Prioritising bars over bottles is something Julie pioneered with her unique zero-waste, plastic-free beauty brand Aermeda. Both easy on the eye and the planet, the beautiful range of Milk Soaps is a range we love having in-store.
To celebrate our community’s efforts with prioritising thoughtful products for Plastic Free July, we sat down with Julie to chat about her evolution with the brand and her thoughts on sustainability.
1. Can you tell us about the early days of the brand and what inspired you?
My inspiration comes from my love of nature – believing the simple concept that natures creations are best for our body and the planet.
Essentially Aermeda is a response to our unabated consumption of plastic bottled shower gels and liquid soaps coupled with the growing concern about the chemicals and synthetics people unwittingly use on their skin.
With this as our starting point, Aermeda set out to create a luxury sustainable product that is environmentally sound from its concept through to the ingredients, production method and packaging. At the outset, I wanted to create something that does no further damage to our planet.
2. What are the biggest challenges when it comes to building a truly sustainable collection?
For me, it is essential that Aermeda alines with values and practices to minimise our environmental impact. I keep this at the forefront when making any business decisions.
With our choices at the checkout being one of the most effective weapons we have in our fight for the sustainability of the planet, driving change in buying habits and appealing to conscious consumers is an ongoing challenge. Part of our efforts in this area is our intentional decision to stock in a small number of stores which are a good ‘fit’ for our products/values as opposed to multiple stores with no connection to their products.
Ethical ingredient sourcing can be hugely challenging. Trust plays a big part in me being confident that the suppliers of raw materials are paid a fair price, they are committed to positive environmental and social impact as well as providing their workers safe working practice.
There is a spectrum and while I try to tick as many boxes as I can, I am aware even small changes make a difference. For instance, our most changing ingredient to source was our rope. It was vital they adhered to our principles for an environmentally sound product but also had to be aesthetically pleasing and comfortable when dry & wet. The ones we use are 100% cotton made from recycled threads – Oeko-Tex certified so no water, toxic chemicals or dyes are used in their production. Recycled cotton textile is shredded to a dust and then mixed into specific portions to make the desired shade. These fibres are then spun into the thread the rope is made of.
3. What does sustainable beauty mean to you?
The first thing that springs to mind is the physical product. Those products incorporating natural and ethical ingredients from renewable raw materials that are eco-friendly and have zero waste.
Less obvious, and often overlooked, is sustainable and ethical business practices. This includes thoughtful packaging that can be repurposed or recycled – definitely plastic free!; Ethical ingredient sourcing (which I talked about as a challenge); Zero-waste policy to minimise any manufacturing by-products; Socially conscious brand – giving back to the community.
4. Is there a product from your range that you find yourself using day after day?
Interestingly my soap choice depends on my mood and the time of day!
At the moment, morning showers are with either our annatto citrus scrub or herbal citrus walnut & coffee scrub; while to unwind at the end of the day, I enjoy a long bath without any exfoliant so, the hydrating egg yolk or the wonderful triple butter French green clay soap.
The Sandalwood & Geranium shaving soap is my favourite for a weekly shave.
5. Looking ahead, what do you see evolving this year for Aermeda?
Nothing we do has zero impact and as a small business owner, this fact can be overwhelming. I acknowledge that even with our strong foundations we can make improvements through small changes to limit or mitigate our environmental impact. As an example, I am currently looking at our packaging and changing the print to plant ink.
On the product side – we have an exciting new shaving soap vessel in production by Claybird Ceramics.
Shop the full Aermeda collection here.