IN CONVERSATION WITH BEAUTY DISRUPTED
words by MARIA MOTA
Founded by Swedish and French entrepreneurs Svante Holm and Alban Mayne, Beauty Disrupted is making their way to take the beauty industry to the next level. With luxurious products that are completely free of plastics and harsh ingredients, the founders have created a brand where sustainability meets luxury in consciously crafted beauty products.
Beauty Disrupted offers a large selection of bars, from shampoo and conditioner bars to shaving bars, where each bar avoids the need for at least 2 plastic bottles and 20% of profits are donated to organizations that protect the planet and combat climate change. The products are PETA certified Vegan & Cruelty free and available in 3 different 100% organic scents. The Amazonian Amour transports you to the heart of the rainforest while the Ocean Magic evokes sunsets on Mediterranean islands. And the Alpine Glow is like entering a spa high up in the Alps.
Numéro had the absolute pleasure to have a conversation with Svante Holm and here is how it went…
Could you tell us a bit about yourselves? Who are the men behind Beauty Disrupted?
Growing up, we were extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to travel and enjoy adventures in big mountains, untouched rainforests and on majestic oceans. The most colorful place I ever saw was the Great Barrier Reef, and we want to do our part to ensure magical places and experiences like that are there for future generations as well.
One day our kids are going to ask us “Hey you saw the planet was on fire and there was plastic in the oceans, what did you do?” We want to make sure we have bloody good answers to those questions.
I understand you were following a completely different path before starting Beauty Disrupted, when was the turning point for you to start the brand?
We worked internationally in big tech companies for many years, and we were both eager to do something more impactful for both people and planet. We want to do our part to change an industry, to do something really big and impactful. We read somewhere that every year a mindboggling 80 billion plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles are trashed. Few are recycled. Many end up in the oceans. Up to 90% of the content in such bottles is actually water. It just makes no sense to ship around water in thick plastic bottles that basically last forever, so we both thought somebody should do something about that. At first we didn’t think we would be involved in it but we said “Let’s look and try the alternatives that are out there.” So we bought every plastic free product we could find, from Sweden to New Zealand, and we tested for months. We found a lot of green products but we didn’t find anything amazing, nothing that felt very premium or that we loved. So we quit our tech careers and met up with botanists, scent artisans and countless amazing beauty experts who supported our dreams. We spent two years developing products from scratch, really obsessing over every ingredient, getting the packaging absolutely right and ensuring it was all done in the most sustainable way yet also absolutely amazing to use. That’s how Beauty Disrupted was born.
We are not in this to make something small. Our goal is to help change and clean up the beauty industry. It is just desperately needed that we all do our part. As we talk now, I overlook the glaciers outside our office window, and I can see them melting. That’s just not ok. And while I spent a big part of my life in the mountains, Alban grew up sailing. So we are both very passionate about our beautiful planet. Which is also why it’s so important to us that we give 20% of our profit to organizations that help the planet and fight climate change.
What is the core essence of your brand?
It is really important for us that consumers no longer have to choose between luxurious beauty products and conscious beauty products. Consumer shouldn’t have to make compromises like choosing something that won’t be amazing for the hair but very green. We benchmark all our bars against the absolute highest regarded liquid products, and everything we offer has to be at least as good or better. The products have to be green, clean, and absolutely amazing for the consumer.
We spent two long years developing and testing products. We obsessed over where each and every ingredient comes from and if there is a better alternative somewhere. And we didn’t take the easy routes. For example, we use 100% organic scents from Grasse, even though the perfumers there all warned “No that’s too complicated, it’s much easier if you add some chemicals to enhance the scent”. But we stuck to our vision of only using 100% organic scents. Our “Ocean Magic” scent nearly drove us crazy though. We worked 9 months on this scent alone and in the end we had created some 35 different Ocean Magic bars before we finally found the one that we loved. Because each component smelled so good individually but together, it was a mess, but we did get it and now we get extremely good feedback on it. This is the essence of Beauty disrupted, the focus from day one to take our time with product development and provide amazing experiences.
You have from Shampoo bars to Shaving bars, and they all look amazing! If you had to choose a favorite product, which one would it be?
If you would ask Alban he would pick the shampoo bar. But I pick our conditioner bar. In my view it is radically better and different from any other conditioner out there. It gives fantastic volume, shine and it doesn’t weight down the hair. And because we took out all the water normally found in a conditioners, It’s equivalent to 3 plastic bottles. I love this bar!
As for scent, the Alpine Glow, which is very close to my heart and very close to who I am. It reminds me of my favorite SPAs high up in the Italian Alps. I love it.
What is your main inspiration in terms of design?
Our products are all crafted in France but we wanted the design to reflect the Swedish part of the brand’s heritage. Just like France has the most incredible beauty know-how and traditions, Scandinavia is an amazing place for design. So we design all our products in Stockholm and always aim for a very clean but luxurious and inclusive design. We want everyone to feel welcome and make sure it really suits all genders. We want to be able to tell a story with the packaging, which is why we picked a big enough font in one language only. That way you can actually see what we are about and what ingredients we use.
Unfortunately, still to this day there are people who don’t see the importance of sustainable thinking. Do you see yourselves and Beauty Disrupted changing the mind of people who sustainability is in their least priorities? If so, how do you intend to do that?
Maybe we can’t convert everyone, there will always be a few that just don’t care. I think for the younger generation, it’s their planet, their future! I think many already care and I guarantee more and more will.
I think the way to convert people is to really give them amazing experiences. If we say “this shampoo is not great, but it’s really green” I’m sure 2 or 3% will go for it but the other 97% wouldn’t. It has to be as good or better than the shampoo they already use. Let’s take the example of Tesla and the car industry. There were electric cars before Tesla but people don’t even remember them. They were slow, kinda ugly, but electric and clean. Then Tesla came along and showed that electric cars can be beautiful, fast, fun and utterly desirable. That changed the car industry forever. We have the same vison for the beauty industry. By providing amazing experiences and desirable luxurious products, we have a chance to show that there is a better and cleaner way to do beauty. One that really works for both people and planet.
What are the next steps for the brand, any goals for 2022?
We already have a line-up of 24 amazing bar products and a few new exciting ones in the pipe. But for us, coming out with more products is less important than making sure people really try our existing products and see that “Wow this really works! This is not just green but also amazing to use”. Most people have never tried, or perhaps even heard of, shaving bars, shampoo bars, conditioner bars, etc. but once they try our bars, chances are very good that they will love them and come back for more. Our customers really enjoy that they can have a luxury experience while knowing that their shower choice is contributing to the well-being of the planet.
Finally, could you define Beauty Disrupted in a short sentence.
No plastic, still fantastic!
Beauty Disrupted is available at Skins Cosmetics and beautydisrupted.com