How change is coming about ? In discussion with fashion and beauty founders.
3rd FaB Meeting in London: An insightful conversation about sustainable fashion and disruptive beauty to foster change and share key practices for startups success.
It was exciting to learn from founders and investors at the 3rd London FaB meeting- fashion and Beautytech. London is a great hub for startups. It’s a leading city in creativity, fashion and beauty. Thinking back on the key learnings from the talks with a diversity of startup profiles: could London be a role model in building bridges, a guide to other ecosystems?
This following recap is curated by Eva Lagarde, Mialy Ravelojaona and Odile Roujol, hosts of the meeting, who are excited to hand over to London based founders for the next gatherings!
Fashion panel: How fashion founders tackle diversity & Sustainability
Tracey pointed out that the fashion industry is unfortunately a major world polluter. The production and distribution of crops, fibers, garments all contribue to pollution of water, air and soil to name a few elements.
The panel focused on bringing on change for a fairer future, limiting environmental impact, educating conscious consumers and leaders obsessed with sustainability.
Rachel Reavley reminded us that corporations such as Kering and LVMH have sustainable teams focusing on innovation. The main concern is fast-fashion and retail practices to produce cheap clothes as quickly and as often as possible. With low clothes prices, consumers are less likely to make conscisous buying.
« Let us also be reminded that 60% of everyone’s closet is not used. »
There are ways to reduce fashion impact on the environment: from the choice of raw materials, to supply chain, souricng processes and dyers (avoid toxic pollution). Founders and Entrepreneurs are responsible for sourcing and fair human treatment, not just suppliers and solution providers.
« There is also the way you recycle, reuse or rent your clothes. »
Sidney Neuhaus co-founder of Kimai jewelry, with Jessica March, from Antwerp — Belgium, is an ethical handcrafted jewelry brand.
Growing up in the world of diamonds Sidney has always been aware of the intricate origin of diamonds which change hands 10 to 15 times and which make tracing impossible. Ethical action means ending the no transparency policy starting with the tracing of diamonds. KIMAI works with lab-grown diamonds which offer the same quality and purity of mined ones. Mining involves water and air pollution and puts a strain on local communities. Sidney claims to be the new luxury at affordable price and original designs.
« And no surprise, Meghan Markle wore them! »
Michaela Jedinak co-founder of the eponymous brand says that
“Sustainability is at the heart of what we do. Fabrics coming from Europe, to reduce shipping cost but also complying with the European chemical processing.Non of the garments come to the landfield, they come to sales.”
It’s not only focusing on Water, Toxic orFabrics. It’s also about “ethical plant”: ensuring fair wages in alignment with suppliers production.
She’s also about “make you look and feel good”, whatever your age and body shape. She recognises the diversity of body frames and designs dresses to cater for different shapes. Her timeless designs and sustainable approach (10 years ago before it became a buzz word) target senior and business women, who need to feel empowered to inspire others.
Felix Winckler, co-founder of Reflaunt with Stephanie Crespin.
A single effective solution that will make a difference: extending the life time of clothes. Shifting from the mass consumption to a slower consumption and higher quality products
The future of fashion is circular. The second hand market is growing 24X faster than traditional retail. 60% of millennials have purchased or sold clothes in the second hand market.
This is part of a larger movement, which encourages consumers to live in a shared economy. It’s not just about money. Sustainability is the one of the reasons for second-hand purchases of bags, shoes, accessories, jewelery and clothes. Reflaunt gives brands the technology to build and reclaim the secondary market.
“It’s cool to be part of the circular economy”.
The panel concluded with inviting founders to “not try to be perfect. You can’t be perfect, but be transparent as much as you can !”
Beauty Panel — How startups disrupt the beauty paradigm
Coralie de Fontenay (investor), panel leader, asked if being in London was making a difference in terms of culture and business?
« Diversity was the key word, as in London, everybody actually comes from different backgrounds and cities. »
The panel was a representation of this reality : Helene from France — Wild AI — and Nidhima from Luxembourg — Beauty Matching Engine — are AI focused, leveraging data to make consumer life better. Charlotte comes from a psychologist background. Charmaine is from Kuala Lumpur, moved to London after high school and chose to stay in London to create her startup. Amy underlines that London is opened to different cultures.
With different stories and businesses, Coralie asked what were the key factors to create a successful & scalable business with a strong sense of purpose.
Amy Christiansen from Sana Jardin indicated that she was coming from a not-for-profit idea and created a community for her perfume brand. Sana Jardin is a conscious, luxury fragrance house. It was first created as a vehicle for social impact through the economic empowerment of women from the harvester to the consumer. The products are with a high concentration of essential oils (and free of phthalates, formaldehydes) with no animal testing.
Charlotte Ferguson, founder of Disciple, a skincare focused on mindfulness and self-care. Being a psychotherapist, she believes that stress, anxiety, and mental health conditions affect the skin. Adult-acne, eczema, premature aging are the result of inflammatory issues.
She had severe acne and decided to build a wellness company for stressed-out mind and body.
Expertise and dermatology
Charmaine Chow founded Harley, a prescription based skincare, tailored by experts for the best personalised result. Experts and practioners with the help of technology — offer tailored skincare to make the customer journey towards healthy skin as educative and smooth as possible.
Coralie indicates that today, wellness is all about sustainability, naturalit, but also personalisation & inclusivity. Coralie asks to beauty founder if AI & data would make a difference ? Enrich their sense of purpose?
Nidhima Kohli, founder of Beauty Matching engine, an AI powered platform for tailored products and services. As a make-up artist, beautician and a woman in tech “ I love data” she says. Nidhima founded a recommendation engine for the beauty industry. It’s AI driven personalisation, identifying nuanced patterns within brands on customer dataset. It’s coming back to their preferences and shopping journey to help convert them into loyal customers.
Women and AI
Helene Guillaume, founder of Wild AI, a smart — AI powered — coach for female athletes. Women are not men! Many health surveys and medical research are only based on men. Only a small percentage of global budgets in sports research is female focused. Just a reminder, women 500+ of menstrual cycles over 40 years. Wild.AI enable women to reach their goals with an app-based AI coach. Cycle after cycle, helping women to understand their body better.
“What’s inside you? We shouldn’t have a black box. Menstrual cycles, sexual wellness…We need to adapt to changes in our physiology and personal progress.” Wild.AI track the data from wearable and manual inputs. Then you can get tailored plans.”It’s all about understanding your body.”
Future is female. It’s interesting listening to Helene to see the connection with the huge femtech trend in California, adressing women health and wellness. Female founders taking the lead of the category.
We’d like to warmly thank our guest speakers, in such an amazing venue (thank you AllBright team!), and to our event partner Erevena (also with offices in San Francisco with Terry Shaw, and NY), who would help you in your search for talent ins your growth process!
Please contact us if knowing founders who would love to participate to the next meeting, we are multicultural leaders, purpose and data-driven founders. Don’t forget to subscribe to the newsletter https://www.beautytechcommunity.com/