When you enrol with Formula Botanica, the world is your oyster. Some of our graduates stay at indie level, while a small percentage of our graduates aim for world domination. Born out of a green beauty blog and book under its earlier name of the Clean Beauty Co, BYBI (By Beauty Insiders), is one of those graduate brands that think big from the outset. Started by Dominika Minarovic and Elsie Rutterford, BYBI was founded with the intention of being pioneers in natural beauty industry in the UK.
Their products, as Dominika and Elsie say, are:
Made with active botanicals and luxurious ingredients that feed your skin and hair; high quantities of our favourite plants, nuts, flowers and seeds. All the anti-ageing, super-moisturising, ultra-nourishing goodness that hasn’t been diluted down with pointless fillers. Better for your skin, better for your body, better for the environment and better for you.
That pioneering approach is what has driven their business forward. Dominika and Elsie quit their day jobs last year after seeing great success with their online blog, their London-based DIY beauty workshops and the publication of their first book, titled Clean Beauty: Recipes to Manage Your Beauty Routine, Naturally. The book has since been translated into three languages, and is available on ASOS and in shops like Urban Outfitters.
The book marked a turning point for Dominika and Elsie. They then decided to start work in earnest on their high performance range of natural skincare products, hence the rebrand to BYBI. Working hard in their formulation labs, experimenting with the most innovative ingredients and testing out the market, the team designed an impressive range of fun, high performance botanical formulations. Ranging from their Babe Balm to their Prime Time facial polish and their Mega Mist toner, the team’s formulations show that effective natural skincare can be mainstream.
How did Formula Botanica play a role in helping the two Co-Founders make their high performance skincare range? “We’ve found the material of course invaluable to broadening our own expertise” says Dominika. “The sense of community and passion of our fellow students has also been really inspiring.”
Once the range was in place, Dominika and Elsie then decided to obtain investment funding. As Dominika says: “We got to a point where we couldn’t fill the demand of retailers and our customers with stock. We also knew we could scale really quickly and create a real buzz around the brand, but we need some capital to do it.“
We got to a point where we couldn’t fill the demand of retailers and our customers with stock.
They decided to pitch for a loan through a programme offered by Richard Branson’s not-for-profit Virgin StartUp, and were selected as one of the businesses that received £50,000 in funding: £25,000 each. Watch this video in which you’ll see Dominika and Elsie meet with Richard Branson and his team of mentors.
This initial investment proved a springboard, and Dominika and Elsie have recently secured £150,000 from a group of private investors betting on the potential of their concept to take on the beauty market.
Raising this sort of cash is never easy, as Dominika confirms. “Because we’re such an early stage start up, we had to convince our investors that we had the vision and business acumen to make a real financial success of the business, which wasn’t always easy. Raising money as two inexperienced women also was challenging, but we gathered a group of individuals that are investing in us as well as the business and really believe in us.“How @FormulaBotanica graduates @BYBIbeauty raised £150k in investment funding Click To Tweet
The clean beauty duo are confident though that they can take on the big players. Being a small brand in a market of big corporations, such as beauty, means that the power of social is incredibly valuable. It gives you access to brand and market awareness, and gives your brand an edge. BYBI are undercutting old-school big brands by being faster and more agile, and can share their entire journey and development on social media.
What’s next for the rising stars of the UK clean beauty scene? How will they use the investment capital raised for the next stage of their business? Dominika says many plans are afoot. “We will use the investment on new product development, hiring a rockstar team and doing some really fun and stand out marketing. Stay tuned!”.
We can’t wait to see what’s next for the entrepreneurial duo. We know that we’ll be at the front of the queue to buy their new product releases and hope you will too!
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Lorraine Dallmeier is a Biologist, Chartered Environmentalist and the CEO of Formula Botanica, the award-winning online organic cosmetic science school. Read more about Lorraine and the Formula Botanica Team.