Journey to Sustainable Packaging

Sustainability Q + A with Founder & CEO Sara Quilter

Tailor Skincare was founded on 3 key business principles:
~ To use natural ingredients
~ To be cruelty free
~ To make eco conscious business decisions

We’ve always nailed the first two - there’s no grey area for us. Tailor Skincare products have always been made with natural and cruelty free ingredients. But being eco conscious is about being dynamic and keeping up with the ever improving options available. We have and always will strive to be an industry leader as new technologies develop - particularly in the environmentally friendly packaging space. 

With the launch of our new FSC certified packaging this week, we sat down for a quick chat with Tailor founder + CEO Sara Quilter on the why & how.

Tailor Skincare Founder and CEO Sara Quilter

Hey Sara, let’s dive straight in - why is creating an eco conscious business so important to you personally?

Sure! Tailor was created in response to the deceptive beauty industry. I was sick of skincare that over promised and under delivered, and was full of nasty ingredients! I started out in my Dad’s workshop with a Kenwood mixer, and worked to create skincare that is natural, and actually works.

As well as the false promises, beauty is an industry that creates excess waste on the daily - well actually this applies to all industries! I’ve always made a conscious effort to be a sustainable consumer, and I knew I didn’t need to compromise on sustainability to have a successful business. We’re not perfect, but I’ve always tried to make environmentally-thoughtful business decisions in this ever evolving space.

Since creation, Tailor has opted for cleaner packaging; glass, recyclable cardboard and compostable courier bags.

Why did you decide this wasn’t enough?

Like I mentioned, being eco conscious is constantly evolving as our understanding, science and technology improves. I listened to a podcast by NPR about the “Keep America Beautiful” anti-litter campaign in the 1950’s, which was funded by giants including Coke and single use cup company Dixie Cup. Basically they created the term “litter” to push the responsibility of waste created by industry onto the consumer - rather than taking responsibility for the waste their companies create. The campaign encouraged consumers to throw goods (“litter”) away rather than reusing the packaging. I want Tailor to be a company who takes responsibility for the packaging waste created, so we looked for innovative alternatives to waste, like our Compostable Refills to allow our customers to top up their skincare and reduce their packaging waste. 

In September 2020, we introduced our Compostable Baggase Carton made with repurposed sugar cane fibre, so our packaging uses waste from the food industry and also gives nutrients back to the earth once composted. Most recently, we introduced our new FSC certified card packaging. 

Can you talk us through the reason to switch from the baggase carton to this new card packaging?

Absolutely! When we began this packaging rebrand in 2020, I wanted to create packaging that gave back. This is how we found bagasse, a material made from the fibre waste of sugarcane. Sugarcane is the world’s largest agricultural crop, so there's a huge supply of its byproducts. 

However, once we started to roll this packaging out, we noticed some flaws. Mainly, that it can only be produced in China. Plus the boxes are big, taking up more space to ship - both of which aren't ideal for carbon footprint. We're constantly learning and trying to improve, so we took this info to review how we could further improve our packaging. This is how we ended up with FSC certified card instead. 

Woman Matching Pantone Colour For Tailor Skincare's New FSC Certified Packaging

What does FSC certified actually mean, and why is it better?

Great question - FSC certification ensures that products come from responsibly managed forests that provide environmental, social and economic benefits. This means we know the card is being responsibly and not destructively sourced. It also means the trees being used to produce the raw materials are being replaced. 

When we went through this process, we also explored the option of recycled card, rather than virgin. But again, FSC certified won out. Recycled card has to be sent off shore to be processed with heavy chemicals and power to break it down and make new board. After this, it's returned back to New Zealand.
Not only is FSC certified card using less resource in the manufacturing process, it's also localised our supply chain - our boxes are made down the road in Wellington! We love this opportunity to support a fellow New Zealand biz. 

The Compostable Carton, as the name suggests, was home compostable. What are the options with the new packaging?

I'm excited to say that our boxes are printed with vegetable inks, so you can still pop them in your home compost if you want. Like bagasse, they're compostable and recyclable, making it easy for our Tailor customer to reduce their landfill waste.

Tailor Skincare's New FSC Certified Packaging Range

Is the entire range available in the new packaging?

As much as we’d love to roll out the entire range in the beautiful new packaging, we have to practice what we preach! We still have old packaging for some of our products, and we didn’t want to create unnecessary waste by getting rid of them. The range will change over to the new packaging over the next few months.

Lucky last, can you let our #tailortribe in on your fave ways to reduce your waste in everyday life?

The best tip I can give is to be prepared, this has become even more important now I’m a Mum! I reduce my single use waste by taking my keep cup, glass water bottle and reusable bags out and about with me. I invest in slow fashion, purchase quality over quantity, and support other New Zealand eco conscious brands. It’s overwhelming to try to be perfect in this space, so taking steps towards doing better is key.

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