Join us for another episode of Ten minutes with… Brianne West, founder of the world’s first zero plastic, zero waste personal care brand Ethique.
British born entrepreneur and biochemist, Brianne West (31), is the visionary Founder of Ethique – a plastic-free, a sustainable and cruelty-free beauty company that has, to date, prevented the manufacture and disposal of over 3.3 million plastic containers worldwide.
Born in 1987 on the Isle of Man, Brianne and her family emigrated from the UK to New Zealand when Brianne was 7 years old. Her love of the outdoors, animals and the environment were cultivated as she spent many of her formative years enjoying New Zealand’s stunning natural environment.
Whilst Brianne was at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, where she studied biology and chemistry, she learnt cosmetic chemistry and started her first business (a traditional cosmetic company) at the age of 19. Having created this business, she became aware of the huge impact plastic bottles have on landfill and so decided she wanted to create positive change within the beauty industry and start a business that wasn’t reliant on plastic.
Brianne discovered that up to 75% of shampoo and 90% of conditioner can be water. And so, she worked to experiment by removing this water from these products to see if instead, she could find a way to combine the actual active ingredients. She found that this was indeed possible and so Ethique was born, and Brianne launched the business from the kitchen of her one-bedroom flat at the age of just 24.
With Ethique, Brianne has managed to recreate virtually every shower and bathroom product (from shampoo & conditioners to moisturiser & sunless tanner) in solid form, which is sold within compostable sleeves – eliminating all plastic bottles and packaging waste.
On 1st April 2019, Ethique launched in the UK, bringing the brand to the country where Brianne was born.
Brianne has scaled the business without compromising on her core mission of purpose over profit. Every Ethique product is still handmade within the company’s three New Zealand-based factory’s (which has the ability to manufacture up to 156K products per day), and Brianne continues to source only sustainable, vegan and cruelty-free ingredients from remote women’s co-ops. Ethique is also certified B Corp. Funding has also allowed Ethique to move into its own manufacturing facility with a customized lab where Brianne and the Ethique team continue to formulate cutting-edge products from ethically sourced, naturally-derived and sustainable ingredients.
Ethique is now distributed in over 750+ shops and e-commerce retailers (including Amazon) across the U.S, New Zealand, Australia, Asia and Europe. In 2019, the brand will continue to expand through launches in the UK and Japan. It also sells directly through its own website.
There are lots of products out there that tick a few boxes, but very few companies can tick all the boxes Ethique can: palm-free, plastic-free, BCorp, products made using only sustainable, naturally derived ingredients, compostable packaging, fair trade, living wage certified, 20% of profit to charity and accessible. The success of Ethique has been built upon our total lack of compromise on these values as well as an obsession with excellent customer service, without these factors we would just be another cosmetic company. Brianne West, Founder Ethique