The Journey to Sustainable Packaging: Tailor’s Compostable Carton

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 Compostable Carton packaging this week, we sat down for a quick chat with Tailor founder + CEO Sara Quilter on the why & how.

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 - did you know only 50% of recyclable packaging actually gets recycled?? 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 moved to box-free products on our website, transitioned our “recyclable” Glow Pots into “plastic free” Glow Sticks, and introduced Compostable Refills, allowing our customers to top up their skincare without creating excess packaging waste. 

Most recently, we introduced our Compostable 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.
Can you talk us through the compostable carton, and the design process

Absolutely! I knew we needed to create packaging that gave back. This is how we found bagasse, an epic material made from the fibre waste or sugarcane. Sugarcane is the world’s largest agricultural crop, so there's a huge supply of its byproducts. We also gave consideration to how it’s manufactured; bagasse uses drastically less energy to manufacture than plastic and paper, only using heat and water. (You can learn more about bagasse here).

Having a business model which supports online sales and bricks and mortar retail means we needed a packaging option which looks incredible on the shelf and will withstand transit directly to our customers who purchase online, without having to add excess paper and card.

Basically, bagasse ticked every box for us!

What does the Compostable Carton mean for customers who don’t have access to recycling?

Good question, this is why bagasse is so amazing - it’s also biodegradable and recyclable. Our Compostable Carton can be popped out with your cardboard recycling or used as a seed sprouter for some healthy homegrown herbs. 

Gold Dust, Renew and the Compostable Refills have launched in the Compostable Carton. Why not the rest of the range?

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 cardboard packaging for some of our products, and we didn’t want to create unnecessary waste by getting rid of them. 

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 NZ eco conscious brands. It’s overwhelming to try to be perfect in this space, so taking steps towards doing better is key.

The journey to finding a compostable packaging solution has been no easy feat! The launch of the Compostable Carton is another milestone step towards building an eco conscious skincare brand and future for New Zealand and our planet.

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