Beauty Kitchen 

Embedding circular business in the beauty industry  

Jo Chidley, the co-founder of award-winning sustainable cosmetics business Beauty Kitchen and re-usable packaging system Return•Refill•Repeat, is a passionate entrepreneur with a strong commitment to the circular economy. Now, the former chemist is on a mission to break down barriers and challenge industry norms to create the most effective, natural and sustainable beauty products in the world. 

Where does your commitment to the circular economy come from? 

“Beauty Kitchen was born from my passion for sustainability" Jo explains, "I'd spent years searching for beauty products that were natural, effective and sustainable, but it was a very niche market, and what was available was not easily accessible. When we launched Beauty Kitchen goal was to disrupt the sector. We wanted to make sustainable beauty the norm, but it felt like sustainability by stealth because we didn’t want our products to be classed as elite or expensive - sustainability is for everyone!”

Beauty Kitchen’s commitment to sustainability goes deeper than the products, it’s built into the fabric of the company and the commitment of the team.  They became one of Scotland’s first B Corp certified companies, which recognises that they meet the highest standards of social and environmental practices.  

Jo contacted Zero Waste Scotland to explore new avenues and improve their products, to further reduce their environmental impact 

How does your circular business model operate? 

“For products to be truly sustainable you have to think of every step of the process, from ingredients to packaging.” Jo continues. “We were quite ahead of the curve because we always intended Beauty Kitchen to have a cradle-to-cradle approach. We wanted to find new innovative circular practices while keeping the change as natural as possible, ensuring it was easy for our customers to become more sustainable with us.” 

What impact has your circular business model had on your products? 

Progressing from selling products in repurposed plastic packaging, Beauty Kitchen quickly developed new product ranges across skincare, body case and hair care to incorporate compostable or reusable packaging. Zero Waste Scotland carried out research, which helped Jo launch ‘Return•Refill•Repeat’, a service which exists to help customers, retailers and brand owners change their single use plastic packaging to packaging that is designed to be refillable and reused. Return•Refill•Repeat works with other retail organisations, meaning that other businesses can also take advantage of the circular model. 

Return•Refill•Repeat took Beauty Kitchen’s commitment to the environment one step further, taking their customers on the circular journey by giving them the option to return empty packaging to be washed and reused. This closed the loop by keeping containers in use for longer, reducing demand for new packaging to be manufactured, which positively impacts the company and the customer’s environmental footprint. 

What support did you receive to implement the business model? 

As well as providing the research and business case for  Return•Refill•Repeat, Zero Waste Scotland supported Beauty Kitchen through the appointment of an intern, Ourania Dimou, in January 2021. With a background in engineering and waste management, Ourania has a passion for sustainability and believes in the importance of reducing waste across the cosmetics industry. She spent twelve weeks conducting research and verifying the credentials behind the business model.  

Beauty Kitchen worked closely with Zero Waste Scotland and was supported by the Circular Economy Business Support service to assess the best packaging options. 

Ourania says

“I had never worked in beauty or packaging before, so this placement really helped expand my knowledge, and I was able to apply my awareness of zero waste and circular principlesIt’s amazing to see how many businesses are moving to a holistic approach, getting to the heart of the circular economy.” 

What does Return•Refill•Repeat mean for the industry? 

The team at Beauty Kitchen is now working to influence other businesses in the beauty industry, encouraging them to embrace Return•Refill•Repeatto reap the same benefitsJo says “We didn’t introduce these sustainable practices to gain a competitive advantage, it’s a vehicle to instigate change across the sector – we want other businesses to get involved.” 

Ready to embrace the benefits of a circular approach to your business?

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