In the first instalment of our Beauty Insider series where we sit down with brand founders to get their take on all things beauty and wellness, we had the pleasure of talking with Curate Beauty Founders, Samatha Freedman and Margot Vitale. Owners of the wholesale beauty marketplace, they've reimagined the buying process, bridging the gap between retailers and smaller independent brands. Read on as we cover all things conscious beauty, their sustainable practices, and the trends they've seen come out of lockdown...
Tell us a bit about Curate Beauty and your motivations for starting the business?
MV: Curate Beauty is an online wholesale marketplace platform for indie beauty and lifestyle brands. Basically an ecommerce site for businesses like retailers, gyms, or salons who buy indie beauty. We have over 145 indie brands that you can purchase from at wholesale prices in one easy streamlined transaction.
Sam and I are both super passionate about supporting small business, particularly in the indie beauty space where there is so much great product and innovation. After experiencing the beauty and retail world in our previous careers, it was clear that the wholesale process was inefficient and outdated and these independents weren't getting the support they needed and deserved to succeed.
How do you choose and curate the brands you work with?
SF: Firstly the brands that we stock on Curate Beauty need to be independently owned, that is really key for us. Our platform is designed for these smaller brands that aren’t owned by big conglomerates, we’re enabling them the opportunity to meet new retailers that they don't have the resources to locate themselves. The next thing we look for is finding brands with a niche, we always ask ourselves 'what gap would they fill within our collection' and 'what retailer would they be right for'. The third and final point is that we want brands with a fantastic and engaging brand story - as this is usually what the retailer buys into, as doe the consumer.
Could you share with us your Top Skincare Tips for natural, healthy-looking skin?
SF: Always cleanse morning and night. I like to use a more hydrating cream cleanser in the morning, my favourite is Farrynn Amber Brightening Cleanser. Then a more exfoliating cleanser like Neighbourhood Botanicals in the evening, which contains AHAs and lactic acid.
Do you have a favourite power-ingredient in skincare that you swear by?
SF: Can I have two?! I absolutely love hyaluronic acid - it works for every skin type, tone and age. It’s fantastic for boosting hydration - something that depletes as we age, my current fave is from Evolue. The second favourite of mine is Retinol, it’s incredible anti-ageing and works to accelerate skin cell turnover, it’s only to be used at night and you should gradually build up to using it every night, by starting with just using it once a week. My favourite is Dr David Jack Good Night!
The meaning behind the term ‘natural’ in the skincare and beauty space is ever-evolving. What does it mean to you?
SF: I think that it’s really complicated and confusing for consumers to shop for natural beauty products right now, as the term ‘natural', ‘clean' and ‘organic’ are so often thrown around without the products being . That’s why we’ve tried to simplify things on our site, by creating a Conscious Beauty category- which is filled with brands that contain sustainable ingredients, consciously sourced packaging, they could also be vegan- friendly and contain natural ingredients. However, if being organic is key we also have categorised those brands and products into their own Organic Beauty collection - where the ingredients themselves have been certified organic.
Which is your favourite Brûmée hair fragrance scent, and why?
SF: Brûmée Douce, is the perfect trans-seasonal scent for me. I love the crispness of the orange blossom mixed with the cosiness of the almonds.
MV: Brumee Fraiche, because it smells fresh and light, floral but not stuffy or overpowering!
Have you noticed a change in the way consumers shop for skincare since lockdown?
MV: One major trend we've seen is investment into at home self care. Dealing with the craziness of new routines and being in the house all day has meant that consumers have had the time and need to pamper themselves and actively relax, whether that is with skincare tools from Flexi Skin for a mini at home facial, or lighting a La Montana candle while pretending to be on holiday in Spain.
How do you incorporate sustainable practices into your business?
MV: Sustainability is really important to us as a business, and that to me means more than just supporting brands that are organic or use plastic free packaging, which we are so proud to do. I think sustainability includes taking good care of our people, ensuring our business is living up to its mission of supporting independent retail, and being efficient by eliminating all unnecessary waste, whether that be in the form of time, energy, and resources.