Jan Kuśmirek is an author, educator, journalist, historian and aromacosmetologist. Co-founder of Fragrant Earth, the UK’s pioneering producer of aromatic raw materials. Creator of the British global brand Elemis.
He has been active within the aromatic industry for some 40 years, giving lectures and broadcasting on the subject around the world. His specialities are skin care, the quality of essential oils and aroma physics, whilst promoting the use of natural and organic materials in fragrance and cosmetics. As a qualified medical herbalist and clinical aromatherapist this contributed to his creations of active frgrances.
EARLY LIFE AND CAREER
Jan Kuśmirek was born in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire. His roots are Polish. Raised in the countryside, he developed a life-long appreciation of nature, agriculture and organic produce.
He began his working career in high vacuum engineering as a technical writer for a high science engineering company. He gained wide experience in mettalurgy, freeze drying and the pioneer space technologies. The new plastics technologies of the time saw him, with his applied engineering and physics background, develop new applications in agriculture, horticulture, civil engineering and soil sciences.
As a supporter of organic farming and within the context of the growing popular interest in ecology and environment, he went on to become marketing manager of the Soil Association, developing standards, campaigns and also the SA quality symbol mark. During this time The Fragrant Earth Company was created as a specialist supplier of extracts, essential oils and perfumery components, utilising his contacts with farmers and growers made within the organic movement especially in France. This company contributed substantially to the growth of aromatherapy both commercially and clinically.
In the 1980s, Kuśmirek moved into product development, the first being the skin care brand ‘Origins’ – an idea for creating a natural range that was biologically active, effective, skin compatible and environmentally sound. Origins was bought and developed by American cosmetics company Estée Lauder and is now a global prestige brand. Origins was followed by the ‘Elemis’ brand, with Jan Kuśmirek working with Linda Steiner in 1989 to develop products originally intended to be as “near to nature” as possible but following skin science and activity at its heart. Kusmirek still consults for Elemis now also a major global brand.
Jan Kusmirek is the force behind the Genera Consultancy, an independent consultancy but working closely with Fragrant Earth Organics designing and formulating cosmetics, toiletries and fragrances. Clients have included, for a variety of services, from raw materials, perfumes and therapy including Avon, Boots, Body Shop, Elizabeth Arden, Reckitt Benckeiser,Neutrogena, Liz Earle, E’spa, Nude, LVMH group Benefits, Aromatherapeutics and Nelsons.
Due to his extensive world travel promoting aromacosmetology ‘Jan San’ has become a cult figure in Japan and the Far East. His lecture programme always respects traditional values and cultures especially in the world of health and wellbeing.This chimes with his business principles espousing small, apprpopriate technologies, policies, and polities as being superior alternatives to the mainstream ethos of “bigger is better”, in other words “Small is Beautiful”. Visting and working in 40 plus countries has given a wide perspective and respect for differences amongst people and cultures.
Unhappy with globalisation and its failure to make people and cultures as major concerns, he relates these to the needs of nature conservation and he fully subscribes to the Gaia hypothesis put forward by James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis. In the 21st century he sees, with the rise of social media and censorship, that emotional activism has come to obscure the arguements and practical changes needed in favour of destructive neo liberalism with attacks on traditional values and morality. Such devisive green and political activism leads directly to fascist and totalitarian agendas which fail the ecology and the natural environment.
Kuśmirek’s passions are organic farming and sustainability. He cites Rachel Carson’s book ‘Silent Spring’ as providing the dynamic for his original work. One of his key concerns is the blending of science and nature, and he has directed his energy into ‘Green Intelligence’ which features his passion for microbiology as a fundanment of life.