Part 2: CEO's insights into sustainable PPE solutions for cosmetic manufacturing

By Cassandra Stern

- Last updated on GMT

"Companies who understand PPE, understand that it isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution," said Julia Croddick, CEO of Glow Marketing Group. © dusanpetkovic Getty Images
"Companies who understand PPE, understand that it isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution," said Julia Croddick, CEO of Glow Marketing Group. © dusanpetkovic Getty Images

Related tags Sustainability Manufacturing Industry Cosmetics Personal care products

In part two of CosmeticsDesign's in-depth look at cosmetics and personal care product industry PPE, we spoke with Glow Marketing Group CEO Julia Croddick for her insights into the rising demand for more sustainable options and the intricate balance between safety, sustainability, and innovation.

In the first installment of CosmeticsDesign's series exploring sustainable innovations in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) tailored for female employees within the cosmetic and personal care industries, we spoke with Beau Wangtrakuldee, PhD, the founder and CEO of AmorSui. Dr. Wangtrakuldee provided her perspectives on how her company is actively addressing the unique requirements of this demographic.

Building on this discussion, part two delved deeper into the sustainability aspect of this topic, featuring Julia Croddick, CEO of Glow Marketing Group. As a second-generation cosmetic manufacturer and product developer, Croddick offered a firsthand account of how the lack of sustainable PPE options can impact cosmetic and personal care product manufacturers and suppliers, and how industry stakeholders can prioritize the safety of their employees while also implementing eco-friendly practices. 

CDU: Can you elaborate on Glow's mission and how it aligns with sustainable practices in the beauty and wellness industry?  

Julia Croddick (JC)​: Our mission is to find sustainable approaches to beauty and wellness from both a packaging and ingredient standpoint. The beauty industry is a slow adapter to change. We are constantly finding new ways to help push the industry in the sustainable direction, from reducing the use of plastics to finding better, more sustainable substitute ingredients for the environment.  

CDU: What inspired Glow to focus on working with brands that incorporate sustainability into their core values? 

JC​: It’s the new frontier and challenging from start to finish. With sustainable products you have to think about the product's packaging and formula in its entire lifecycle, not just in its consumer state. The sustainable product has to survive the manufacturing process, then its consumer journey, and its afterlife.

Most people use a product, toss it in the garbage, and forget about it, we need to think about what happens to it after and beyond. How long will this stay with us? Can it be reused back into the consumer cycle?  

CDU: Could you explain the challenges you face regarding personal protective equipment (PPE) in your manufacturing process, particularly as it pertains to safety and sustainability? 

JC​: When headed into a lab or onto the manufacturing floor, you must wear a hairnet, plastic protective eyewear, plastic face shield, mask, and sometimes a plastic single use apron if it's a really messy product. Once used, it's all thrown away and this can occur multiple times in a day.

What we can sanitize and reuse, items like face shields and protective eyewear, we will, but other items are not durable or made for multiple uses: they’re made to be thrown out. For the single use PPE items we’ve yet to find a sustainable brand that can deliver single shift durability without compromising safety.

CDU: As a second-generation cosmetic manufacturer and product developer, how has your personal experience shaped Glow's approach to sustainability and safety? 

JC​: Initially, I didn’t fully recognize how much I had learned organically by growing up in the beauty industry. I also spent several years working at major companies outside of the beauty industry before launching Glow, and those experiences in Media, CPG & Tech helped me hone my “challenger” mentality which shaped our approach when launching Glow.

Helping brand founders make their product dream a reality enabled us to make conscious sustainable choices not just about the packaging and the raw materials but also how they are shipped, what they are shipped in, what can we reuse, how do we reduce production waste. I joke that a Glow F&A includes full pages on proper line prep and clearance and protocols for reduce, reuse, recycle.  

Unfortunately, sustainability and safety often come at a premium, so we often road map areas of sustainable growth for a brands future as they scale and grow. Our efforts in future proofing up and coming brands and our willingness to develop and pilot manufacturing processes for new sustainable materials is what we’ve noticed has been the draw for many of our legacy clients as well.  

CDU: What specific improvements or innovations would you like to see in PPE design and usage within the cosmetic manufacturing sector? 

JC​: A reusable PPE kit that would hold up to FDA standards. Something that I can keep on me and use over and over, while staying clean enough to walk into a facility and know that I'm FDA compliant and not introducing a ton of germs into the facility.     

CDU: What steps do you believe other companies in the beauty and wellness industry should take to prioritize the safety and well-being of their workers, particularly regarding PPE usage? 

JC​: The safety of our workers should be everyone's number one priority, investing in employee education and training as well as dedicating time to reinforce safety protocols by running simulations. Taking the time to explain that incorporating these protective practices, not only prioritizes employee health but also ensures trust, confidence and loyalty.

Companies who understand PPE, understand that it isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. You need to tailor your choices based on the product and machinery, as well as optimizing for the optimal fit, including the specific product you're developing or producing and the type of machinery it is being run on.   

CDU: How do you see Glow's advocacy for PPE safety aligning with its broader mission of championing mission-driven beauty and wellness brands? 

JC​: We actively work with suppliers and partners whose values align with ours and we are willing to pay a premium for their products, tools and resources. We try to design everything we create for the real world scenario and will often game or role play out different scenarios. All of our clients will attest we have a back up, for the back up, for the back up.

We are big believers in practical product testing outside of the standard stability and compatibility. We work closely with our brand founders to ensure they are accountable and educated about their manufacturing processes and procedures.

Related topics Regulation & Safety

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