Indie Beauty Profile

Melodie Reynolds, Elate Cosmetics

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

Melodie Reynolds, Founder and CEO of Elate Cosmetics
Melodie Reynolds, Founder and CEO of Elate Cosmetics

Related tags Indie beauty profile Indie beauty Entrepreneurship ethical beauty

In her Indie Beauty Profile, Melodie Reynolds, Founder and CEO of Elate Cosmetics, talks about the importance and cultural significance of indie beauty. And she shares insight into how time and tech can be leveraged to make the impossible possible.

Ethical beauty brands—those that foreground the wellbeing of people and the planet—are on track to influence the cosmetics and personal care market place in much the same way that clean beauty has. Elate Cosmetics has been an early leader in the ethical beauty space and the following Indie Beauty Profile, featuring CEO Melodie Reynolds, takes a look at the business and the visionary behind the brand.

Name: ​Melodie Reynolds, Founder and CEO

Indie Beauty Company: ​Elate Cosmetics

Launched: ​2014

Headquarters: ​Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Cash flow: ​Elate Cosmetics is entirely self-funded. I personally own 80% of the company, my partner owns 10%, and my longest standing employee who is also my director of business development owns another 10%. We have not received any outside funding.

My partner and I decided that it was time to go all in. So we invested our collaborative retirement savings and started this company. Since 2014 Elate has bootstrapped to stay alive. With the help of our customers we have been able to achieve more than I expected on our limited budget, and are always working towards our goal: to change the world, one lipstick at a time.

In 2018, we broke the million-dollar mark, and that was something I had dreamed about since I had the beginning seeds of Elate planted in my brain. I'm so proud of my team for achieving that goal.

Indie how? ​I would define an indie beauty brand as any brand where the owners are deeply involved in the work day to day. An independent beauty brand is a place where every single employee of the company is in tune with the mission and recognizes that the work they are doing is important for the social fabric of the world. Beauty means so much to us as a culture; and indie beauty is allowing our customers to define for themselves what beauty means to them as individuals.

Teamwork: ​At Elate Cosmetics we have 22 full-time employees.

Distribution: ​Our customers find Elate Cosmetics online, on our e-commerce platform at​. They also find us at 225 partners globally, with our partners located in Canada, the US, Australia, and Hong Kong. We create mutually beneficial partnerships with like-minded businesses. Our main retailers are salons, spas, and boutiques. And Elate is also online at retailers like WELL.CA.

Years in beauty: ​I have been in the beauty industry for over 20 years. I took my first job managing a salon when I was 20 years old, fresh from dropping out of university. I wanted to be an accountant but realized quite quickly that was not the role for me, and fell in love with the idea of helping people feel good about themselves through beauty. 

Years at Elate Cosmetics: ​I've worked with my indie beauty company for 6 years.

Entrepreneurial experience: ​This is my first company that I founded, and I am very excited for where we've been and where we're going. Entrepreneurship is definitely a wild ride.

The business: Elate Cosmetics is an ethical beauty brand.​ We make beautifully designed, high-performing vegan and cruelty-free cosmetics with an ethical supply chain and sustainability woven into the fabric of our B-Corp certified company.

The wow-factor: ​We want to help every individual create a capsule beauty ritual, to create more time and space for joy during their morning routine. We help people define what beauty means to them and choose the products they want to use to create that beauty ritual. No more, no less.

We offer high performing cruelty-free cosmetics in a sustainable package. We are all about reducing your footprint when it comes to your personal care rituals. We create innovative solutions to solve the problem of waste in the beauty industry.

The consumer: ​The Elate consumer is any individual who wants to feel empowered by their daily choices. We specifically speak to Gen Xers as well as millennials.

Milestone moment: ​Elate Cosmetics recently became B-Corp certified, with our mandate to pick people and the planet before profits. It feels so good to have a certification that proves this line of thinking. This was a 2-year process, it was rigorous and incredibly illuminating. I am so proud that we achieved this.

Advice for fellow beauty entrepreneurs: ​My advice would be that nothing is impossible.

I had a lot of people tell me that things were impossible along the way: things that I wanted to achieve with my website, things that I wanted to achieve with product innovation, things that I wanted to achieve with packaging sustainability.

Many people said the things I wanted to do were impossible, and what I know now is nothing is impossible, sometimes things are just not available yet. Meaning the technology needs to catch up with your idea. So be patient, because if it seems impossible today that doesn't mean it will be impossible tomorrow.

Just one: ​Asked about her go-to product, Reynolds says, If I had to pick just one it would absolutely be the Elate Universal Creme in Love​. It's a beautiful multi-purpose cream in a deep pink shade for eyes, cheeks, and lips that will keep me happy for a lifetime. :)


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