The best thing to do for the environment is never procreate.
While this may sound extreme, it is a sustainability choice that many are making. Would-be parents are deeply considering the landfill footprint one more human would leave on this earth. In a less extreme example, creators, entrepreneurs and companies must consider the fallout of their creative endeavors. The perfect colors for the canvas might require a non-water soluble pigment on coated canvas not fit for the compost bin. The perfect customized mold for the fragrance bottle might come with an energy cost. Art imitates life: both can have a net negative impact on the planet.
As a brand development boutique dedicated to indie beauty brands, we see ourselves as a kind of brand doula, helping to bring creative visions to life. There is no lack of creativity in this space. The $500 Billion dollar Beauty Industry continues to “defy gravity” according to Forbes magazine (Richard Kestenbaum, The Biggest Trends in the Beauty Industry, Sep 9, 2018), and “Young, independent brands are supporting a surge in creativity…Entrepreneurship is boiling over in the beauty industry.”
But what is lacking is conscious consumption. Beauty is one of the largest and filthiest industries in the world, and at the rate beauty brands are launching, we must do something strategic to stop the hemorrhaging of waste. We would never suggest you choose NOT to birth your brand (we’d be out of a job, and you’d be wracked with the angst of a stifled entrepreneur!), but we do firmly believe that any brand launching today must. make. conscious. choices.
Those periods are there for a reason. Contrary to the old adage “fail fast, fail often,” building a conscious brand requires moments of pause, deliberate action and calculated compromise. Because while a truly zero waste, profitable business has yet to be actualized, the invitation to fail fast and often leads to more wasted time, money, energy and runoff than anyone should consciously choose.
I recently joined the Oyl + Water team as Director of Production to shape and steer and more conscious approach to brand development. Our goal is clear and ambitious: create a positive Ripple Effect by helping our clients make mindful choices about their packaging and marketing materials. Most brand founders don’t know where to begin. What questions to ask. Where to find the right vendors. Who to trust. That’s where we come in. Our new initiative, The Oyl Change, is a sustainable resource center exclusively for our clients. We will present you with choices on the most sustainable way to get your product out of your head and into the hands of your customer. If your product requires a plastic tube, let us suggest options made from biodegradable sugarcane. If you want a luxury experience for your client, let us suggest a recyclable mono-material all glass bottle and cap.
From printers to packaging suppliers to merchandising display manufacturers, we are forging partnerships with the most sustainable players in the industry and bringing them to your project, so you can do what you do best: grow your business.
I have worked in production and creative services for a decade - for the largest beauty retailer and some of the most integrity bound beauty brands. I glow with pride that I was able to inspire women to use only clean beauty on their skin. And that I was able to create an inclusive space where beauty of all colors, shapes, and sizes was celebrated. But occasionally, I cringe at the amount of paper I’ve printed (FSC certified, of course). I shudder at the sheer number of retail displays I created that were not recycled due to some type of logistical hiccup - a local law, a mall waste management schedule, an education gap. I celebrate how far we’ve come, and now, I’m ready to help take the industry further.
At this year’s 2019 Luxe Pack New York, beauty and fragrance industry leaders met to discuss packaging innovations. Luxe Pack hosted their 6th Annual New York In Green Awards, where Nate Packaging won Best in Green Product, and Ecological Fibers won for best in Green Initiative. Beauty brand leaders and packaging vendors were celebrating innovation in design, and recommitting to sustainable manufacturing. I was there cheering them on, discussing actionable next steps, and feeling inspired. These are the conversations we will continue to have with our vendors in order to bring the most sustainable and socially conscious options to our clients, and the best products to the world.
We’re here to help you birth a conscious brand. If done right, the only thing you’ll leave behind is your legacy.
Written for Oyl + Water by Colleen November, Director of Production