Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Double Interview with the Founders of 2 Green Beauty Companies: Clementine Fields & Us




Clementine Fields, the Canada-based and Canadian-owned online "natural beauty store" is one of the first retailers that we decided to work with since launching our line less than two years ago. Since then, they have been a valuable partner to us not just in terms of sales but also in spreading the knowledge on ingredient safety and introducing luxurious, effective and clean beauty products from indie brands like ours that are trying to positively change the way women select their daily beauty products. They recently did a double interview story featuring the founders of Hynt and Clementine Fields, Ingrid Doucet and we wanted to share their post with you as well.  We think there are quite a number of good honest nuggets in there for any entrepreneurially minded woman (and man!)  Here goes: 

Hynt's Meryl Marshall and Clementine Fields' Ingrid Doucet talk about their inspiration behind launching their green beauty companies, balancing work and life, and their favourite Hynt beauty tips in this double interview.


Meryl.

1. What is the one thing you love the most about yourself?

The one thing that I love about myself is my resilience. I have been through so many challenges in my life -- some things absolutely surreal. No matter what the situation, I know I can find a way to pick myself up, brush myself off and persevere.

2. What was your motivation behind launching your company?

After my cancer treatment in 2005, I started questioning the many things involved in my daily life like the products I used to clean my house, my food choices, my cosmetics, my health supplements, many things. I was appalled to find that there was no one watching my back, or anyone else’s. I had thought that if a product was on the market, there must be regulations in place that deemed the product safe but this was not the case.

I searched stores looking for safer products, in terms of ingredient formulations, and it was not easy to find cosmetics in this category that still had the velvety-smooth textures, well pigmented colours and luxurious packaging that were similar to my prior conventional favourites. I knew that with enough research, partnerships with great labs and designers that I can work with closely and trust, I could create safer beauty products that worked beautifully in terms of colour, texture and finished look, housed in pretty, contemporary packaging.

3. What is your most memorable beauty experience from your childhood?

My mom did not wear that much makeup but she seemed to keep the neighbourhood Avon lady in business! She also liked Max Factor pancake makeup as well as Aziza mascara. She kept the products in the medicine cabinet in the one tiny bathroom we had in our Brooklyn apartment. I remember that I would often lock myself in there “creating.”

4. Can you share your favourite tip for healthy eating on the go?

I eat quite a clean diet. I stick to organic veggies, fruits, nuts for protein with the occasional splurges. Recently, I lost 17 pounds on Weight Watchers. I am a big fan of this method of weight loss and maintenance. It is so easy to keep track of my points on their phone app and I look forward to the meetings. I have met the most amazing people and adore my meeting lecturer, Amy. It feels good to have a lean body weight again and I feel much healthier and more energetic now.

My tip for healthy eating-on-the-go is protein which provides a longer, more consistent supply of energy! There are so many tasty protein bars on the market to grab and go. Many times, I pack a small insulated bag with a 100 calorie Greek yogurt and some low sugar fruit. Another staple for my handbag is a snack sized zip bag with some nuts that I’d pre-measured for a serving.

5. What wellness activity do you practice to maintain work/life balance?

I do enjoy a gym workout. Many times, due to my heavy work schedule, my workout end up being very short but I feel that a 40-minute workout is better than none. When the weather is nice, I swap out the gym for a hike to enjoy nature and fresh air.

I also belong to a book club and it forces me to cram in some reading time which is quite relaxing. I do miss knitting and going to the theater with my friends. This year, I am aiming to carve out just a bit more ‘me’ time which I think will ultimately help with the way I approach my business as well.

6. What have you learned about beauty from engaging with your customers?

I have learned that not every product works for everyone. Sometimes I find it confusing how a product gets so many great reviews, enthusiasm and feedback and then you get a couple that bash the same product with such emotion and disappointment. This disparity, especially from comments that at times can feel like personal attacks, was very confusing to me at first but now, I’ve learned not to take it personally, approach it logically, and in many cases have found that what the customer was complaining about can be resolved with some application tips or was a result of individual preference and there’s not much you can do about that but to listen and provide exceptional customer service. We aim to make our customers happy with products that they feel can be trusted and loved across our entire collection, but I think exceptional customer service is an important part of building that trust, too.

7. What is your favourite Hynt product?

It is difficult to choose just one of my favourite Hynt products but on a typical day, I wear just the basics so for me, it’s my DUET Perfecting Concealer, FINALE Finishing Powder as my foundation + setting powder, and a touch of our ALTO Matte Nude Apricot blush, topped with our FORTE High Definition Eye Liner in Brown and of course, our NOCTURNE Mascara. It’s simple, quick, safe and lasts all day.

