One month on from their Carbon Positive announcement, a world first for the beauty industry, we chat to Emma Lewisham about her eponymous skincare brand and if her industry peers have picked up all the wondrous IP that she put down.
Firstly, how are you feeling? Have you taken a moment for the dust to settle or has the announcement simply built the momentum for you and your team, adding more to strive for?
It’s definitely built momentum. We are constantly looking to improve and innovate so have already begun working towards our goals of reducing carbon emissions even further. We are doing this by further refining our packaging as well as opening a distribution centre in the UK to aid in reducing our distribution related emissions.
The burning question, as a pioneer in our industry carving the path of impactful and meaningful change for our planet - has your call to other beauty brands to follow suit been answered?
Yes, we’ve been so thrilled with the response. We really hoped that in sharing our IP and authentically sharing our desire to place collaboration over competition, that other brands would reach out - and they have. We have had many businesses, of all sizes and industries reach out who want to provide circular and climate positive solutions for their customers. It’s not just the beauty industry that needs to change, these are cross-industry issues, and so I’m thrilled that our call for action has been so widely received.
It is so refreshing to see your brand embody the sentiment of collaboration over competition, most people would expect business to protect their competitive edge. When you first started Emma Lewisham, was this always the goal? Had it always been about the bigger industry-wide picture? Or was it more of a journey of evolution to this idea as you understood the power of what you’d been creating?
Sustainability has been embedded in our DNA since inception. I founded Emma Lewisham to set a new benchmark in beauty, and knowing the enormity of the industry’s waste and carbon problem, I always knew that collaboration would need to play a key role in its solution. As a business, and individual, I want to create lasting value and to only grow while having a positive impact. And, the more we share our knowledge and innovations, the wider this positive impact can be. I believe businesses are uniquely placed to drive change and possess the power to use their resources for the good, and we are keen to welcome other likeminded brands on this journey with us.
Would you call yourself an optimist? And how do you think this affects your business practice or outlook?
I am absolutely an optimist. I never see obstacles, only challenges that I am determined to overcome. When I can see something isn’t working, or something isn’t right - I work to fix it. I believe there is always a way to make things better, and this usually means thinking and acting differently. I have infused this mindset into our business, and I believe it absolutely underlies our success - we are inquisitive, analytical and always searching to prove the impossible, possible.
From here, what are you looking forward to most?
Our next big goals are to halve our products’ inherent carbon footprints by 2023 and cut them to virtually zero by 2030. This is a big goal but one I am very excited to achieve. We are also currently working through our B-Corp Certification, which we hope to have by the end of 2021. And, on a more immediate note, we are about to launch some beautiful new products for the holiday season, so I am really looking forward to sharing these with our customers.
On a more personal note: Auckland is home for both your work and your family; what have the past few months in lockdown taught you; as a woman, a mother, and in business?
As a mother, I have learnt just how precious time is. As challenging as it has been at times working from home, it has given me time with my daughter Milla that I will forever be grateful for. I’ve been there for so many more of the little moments and in between times that I might otherwise have missed. As a woman, I have learnt that we aren’t invincible, and we must be kinder to ourselves. As a woman we often wear so many hats - mother, daughter, wife, friend, founder, businesswoman, colleague, leader, lover, motivator, and the list goes on. It can be so easy to feel deflated when we can’t keep all our plates spinning at once, but I have learnt that while we may wish to be everything to everyone, we must be more compassionate towards ourselves. We can only show up for others when we first show up for ourselves. And, finally as a businesswoman, I have learnt the power of surrounding yourself with the right people. Neither Emma Lewisham, my business, or myself, would be where we are today without the continued support of my incredible team.
What has been keeping you grounded and what has been sparking joy?
Time spent with my husband and daughter in our little bubble. It’s all the small moments with the people I love most that I’ve been holding close recently.