BYBI founders: ‘We’re really into getting high-quality, sustainable cosmetics to the masses’

By Kacey Culliney

- Last updated on GMT

Founders Elsie Rutterford and Dominika Minarovic are 'hugely passionate' about sustainability, they say, but also 'business women'
Founders Elsie Rutterford and Dominika Minarovic are 'hugely passionate' about sustainability, they say, but also 'business women'

Related tags BYBI sustainable cosmetics Sustainable packaging sustainable ingredients Fashion Sephora Boots Skin care brand

British-based Indie Brand BYBI is on a mission to mainstream sustainable beauty and believes lots can be learned from fashion and kick-started through packaging.

Founded in 2017, BYBI was born from a desire to plug a market gap, according to its two founders Elsie Rutterford and Dominika Minarovic – the two female entrepreneurs also behind the Clean Beauty blog and book.

Now stocked globally in Sephora and the UK in Boots, BYBI has gained a name for itself in sustainable beauty and both founders will be presenting their vision to industry at Packaging Innovations 2019 in London, next month.

Affordability, sustainability and efficacy

Speaking to CosmeticsDesign-Europe ahead of the show, Rutterford said BYBI had started with a goal to create a mass brand, rather than a niche. 


“We launched to fill a gap we identified in the market for brands that stood for great ethics around natural, sustainability, vegan and cruelty-free but also that could be an accessible brand and speak to a mainstream audience. This was our inspiration for creating the brand,”​ Rutterford said. 

“…We’re really into getting high-quality, sustainable cosmetics to the masses.We say that we create skin care that works, that doesn’t cost the earth. It’s about affordability and sustainability but at the crux of it is efficacy.”

Minarovic added this was particularly important today as consumers weren’t yet willing to compromise. “Consumers are geared to making better choices, as long as they don’t compromise on the efficacy and quality of the product, and I think that stretches across categories.”

BYBI, Minarovic said, was “first and foremost”​ a skin care brand with efficient products.

Beauty and personal care ‘behind other industries’

Rutterford said when it came to sustainability, beauty and personal care still had more to do.

“I think that there is a movement and there is progress, which is really exciting and encouraging to see, but I think that beauty and personal care is behind other industries who have, perhaps, made a little more headway – I’d say fashion, for example.”

BYBI group shot-min

While fashion advances had likely been fuelled by wider consumer and media criticism, she said big players had made changes and were “certainly ahead of beauty and personal care”.

Most focus in beauty and personal care, she said, remained in packaging which was “a good place to start” ​but certainly didn’t give a true depiction on everything that was possible.

“It also gives space for brands to greenwash a bit,” ​she said. “We’re seeing the terms ‘recyclable’ being thrown around and really it should be an utter minimum that a product packaging is recyclable.”

BYBI used recyclable and industrially compostable sugarcane-derived bioplastic tubes and glass bottles for its products, but Rutterford said “interesting headway” ​was being made in new alternative materials which would propel further change. BYBI, for example, recently started using grass paper for its e-comm boxes which was more sustainable than wood paper, given grass was more renewable and less energy intense.

Minarovic agreed the packaging materials market was “changing super quickly”​ but said true headway could only be made once bigger brands demanded more. “The amount of demand we can drive is minimal, but we find other ways to impassion our suppliers (…) The more we’re vocal about it and keep pushing and say ‘no’ to non-sustainable options, it will start to change.”

‘Huge opportunities’ – think ethics, ingredients and processing

Rutterford said there was also plenty more to be done beyond packaging, especially with ingredients and the manufacturing process – two “pieces of the puzzle”​ that didn’t get the same coverage as packaging in the sustainability discussion. 


“Back to my example of fashion, there have been organisations driving change for the ethics behind the manufacture of clothes. Fashion isn’t just looking at materials, it’s looking at what goes on behind that, whereas beauty hasn’t started to do that.”

Moving forward, she said there were “huge opportunities”​ to drive sustainable change in beauty and personal care and BYBI wanted to lead that charge.

“We’re doing this because we feel hugely passionate about the area but we’re also doing it because we’re business women and can see there’s a clear gap in the market for a brand to really lead the way. There’s no doubt that consumer awareness and sustainability as a whole is growing, so it’s a huge opportunity for brands to get in early and identify as true leaders within beauty and sustainability,” ​Rutterford said.

Elsie and Dominika will both be speaking at next month’s Packaging Innovations 2019 event in Olympia, London.

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