In conversation with pioneering bloggers, formulators and entrepreneurs Dominika and Elsie on launching their brand BYBI.
Pioneering natural beauty bloggers, formulators and entrepreneurs Dominika and Elsie launched their brand BYBI – or By Beauty Insiders – in 2017. It was born from their blog Clean Beauty Insiders , which started as a way to document their journey into natural beauty and has grown to the UK’s largest natural beauty content platform. We caught up with them to hear more about their journey to date, views on sustainability and advice for a happier life.
What inspired you to start BYBI?
“Building up our clean beauty blog before starting the BYBI brand gave us time to immerse ourselves in the market and really understand where the gaps were. For us, after trying many other natural skincare brands and also making our own products, there was a clear gap for a beauty brand that upheld great ethics around sustainability and ingredients, but that was marketed in a way that spoke to a mainstream beauty consumer.”
What sets BYBI’s products apart from the competition?
“Most natural beauty products on the market felt niche, alternative and a little old fashioned, and yet the actual products themselves perform really well. We wanted to make 100% natural, vegan and cruelty-free skincare appealing to a mass market in a way that no other brand was offering: natural products that look great on your bathroom shelf, but also have the ability to transform your skin. BYBI provides transparency in our ingredients and innovation in our formulations to bring you high performance beauty that works, one hero product at a time.”
What’s been your biggest challenge and how did you solve it?
“Every day brings a new challenge, which only seem to grow as the business grows! Our key challenges are often around working in a very large and old-fashioned industry. A lot of what we’re trying to achieve as a business challenges the norm of the rest of the industry, so things are difficult, time consuming and often more expensive. It doesn’t stop us though!”
What are you most proud of achieving?
“A brand and team driven by purpose and value. BYBI’s essence of being natural, vegan, cruelty-free and environmentally responsible is what makes us different and we are so proud of those core values. The BYBI team live and breathe them, and are incredibly bought into what we’re trying to achieve as a company. We’re all on the same page and it gives a sense of working towards a goal together.”
Which single product would you choose as BYBI’s hero product and why?
“BYBI’s Bakuchiol Booster is quickly becoming our hero product this season. We’ve combined 1% Bakuchiol (the highest concentration you can have in skincare) with 99% skin-softening Squalane. Bakuchiol is the natural alternative to Retinol, aka Vitamin A. It boosts collagen and improves skin texture - but without all the negative side effects associated with Retinol usage (this includes redness, flakey skin and increased photosensitivity). With the recent rise in popularity of Retinol, Bakuchiol fills a gap for people who want the benefits of Vitamin A, but struggle to use it regularly.”
Why do you think people are becoming more motivated to buy from brands with a conscience?
“There’s been a huge rise in awareness of the state of our planet and the impact that consumerism has on this. Social media and easier access to information, coupled with large scale media coverage such as the David Attenborough series has shone a light on key issues. People are motivated by this knowledge to make a change. They’re looking for ways to do their bit, which naturally means they are attracted to brands with a conscience to help in this quest, but equally want to find ways to achieve this without compromising their existing routines or habits.”
How do you both live more sustainably on a daily basis?
“It begins with educating yourself and researching what living sustainably really means. We both do the obvious things when it comes to recycling and reducing waste, but understanding the most important impactful actions isn’t as simple. For example, I only recently found out that food waste ending up in landfills is a huge contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. I’ve now switched to a food composting system. We’re also both vegetarians; a decision largely driven by knowing what impact the meat industry has on our environment. Again, meat and sustainability still aren’t widely linked, so you need to dig a little deeper before making decisions on how to live sustainably.”
What daily ritual could you not live without?
Dominika: “Walking my dog Heffe! I take him for a long walk around the park every morning come rain or shine. Despite it sometimes being difficult to get out of bed, it’s a great way to start the day off actively and gives me a chance to catch up on emails or my favourite podcasts while spending time with my main man.”
Elsie: “My night-time skincare routine. I never, ever go to bed, no matter how tired, without double cleansing and applying my mist and serum. The ritual of applying products is incredibly relaxing and I’ll throw in a jade roller or gua sha massage to make it super luxurious and pampering. It only take a few minutes every night but it gets me in the mindset for sleeping (often my mind is racing all over the place), plus I know I’m doing good for my skin.”
What do you think is the secret to a happy life?
“What a question! I guess it’s about feeling balanced and healthy across all aspects of your life. From experience, both work and home/social life are as important as each other and an imbalance in one will ultimately affect the other. One will sometimes take a backseat while you focus on the other and that’s ok, but always ensure that you regularly take a step back. You’re never going to be able to please everyone in life. This lightbulb moment of realisation hit me as I entered my 30s and helped me to care less about what others think, and generally live a happier and more focused life.”
So what’s next for BYBI?
“World domination! We’re expanding across Europe, Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia with Sephora and plan to enter the US next year. We’re also working on some really exciting new products that will fill the gaps in our current range, due to drop this year.”
Words: Kate Johnson