About Four Starlings, the Soapmakers
Four Starlings are a producer of natural cosmetics, based in the Polish region of Podlasie (“land by the forest”). The local vibe clearly shows in everything we do. The heart of our company beats in Białystok, as it always has – even when we were still a small family workshop. Today, Four Starlings is a hard-to-miss cosmetic brand formed by over 50 people, and an efficient enterprise production-wise (sounds pretty serious!), actively enriching our offer with brand new products – new yet always true to the idea we’ve grown upon: our products boast well-thought-out, uncomplicated, effective formulas. They’re also as multi-purpose as they can be, mainly vegan, and consistently people-, animal-, and planet-friendly. Friendly towards everybody!
Natural ingredients, simple formulas, and addressing the most essential needs
When designing our products, our goal is to deliver minimalist yet effective formulas. We strive to bring out what’s best in the ingredients, which we source locally whenever we can. We use cold-pressed plant-based oils and fairly traditional herbs and macerated plants, but always with a subtle twist – like some rare extract never used before by other cosmetic manufacturers. It’s all because we’re curious about unusual ingredients that are known to benefit the skin or hair. It’s one of the reasons why we keep on expanding our lab and grow our team of technologists, which enables us to do increasingly bold experiments with formulas and stay open to needs that emerge. We spice up traditional bases with fresh, cutting-edge solutions backed by legitimate lab tests. Before introducing a new product, we like to engage our customers by letting them try products before they’re even officially launched. The results and reviews help us both analyse the product better and understand what our customers really need. It matters to us, because meeting those needs is our great ambition.
Fun to use, people- and animal-friendly – our cosmetics
We never forget that cosmetics are not there just to work, but also to be a fun thing to use – we make sure our products check these boxes by featuring unique scents within their formulas (coming from natural essential oil blends) or playing with their texture. Starlings are also naturally pragmatic, which helps us remember that a good product should also be convenient to apply and as efficient as possible. We do our best to accommodate those who choose our cosmetics because the formulas are gentle. People who stumble upon Four Starlings when looking for a product suitable for problematic, sensitive, and allergy-prone skin are bound to find something on our site. And the same goes for vegans and those who search for cruelty-free cosmetics. As of now, a vast majority of our formulas is 100% vegan.
Zero-waste spirit – reduced plastic waste, container return programme, and refillable bottles
The materials we use to pack our cosmetics are always chosen based on whether they’re environmentally-friendly. Ever since we started out, we’ve consistently followed the zero-waste approach whenever possible. Our packaging is mainly paper, glass, and metal tins, which can be reused in many ways. We reduce our use of plastic – we replace it with other materials whenever we can; otherwise we go for recycled plastics. Our customers can return empty glass cosmetic containers so that we get to reuse them. At our shops, we’ve set up refill stations – anyone can bring their container and refill it with our soap. We’re also working on doing the same thing with more of our cosmetic formulas.
Best-selling, eco-friendly formulas. Head-to-toe body care
A bar is a star
As of now, some of our most well-known, best-selling products are undoubtedly bar cosmetics. The all-purpose shampoo bar, released in 2019, was a groundbreaking moment for Four Starlings. After its introduction, the shampoo’s popularity grew rapidly day by day, exceeding our greatest expectations. That proved to us that the direction we were going in was right – and fueled our motivation to go further. Shampoo bars made by Four Starlings remain one of the most popular (if not THE most popular) product of its kind on the Polish market of natural cosmetics. Today there are six variants of our shampoo bar. They’re a combination of effectiveness, rich conditioning properties, efficiency, and both eco-friendly form and packaging. It’s a product that prompted a true revolution in haircare and in many (not just) Polish bathrooms. Together with our conditioner bars and bar soaps, the shampoo has helped us and our customers prevent thousands of plastic bottles from entering the ecosystem.
