Tell us about your background…
I currently live in Sydney with my husband and our miniature Dachshund Frankie, but grew up in the Northern Rivers region of NSW near Byron Bay. I've always had an interest in fashion, beauty and sustainability and believed even as a young woman, that we have the power to make a change even if it is only in our small part of the world, to make it a better place. Having always had a creative streak, but never able to find what "fit" me, one day by chance I won a competition to do a makeup course, and felt like I found what I'd been looking for. The rest, as they say, is history.
What made you want to develop an ethical business?
I always had an interest in the beauty and fashion industry and after working for a large internationally known cosmetics brand for a number of years after moving to Sydney in 2000, I became aware of the level of harmful ingredients and animal testing that went into the production of those products. I decided I needed to make a change, and Frankie Cosmetics (frankiecosmetics.com.au) came to life.
What’s the biggest challenge for consumers trying to buy ethical products?
I think the biggest challenge is understanding what "ethical" means. Different brands / products / people have different interpretations of what it means to be ethical. Is it a fair wage? Is it the humane treatment of animals? Is it the avoidance of fossil fuels and petro-chemicals? Is it measured by the smallest environmental impact? What does it really mean? I think as consumers, we need to determine what "our" ethical is, and work to find those brands that align with our values.
What’s your go-to reusable item?
The one thing I use every single day without fail, is my vegan brush set from my own brand Frankie Cosmetics (frankiecosmetics.com.au/product/natural-bamboo-brush-set). Each brush is made with sustainable bamboo and is entirely vegan and cruelty free. The practice of applying my makeup every day is very ritualistic for me, and the brushes feel beautiful as they glide over my skin. Good quality items are such an important investment, as they will serve you for years which ultimately leads to less waste in landfill.
Your top tip for never leaving home without it?
If I ever need to apply my makeup on the go, I just bundle my cruelty free makeup and beauty products into my natural cotton Frankie Cosmetics makeup bag and throw it in my handbag for beauty on the run.
How do you try to be a conscious consumer?
I buy Australian made and grown whenever I can as I honestly believe the biggest change you can make is by spending money in your own backyard. I reuse everything! There is no such thing as single use plastic for me. If I'm bringing it into my life, it has to add value and there is no value in something you use once and throw away. Finally, I don't own a car. So many resources are used to make a car and keep it running, and I consider it to be wasteful and unnecessary. I deliberately chose to live in a suburb where everything I need is within walking distance.
The best eco tip you’ve heard?
Don't try and consume your way into sustainability. Live more simply with what you have and be more resourceful.
Favorite eco/ethical brand? What do you love about them?
I don't really have a favourite brand per-se, as when I see a brand doing something amazing for a product I need at that time, then I buy from them at that time. I buy most of my clothes from charity organisations like Red Cross, RSPCA stores or Fitted For Work, which I love because it is good quality clothing which is usually pre-loved and the money goes to great causes.
Small or big - what’s your current eco aim?
I have recently made the switch to plastic free packaging! So you now get your order in recyclable materials from the box, to the packing and the tape. My big goal is to find plastic free alternatives for my makeup packaging, which is still a work in progress. Our skincare range is completely plastic free already, with the face mask and scrub coming in a recyclable / reusable tin and our serum and cream coming in glass containers.
Your favourite place to buy fresh produce or package lite food…
As I don't have a car, the closest market to me is my local chain grocery store which is within walking distance from my house. I only buy Australian fresh produce, and I don't really buy much convenience food as I typically make all meals from scratch so that's less waste going to landfill.
If you’re anything like us, there’s always something on your eco investment list...What eco alternative are you thinking about investing in?
If my husband has anything to say about it, a TESLA - one can dream right?!