The brand, which has been solely direct-to-consumer, launched with Ulta Beauty this week, in select stores and online. According to founder Tina Hedges, scaling her business while maintaining her zero-waste philosophy took some heavy workarounds.
“One of our challenges was how do we launch a zero-waste beauty brand in-store where your secondary packaging is so crucial to telling your story and messaging,” Hedges said. “It’s not about minimizing your footprint, but we didn’t want to resort to pulp shrink-wrapped in cellophane and plastic vacuum trays, or any of that.”
“My attitude is always, where there’s a will, there’s a way. I really had so much pushback, people saying ‘Why don’t we just do recycled paper packaging?’ We have a commitment to be tree-free, and not just for us, but for the planet,” Hedges continued.
The entrepreneur found her solution at a vegan meat-substitute producer, which grows mushrooms for meat alternatives. “They have an offshoot of their business, which is growing the mushrooms into packaging,” she said. “Then, we found someone who is upcycling hemp fiber to make the paper for us to wrap the mushroom trays in. It is 100 percent worm food.”
Ulta is taking the brand’s entire line online, and an assortment of stockkeeping units in 360 doors. Loli Beauty also meets all of Ulta’s Conscious Beauty criteria.
As part of the launch, the brand is also launching a new product, its first zero-waste, waterless, alcohol-free acne treatment. “We have clinicals that show it kills acne vulgaris bacteria for eight hours. So, we’re going after real, clinical skin conditions but from a zero-waste, clean perspective,” Hedges said.
The product, called Arnica Elderberry Jelly All Day Mask-ne and Spot Rescue, retails for $28. Industry sources estimate sales to reach between $1 million and $2 million for its first 12 months on the market.
The brand’s waste-free expansion into Ulta comes after a year of explosive growth, with Hedges saying the business skyrocketed 1,000 percent in 2019. She added that the brand started thinking about wholesale accounts in a meaningful way at the end of 2019, when she felt consumers were finally catching on to her brand purpose.
“Quite honestly, we were a year too early in 2018,” Hedges said. “The marketplace did not care about clean, conscious, sustainable or zero-waste beauty. We would talk about how we upcycle from organic food suppliers, and whether it was editors or it was retailers, no one understood it,” she said.
Hedges, who said that her mission is to “clean up the dirty business of beauty,” launched Loli as a self-funded start-up in 2016 after time working for the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc., L’Oréal and LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.
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