A healthier alternative – our one-of-a-kind deodorant
Yet another fave among our customers, and a pioneering product on the Polish market at the time of its release, is our natural cream deodorant, currently available in seven variants. It’s a healthier alternative to traditional antiperspirants and sweat blockers. The long-lasting, creamy formula in a glass jar absorbs moisture and unpleasant odour effectively, all in harmony with nature, letting the skin breathe and rid itself of toxins.
Close to your body…
An equally important and well-developed part of our product portfolio are body care cosmetics. The greatest popularity award goes to fluffy body mousses – owing to their whipped-cream-like texture and stunning scents. Their application is nothing but pleasure. Apart from mousses, we also make rich and thick body butters, massage products, and super lightweight oils that absorb quickly. Those who like to have their skin nourished during their bath are fans of our bath bombs and natural scrubs that exfoliate dead skin and leave a nourishing film on the body.
…and even closer to your face
In 2020 we moved to a new, bigger location, where we set up a proper lab and began working on a cosmetic skincare line. Our first all-purpose Supercream became a bestseller right away, giving us confidence to further expand the range. In the meantime, we enriched the line with an Edelweiss Acid Serum and a Light Fruit Face Cream, and we continue to develop new formulas.
As you can see, we’d decided to make cosmetics that take care of the entire body. Our goal is to give you a complete, all-round, and skin-friendly variety of body care products. That is why our collection grows pretty fast and becomes more and more abundant. We still, however, keep an eye on our product quality, to make sure it matches the numbers.
The entire process of creating a Four Starlings product involves a whole lot of love and solid professional knowledge. We truly believe in every single one of our products; when introducing them to the market and customers, we depend on not just our feelings but, most of all, scientific facts and research – to put it shortly, on what we can prove.
A shampoo and a conditioner will not suddenly transform thin, straight hair into thick curls. They will, however, strengthen and revive the hair, making it look its absolute best. A body butter or scrub will not remove existing stretch marks like Photoshop. They won’t remove the cellulite, which is a completely natural thing and is not dependent on whatever cosmetics you use. Their regular application will, on the other hand, make the skin smoother and softer, giving it a healthy colour. We test our cosmetics ourselves, as a team. We know how they work and what they can do. We’re honest with our customers and they’re appreciative of our sincerity.
Cosmetics that please the eye
Let’s be real – our cosmetics wouldn’t be complete without their design. We’re very fond of self-made, vibrant labels and all the elements that make up our visual identity, designed by a highly skilled illustrator, Przemek Sokołowski. We know our customers share our sentiment. We also strive to make each of our products be seen as an individual piece of art.
GMP – Good Manufacturing Practice
You already know that we manufacture simple, all-purpose, skin- and planet-friendly cosmetics. But did you know that being a manufacturer AND complying with the standard of Good Manufacturing Practice is an absolute must? Yup, no exceptions. The key is to work out the way to control an enormous number of factors that impact the final quality of our products. It allows both you and us to be sure that a shampoo, cream or deodorant is awesome, effective, fragrant and, most importantly, safe – because the entire process a product goes through (from selecting ingredients, through production process, portioning, warehousing, to distribution) is under strict supervision, specified in great detail. If anything goes wrong, we do know what to do. Easy.
To us, being awarded the GMP (ISO 22716) certificate was the cherry on top of our efforts. It required an adjustment of numerous processes, renovations, letting go of old habits, buying a massive amount of gear, making technical, organisational, and emotional changes – because there had been a lot of stress and frustration indeed. In the end, it was all worth it! Now our work is easier and even more enjoyable.
We all know it’s a vital step in our journey from a private kitchen, through the back of a shop and an old bakery, to today, when we can finally call ourselves a COSMETIC MANUFACTURER.
Starlings as an indie brand
We can proudly say that Four Starlings is an independent brand, operating without any support from big corporations. From the very beginning, we have been engaged in creating unique, original, and (most of all) authentic products that reflect our values, vision, and mission – and differentiate us from mass-market, widely available brands. Another characteristic of indie brands is also an ethical approach, small production scale that allows better control, conscious community and interactions at the manufacturer-customer level, unique design, and strong focus on quality. We have it all.
