The scalability of early natural indie brands was questionable. The availability of ingredients, the intensity of labor, and the variability of quality meant that producing effective products for consumers that weren’t local was a tremendous challenge.
Today, brands like Evolve Beauty are meeting that challenge—building infrastructures, good manufacturing practices, and beauty businesses that are effectively reimagining what a scalable business can look like in the industry.
Here, the beauty entrepreneur behind Evolve Beauty shares a profile of herself and the brand.
Name: Laura Rudoe, Founder and CEO
Indie Beauty Company: Evolve Beauty
Headquarters: London Colney, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom
Cash flow: I fund the Evolve Beauty business personally along with my husband Jon. We recently reached our biggest ever month for sales in November, which has been a rewarding end to our biggest ever year in 2018.
Indie how? To me a beauty brand is independent if it is independently owned and doesn't rely upon corporate funding to fulfill its creative purpose. Indie brands are design conscious and driven by passion to create something truly special like Evolve Beauty.
Team work: 24 employees, 20 full-time, 4 part-time
Distribution: We distribute our Evolve Beauty products globally through our own ecommerce site, www.evolvebeauty.com, and at select retailers, including John Lewis, Anthropologie, Planet Organic, Naturisimo, Fenwick, Bodykind and Feel Unique.
Years in beauty: I started working in the beauty industry 13 years ago when I was the founding employee of an ethical beauty brand called NUDE which I helped to set up for some investors including Bono and his wife Ali Hewson. NUDE was later sold to the luxury goods company LVMH.
Years at Evolve Beauty: I founded Good Ventures, the company behind Evolve Beauty, 10 years ago, with the mission to create ethical beauty brands that make a difference. We've been creating and expanding our beautiful product range ever since.
Entrepreneurial experience: Good Ventures is the first company I have owned and been the main founder of.
The business: Evolve Beauty is an artisan producer of organic and natural skin, body and hair care products. We source our natural superfoods from around the world to hand make small batches of our vegan and cruelty free products in our Hertfordshire studio.
The wow-factor: We believe that natural skincare ingredients are better for us than their synthetic alternatives, which are found in most mass-produced beauty products. When you buy a product from us, you can read on the label the exact percentage of natural and organic ingredients used inside and who made it.
The customer: Our target consumer is someone who is interested in harnessing the natural power of plants over synthetic alternatives found in most mass-produced toiletries. They love knowing that not only do we source the best natural and organic ingredients, but that we don't do it at the detriment of the planet. They're interested in cruelty free beauty, where their products came from, who makes them and most importantly if they really work, to which we're pleased to reply, they do.
Milestone moment: Over the past couple of months we've been featured in Italian Vogue, Good Housekeeping, Glamour, The Independent, and multiple large influencer Instagram profiles such as Deliciously Ella and Madeline Shaw. It's been so rewarding to hear from the press and blogging community that people have been enjoying using our products as much as we love making them.
Advice for fellow beauty entrepreneurs: I believe in bootstrapping to keep my independence and that resource scarcity breeds ingenuity. I have not yet raised money from external investors. It may take longer to get there but you learn valuable lessons along the way.
Just one: If she had to pick just one beauty product, Rudoe says, It would have to be my Evolve Cleansing Melt. This was one of my first products and even throughout the brand’s evolution the formulation has remained the same, as it’s just so good.
Deanna Utroske, CosmeticsDesign.com Editor, covers beauty business news in the Americas region and publishes the weekly Indie Beauty Profile column, showcasing the inspiring work of entrepreneurs and innovative brands.