For me the most frustrating part of sustainable stylish living has been finding eco-friendly cosmetics that works with my skin colour and that actually works. Whilst I can shop sustainable fashion with my eyes closed and have my skin care routine worked out, the whole eco-friendly make-up search has been a pain in my derriere.
And then Amy Kauler director of vegan cosmetics brand Sugar Venom got in touch and not wanting to sound overly dramatic, but she literally saved my beauty future.
How our collaboration began
When Amy sent me a straight forward email with the words: Australian-made, premium mineral products, 100% vegan, organic, natural and process of getting the CCF certification & vegan society, I was intrigued but a little skeptical. After all, I’ve tested many eco-friendly cosmetic brands before and am often left disappointed.
I wasn’t holding much hope for this one, despite the beautiful website. As a digital strategist, I see beautiful websites all the time. Does not mean the products deliver.
The customer experience
So when I received the package and opened it I was confronted with a black and baby pink box with the printed words “Love has arrived.” I was smitten. I immediately recognised the cheeky copy as being consistent with the website. I gave the vegan make up brand a big tick for remarkable branding (did I mention I’m a digital strategist?), something that other sustainable brands can learn from.
I opened the box in a way usually reserved for opening jewellery boxes and I noticed that the beautiful theme carried on into the box. By the time I got around to opening the eye shadow boxes, mascara, lip gloss and checking out the lip balm, I was in love. Just as the brand had predicted.
Whilst it’s always nice to be gifted items, I knew I would not use the lip gloss or one of the eye shadows purely because I don’t wear lip gloss or wear green (“Bardot”) eye shadow and thought someone should have the opportunity to find out about this beautiful eco cosmetics brand. It was then I decided to include it in the Eco Warrior Princess birthday giveaway.
Now it took some time for me to use the make-up as I don’t wear it much on the farm and I had been waiting to use up my goopy and flaky mascara (as crappy as the brand is, I don’t believe in waste). However the opportunity presented itself when I was on a recent trip to Sydney.
The organic lip balm in Vanilla provides the perfect nude lip colour and is perfect for natural beauty worshippers like me. It also feels divine on the lips. The mascara is non-clumping with the perfect brush and doesn’t smear or flake on the bottom lashes (another issue I had with the last brand) and the mineral eye shadow in the ‘Hutton’ colour was perfect for night time glamour (in all non-modesty, I looked hot!)
My non-professional make-up artist, once-a-week wearer of make-up conclusion?
Sugar Venom rocks. Glam greenies take note. You won’t be disappointed.
As I am renowned for supporting Australian eco-friendly businesses, I thought I would do a quick Q&A with Amy Kauler, fellow Queenslander and co-founder (her business partner is also real-life partner Phil Rasmussen) of Sugar Venom.
Getting the Sugar Venom low-down with Amy
Tell me about Sugar Venom…
Sugar Venom launched in February 2015 with the idea to create a fun brand that values non-toxic vegan makeup and being environmentally and socially conscious. We developed our own line of mineral eyeshadows, lipgloss, lipstick, lip balm, mascara and false eyelashes. Our products contain:
- no parabens, heavy metals, dangerous chemicals, palm oil, toxic ingredients, nano-particles, artificial fragrances, animal ingredients, gluten, carmine, ferric ferrocyanide or bismuth oxychloride.
Our lip products contain the goodness of organic orange peel oil, jojoba seed oil and castor seed oil to nourish and protect your lips.
What inspired the business idea?
As a lover of makeup myself, I was regularly wearing conventional brands. Once I started reading the ingredients in more detail and paying attention to what I was putting on my skin, I was shocked. Once you consider that you’re wearing a mixture of foundation, blush, lipstick, primer, mascara etc for hours every day – all with their own toxic ingredients, imagine the long-term effects?
I wanted to make a brand that retained the fun and edgy look of other popular conventional brands like Lime Crime and Urban Decay – but also maintained strong values. After months of researching, testing, planning and more planning, my business partner Phil and I were able to launch our small line of lipgloss. We have been working on new products ever since and are constantly in development and refinement.
How do you incorporate eco-friendly elements into your business?
· We try to have all paper packaging as 100% recycled wherever feasible
· We donate $1 of every sale to Edgars Mission
· Our makeup is made by reputable suppliers in Australia and Canada
· All of our products are non-toxic and vegan
· We try to have our printing done in Australia wherever possible
· We are currently working on a new line of lipstick with 100% recycled plastic and hope to one day be able to move to all of our products casing to be made with recycled plastic.
What inspires you?
Life. Little things like walking in the rain or buying groceries. Watching the actions and reactions of those around me. And life inspires me to create, which in turn inspires me further! I love seeing feedback from our customers who have always been allergic to mascara or from customers who didn’t know about toxic ingredients or animal testing in Australia. I love to see that something we have created can help others.
What are the biggest challenges in what you do?
· The time it takes to develop a product vs. the time by which we want to release it
· Cost of launching a new brand
· ‘Getting out there’
· Choosing what products to launch
Being able to incorporate ‘giving’ as an integral part of the business and support such a great charity and doing our first major interview for a magazine!
What are you favourite eco brands?
· Freedom of Animals
· Stella McCartney
· Matt & Nat
· Bed & Broccoli
· Vaute Couture
· Kjaer Weis
How do you personally try to maintain an eco-friendly lifestyle?
By trying to tread as lightly as possible, being aware that my actions can affect others and maintaining a clean vegan lifestyle.
Sugar Venom will soon be releasing a range of eye and lip pencils and I personally cannot wait as the brand I’m using has so-so eco-credentials (a gift from a friend). To learn more about this vegan make-up brand or to make a purchase online, visit their website www.sugarvenom.com.au. Don’t forget to check them out on Facebook and Instagram.
Disclosure: Eco Warrior Princess (EWP) created this content in an unpaid collaboration with Sugar Venom and the makeup was gifted as part of this relationship. EWP only support brands and businesses that meet our high ethical standards. For more information, click here.