[ Interview by Nic Hetherington ]
[ Photographs by Ethique ]
It’s one thing wanting to have a significant and good impact on the environment. But actually setting out to do something about it is quite another story. The Fuller Issue heard from local entrepreneur, Brianne West, about Ethique (previously known as Sorbet), the cosmetic company she has brought to life.
With an avid interest in science, an obvious passion for sustainability, and the business know-how learned from two previous start-ups, it just so happens that Brianne West might have all the right ingredients to disrupt (for good) the cosmetic industry as we know it.
With the knowledge, vision, and drive to get going, Brianne set about making Ethique products in a less than conventional form. With a striking point of difference to any shampoo I’ve ever used, all the products are 100 percent solid bars.
Always interested in making her own “stuff” and wanting to get rid of the “ridiculously over- packaged products” we are all too familiar with, Brianne tested the current Ethique range on herself first and then with family and friends. Products that have been created have also been shared with selected Facebook fans who play a part in the time-consuming, but vital, process of research and development (and sometimes even in the naming of new goods). Humbly boasting a collection that caters for everyone and reaches to include even a self-tan solid bar, these are new, interesting and natural products that will keep everyone in the household looking ‘shim and shiny’.
Ingredients for the solid bars are sourced all around the world and, while Brianne says buying local would be nice, the reality is most of the ingredients Ethique needs and uses in its products are simply not grown in New Zealand. Ethique does use only growers who practise sustainability, and products are all vegan and cruelty free, certified climate neutral, and packaged with water-soluble or recyclable solutions. Whoa! This is a nifty consumable you can feel good using because it is certainly not going to harm you or our planet.
Working with a creative team of designers and cultivating innovative ideas for branding and packaging in the lab, Brianne says to “watch this space” as they are set to soon roll out their amazing new line-up of solid bars. Already having saved 33,000 bottles from being made and disposed of, and now with the goal and a big driving force, the aim is to make 330,000 and generously donate 20 percent of profit to charities! (Cue applause.) It’s no ‘Wonderbar’; Brianne has such a clear heart and dedication to the Ethique brand, and this clever, cool cosmetic genius surrounds herself with and seeks advice from a team of mentors in different fields – all keen to support this sustainable and ‘clean’ endeavour.
If success can be measured only by the track record so far, Ethique is setting new levels in this industry and is well on the way to achieving Brianne’s ambitious goals: to develop into a global sustainable beauty brand and be able to invest in partnerships with great causes.
Bringing the Ethique ‘friends’ even closer to the company is their recent ‘Pledge Me Equity Campaign’. Opening to the public to invest and purchase equity in the company was a necessary move to source capital and be able to grow. “There are lots of ways to do that, but the idea of getting our fans and those who have supported us from the get go on board was really tantalising”. At the time this article was written, the campaign had made $200,000 already, kicked off by a successful launch party at Ballantynes early in June, and had blown Brianne away with the support, further validating Ethique in the market.
Ethique makes it simple to “be the change” and, alongside equity shareholders, anyone purchasing the quality solid bars should be absolutely proud of this Christchurch conscientious cosmetic company that is playing its part in helping to create a beautiful planet, and paving the way for other global brands to, frankly, lather up.