I’m pleased to have laid the foundations of many good practices
Radina Stefanova is Kingly’s Laboratory Manager. For the last few months, she has helped the company implement many good practices and prepare for a SMETA Pillar 4 audit, as well as for a GMP22716, OEKO TEX and GOTS audits. She has extensive experience in the pharmaceutical industry, but her secret passion is cosmetics. She loves experimenting with new concepts and overcomes every new challenge that comes her way. Let’s get to know her better.
You have been working at Kingly for a few months and you have already made huge changes by preparing the company for major audits and implementing new good practices and ‘best practice’ throughout. You will also be in charge of creating a brand-new cosmetics line. Tell me a little bit more about that.
My work has always been linked to the pharmaceutical industry. I have never worked in cosmetics before but there are many parallels. That opportunity is what initially attracted me to come work for Kingly. It is a new field for me where I can use my past experiences. The other thing that caught my attention is that I will be able to experiment and make a range of shampoos, creams, etc. When we finish getting all the certificates we need, I will start my work in cosmetics.
Are you going to create all-natural products?
We plan to have natural shampoos and creams. However, that production is quite complicated and there are many quality requirements, so this will happen at a later stage.
How did chemistry become your field of interest in the first place? And what is it about cosmetics that excites you?
I wanted to become a pharmacist, but my score wasn’t high enough. You had to have an “A” to start studying pharmacy. But ever since I was in 7th grade, I loved chemistry. It excited me. I loved conducting experiments. I really loved becoming a chemist. The two disciplines have a lot in common. However, pharmacists can sell drugs but cannot make them. The people who make the drugs are the chemists; they decide if they will be effective. So, the chemist’s job is more interesting than the pharmacist’s.
At first, I thought that chemistry and cosmetics would be very different but there is no such thing. It doesn’t matter if you produce drugs or cosmetics – the requirements are the same. And I think that I will find cosmetics really interesting when I start creating the products. Things are way more simplified. If you take a recipe for making a cream it would be less complicated than the recipe for a medicine. That is understandable. But there are other things from a technological point of view that are fascinating and it’s always good to have new challenges
Tell me more about the audits that we are currently conducting and the environmental and health and safety measures we are taking.
The SMETA Pillar 4 audit and the ISO 45001 audit are linked to our health and safety policies, especially when it comes to using machinery. The ISO 14001 audit is linked to ecology – separate collection of waste, recycling, etc. With ISO 14001 we prove that our organization cares about the environment as a whole. In cosmetics, you can use biodegradable bottles and recyclable paper for the labels. However, even cosmetic products based on herbs cannot be all-natural, so there is always a balance to find. With textiles, on the other hand, it is possible to switch to entirely ecological production.
When I came to work for Kingly, I didn’t fully grasp how quickly we were going to emphasize the ecological element in our products. But now I am really keen to be part of business leading the way. I have never had to deal with ISO 14001 and ISO 45001 before. The majority of companies I have worked for had already implemented these practices. Now I was faced with the challenge to implement them myself and I am pleased to have laid the foundation of many good practices.
Which good practices do you think should stay in the company? What would you change if you had the opportunity?
My role in the company evolves. When it comes to production, many good practices, as well as hygiene practices must remain. As far as cosmetic production goes, exceptional hygiene is mandatory – not only for the workers but also on the premises. This is one of the most important points. Following GMP requirements is a good practice by itself.
What is the most challenging and the most fascinating part of your job?
The most fascinating part is cosmetics. I hope I can start creating products soon and I’m looking forward to that especially. What I have been doing so far is vitally important, but not of itself creative. Writing procedures all day long Is not my favorite thing, but I’m glad I’ve done it. In most of the companies I’ve worked for so far, everything was already implemented. However, that was one of the reasons I came to work here – I was told that I could create something from the very beginning. Of course, not all those practices are easy to implement, so we will have to work hard and be consistent about getting the details right. That will be satisfying in itself – but, really, I am most interested in the chemistry work, not so much in the administration! Of course, the two go hand in hand. That’s how we make progress.
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