How Sk * p Beauty is challenging the beauty industry even if it isn’t practical


To understand the genesis of the Sk * p startup, you have to start with its older half-brother, Farmacy Beauty.

And it starts, not in a meeting room, but in nature. Mark Veeder, co-founder of the three month old child Sk * p brand of personal care products, has the rare distinction of having discovered a plant in 2008. It was a previously uncatalogued strain of echinacea that bloomed bright green. “I knew green was a healing color,” Veeder says. “And I knew echinacea didn’t bloom green.”

He patented the plant and had it tested. “It turns out that the plant is 300 times stronger in active ingredient” than the readily available Echinacea. And this active ingredient was the basis of the independent New York-based personal care company Beauty of the farm that Veeder co-founded.

Farmacy Face Skin Care was launched with the goal of “sharing the powerful power of natural ingredients and supporting small farmers” while ensuring that farm soil is easy to recycle nutrients. His vertically integrated clean beauty network includes the incremental, goal-oriented acquisitions he made along the way: a second-generation Indian pestle tree farm in Southern California and an acerola cherry farm in Southern California. northeastern Brazil.

Veeder left Farmacy in 2018 during a period of smart growth. In September 2020, Farmacy unveiled the achievement of its old goal, its own certified non-GMO organic regeneration operation, in partnership with the regenerative agriculture pioneers of the Hudson Hemp Farm Network. The company maintains a nine hundred “no-no” list that includes the practices and ingredients the company avoids. For example, David Chung, founder and CEO, told me last year, “Our program for 2021 is to evaluate every product.[’s packaging] and ask, “Is it 80% or 90% carbon-free?” »How else can we change the packaging? »Farmacy aims for 100% zero waste packaging by 2022; 80 to 90% use of non-virgin materials by the end of 2021; and 100 percent conflict-free ingredients.

Now enter Sk * p. Veeder co-founded it to accelerate goals and impact like Farmacy, but from scratch.

Field of dreams

Veeder was born in Maine and raised on a mountain top farm in upstate New York. “My father was a Renaissance man,” Veeder says. “He made his own solar collector to heat the water” and cut down the trees in the wooded area for heat in the winter. “After school I had to pick up stones. We had to clear fields to have animals and to plant a garden.

The lot turned Veeder farm became a Christmas tree farm and then a zero waste wind-powered Christmas tree farm. “He instilled in me respect for the planet from day one,” Veeder says of his father. “And his end at the end of each conversation was, Do it better. Make the world a better place. And it stuck with me. “

Sk * p stands for “Simply be Kind to our Planet”. It was also the nickname of Veeder’s father. “It’s kind of a tribute to him, a nod to ‘Hey, daddy, I’ve been listening to you all these years, even though I was complaining all the time.'”

Veeder now transmits a love of nature, a sense of responsibility and an entrepreneurial spirit to his almost seven-year-old twins. The impetus for Sk * p was the “mind-blowing, super scary” experience of raising children in a world on fire, Veeder says. “Now as a parent you think differently. You think about everything you throw away.

The company was further inspired by “the generation for which it was created,” says Veeder: a generation that takes care of itself, but cares about the environment. He reminds consumers: “You know that taking care of our planet is just as important as taking care of your skin and your hair. “

“We launched Sk * p in partnership with the Earth Day Network Earth Day 2021, ”Veeder said. “We don’t want to shame people [eco-consciousness]. We just want to give them something that is a better choice.

“Whenever someone asks me about Sk * p,” says Veeder, “my first line is, ‘We are on a mission to break the beauty industry’s addiction to plastic. Is this kind of slap in the face of the industry? Not really, ”he says. “It’s kind of innate that the beauty industry is a plastics industry, and we have to turn it around. “

“In this industry, you just say, ‘Oh, yeah, you make it out of plastic – and it’s thrown away. ““ That’s why the beauty industry is one of the dirtiest industries, says Veeder, “plastic in landfills every year.

This is how Sk * p was born. “We didn’t want to be just a product company. We wanted to be a company that started a movement, ”explains Veeder. “Our mission was to break the beauty industry’s addiction to plastics and launch this movement in the industry and among consumers, to decide, ‘Yes, I want to do something better for the planet; I don’t want to choose products that are not good. I want to do the right thing all around. So, hopefully, this is what Sk * p does.

