TORONTO — With an explosion of green brands and buzzwords on the market, Canada’s Fran Miller — founder of all-natural skin-care line F. Miller — knew it was necessary “to differentiate ourselves more than ever before.”
“Now everyone talks about sustainability. Five years ago that meant something, but that’s not always the case today depending on how a product is made,” said Miller, who in 2014 launched her line of toxin-free, herbal-infused oils for the face, hair and body.
Now the ethically-gathered, wild-crafted brand is being relaunched to bring more sustainability and social consciousness to its manufacturing process and packaging.That includes working with TerraCycle’s Zero Waste recycling program to maintain an almost entirely waste-free studio in Toronto, as well as its bottles and its biodegradable, recyclable boxes made from 100 percent FSC Certified and Rainforest Alliance Certified paper, which are printed in a local facility run on Bullfrog Power – a green energy that comes from clean, renewable sources to reduce its environmental footprint
Even F. Miller’s GreenWrap bubble wrap is biodegradable, compostable, SFI Certified and recyclable, while its shipping boxes, labels, note cards, parcel tapes and stickers are made from 100 percent post-consumer waste.
Yet sourcing these materials wasn’t easy.
“It took months,” Miller told WWD. “These packaging materials did not exist because big companies aren’t demanding these things from the market. But we hope this relaunch will help affect some positive change.”
Equally as important was changing consumers’ perceptions about just how luxurious a “natural” skin care brand could be.
“This relaunch is about giving consumers all they need throughout the day and encouraging them to be proud of what they put on their body or skin. It’s natural. But it is luxury,” said Miller, who for years battled acne and other hormonal-related skin sensitivities that stumped dermatologists and left her with a pile of over-the-counter prescription creams that brought no relief.
Driven by frustration, the former retail management executive began experimenting with natural oils in 2012. Two years later, she debuted F. Miller and its signature Facial Oil, a highly concentrated blend of 15 oils designed for easy absorption and balancing all skin types. The gender-neutral collection included a Lip Balm, Shave Oil, plus oils for the hair and body. A Toning Mist, Cleansing Oil and Eye Oil were added over the next three years.
“No matter how much I paid, I couldn’t find a product that worked or looked, smelled and felt like the department store luxury brands,” said Miller. “That inspired me to bring these two worlds together and to create these multicorrectional oils that were simple to use, delivered a luxurious experience and looked beautiful on the bathroom shelf.”
Her relaunched herbal infusions are also made with dried flowers and herbs grown across Canada. “We pull ingredients as locally as possible to ensure more freshness, efficacy and minimize our environmental footprint,” said Miller.
One such ingredient is bladderwrack — a nutrient-rich kelp found in the cold waters from Northern California to Alaska. Though not the first to use this ingredient in skin care, F. Miller works with a small family business in Prince Rupert, British Colombia, to ensure it is sustainably wild harvested. “Bladderwrack has incredible antiinflammatory properties and is used to soothe, calm and heal,” said Miller. “It’s amazing for skin tone and texture.”
Miller is also introducing an expanded Necessity Kit into its revamped lineup, upping its content from three to five products. “It comes in a zip bag made from recycled paper that’s washable and gets better with time,” Miller added.
Finally, for holiday, Miller is debuting an organic face cloth made from recycled cotton with an extra-large waffle texture for better oil cleansing.
The collection is available at fmillerskincare.com and at select boutiques in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Portland, Texas, Virginia, Arizona and Washington.