Yasmin Farry, founder of Biddy + May, chats with us about clean beauty, where to start and how recycling is encorporated
Earlier this year Outliv meet Biddy + May. We collaborated together with 8 other brands for The Ethical Collab Pop Up at Ponsonby Central which we hosted and we have remained buddies since. When the opportunity to collaborate came up, Outliv were super pleased to be able to have another excuse to hang out with Biddy + May more often and also have this amazing brand sell and promote Outliv along side some beautiful clean beauty product from around the globe.
We had a chat with Yasmin, the founder of Biddy + May, as we wanted you to know more about this aspirational brand doing awesome things in the beauty sector here in New Zealand and on a global scale.
Q. What was your defining moment, Yasmin, that made you realise that clean beauty is the only way forward?
Yasmin. Many of the defining moments in my life, have usually come out of periods of adversity! I was in a particularly difficult work period at the time and needing to make a decision about my future, I was feeling particularly lost one morning, contemplating my life and then I literally had an incredibly strong light- bulb moment – centered around clean beauty.
After a diagnosis of inflammatory breast cancer several years ago, I began using mostly natural skincare, but I wanted to have more choice, to be able to access the amazing high quality products that are on offer around the globe. So after my light-bulb moment I enrolled in a business course through Massey University, began my research into clean beauty and then traveled to a beauty expo in Las Vegas (of all places!) to meet clean beauty brands – and this was even before I had developed the website. So Biddy + May Clean Beauty Store was an idea that just hit me and I moved forward very quickly with it, because at a gut level it just felt so right.
Q. What are your processes around choosing the product that Biddy + May represent?
Yasmin. The process is quite involved actually, as I take into account many factors. Of course clean ingredients are the top priority, but equally important is choosing brands with high quality, nourishing and effective ingredients, just because a brand says it is natural, clean or green doesn’t automatically mean it’s a great product. A brand also has to have credibility in the international market place, have a specific need or niche, a great brand story and values, it must be cruelty-free, and to in some way be working towards a sustainable practice or be giving back in some way to their local or wider communities. Kahina Giving Beauty is one such brand, which ticks many of the boxes. They work alongside the Berber women in Morocco who harvest the argan nuts, that go into making their certified organic, fair trade products. They provide work, fair wages and a percentage of revenue is given back to programmes that enhance the lives of these women and their families. Kahina also takes care with their packaging, using glass bottles and recycled cardboard for their boxes.
Q. What 3 products would you suggest are a good place to start for a first time clean beauty consumer?
Yasmin. When moving to a clean beauty routine for the first time, we suggest starting slowly and by no means throw away everything that you are currently using – we don’t advocate waste.
Our 3 go-to products for a first time switch to clean are products that we use most often – deodorant, body wash and lipstick.
Deodorant because it is applied so close to our breast tissue and lymph nodes, body wash as it covers our entire body every morning and lipstick because it doesn’t evaporate, we eat it off! All 3 of these products contain potentially toxic ingredients that may be harmful to our endocrine system or toxic to our nervous system. If you have the choice of a clean and safe product then why choose its toxic counterpart? We say play it safe every time, your body will thank you for it in the long run. I’ve created Biddy + May to make it easier for people to make the switch, because all the work of reading ingredients labels is done. Our customers can be confident that the products they buy from our store are safe and work beautifully. We want to put your health first.
Q. Outliv are big fans of recycling (as you know) and we are so excited to be able to collab with Biddy + May, creating a makeup purse from recycled denim and leather taken from clothing. Can you tell us what exciting developments other brands you're working with are doing on this front?
Yasmin. We are just so excited by all the initiatives that many of our brands have made towards recycling. Aether Beauty have developed the first ever zero-waste eye shadow palette, every component can be recycled in some way and is made from recycled materials.
Axiology Lipstick boxes are made from recycled paper by a women-run cooperative in Bali, Indonesia. These women wanted to find a solution to the trash problem on their small island.
True Organic Of Sweden tubes are made out of sugarcane, which is a material that is a 100% renewable resource and not a fossil fuel. It is a Green Polyethylene, which has a positive environmental balance when you consider the complete supply chain, as it removes up to 2.15 metric tons of CO2 from the atmosphere for each ton produced.
And many of our other brands are conscious about using only glass for their products where possible. We also understand that for many clean beauty brands getting it all right from high quality clean ingredients, to organic certified ingredients and then sustainable packaging may not always be possible due to cost and resources available to them, so we accept that and understand that when time and resources become available to them, they will move in the right direction.
Q. Lastly, where can we see Biddy + May in the flesh? Have you got any events we can add to our diaries?
We are essentially an online store, but we do love connecting with our customers and meeting new clean beauty converts, so we do regularly ‘pop up’ in Auckland and also at expos. Look out for us at the Go Green Expo in Christchurch 10-11 August and then our Pop Up store with Jessica Aggrey Jewellery at Ponsonby Central 26 August 26 – 8 September.