Christchurch based beauty business Ethique has solidified themselves as a true visionary, and a company at the forefront of the increasing global trend towards sustainable beauty products.
Ethique is a cruelty-free, B Corp certified and climate-neutral business offering an entirely ‘solid’ beauty range, sold in fully compostable packaging, meaning zero consumer waste. The company’s laboratory, based in Christchurch is also powered by 100% renewable energy and is proudly certified climate-neutral.
Ethique was founded in 2012 by ethically-conscious scientist Brianne West, who last year was named one of the top 100 global thinkers by the US Foreign Policy alongside billionaire philanthropist Melinda Gates, Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan as well as global leaders such as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon.
West's unique approach to beauty products allows for a more sustainable, eco-friendly beauty routine for consumers without the added waste to landfills, far less water wastage and no dangerous pollutants draining into the environment. Ethique’s phenomenal products have been shared on Facebook by the likes of Ashton Kutcher and Britney Spears and last year Kutchers video endorsement of Ethique caused a 435 percent spike in sales.
Each year New Zealanders throw out 50 million plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles alone. Ethique’s environmentally sustainable business model sets out to lead by example, challenging the conventions of the international beauty and cosmetics industry.
All ingredients used in Ethique products must be naturally derived and come from ethical and sustainable sources, direct from Fair Trade producers is preferred. West advises staff need to be paid fairly and treated well and the products or services the company produces need to be critically evaluated to ensure they have a minimal impact on the environment, the people who produce them and the end user.
West recently flew to Samoa to see how the coconut oil used in their bars was made and to explore the possibility of expanding their partnership with the women in business development team based in Apia. WiBDi, as it’s affectionately known, is an NGO that is transitioning to a social enterprise headed by the inspirational Adi Tafunai.
WiBDi is dedicated to strengthening village economies in Samoa and promoting fair trade using traditional and modern technology whilst ensuring indigenous traditions are honoured every step of the way. West says she is excited to see this partnership develop further and see if they can involve other countries closer to home too.
In her second year of a science degree, West worked long hours to teach herself what the various ingredients of a shampoo do and how they could be combined into a bar without the need to add water, making for a far more concentrated and longer lasting product than a bottle based equivalent.
Using $200,000 raised through PledgeMe, a crowdfunding platform, Ethique was able to expand its operations to a global market and attracted the highest number of female investors in PledgeMe’s history. Planning is currently underway for Ethique’s second investment drive aimed at increasing market penetration in the United States (new US distributor is Pharmapacks), raising funds for technology to help with lab automation and research and development of further innovative world first products.
This year, Ethique has been selected as one of three SMEs by the Bank of New Zealand for its Supersize SME programme. The bank launched the scheme in conjunction with NZME and Newstalk ZB to find SMEs with growth ambitions which can be mentored to reach the next level of business success.
Ethique has grown tremendously since its inception in Christchurch back in 2012. West is motivated to grow the business to the next level with the help of the Supersize SME programme as well as further opportunities both in America and further abroad.