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Who said natural and zero waste beauty had to boring? In this edition of Meet the Makers, we’re talking to Leyna Allred, founder of URB APOTHECARY, the gorgeous skincare brand that uses the medicinal qualities of plants to bring you unique products that will leave your skin feeling truly wonderful. Leyna grew up in rural Northern California and was perpetually digging in the mud, climbing trees, and imagining living off the land. Her interest in the medicinal qualities of plants started young and she has spent hours poring over herbal books, completely engrossed in the simple recipes for liver tonics, healing ointments, and cleansing teas.
In 2013 she discovered the power of herbs and botanicals, whilst simultaneously becoming aware of the toxic nature of the beauty industry. URB APOTHECARY started as a passion project and has blossomed into Leyna's vision for bringing the healing power of plants into daily beauty and grooming rituals. She is passionate about reconnecting individuals to their own natural beauty while being mindful of their environmental impact. Not only are URB APOTHECARY’s products organic, the majority also come in zero waste packaging.
Read on to find out more and hear her plans for switching to 100% zero waste packaging over the next few months.
Tell us a bit about you. What motivated you to start a sustainable business?
Initially, it started as a passion project and a way to provide clean, non-toxic body products for my family and I. Learning about the power of the herbs to aid the body's own healing process was the true catalyst.
What are your plans for Urb Apothecary? Where do you want the brand to go?
I want it to continue to grow as a trusted product line, reaching an audience worldwide. I want the brand and company to grow with demand, scaling up in terms of production and facilities while keeping everything in-house and lovingly handmade by our own hands.
How do you plan to remain environmentally conscious as you grow?
It has actually become easier as the business has grown. We are now able to order certain supplies that are only available in large bulk quantities, for example, we are starting to transition from the black plastic to black metal tin lids for all our jarred products. It’s taken a while to get to this point as these have to be purchased in large amounts, which we are now able to do. We make it a priority to use biodegradable gloves, piping bags, cellophane packing tape. As well as recycled/recyclable packing materials in our studio to minimise the impact that our production has on the environment. It is really exciting to see what is becoming available for businesses, in terms of everyday operations that will decrease our reliance on plastics. We still have a way to go but it is a priority for us.
We use only the highest quality organic ingredients in our products. Each one reflects good intentions, love for design, and deep fascination with the healing power of botanicals.
All products are cruelty-free, sls-free, synthetic fragrance-free, and free of chemical additives and preservatives. We use local suppliers and ensure that each product is not only improving the life of the customer but also being socioeconomically conscious. This is something that will never change for us, no matter how much we grow as a company.
What are your top tips for living a more sustainable/conscious lifestyle?
Don't beat yourself up, and take small steps towards living more sustainably. Start with taking cloth grocery bags to the store or always have one in your purse or car for unexpected purchases. Also, look for food items that you can buy in bulk in order to minimise packaging waste. By starting in small chunks you are retraining yourself to notice and be more conscious of the large amounts of waste we go through every day. This makes it a more sustainable lifestyle change that you’ll be able to keep up.
If you could say anything to the CEO's of all big beauty brands what would it be?
Are you really aware/looking at the ingredients in your products? At how they harm both our physiological function but also the environment they come into contact with once washed off? My hope is that in the next few years there will be a mass shift away from toxic ingredients and towards those that actually nourish and stay away from "green-washing."
Thank you so much for talking to us Leyna. So amazing to hear how a childhood passion turned into such a beautiful business.
You can shop our favourite URB APOTHECARY products here on Acala. If you’re a chocolate lover the Cacao facemask is an absolute must try!