Panel Discussion At Credo Event Emphasizes Missions Over Money
Products alone don’t differentiate a beauty brand.
“Most of the brands we sell not only want to make clean beauty products, there’s even more to their story. That’s the mission aspect,” says Mia Davis, who joined Credo earlier this year in the newly created role director of mission. She spoke Thursday night as part of a panel discussion hosted by the natural beauty retailer that included Greg Starkman, co-founder of Innersense; Nu Evolution co-founders Nadine Cormier and Sandra Anderson Diaz; Kari Gran founder Kari Gran; Melissa Ippensen, sales and marketing director of One Love Organics; and Eu’Genina Shea founder Naa-Sakle Akuete.
Whether it’s rejecting impossible beauty standards, challenging the fashion sector’s status quo or donating 15% of profits to female laborers in another country, the participating founders lead brands with principled positions. They delved into those positions during the panel discussion, which was the centerpiece of a two-hour event titled “Mission in Action: Evening of Clean Beauty With Credo” attended by about 150 people at the Brooklyn hotel The William Vale. On top of listening to the discussion, attendees were able to sign up for Credo beauty services such as mini facials, makeovers, hand massages, and skin and hair consultations and took home gift bags.
“In 2006, we wouldn’t have been able to fill this room,” said Starkman. “Consumers today are becoming so much more aware because of the power of the internet.”
The internet is changing the way people define beauty, too. A burgeoning, digitally-fueled movement is not only demanding natural products, but also representation of the diverse population and less scare mongering when it comes to aging.
“I bought my first jar of anti-aging eye cream when I was 19. I had no business buying that,” said Gran, adding, “There’s no magic bullet because, if there was, I would be on an island.” She compared chemically-laden conventional beauty products to processed foods. “When you know better, you do better,” said Gran.
Sandra Anderson Diaz weighed in to echo Gran’s sentiments. “As women, we beat ourselves up, and that’s not okay with me,” she said. “We need to support each other, build each other up, and, really, it takes a village for all of us to stand tall and accept and love who we are.”
That support extends beyond the U.S. borders as Akuete explained how the mission of her brand Eu’Genina Shea is impacting the lives of women in Ghana. In 2017, she was able to send the kids of her Ghanaian employees to school. She’s setting up a retirement fund and has plans to expand employee benefits further as Eu’Genina Shea grows.
The event ended with the message that consumers don’t have to give up on efficacy to support green beauty brands or companies with values at the core of their business models. “A lot of consumers are looking for companies that are not only good at making performance-based products or services, but also delivering on some other standard and being good corporate citizens,” says Davis. “They have to think about the impact on people and the planet, and not just the bottom line.”
Attendee Alexandra Ebrahimian from Columbus, Ohio, was thrilled to meet founders in-person, learn about the larger purposes behind their brands, and check out beauty products at the event. She received a makeover from Nu Evolution.
“Over the past five years, I’ve been detoxing my life, but makeup was the last to go,” said Ebrahimian. “Credo was a great place to start.”