Sustainability is a hot topic of conversation and none more so than in the beauty sector. However, with a range of innovative brands taking the lead, we now have a choice of ethical, natural and sustainable skincare products that are kind to your skin and the environment.
One such brand is Beauty Kitchen, and we recently chatted to founder Jo Chidley about starting a brand in this ever-growing industry and the importance of sustainability for consumers and brands.
The Beauty Kitchen concept
Beauty Kitchen is a Glasgow based fully-certified B Corporation sustainable beauty brand and one of the fastest growing businesses in the UK, plus it’s in the top 10 in Scotland. Not only are they the first high street beauty brand to become B Corp certified in Europe but will also be trading in over 220 stores in both the Netherlands and Belgium, as well as in the UK. Future plans extend to France, Saudi Arabia, and returning the compliment of innovation, to launch in South Korea too.
Founder Jo also won the NatWest Everywoman Award in the Brand of the Future category and was recognised as one of the ten most influential people in Natural Beauty in the UK, being listed as No 2. She is also a founding member of the Global Advisory Board for Sustainable and Natural Cosmetics.
Jo has always had sustainability at the heart of her business and continues to develop products and concepts that help consumers make eco-conscious choices. Read on to find out a little more about Beauty Kitchen and its inspiring founder…
Jo, what was the main influence for starting Beauty Kitchen?
When I set up Beauty Kitchen back in 2010 my aim was simple; to make and create fun, effective and totally sustainable beauty products that were affordable, that really worked and that people would enjoy using. As a qualified Chemist, I worked every evening and weekend to make the dream a reality and Beauty Kitchen was born.
What has been the most challenging aspect when bringing your company into the industry?
When you are challenging the norm, everyone tells you it can’t be done and puts blockers in your way. You have to have a growth mindset and find ways to change industry standards and regulations while engaging with people who don’t really want to change. We take inspiration from other industries rather than our own, which leads us down different paths and comes up with great innovative ideas that can really make a difference to everything we do.
Sustainability is a hot topic conversation, but could you please tell us what does sustainability means to you?
Sustainability gives our business longevity, and we want to be around for as long as The Body Shop and Lush has been. If we used a different business model, we wouldn’t be doing the right thing, and it would be short term. Our question to ourselves is always, why wouldn’t you?
Are there any challenges the sustainable beauty industry faces which new brands should be aware of?
Remember, sustainability is about all aspects of your business from the ingredients, to the packaging to which suppliers you use.
It’s a culture, not just a trend,
Be curious, and ask those awkward questions. If people don’t know the answer go on the journey with them to seek out the best solution collaboratively. Recently Beauty Kitchen asked why glue was used to stick an insert onto our lids, and the supplier couldn’t give the answer, so we worked with them to redesign the lid, so we don’t need to use glue anymore.
What are the key trends/products in skincare that’ll we’ll see in the next few years?
Certification is going to be key in all areas of beauty as consumers demand to know where their products come from. Zero waste will evolve from a trend to a way of life. Its no longer good enough to be part natural – al natural products will be the norm. Indie brands will drive the innovation of much larger organisations, which will encourage collaboration between these two parts of the industry.
What advice can you give to businesswomen looking to enter the beauty sector?
Get a co-founder if you can, its much easier with two people shouldering the pressure. Use the entrepreneurial ecosystem that you have in your local area, e.g. Business gateway, DTI, business accelerator programmes like Entrepreneur Accelerator through NatWest which is free, plus they offer support even if you are not trading yet. Join the networks within the industry, CEW for example, and get yourself to the trade shows and talk to people. The great thing about our industry is people are open and will give advice and if they don’t – are they really the people you want to talk to anyway?!
What is your hope for the future of the Beauty Kitchen?
To continue to encourage other beauty businesses to change to a more sustainable approach and ultimately, the big corporate giants of the world. Plus, we’d love Beauty Kitchen to become the standard for sustainability in the industry.
Don’t forget to check out our Creative Hub interview series to get insights and advice on a range of industry sectors.
Image credits: Beauty Kitchen | Top image: Jo Chidley, Founder Beauty Kitchen