Its no doubt that our attitudes and mindset towards sustainable beauty is adapting as we become more aware of the impacts that plastic has on the environment. We’ve all read the statistics that over 800 tonnes of plastic is dumped into the ocean each year. With this statistic, beauty companies are calling to action that affect that the beauty industry can have on the environment. While some brands are adapting their packaging using eco-friendly ingredients, some a using a refill system. Is this the feature of sustainable beauty?
Fiils core mission is to minimise the amount of single-use beauty waste that is contributing to a 120-billion-unit system. Recognising that the majority of millennials now are actively searching for brands and products that are both economically friendly for the environment and for themselves, Fiils is a pioneering and new-age beauty brand that is redefining beauty and the way we treat the industry. Once you purchase a Fiils bottle, they are reused with the Fills refill pouches that se 80% less packaging. The customisable bottle colours come in Rose Gold, Copper and Silver, aesthetically pleasing for your #shelfie, while its contents are made from over 75% pure plant extract.
This is how the founder of Fiils, Anna Priadka, redefined sustainable beauty and created a product that commits to a eco-friendly feature without sacrificing your beauty needs.
What were you doing before Fiils?
I’ve been in the beauty industry for over 15 years, predominantly in makeup, working for the largest D2C brands in various sales and global roles.
What inspired the idea behind Fiils?
From 2010 onwards, I began to witness a change in the beauty industry. All of a sudden, indie brands erupted from nowhere on a scale that I’d never seen before. It was fuelled by the growth of social platforms like Instagram and YouTube which democratised the industry in a big way.
The main beauty players that I’d grown up with, and worked with, were starting to lose relevance in the sea of emerging brands and influencers. Whilst this was really exciting for a few years; bigger brands started competing to regain relevance. They launched more products to satisfy the demand, and coupled with the emerging indie brands, the industry reached a level of saturation which I’d never seen before.
I grew tired of endlessly pushing products for the brands that I worked for and became hyper aware of the detrimental impact that all of this “stuff” was having on the environment – especially the unnecessary packaging waste and nasty ingredients. When I did some more research, I discovered just how much waste the industry produces compared to what is actually recycled. I was shocked! From that moment onwards, I knew we had to change things and start consuming our beauty products with a more considered approach.
What makes Fiils different to other beauty brands?
At Fiils, everything we do goes in full-circle with a “planet-first” mindset. We also believe that you shouldn’t have to compromise when it comes to sustainability. That means we make it easy for our customers to make small changes that have a positive impact on our environment. We offer familiar beauty and personal care essentials with a convenient refill and reuse solution. We have found that other beauty brands just offer one or the other: buy single use plastic or switch to zero waste completely- or if they do offer reuse/refill, it’s usually a complicated process. With Fiils, you get the non-toxic, cruelty-free and vegan-friendly formulas you know and love wrapped up in our super Instagrammable, low-waste packaging that we recycle for you. We never launch products just because they are on trend; our mission is to provide products that serve an essential need to keep customers looking and feeling great, whilst knowing they’ve done their bit for the environment, too.
Can you tell us a bit about your formulas?
Aside from offering completely natural formulas, we’ve upped our game and included a mix of organic, vegan ingredients made with over 75% pure plant extracts. As a result, we’ve also been able to reduce a lot of the water content that is often the main ingredient in other formulas. We don’t use any parabens or sulphates as these can have eco-toxicity of over 80% and are the biggest causes of carbon emissions in shampoo manufacturing. We started with the familiar bathroom essentials including shampoo, conditioner, body wash and hand wash. This year, we are set to extend our range with more fresh scents like coconut, pomelo and lemongrass and new products, as well as multi-use beauty essentials across bodycare and skincare.
What can the beauty industry do to be more sustinable?
The beauty industry still has a long way to go but there is definitely hope for it to do better. In terms of disposing of used products, brands must offer easy ways for their customers to recycle their packaging. Similarly, they need to educate customers on how to recycle their beauty packaging in a more direct and engaging way. As a brand, they need to reuse packaging components where possible and minimise the amount of wasteful packaging used. At Fiils, we also believe that it is important for both the consumer, and our planet, to use non-toxic ingredients in order to ensure that our environment remains safe and free from pollution. We would advise other brands to follow suit in terms of implementing a carbon offsetting program, like we have, in order to reduce their impact on the environment.
Why is refill beauty better for the environment compared to a standard beauty model?
Refillable beauty is a great way for customers to make easy sustainable changes to their everyday routine. We are already seeing the early signs of how it will become a huge part of the D2C beauty scene in the next few years. Refillable models offer less packaging waste and keep packaging materials in circulation for longer which means that they stay out of landfill and our precious ecosystems. The Fiils refillable model reduces our customers’ carbon footprint by over 30% per year (compared to a standard single-use beauty model). We use flexible lightweight materials for our primary refills and we’ve been able to reduce single-use plastic by over 80%! We’re proud to say we’re carbon neutral too.
How have your customers responded to the idea of making their beauty routine more sustainable so far?
We’ve had an incredible response from our customers so far! When I initially had the idea for Fiils, I wanted to see if this was a model that customers would buy into, so I launched an MVP. In just six months, we had acquired our first 2,000 customers and hit close to £70k in revenue. This proved that the market was ready for change in how it consumed beauty. Our customers are very vocal in their feedback and constantly tell us what theywould like us to do better. I think this is because we have fostered a community of transparency from day one. We made every element of our supply chain visible to them, so they knew exactly how we were delivering on our sustainable promises. Our customers love that our model is easy to use, and are proud to show off our sleek aluminium bottles in their bathroom, like a badge of honour, to demonstrate how they are reducing their environmental impact, and looking good while they do it, too!
What do you think the future of the beauty industry looks like? Are refills the future?
I think we will start to see an explosion of niche and established players trying to solve the packaging waste issue in the beauty industry. I think refillable beauty will be one arm of it, both online and offline, with brands offering different options to suit their customers’ lifestyles. I also think we will see a lot of product formulas reinvented, to allow for minimal packaging use, in either powdered formulas or waterless products.
The packaging industry will also make huge advancements, so we may not even need to purchase refills, but instead have an effective primary componentry that can be reused safely or that composts naturally. Multi-use products will become more necessary. I think any beauty brand launch will need to have a genuine approach to reducing their environmental impact and by offering transparency, for each element of their supply chain, to their customers.
At Fiils, we’re committed to staying on top of the latest sustainable beauty developments, as they happen, to ensure that we keep moving in the right direction.
Introduction by Clare Stephenson