If I had to choose one product, it would have to be our SUN PREP Broad Spectrum SPF 30 that I wear every day. I am a huge advocate of protecting our skin even if we are indoors all day and this one also acts as my AM skin serum and makeup primer, too. It’s super light and naturally smells elegant with all the organic botanical extracts and oils that are in the formula. My esthetician, Lillian is always harping her clients on this important step. She always says, “skin cancer is not pretty.” And, we all know what she means!

8. a) What makes your Hynt FORTE eye liner unique and special?

Hynt Beauty’s FORTE eye liner pencil is uniquely special for several reasons. For one, the ingredients are not only safe but free of ingredients that are known to be irritable on sensitive skin -- and I just love the smudger tip that’s in the cap. Not just because it’s handy but it works perfectly with this pencil to soften, blend and smudge, as much as you want to create your look. For longer wear time, I smudge a dark eyeshadow and the pencil line together.

b) Can you tell us about creating it?

There are very few cosmetic wooden pencil manufacturers, even less that do it well. Most consumers don’t know this but you can’t just build your own formula, it just doesn’t work that way. So the manufacturers have a ‘library’ of formulas to choose from and believe me, the more natural the formulations, the slimmer the options. I tried almost as many variations as was available and settled on ours.

The manufacturer gives you a ‘one sheet’ on the formulation that includes an ingredient deck, levels of stiffness, creaminess, wearing time and blend-ability. A conventional pencil with synthetic stabilizers and fixatives to increase the wear time can offer up to 12, even 14 hours. However, clean formulations can’t include them. I tried many, many other “green” pencils on counter, too, and in my opinion, ours is superior.

You can also pick from so many variations of each shade. For example, there are so many shades of black to choose from! A strong black can look fine at night but can be too harsh in daylight so, I opted for a ‘wearable’ black shade. I like makeup to look natural and not too mask-like.



Ingrid.

1. What is the one thing you love the most about yourself? 

Oh my.. that's hard! I think I have a big heart but I'm also strong when I need to be. There are a lot of things to stand up for in the world right now. I have a daughter and I want her to grow up feeling strong and secure. We all have opposite attributes, and balance is good!

2. What was your motivation behind launching your company?
 
I had health issues and adopted a baby. My head was spinning with how to stay healthy and keep my family healthy. I am also very concerned about the environment and what is happening in ou r oceans, the air and wildlife. I love makeup and skincare, it all just kind of made sense. I had been an actress for years and I was becoming increasingly tired of waiting for the 'call'. I wanted to create more stability and security in my life, at the same time establishing a company that was good for the earth and people's health.

3. What is your most memorable beauty experience from your childhood? 


My mother was (and still is!) very glamourous so I remember seeing lots of gorgeous colours on her face. My father is in the beauty industry and I was surrounded by images of hair and makeup. There was a lot of conventions and hair shows. It was part of my upbringing.

4. Can you share your favourite tip for healthy eating on the go?
 
I have a lot of stainless steel to go containers and organic cotton snack bags. I usually keep a few filled with food in my purse as my daughter is a serial snacker. For her I have organic fruit and veggies, gluten free crackers and seaweed, while I enjoy smoothies or tea in a JOCO mug, brazil nuts or rice cakes with almond butter, banana and cacao nibs.

5. What wellness activity do you practice to maintain work/life balance?

I am a bit obsessed with self care right now. I know it's hard and time-consuming but it's so important. Exercise is essential, I either do bootcamp in the park, yoga, elliptical or Zumba. I try to have a massage once a month, get to Body Blitz every few months and do whatever I can to relax and practice mindfulness. I think technology is amazing but a slippery slope. I'm very concerned with its effect on our and our children's sense of empathy, wonderment and personal connection. Because of that I try to create technology free times, especially when I am with my family or in nature. If we need to take pictures for social media, we make times to do that so it's not always about spending time taking the 'perfect' picture.

6. What have you learned about beauty from engaging with your customers?

That people are generally good and lovely and desiring of beauty in their life, and I don't just mean skincare. That's why we try to make our packages special, personal and packed with care. Beauty is way more about how something makes you feel than look. If a product feels beautiful going on your skin I think it subsequently make you look beautiful.

7. What is your favourite Hynt product?

I love (and use!) the Nocturne Mascara, Forte Eyeliner and the Perfetto Pressed Eye Shadows, specifically Sunlit Dune, it brightens the eyes and is a great base for a smoky eye.

8. What is your favourite eyeliner tip? 
I love that the Forte Eyeliner has a little brush on it to help you smudge it. I like lining my upper and lower lashes for a subtle smoky effect. It's sexy and easy to do.

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