From an organic endorsement from Dr. Jane Goodall, to being the world’s first carbon positive beauty brand — Emma Lewisham is authentically smashing the beauty industry ceiling. We are super excited to have the chance to share our Interview with Emma!
- Explain your story…
Having prioritised my work over my wellness for ten years, after losing my mother to cancer, I began looking closely at my health and making lifestyle changes. These lifestyle changes led me to discover that a skincare product I was using to combat hyperpigmentation wasn’t safe to continue using during pregnancy, and was in fact banned in many countries. This put me on the path to find a natural alternative and ultimately to discover the gap in the market for scientifically proven, natural and sustainable skincare. There seemed to be a need to compromise between having natural skincare, and skincare that was scientifically proven to work. I was passionate about proving that you didn’t need to compromise. I could see a way for things to be done differently, and this is what led me to create Emma Lewisham.
- How did you initially begin the plans for the Emma Lewisham brand?
After significant research, I found that what I was looking for didn’t exist. There seemed to be a need to compromise between natural and scientifically proven products. I didn’t want to make this compromise and I didn’t believe other women should have to either. I was determined to set a new benchmark in beauty, proving that 100% natural skincare could perform as well as, if not better than synthetic alternatives. I had also discovered the phenomenal waste produced by the beauty industry and was adamant that the products I created would be as sustainable as they are efficacious. So, this is how Emma Lewisham was born.
- Can you explain your science and research background?
I have always loved science and studied biography, chemistry and statistics throughout school and university.
- What is your favourite achievement so far?
I’m most proud of the people in my team. I am lucky to be surrounded by people I believe to be leaders in their respective fields, and all share an underlying belief that businesses can be a force for good reformative change. I’m proud of our growth. When we started working on Emma Lewisham five years ago now, I’d never imagined that we would have accomplished such phenomenal growth in the three years we’ve been on the market – with our range being stocked in some of the most iconic retailers in New York, London, Italy, Australia and of course, Aotearoa New Zealand. Being personally endorsed by Dr Jane Goodall has also been a real business highlight and personal career highlight as she’s been an inspiration for me from a young age.
- How is the beauty industry moving in New Zealand? Is it becoming more green?
I do believe New Zealand is progressing in the right direction. One of the biggest challenges that comes with being a pioneer is having to invest in research and development for a new way of doing things. For example, we had to develop our circular packaging from scratch as the few existing solutions available were patented by large multinational corporations. This required significant time and investment, however, these were non-negotiables for us. We believe having refillable packaging for all products should be business as usual. However, understanding how much of a barrier this poses to smaller brands wanting to become circular was a key reason we chose to share the IP for our circular packaging industry-wide. We hope that in doing so, it can fast-track the transition towards a circular and carbon-positive beauty industry.
- Congratulations on launching with GOOP! What are your next expansion goals?
We will continue to focus on strengthening our direct-to-consumer growth globally and align this demand with a strategic approach to international stockist partnerships. Our stockist partnerships have always been underlined by the assurance that their values align with our own and that they are engaged with our circularity programme. While we have seen incredible growth over the past three years, we believe that slower, sustained growth with the right partners is always smarter than quick growth with a partner who could negatively impact our integrity as a brand.
- Your move to be Carbon Positive last year was immense, why is this process so important for brands to uptake?
We believe that in order to play our part in mitigating the climate crisis, simply sustaining the world’s current state is not enough, we need to be actively helping to regenerate it. Our carbon-positive certification means that as a business we have gone beyond just neutralising our carbon emissions, instead positively offsetting them in order to have a positive environmental impact. In order to become carbon positive we measured our total emissions both at a business and product level, in order to understand and identify the areas we could make reductions. After reducing each product’s inherent emissions as much as possible, we then offset our remaining emissions by 125% through an independent certification agency, Toitu Envirocare, to become certified Climate Positive under their Climate Positive Programme.
What makes Emma Lewisham’s formulations stand out amongst an existing saturated beauty market?
I think part of the challenge is the assumption itself that nature and science don’t co-exist when in reality they’re an incredibly powerful partnering. I’m really passionate about educating our customers on this – when we design by science and deliver by nature we can achieve incredible things for the skin. The way that we formulate is fundamentally different. We first understand the complex cellular processes that are involved with our skin, create a blueprint for how we want to interact with the skin, and then find proven ingredients that deliver on this blueprint. The most powerful way to interact with the skin is by harnessing nature, therefore we only use natural ingredients, harnessing both bio-identical ingredients found within the skin as well as the specialised, scientifically proven natural plant extracts. These bioactive ingredients deliver a complex network of activity that works in harmony with the skin to trigger powerful cellular responses and deliver unparalleled results. This synergistic ingredient system is how we can deliver efficacy and tolerability in a formulation – we don’t need to compromise.