New Beauty And Fashion E-tailer The Lunary Makes It Cool To Be Conscious
Cool clothes and cosmetics, and conscious consumerism aren’t contradictory.
New e-tailer The Lunary is building a fashion and beauty selection from brands that set a high bar for integrity and style to cater to shoppers trying to stick to their principles while picking up handbags and body butter in hauls they’re happy to show off. The selection is starting with 14 brands, including makeup and skincare upstarts Noto Botanics, OY-L and Axiology.
“It’s a destination for the latest fashion and beauty that is on-trend, not something that feels totally detached from what we’re seeing today in culture and streetwear, and is also ethical and sustainable,” says Zeeni Zaheer, owner and creative director of The Lunary. “I want us to be a champion for and advocate of a better future for fashion and beauty. We want to help create the path toward a more sustainable and ethical world.”
In choosing merchandise, The Lunary hunts for companies that pay attention to labor practices, social justice, animal welfare, transparency and the environment. In particular, the website is bringing on brands that manufacture goods in factories with humane conditions and pay workers fair wages. It’s not expecting them to be perfect, but to celebrate their beliefs in the areas that are most central to their missions.
Without bombarding customers with details or becoming preachy, The Lunary gets across that its brands take stands. The site’s brand listing provides nuggets of information that could be significant to morally-minded customers. It shares that OY-L products are housed in recyclable glass jars, for example. Icons on product images deliver crucial information, too, like whether a beauty brand is natural and vegan.
“This category can sometimes feel a little intimidating because there’s technical jargon or people might feel it’s just another thing they have to think about. It can be stressful to the consumer. People want to buy these things, but they don’t necessarily want to dig around for them,” says Zaheer. “I think it’s important to have information so, if people want to dig deeper, they can, but we provide them reassurance and make ethical shopping easier, more accessible and less intimidating.”
“I want us to be a champion for and advocate of a better future for fashion and beauty. We want to help create the path toward a more sustainable and ethical world.”
Zaheer encountered difficulties shopping ethically firsthand. Searching for a leather jacket about a year and a half ago, she ended up down an internet rabbit hole attempting to sort through where the brands she was considering purchasing from obtained the leather for their jackets and their treatment of animals. She was dismayed by the lack of clarity and desired an online store that she could trust for cute products from brands on the up and up.
“Even if a jacket is made in Italy, its materials can come from China, where there are no animal protection laws. I hadn’t really thought about that before as a consumer. Generally, I try to buy from good brands. I don’t really buy fast fashion,” says Zaheer. “I felt very much that I was searching for everything on my own. It was hard to figure out the information I needed, and nothing was really targeting me.”
Aimed at members of gen z and millennials, of which Zaheer is one, The Lunary steers clear of heavy-handed messages. It announces it’s for “people who give a f*ck,” and is splashed with fashion-forward imagery that wouldn’t appear out of place at Revolve or ASOS. It doesn’t have an overly serious minimalistic aesthetic with spare copy and a limited palette. Instead, it liberally mixes in colors and text. For social media, The Lunary has partnered with the influencers Lauren Engelke, and Morgan and Kennedy Mason on posts with eye-catching outfits.
“We’re very casual in the way we speak. It’s a fun, younger voice,” says Zaheer. “I feel like a lot of the brands in this space are targeting an older crowd, maybe more of a Goop customer. I really want to make it feel fresher and create content that resonates with a younger audience.”
“I feel like a lot of the brands in this space are targeting an older crowd, maybe more of a Goop customer. I really want to make it feel fresher and create content that resonates with a younger audience.”
The Lunary considers customers’ experiences on its site and in their homes. It collaborated with illustrator Anja Slibar to turn the boxes it ships products out in into pieces of art to encourage reuse. The vegetable ink-printed tissue paper inside of them is from eco-friendly company No Issue; recyclable paper tape is from Sticker Mule; and recyclable plastic protective bags are from Eco Enclose.
Zaheer, whose professional background is in branding and trend research, invested roughly $30,000 to develop The Lunary’s site and purchase inventory. She’s not done with either, though. Zaheer continues to tinker with its design and is interested in ordering lower-priced items to ensure The Lunary doesn’t seem exclusive. In its first year, her goal is for The Lunary to become profitable.
Zaheer views The Lunary’s purpose as bigger than selling products. She chose the name The Lunary because it means honesty, and it sounded as if it could serve as the springboard for grander ambitions. “I think the name gives us room to grow and creates the idea of a place in your mind,” sayd Zaheer. “We are in the baby stages now. I think it could be a lot more than just a retail shop. It could be a destination for content and much more.”