True. We take everything at “Uoga Uoga” personally and the emotion we put in our products is true. We devote a lot of time and attention to each product: carefully considering the formulas and searching for special ingredients, creating special names, packaging, and sometimes even poems. We know that our clients can feel it.

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Eco-friendly. It is important to us to care for nature not abusing it for our own needs. That is why we recycle waste at home, in our stores and at the production facility. We invite our customers to bring back the empty product packages and receive a discount for the next product, so that we can ensure that our packaging is properly recycled. We choose recycled paper for packaging and marketing materials. During production we try to save energy and water. We use only biodegradable cleaning liquids. We also try to minimise our CO2 footprint by selecting suppliers closer to home and optimising transportation.

Cruelty-free. We are strictly against testing cosmetic products or ingredients on animals. We do not use animal-derived ingredients, except for beeswax and honey, therefore most of our products are suitable for vegans. All „Uoga Uoga“ brushes are made from synthetic hair.

Inspiring.  We want to inspire people to live in harmony with nature and to educate them on the topic of natural cosmetics. In 2014 we published a book „Making natural cosmetics at home with „Uoga Uoga“, where we shared our knowledge about natural oils and other ingredients, and offered around 100 recipes of home- made cosmetics. We also try to inspire other women in Lithuania to start their own business if they wish to, by participating in various seminars encouraging women entrepreneurship. 

CERTIFICATE

In the spring of 2015 the quality of our cosmetics was evaluated by one of the strictest natural and organic product control organisations “Soil Association” and we started to certify our products one by one under the “COSMOS Natural” certificate. This achievement is a very important step forward for us and we are adding more and more of our products to the list of certified each month. 

COSMOS is a first united European certificate of natural cosmetics, jointly created by five organisations: „Soil Association“, „Ecocert“, BDIH, ICEA and „Cosmebio“. COSMOS certification can prove the quality of either organic („COSMOS Organic“) or natural („COSMOS Natural“) cosmetics. 


“COSMOS Natural” standard regulates:

Cosmetic ingredients. There are strict rules regulating ingredients, which can be used for production of natural cosmetics: certification encourages using ingredients of natural origin and from organic agriculture. All synthetic materials are prohibited, except for a short list of allowed ingredients, which do not have natural substitutes and their safety has been carefully tested. 

Nano materials, genetically modified ingredients, materials affected by gamma or x-ray radiation, heavy metals, pesticides, nitrates, synthetic colours and fragrances, and many synthetic preservatives are also prohibited to be used. COSMOS standard encourages the biological diversity, therefore it is prohibited to use ingredients derived from endangered plants.

                                                                                                                                         

Testing on animals. COSMOS standard highlights, that it is strictly forbidden to use ingredients tested on animals or to test the final products on animals.

Packaging. It is required that the packaging of cosmetic products does not create pollution, is recyclable and can decompose easily.

Production processes. Certified producer is obliged to have and follow environmental management plan, which covers all production processes, including recycling, efficient use of recourses, CO2 footprint, biodegradable cleaning supplies and other environmental issues.


More information can be found here.



We see the “Cosmos natural” standard not as a one-time venture, but as a constant and consistent self-improvement process. That is why we communicate with “Soil Association” team constantly and are happy to received audits from the UK on a yearly basis. 

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