There’s a shake-up happening in the beauty industry, touching everything from skincare to cosmetics and haircare.
Cool, independent and non-toxic beauty labels are just one such category making a big noise. And there’s no sign of hippie-dippy, eco-warrior packaging in sight.
At this year’s WWD Beauty Summit, the most important conference in the beauty industry, it was reported that traditional makeup was down 1.3% in 2016. But independent brands were up 42.7%. And this growth of independent brands was considered a reflection of a change in consumer tastes. In particular, referring to the growth of the cruelty-free market, Kat Von D of the eponymous beauty company, said, “millennials really do care.”
Millennials, and other consumer segments alike, all want to find brands they can trust, fed up with the scandals of the past. It’s all about authenticity, coupled with unique products and experiences. Truth be told, consumers want more from their products too, which could mean beauty products that are combined with health and wellness properties.
One beauty brand striking out on their own is London-based natural beauty brand BYBI. From writing a beauty blog to securing a book deal, and now startup success by launching their very own skincare range, the Clean Beauty Co. duo are an exciting match, so we naturally had to find out more.
Image: Clean Beauty Co. founders Elsie Rutterford & Dominika Minarovic
The brand started off as Clean Beauty Co. and the products are now known as BYBI, can you explain the evolution of the brand?
Clean Beauty Co is our content platform: we started as DIY skincare bloggers and we decide to share our journey across our blog and social media. Being first and foremost content driven, it has spurred on many interesting opportunities for us including a book published by Penguin, workshops and a natural beauty festival called Clean Cult.
When we decided to launch a range of skincare products, we wanted to build a strong identity and voice around them that was separate to the content we were already sharing. We also found that amongst mainstream beauty buyers, there’s misconceptions around the performance and efficacy of natural products and we wanted to dispel those. But by labelling ourselves Clean Beauty Co, it would have made this challenging, as we would have always been pigeonholed in the natural category. We’re building a mainstream beauty brand that produces high performance skincare… that’s also 100% natural!
There has been a positive pattern with new skincare brands entering the market that evolved from blogs reviewing beauty products. Which makes a lot of sense really. Do you think this was critical to the success of BYBI?
Absolutely: not only have we tried about every natural product there is on the market, we’re in constant communication with thousands of people daily about what they want and what they are missing. We’re so in tune with trends and new product opportunities from our blogging roots, and it gives us a massive advantage when it comes to launching new products and actually creating products people want.
At the same time, not all of these brands are 100% natural. Was launching a 100% natural skincare line a no-brainer for you?
We’ve spent two years raising awareness of natural beauty and foul ethics of the beauty industry, so really we felt passionate to practise what we preach, as it were. All our products are 100% natural, but also vegan, cruelty free, locally produced, sustainably sourced and in eco friendly packaging and this fundamental ethical approach is at the heart of our brands.
Could you describe the creative process around developing new products? Is customer collaboration important to the brand?
We absolutely love product development. We’re now both trained natural skincare formulators, and we still formulate everything in house. This puts us very much as the centre of each product and we source ideas from our team, trends, the mainstream industry and often our community. We like to make it a really collaborative process and launch products that feel as though they were developed with everyone in mind.
You are a totally transparent company, which alone deserves plaudits. Can it be a difficult process sourcing your botanicals and natural ingredients?
We aim to be transparent in our ingredients of course, we list everything in plain English as well as the traditional Latin, and aim to build on this transparency with the launch of bybi.com in a few months. However, we’re also transparent in our supply chain, who owns the brand, who formulates the product. Our consumers have a real sense of where the product came from and how much love and attention is taken with every new launch.
As two female founders and being based in London, do you feel there is enough support when trying to break into the skin care market as a newcomer?
We’ve had tremendous support from press, but also retailers, and we’re launching with some big names in the coming months. They are all adapting their attitudes and even their physical retail spaces to work with new brands, and particularly brands like ours are attractive given our social media influence and ability to launch new on trend products very quickly. Of course, we get a lot of attention by being natural and vegan as there’s a massive consumer demand for that, and many of the big brands are still slowly trying to reformulate, but also we’ve had support for us as women founders, being digitally savvy, being a British independent brand. It’s a great time to be in the industry as a newcomer!
There has been greater attention on ethical and sustainable products in recent years, from fashion to skincare. How do you see the industry progressing?
It’s about time really! The fashion industry is a terrible global polluter and the cosmetics industry is no better: things like animal testing, microbeads, excess plastic packaging. We’d believe, and hope, that it isn’t just a trend and really all brands adjust their manufacturing and distribution processes to be sustainable, ethical and environmentally friendly.
And finally, if you could share one piece of advice with someone considering shopping in a more conscious way but they don’t know where to start, what would it be?
Demand supply chain transparency from your brand and if they don’t give you straight answers, there’s probably something to hide. Things we always look for: where is it made and what from.