Episode 23: Starting an Ethical Skincare Business

2018-11 Ethical beauty brand

If you are creating natural, organic cosmetics with a view to selling them, the chances are you are also keen to run a sustainable, ethical skincare business too. Green beauty goes hand in hand with sustainability and transparency in all aspects of producing natural skincare, from field to face.

We’ve talked a lot recently about the need to drill into the sustainable sourcing of botanical ingredients and also discussed the true meaning of formulating with green chemistry credentials. We’ve also reviewed some of the trending, top environmental and sustainability issues facing the green beauty industry.

There is no end in sight to the challenges and market pressures facing the natural skincare formulator wishing to ensure their skincare products, at any point in their life cycle, don’t harm our planet’s resources and the people we rely on in our supply chains. Zero waste and damage limitation aren’t the only concerns of an ethical skincare business. Many of us also wish to do good, actively, by supporting campaigns, charities and causes that align with our business mission and resonate with us personally.

How do you go about factoring in all these concerns and at which point in your business plans? There are no easy answers, but our guest in this episode of our Green Beauty Conversations podcast has a wealth of experience on running a profitable, sustainable and ethical skincare business true to its original mission and vision.

Anju Rupal, founder, visionary, former social worker turned social activist, runs Abhati Suisse, a botanical organic skin and haircare business that makes a truly positive, measurable difference to the day-to-day lives of not just customers and employees but now also thousands of people and environments half way around the world from its offices in Switzerland.

Abhati Suisse was conceived at the outset as an ethical business so much so that Anju says it was almost a by-product of her activism. Abhati’s high-end, organic botanical products drawing on Anju’s Ayurvedic roots in a British Indian family is a social enterprise spearheading several campaigns and causes from a reforestation charity and support for tribal farmers to education programmes for women and girls in India.

While ethical, transparent business was the core of Abhati’s mission from the start, Anju shares her experiences to inspire other formative brands to embrace ethical business not as an add-on, but as an integral part of their reason for being.

Anju won a place on the Sephora Accelerate 2018 mentorship programme and also shares some invaluable insights on how this initiative works hard to help women, founder-led beauty companies gain traction and fulfill their missions.

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Want your natural beauty business to do good for the planet and people? Then listen to our inspirational podcast on starting an #ethicalbusiness with @AnjuRupal of #ethicalbeauty brand @abhati. Click To Tweet

In this episode, you’ll hear about:

  • How consumers are voting with their wallets these days and choosing brands that can demonstrate transparency and do more than pay lip service to ethical business.
  • Why new skincare brands should look at the bigger picture beyond their industry to think not just about how they can minimise their negative footprint but also make a positive impact on the world.
  • Why you don’t need to go it alone in your mission building a social, ethical enterprise; be confident and ask for help even from celebrities and bigger players in the beauty industry. You may be surprised at the support you can receive and the pro bono offers to contribute to your ethical business.
  • Why you should think about the kind of profits you wish to make and how you’d like to reinvest them and make your decision clear in your mission from the start.
  • Why using natural botanical ingredients at all costs, without understanding how they are sourced, harvested, processed and sold may be doing more harm than good.
  • How to balance your brand communication between mission and product benefits as consumers are discerning, even if they value being able to buy from ethical enterprises.

Anju has some key insights on the Sephora Accelerate programme too, including:

  • Don’t be scared to apply! Sephora looks at nascent ideas as well as up and running businesses, so it’s never too early in your business plans to apply so long as you have a clear mission and brand promise.
  • The programme now extends to Europe and Asia so beauty entrepreneurs worldwide can apply.
  • It extends to technology, and other innovations in beauty, not just cosmetics’ product companies as Sephora wishes to be seen pushing the boundaries in every facet of the beauty industry.
  • The year-long mentorship is like a fast-track MBA in the cosmetics industry and is there to help you grasp all facets of business, from branding and accounts, to packaging and retail distribution.
  • It includes a kick-off week in Los Angeles, USA, where you meet your personal mentor for the year, and includes also a pitch session to investors.
  • The initiative fosters a fabulous network of women founders and entrepreneurs who share expertise and experiences as well as offer support.

Find out more about Sephora Accelerate. Based on previous years, the deadline for applications is 31 October. Sign up for their enews to keep updated.

Abhati Suisse & Formula Botanica Give-away

To celebrate the release of this podcast, Formula Botanica and Abhati Suisse are hosting a give-away. For your chance to win a Nomads Kit plus full-sized bottles of the Periya Body cleanser and Kanva Body Lotion simply:

  1. Follow the Formula Botanica and Abhati Suisse Instagram pages.
  2. Comment on the give-away post on the Abhati Suisse Instagram page and leave a #myabhati comment below about why you love Abhati Suisse.

This give-away is open to European countries only (sorry, rest of world…we’ll get you next time!).
The contest closes Wednesday 28 November, 18:00 GMT and the winner will be announced Thursday, November 29th by Abhati Suisse in their Instagram stories.

Find out more about Abhati Suisse and its ethical business values here:

Abhati Suisse website.
Abhati Suisse on Instagram.
Abhati Suisse on Facebook.
Abhati Suisse on Twitter.
Abhati Suisse on YouTube.

Listen, Download and Subscribe to Green Beauty Conversations

Thank you for joining us for this episode of the Formula Botanica: Green Beauty Conversations podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please share, subscribe and review on iTunes or Stitcher 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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Gemma Ortega Perez | Formula Botanica

Gemma Ortega Perez was Formula Botanica’s Relationship Manager between 2015 – 2019. To read more about the Formula Botanica team, visit our staff page.


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