Four Starlings, the philanthropists
From the very start, Four Starlings have aspired to help those in need as much as we could. We’ve always wanted to be a socially-engaged brand. We’re happy to say that today we can do that on an increasingly large scale. We have donated our products numerous times to charity auctions, organised by private persons, associations, and foundations. Black Friday, known as a full-blown shopping and sale festivity, is celebrated by us as a charity-oriented Fair Friday. We’ve been doing so annually since 2019. 15% from orders placed on that day is transferred to Fundacja Pomóż Im [PL Help Them Foundation] and La Strada foundation. We also do our best to participate regularly in pro-environmental activities – we’ve helped put down the fires in the Biebrzański National Park, planted trees with the Las na Zawsze Foundation [PL Forever Forest], and supported many everyday actions and initiatives that help the environment. The Starlings in our name are binding – since 2021, we’ve been releasing our Bird Calendar, from which the entire proceedings go to our befriended Komitet Ochrony Orłów‘s [PL Eagle Conservation Committee] bank account. As we expand and grow, we always do our best to remember about others, making good use of our reach and resources.
Face to face with customers – shops, trade shows, and workshops
Despite the pandemic, which made a lot of companies move to the online sphere almost completely, we still value and believe in offline activities – something that’s always going to be dear to our hearts. We sold our first bar soaps at a befriended bakery and at local trade shows. Today you can meet us at much larger, dedicated events, such as Ekocuda, Ekotyki and Targi Rzeczy Ładnych or visit us at our shops at Żelazna in Białystok and Centrum Praskie Koneser in Warsaw. Also, we might pop up in a few other places in Poland soon – where you can touch, use, and smell our cosmetics, as well as get advice from our specialists to choose the best products for yourself.
To meet Four Starlings, you can also take part in cosmetic workshops we organise. Until now, we have successfully run about a dozen such events and in the future we’d love to do that regularly. We can see that creating natural cosmetics has a continually growing interest and we’re so glad we finally have more capacity, time and space to share our knowledge with you.
Why Four Starlings, the Soapmakers? The genesis
The things you’ve just read would never be possible if one day Magda and Tomek Kudaszewicz hadn't come to the conclusion that making natural cosmetics could be so much fun – and a good way to relax, especially for people who'd always liked to use their own hands and choosing simple, healthy, natural things in life. Some of their first products were bar soaps, which they used themselves and shared with family and friends. Then they expanded their home manufacture and started making other cosmetics, until it became clear that a company basically set itself up in the process, with people asking for more and more. They craved new products, wanted to use them and test them out on their own skin. The attention the brand was getting grew with a star(t)ling speed and once it became really hard to wrap one’s head around all that, Magda and Tomek’s lifelong friend, Grzegorz Sienkiewicz, came aboard in 2019. Today, as a co-owner and the CEO, he steers the ship named Four Starlings.
All right, that’s the idea for the brand done – but where do the starlings come in?
Number four reflects the four family members that created the company: Magda, Tomek and their two sons: Jurek and Józio (the youngest starlings in our team, the fussiest testers, and the strictest quality control duo at the same time). As for the starlings, one day they flew over to the Kudaszewicz's balcony, made a good impression, and became a natural (and literal) inspiration for the brand. They are beautiful, smart and clever birds – how fitting ;)
What still amazes us (and sometimes simply moves us) is the fact that practically everything that's going on at Four Starlings right now is a reflection of the decisions and moves we made in the past.
Creating the formulas, searching for ideas, testing out the cosmetics ourselves, describing and selling them, designing the labels, packing the orders, talking to customers, finding the style and vibe of the brand – paradoxically, we still do all of these things practically the exact same way we did when we first started.