When we came across a cosmetics’ company declaring that it would love to see its customers buy fewer of its products, we knew we just had to interview its founder on Green Beauty Conversations. This podcast, as one focused heavily on the ethics and practice of green beauty, has heard industry journalists ask time and again how a cosmetics’ company would survive if it encouraged its customers to buy less. What kind of beauty business dare call out the elephant in the room – overconsumption as a root cause of damage to the planet?
We have tackled the consumption issue in numerous episodes; our Podcast 124: the four pillars of sustainable beauty spells out a blueprint of how the beauty industry can approach sustainability. But, until now, we had not talked directly to a beauty brand that was so aligned with our own messaging.
In this episode, Formula Botanica CEO and podcast host Lorraine Dallmeier talks to founder and CEO of Elate Cosmetics, Melodie Reynolds, to discover how her brand has built a sustainable business for a more sustainable planet by operating a less-is-more business model. Listen in to hear from Melodie, a driven and inspirational founder, about how Elate is putting those pillars of sustainable beauty into action.
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In this episode with Melodie of Elate Cosmetics, you will hear:
- How Melodie was inspired to start her journey to founding Elate the day she bought a single lipstick in a mass of unnecessary packaging. She realised that unsustainable practices had to be dealt with at source by reducing consumption.
- Elate’s marketing stresses, “don’t buy it if you don’t need it”. It promotes the concept of the capsule beauty bag as the core of everyday beauty essentials.
- The brand has no need for each customer to buy a lot, as it focuses on getting customers to come back to Elate consistently over the year to repeat buy their beauty necessities. Elate wishes to see its products used up, not bought in bulk or in haste only to go to waste.
- Instead of growing a limitless range of cosmetics, Elate has pioneered a beauty marketplace of like-minded brands whose standards for ethical ingredients, low-waste packaging and high performance they can vouch for. Melodie sees this as a far better way to stay true to Elate’s mission of focusing on essentials than by fulfilling every possible beauty customer’s wish in its own line.
Key takeouts include:
- Beauty consumers, thanks to decades of industry messaging and marketing, are conditioned to buy new, shiny beauty products whether they need them or not. There is still some way to go, even for sustainably-minded brands, to educate customers to not buy for the sake of it.
- Colour cosmetics can prove difficult to narrow down to an essential capsule beauty bag collection as this sector needs to cater for a diversity of skin tones and be mindful of the need to be inclusive. Elate happily includes additional colourways if they prove popular repeat buys. As Elate says, it can’t make all of the essentials customers need for everyday, so it partners with other brands.
- Melodie feels the beauty myth is part of the reason the industry is so unsustainable. Until the industry starts to show everyday people using its products rather than showing models who venerate specific, perfectionist images of how customers should look, it will continue to fuel unbridled consumption as beauty shoppers strive to reach unattainable ideals.
- By elevating sustainability as its own message rather than harnessing it for marketing reasons, the beauty industry can begin to have a serious discussion about overconsumption.
Meet our guest: Melodie Reynolds
Empowered by 20 years in the beauty industry and a vision of a world without single-use packaging, Melodie Reynolds created Elate Cosmetics with a simple message: our daily choices create global impact, and choosing ethical products means a more positive result.
After leaving a career in corporate beauty, Melodie has been creating innovative beauty products since 2014 that encourage simplicity and self-love and empower everyone to make sustainable choices for their daily rituals. She believes that the ethics and purpose of a company distill down to one key question: how did we leave the people and the planet? Her personal mission is to change the world, one lipstick at a time.
Elate Cosmetics is an ethical beauty brand with a vision of a world without single-use cosmetics packaging. It makes refillable, high-performing vegan and cruelty-free cosmetics with an ethical supply chain, responsible marketing and sustainable, reusable packaging. As a B-Corp certified company, Elate prioritises people and the planet. It educates, empowers and inspires everyone to simplify their beauty rituals to reduce waste.iTunes, Spotify or Youtube so that more people can enjoy the show. Don’t forget to follow and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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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.