Bybi co-founders Elsie Rutterford and Dominika Minarovic: "The term sustainable is a little bit problematic"
"Sustainability" was a buzzword in beauty and wellness well before the pandemic. But due to 2020's stay-at-home orders, coupled with the sheer volume of boxes and waste from online shipping, beauty companies recognized they needed to up their focus on sustainable practices.For British beauty brand Bybi, which came to market in 2017, its road to "sustainability" has been a work in progress. "The term sustainable is a little bit problematic in itself. It's not regulated, so what does it even mean?," said Elsie Rutterford, co-founder of Bybi, on this week's episode of the Glossy Beauty Podcast.Rutterford started the natural brand focused on performance with Dominika Minarovic, a friend and colleague from their time in advertising. With no professional beauty experience, the twosome first started a natural beauty content platform called Clean Beauty Insiders before going on to make products in their kitchen. A full-fledged beauty line wasn't in the cards."When we first started, we grew this content platform... We had a book published by Penguin, which was kind of a recipe book for your skin, your hair -- all centered around natural ingredients. We were running these events, workshops in central London, where we would bring together people who were interested in making their own beauty products. We spent quite a lot of time just testing out different ways of monetizing the content that we'd sort of begun to do as a hobby. [Products] were never our end goal," said Rutterford.But their authentic approach to beauty building yielded more than they bargained for. In December 2020, Bybi raised a $7 million Series A, and it launched into 1,800 Target doors in January. Minarovic said that the brand grew 200% in the pandemic and has high hopes for Target to be a $10 million to $20 million account.Below are additional highlights from the conversation, which have been lightly edited for clarity.