Emma Elwin has asked the founder Estelle& Thilds CEO Pernilla Rönnberg six questions about sustainable beauty.
Where did your journey towards founding a sustainable beauty brand start?
The journey started during my MBA studies at Stockholm School of Economics. I was in a stage of life where I wanted to do something else, something that was meaningful. I’ve seen the amount of chemicals that go into producing conventional beauty products, and grew painfully aware of how these affect our bodies and the environment around us. I knew that there had to be another way. I wanted to develop a sustainable business, producing organic innovative skin care without compromising on the experience or results. After months of research, prototyping and testing, I launched Estelle & Thild in 2007 with the mission to help consumers make better choices for their skin, bodies and the environment.
Have you faced any challenges on the way?
I believe the most challenging part so far has been the production. Being certified organic requires more in terms of tracking ingredients and green production processes. It was also hard to find the right organic ingredients, but today it is different. Now we have well-established routines internally and strong know-how; innovation and supply of ingredients has improved dramatically. The production today is more about the growth of the assortment and distribution channels. I believe growth is the most rewarding part when you build a company, but also the most challenging.
What is the next step for Estelle & Thild’s sustainability journey?
I am happy to see that the group of like-minded individuals who choose organic are constantly growing. Consumers are more informed than ever, and they demand sustainability and transparency from brands and companies across markets. This inspires us as a company to keep striving to create even better innovations, products and experiences, for our consumers and for the world.
What are your best tips for someone who wants to update her bathroom cabinet to all organic products?
To be really sure, go for products that are marked with organic labels. These labels ensure that all formulas are developed according to the latest regulations and organic standards. I also suggest looking for products that prove they are as effective as conventional beauty brands. You shouldn’t need to compromise on experience and result just because you change to organic.
In what way is sustainability present in your life outside of work? What small things do you do in everyday life to care for the environment?
It’s a lifestyle and a mindset. I believe that the small changes you do over time add up to huge results. There are many small things I do such as recycle glass and newspaper, use less paper, use short program on washing machines and dish washers, take quick showers, use energy conserving low light bulbs and use my own mug for take away coffee. As a family we eat organic locally produced food and less meat whenever possible. The list goes on but it is the small things you do everyday that matter. In general I always go for organic or green alternatives. It’s important to support environmentally friendly companies and to know that you as a consumer have the power.
What sustainability issue is keeping you up at night?
Industrial pollution. Many forms of the atmospheric and water pollution affect human health and the environment. Industrialized nations have made important progress in recent decades, but it’s much worse in developing countries where there are few environmental regulations. This has a huge impact globally and it’s hard to find a solution. That worries me. It’s devastating to know how we treat the planet.
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