Our lovely friend Gwen Perkins (of Belle and Rebel Beauty) is a freelance writer for Blush Vancouver. She sat down for a conversation about Elate with our founder, Melodie.
B+RB: What motivated you to create a vegan, crueltyfree and toxic-free line like Elate? Was there a defining moment?
Melodie: I have been on a healthier living journey for about the last 15 years, looking more at what I eat, and the products that I put on my body. This led to me to start making my own skincare, which was fun and I really embraced the whole DIY skincare movement. I was living in London and it was a great city for me to begin teaching my own skincare workshops, and to figure out what people wanted to learn and were excited about.
When we returned to Canada, I realized that as a professional Makeup Artist, I was happy with my new healthier eating and living movement personally. I had taken this new direction in my own life, with my own makeup kit, but had not made the clean and crueltyfree move to my pro makeup kit.
I realized I could not wait any longer; I was upset by my own hypocrisy. I would be doing a photo shoot and put this beautiful lipstick on a model, but it was a product that I would never use on myself or have in my home, based on what was in it or the fact that it was not crueltyfree or vegan.
What really cemented the fact that I wanted to create a crueltyfree, toxin free, vegan and sustainable line happened when I was living in London. I did not have a lot of money to spend on my cosmetic products, so I would always wait for the newest shades and watch for product releases. The defining moment came when a brand (which I actually cannot remember the name of now) was going to be releasing a new shade; I was really excited for it, and saved up and went and bought it.
When I got home, I took it out of the plastic bag, unwrapped it out of this outer layer of more plastic, took it out of this unrecyclable cardboard tube, took off even more plastic, and at the end, I had this huge pile of garbage that I had just created as a consumer. I was appalled by that.
I always knew I wanted to start a business, but I did not know what it would look like, but I did know that I wanted that business to have a focus on creating less waste.
How do you come up with all the great names for your colours?
I love words; I am just over the moon about this beautiful communication tool that we humans have called language. When I am creating a new collection, I usually do the trend forecasting and look at what the colours, textures and products are going to be. Once I have the physical items finalized, I look at them and think ‘How does this colour/item make me feel?’ ‘What does it look like?’ ‘How would I describe this to someone who cannot see colour?’
I go with a gut feeling; I usually spend about two minutes on each item, and if the answer does not come to me, I call in my team to let them see the products and ask them what they think, again within a certain time limit. Once we have exhausted our in house resources, I will put it out to the Elate community to get their input. In fact, all of our original lip glosses were named by our community members; I really like to use collaboration and community as a tool.
What is your personal favourite item from the line?
That is a tough question, as we have just released our spring line, and I am swooning over our new Blaze lipstick, it’s the one item that is with me all the time! But if I had to pick one item, I would have to say it would be the Universal Cream. They are lip and cheek colours that come in a totally waste free, compostable tube. I really like the fact that this product produces no waste, and is also a dual purpose. If I had to choose my favourite colour, it would be Love; it is just a really beautiful neutral pink.
What should people know about cosmetics that are not clean and why should they care?
Creating a line that was vegan, cruelty free, toxin free was really important as I was vegan for 12 years, and I had a really hard time finding products that I could actually use. I wanted people to be able to pick up any Elate product and just know that it was cruelty free because we love animals; vegan, and toxin free so it’s good for you, and that the packaging has also been carefully thought out in terms of sustainability and waste, so it is also good for the planet.
With regard to cosmetics that are not clean; I am not about fear and shame based marketing, or fear and shame based conversation. It is not about saying to someone “oh, you use that product; it can cause cancer” or “you use that product, it is tested on animals, that is terrible” I think that the way that we are going to change the world is through conscious conversation, and you cannot have a conversation with someone when you start out by telling them that what they are doing is wrong.
The way that we approach the clean positioning that our line has, is that we do not use toxins in our products because we want you to always feel safe. We want to make sure that you understand that everything that you are putting on your eyes and around your lips is going into your body, just as though you were ingesting it as food. You should be aware of what those things are; sometimes it is really hard to be conscious all the time. Align yourself with brands that you have trust in with regard to what they are using and their processes, so you do not have to think twice about putting these things around your really sensitive areas. When it comes to making healthy decisions, your cosmetics may be the last thing that you think about, so we have thought it out for you.
What three items would you have in your makeup bag?
The three items would be the Origin Eye Line; not only can I use it as an eyeliner, but in a pinch I can paint it on my lashes and use it as a mascara. Blaze Lipstick; I can use it full bold or as a stain, and I can also use it as a blush which gives a similar shade to our Titian Blush. And the Mattify Powder; I have a little redness in my cheeks, and this is just a fantastic product to mask this without feeling like I am wearing a ton of makeup. It is also great for controlling that excess oil, and it comes in a reusable bamboo case, so I can refill it, which means less waste.
Elate Products are available at Jackson Rowe in Kits, Harlow Skin Co., Soap Dispensary and Foxglove for Hair. Watch for their pop-up shop will be happening at Nicole Bridger in Gastown on May 5th & 6th.
Original article found here: