A Harvard and LSE graduate and a pioneer in the natural beauty space, Laura Rudoe started Evolve Beauty, a self-funded global natural and organic beauty brand, over 10 years ago. We caught up with her to chat about her green philosophy and how Laura will lead the way, in organic beauty, as we enter a new decade.
You have a very interesting background in the wellness and beauty industry. Could you tell us a bit about Evolve?
Evolve Beauty is an artisanal range of organic and natural skin, body and hair care products. Each product is lovingly hand-crafted in our eco studio in Hertfordshire, England. All Evolve Beauty products are vegan friendly and cruelty free and made in small batches to ensure the highest level of freshness.
Every one of our products has a person’s name on the label, and that lovely human hand made your product for you. We believe that natural, organic skincare ingredients are better for you than synthetic alternatives. We choose ‘green science’, the power of plants, over the synthetic alternatives you will find in most mass produced cosmetics. You can see the percentage of natural and organic ingredients on every product.
Why did you decide to start the company, what were your goals in doing so?
When I was younger I actually suffered with bad skin and so I have always been interested in skincare and learning about the best ingredients and natural solutions for skin problems. After I graduated from University, I followed my passion for natural skincare and I ended up helping to set up a brand called NUDE, another natural beauty brand. I loved being a part of the clean beauty revolution and I later decided to take the plunge and create my own natural beauty company, Evolve Organic Beauty.
You manufacture all your own products in-house. Has this always been the case?
Our production was initially outsourced to a family run third party manufacturer and our warehouse was also outsourced, so initially we were a virtual company run by only two people - Violaine and me!
This brought a number of frustrations including not having enough control over product quality, manufacturing inflexibility and restrictions on innovation.
In 2014 we opened our own studio in London Colney, Hertfordshire and brought all aspects of the business in-house. We completely relaunched the Evolve Beauty range in 2015 with brand new packaging and products. In the summer of 2019, we moved into our current wind-powered eco studio, just down the road in St Albans.
Have Evolve products or your brand ethos changed over the years?
I initially launched Evolve back in 2009, but it looked very different to how it does now!
Originally billed as an ‘ecosmart range of beautiful, effective, organic beauty products for face, body and hair’, the brand was designed to be accessible and popular with those who wanted an eco-conscious lifestyle without the accompanying price tag.
Our initial range was colourful to look at and was made from recycled milk bottles and was designed to go into the mass market channel. We did a partial rebrand in 2011 when we were experimenting with how to make our packaging look more natural.
Over time our strategy has moved to a more everyday luxury/premium price point and the focus has moved towards a more artisanal handmade positioning.
What has remained is our focus on eco friendly values, performance, product quality and purity, superfood ingredients and value for money at our price point.
How does Evolve differ to more traditional brands on the market?
We try to offer Evolve Beauty at an accessible price point because we want to encourage as many people as possible to make the switch to natural and organic products. We believe that the natural and organic ingredients we use are better for us and for the planet, so we like to make our products affordable and fun, without compromising on quality.
Are your ranges suitable for men too?
From the packaging we use to the natural fragrances we blend, it’s important to us that each of our products is gender neutral. Everybody has skin, after all!
What would you say are the main skin types and how do you suggest best treating them at Evolve Beauty?
Skin types are genetic, so we can’t change our skin type. The main skin types include: dry skin, oily skin, normal skin and combination skin (2 or more of the other key types). Skin concerns and conditions however can change over time throughout our lives, and can be down to hormones and lifestyle changes for example. These include: sensitivity, premature ageing, acne, hyperpigmentation and dehydration.
What age do you think teens ought to start a skincare regime?
I think this is very personal and a decision that should be based on the individual. Children should be taught the importance of looking after their skin (as after all, it is our largest organ), however young skin is very delicate and shouldn’t be overloaded with harsh products. At Evolve, we tend to receive enquiries about teenage skin from the onset of puberty, as hormones change, as this can make a huge impact on skin.
What are the biggest mistakes people make with their skin care?
Overloading the skin with unnecessary and perhaps overly harsh ingredients. It’s so important that we don’t disrupt our skin’s natural barrier layer by using ingredients which strip the skin of its natural oils.
What have you found most challenging as an entrepreneur?
I have loved being an entrepreneur but it hasn’t always been easy. The most difficult part was 2-3 years in before we had gained brand traction. It takes a lot longer than you think to build a brand and it is important to not give up!!
Looking back over the past 10 years, are you still as passionate about beauty products and what do you enjoy most about your role?
I am probably more passionate about beauty products, as I’m always discovering new, exciting ingredients! My favourite part of my role is definitely hearing feedback from our customers - there is nothing I love more than hearing how we have helped to improve people’s skin.How has your mission evolved and what do you have planned to lead the way in organic beauty as we enter a new decade?
This year we’re in the process of obtaining a number of certifications, including COSMOS Organic and The Vegan Society, to reflect our ethos and our values. We pride ourselves in being a truly green company, so it is our mission to shout louder about our sustainability credentials and to encourage others to join the beauty evolution!
To learn more about Laura and Evolve Beauty you can visit her website and they are also offering our readers 20% off their products, until midnight on 31st May 2020, so just use the code INESSA20 at checkout on their website: https://www.evolvebeauty.co.uk/
You can also find Laura on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram:
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