Hope and pass, Sk * p is engaged in a Lead with us movement. “I think we start off by showcasing what we have, by introducing packaging and formulas that are the most sustainable in the industry,” said Veeder. “But we don’t stop there. We continue to educate, and we start with the youth. My daughters and my co-founder, April hardwick’s girls have inspired this brand and we educate them so that they can become the spokesperson for the next generation. And frankly, they’re the ones pushing their parents to do the right thing.

“What if we, as a small engine, can attract consumers, come up with a product that is so fun to use, good for you, visually stimulating, all that – and good for the planet ”, says Veeder:“ This is how we are going Lead. “

Beauty is a big deal

The proof of its usefulness is in the pudding – and the packaging. Sk * p uses natural and sustainable ingredients (including a real extract of bio-fermented honey from its own farm), as well as recyclable and environmentally friendly packaging. The idea is to “help your skin without harming your world”.

Historically, in the beauty industry, says Veeder, “packaging has meant luxury. So you had packaging after packaging. And that’s what created this wreck we’re in. We are therefore the first to create a “carton” for Sk * p products such as shampoo: its BeautyCarton. “It’s a simple idea,” says Veeder. It is paper cardboard, boxed water cardboard. He is standing in the shower. It is designed to be destructible. He’ll destroy himself after so many months in the shower, but that’s what he’s supposed to do.

The brand was also launched with a twist-off cap and spout system – and it has filed for a patent for the next iteration of the technology. The current spout is made of 50% post-consumer recycled material and 50% fully recyclable ANIMALS (polyester). All in all, says Veeder, “It’s no small adjustment… It’s 95% less plastic than traditional plastic packaging and traditional beauty packaging.” Sk * p packaging is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. FSC is a market-driven certification program aimed at influence transnational environmental policy– one of the longer term objectives of Sk * p.

“I want everyone to use our BeautyCarton,” says Veeder. So if L’Oreal or Procter & Gamble or whoever – if we could just get them to put 1% of their product in paper cartons, that would be a huge change. “

Of course, “the packaging is one thing, but a consumer is not going to buy it again if it is just a nice package,” says Veeder. “Even if they are trying to save the planet.” Thus, the formulas in its skin and hair care product line are also durable.

Take, for example, surfactants, a key ingredient in shampoo, soap, and detergent. “Previously, surfactants were all based on fossil fuels,” says Veeder. “And now they’re made from coconut. And on the experience side, our herbal surfactants really lather up amazingly, and the wash is clean. I really congratulate the raw material manufacturers who lead the way and give us more really efficient raw materialsand good for you and the environment.

With those two imperatives – product and packaging – in place, Sk * p can tell potential consumers, “Here is a paper box with amazing, clean, non-toxic products – and here is a plastic one” filled with je-ne- know what poisons. “Which one do you want?”

Personal care (group)

As Sk * p gathers more and more customers who choose the eco-responsible route, it builds a network of influence, even after only one quarter. “We are creating a community where we can bring these young activists together,” Veeder says. “I am so impressed with Greta Thunberg and Hannah Testas (Hannah4Change) – those children who have just come together to change the planet. So we want to create this community and this place where people can share achievements, share ideas and join this movement together. “

The company has also just assembled what could be the first very young board of directors. “Not only will we look to them for help with product development, testing, messaging, branding, etc. . “If you’re really passionate about something, you can make a living from it, and you can be an eco-entrepreneur. And really, hopefully, we’re going to produce this new generation of change makers.

Outside of the company, “We also focus on a lot of collaborations,” says Veeder. “It’s not just a problem with the beauty industry, plastics, and safeguarding the world.”

Sk * p also works as a beta tester for Ecosia– “Each research removes 1 kg of CO2” – the last of a a growing crop of charitable and green search engines. And, says Veeder, “We are collaborating with fashion, food, apparel and other brands that have this mission so that together we can team up and get this message across. And everyone wins, because we show how much easier it is now to buy green and buy [consistent with] your values.

“I really believe in innovation – I’ve seen this with Farmacy -” says Veeder, “it takes small entrepreneurial businesses to create a buzz, and to get the big dogs to pay attention and do better.”

If you want to dig deeper with more targeted companies like Sk * p, check out the Lead with We podcast. here, so you too can build a business that transforms consumer behavior and our future.

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