Beauty Company Prioritizes Sustainability while Promoting Self-Care
Beauty products are infused into people’s everyday routines. From the lip balm found at the bottom of student’s backpacks to the soap, shampoo and conditioner in dorm showers, the beauty industry is inescapable – and the waste they create is exigent.
The beauty industry produces 120 billion plastic packages each year. That plastic ends up in landfills and pollutes our ocean, our air, and our entire planet.
|Northeastern marketing and entrepreneurship student Michelle Beaudette has been trying to change that.
She is the founder and CEO of Kaolin Beauty which is an “ethical, non-toxic, zero-waste makeup and self-care company that strives for both spiritual and environmental excellence,” according to the company’s website.
Growing up on a small farm in Lexington Massachusetts, Beaudette has always cared about the environment. Beaudette attended the Waldorf school which focuses on hands on, artistic learning, which helped developed Beaudette’s affinity for hands on do-it-yourself activities and creative side.
“I grew up having a deep connection to the outside world, nature and the environment,” Beaudette said. “I’ve just always loved spending time with animals and have always tried to be respectful of sharing this planet since its obviously not just our planet, it belongs to them as well.”
In the middle school, she got her “favorite lip gloss” from a local fair and became introduced to sustainable beauty. In high school, she spent “hours and hours” at Lush and became obsessed with their brand and ideology. She and a friend decided to experiment with making their own beauty products and began thinking about what was important to them. They decided that zero waste packaging and production was crucial, as was being cruelty free and focusing on self-care rather than a toxic ideology of conforming to beauty standards.
Beaudette credits resources at Northeastern which helped her and her business get to where she is today. Upon arriving at Northeastern, Beaudette was unsure what major was right for her, but was intrigued by the co-op program and the opportunity to get experience in careers to determine what would be the right fit. Beaudette was involved with a program called Continue, which was for freshman with undecided majors and had an emphasis on entrepreneurship, which she says helped guide her path. She took business and mathematics classes and ultimately studying marketing and entrepreneurship.
She got involved with Idea and went through their venture accelerator program to help foster her grow her business. Scout, Northeastern’s student led marketing and design organization helped her with branding and design. Beaudette also placed first in the Entrepreneurship Club’s Husky Startup Challenge, winning her $2,000 to invest in her company. She completed her co-op at the Michael J. and Ann Sherman Center for Engineering Entrepreneurship Education in 2021 where she had the opportunity to dedicate time to launching her products and company and was in a leadership position in the Northeastern Women Interdisciplinary Society of Entrepreneurship, or WISE.
Currently, Kaolin Beauty is completely zero waste. All packages are metal or glass and come in compostable packing. The boxes themselves are made of compostable seed paper that can be planted or composed, as are the stickers or any paper inside.
The products themselves are all handcrafted by Beaudette using locally sourced ingredients. It is important to her that everything on the ingredient label is an easy-to-understand, nontoxic, recognizable product. Beaudette was certified in the formulating class presented by formula botanica, a UK based online teaching institution for organic beauty formulation. For her it has become a hobby, she says she is constantly trying new things to come up with new products.
Her products are available online on the company’s website; on the lochtree website, which is an online retailer dedicated to sustainable businesses; at Uvida, Boston’s first zero waste store; and a local store in her hometown Lexington.
In the future, she hopes to continue to launch more products and expand her brand while also working a job full time after graduation.
Written by Renée Abbott, February 23rd, 2023