A Czech cosmetic pioneer celebrates 30 years of sweet-smelling success

Botanicus has come a long way from its humble beginnings, now boasting a visitor's center, thriving e-shop, and four flagship stores.

Marcus Bradshaw

Written by Marcus Bradshaw Published on 03.10.2022 16:29:00 (updated on 03.10.2022) Reading time: 4 minutes

Organic cosmetic producer Botanicus is celebrating thirty years in business this year. With four flagship stores (including one in the Ungelt courtyard just off Prague’s Old Town Square) as well as a flourishing online shop, Botanicus has come a long way from its humble beginnings, when it first started selling fragrant potpourri and plant-based decorations to foreign visitors in Prague.

Three decades later, the company has earned a fan following, not just with international visitors, but also within the domestic Czech market, where discerning customers have flocked to its wide range of organic cosmetic products.

“Botanicus is the world of plants” is the company motto, and this can be seen clearly in Botanicus’ product line, which draws its inspiration from plants such as rose, geranium, patchouli, shea butter, calendula, tea tree and lavender. From these plants (many long- hailed for their medicinal properties), Botanticus produces a wide array of cosmetics and toiletries, including soaps, shampoos, fragrances, essential oils and massage oils, as well as hand and body creams and bath products.

Although cosmetics are most often associated with women, Botanicus has also created a line of products aimed at men – including soap, hand cream, a face regeneration oil and a shower gel – built on a combination of libanum, myrrh, geranium, bourbon and juniper, which creates a deep, masculine fragrance.

Key to Botanicus’ success is a 30 hectare production garden, based in the village of Ostrá near the town of Lysá nad Labem. This wonderful garden has allowed Botanicus to develop a circular business model, which sees the entire process – from raw material production and processing, to marketing and sales – all taking place on site in Ostrá (Prince, now King, Charles III, famously visited the grounds of the Botanicus in 2001 company, planting an English oak and a Czech linden).

This system offers many benefits to both the producer and the customer: by growing its own raw material and processing it all in-house, Botanicus is able to maintain strict quality controls over every stage of the production process. Customers also benefit, as they are able to purchase products directly from the producer, which, in turn, helps keep the prices affordable.

The production garden at Ostrá is where the raw materials that makeup Botanicus products are organically cultivated, under the watchful eye of a team of gardeners. Organic production is one of Botanicus’ key values, which means the fruits, trees, plants, and herbs are grown without the use of chemical sprays or industrial fertilizers. Botanicus is also very conscious of using fresh rather than dried herbs, which are naturally grown in the onsite gardens. Their close proximity to the production facility means that the herbs can be processed immediately upon harvesting while they still maintain their maximum vitality.

Once the raw material has been harvested, it is processed on-site in Ostrá. The processes involved in the creation of the finished cosmetics are labor intensive. Work is carried out in small batches, with most of the work done by hand, and as such the appellation “handmade” can be fairly applied to Botanicus products.

The basic principle behind every Botanicus product is to use as large an amount of plant material as possible, and this is achieved by mixing modern scientific knowledge with Botanicus’ own traditional recipes. Then, once complete, the finished products go on sale, either on-site at the Botanicus stores in Ostrá, or in Prague, Český Krumlov or Karlovy Vary. Increasingly, more and more sales are taking place through their e-shop, botanicus.cz

Visitors to Ostrá are very welcome to visit the production garden, where they can wander among the various trees and plants, and see firsthand the plants, herbs, fruits, and vegetables that are used to create the products in the Botanicus range. Additionally, during the spring, summer, and early autumn months, visitors to the Ostrá shop can enjoy a special treat, as the shop is seasonally stocked with fresh fruit and vegetables, grown organically in the on-site gardens.

In addition to the shop and production garden, the Botanicus facility at Ostrá also boasts a craft center, which hosts regular workshops, where visitors can try their hand at crafts such as candle making, soap making, fabric dyeing, and paper-making. One of the goals of the craft center is to show the contribution of natural materials in the production of common things (such as tin, rope, candles, and paper) that surround us in daily life.

Visitors are welcome to take part in demonstrations, where they can get involved and use their own hands - something that has proven very popular with children on school trips. Open annually from spring until the end of October, the craft center is a firm favorite with families with children, seniors, and schools.

As Botanicus moves into its fourth decade, it will surely continue steadfastly in its work – following the natural cycle of planting, plant care, harvesting, and gently using the bounty that nature provides. The passage of time has seen Botanicus grow and adapt to a changing world. Today, it may be reaching more of its customers online than ever before, but we can be sure that it will continue to bring the world of plants into our modern world for many years to come.

This article was written in association with Botanicus. To read more about our partner content policies see here.

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