Faye Wilson, Founder of Happier Beauty – Ep. 75

Video Highlights:

About Faye Wilson & Happier Beauty:

Faye Wilson is a fascinating woman who constructed a career plan that saw her slingshot from the corporate world to her own, eco-friendly toothpaste and dental care brand. 

In this episode, we discuss how she brought her idea to market, changing her own life in the process. She’s been featured in Vogue, Glamour, and a bunch of top-shelf media outlets, and her story is a great template for how you can build a business that serves both you and the planet.

Full Unedited Audio Conversation:

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1:14 – “I discovered a few years ago that 1.5 billion single use plastic toothpaste tubes go to landfill every year. And I was shocked…and then when you consider that plastic takes 500 years to degrade, every single plastic toothpaste tube ever made exists somewhere still in landfill, or even worse, in our oceans somewhere.”

2:41 – “That’s really my mission because I kind of feel like there’s a lot of focus on plastic-free shampoo, plastic-free skin cream… and actually dental care just seemed to be one of those product categories that was not really focused on that much by some of these bigger, sustainable brands that are starting out. And I just thought, ‘God, we can do better. There’s got to be a better solution.’”

3:56 – “Back in 2017, I was trying to be really healthy, trying to eat clean to make sure that my diet was as clean as it could possibly be. And I was looking all the ingredients in my food and just this thought struck me, ‘why don’t I check what’s in toothpaste?’ And I was really shocked when I looked at the ingredients in my toothpaste tube. First of all, I couldn’t even pronounce them – never mind read them…And I was like, ‘Why is it so hard to understand what’s in my toothpaste?’”

9:00 – “I was like, this is an opportunity to do something better – better ingredients, better for the planet. And that was when I was like, right, I’m doing this.”

11:30 – “Why don’t we just do aluminium tubes instead of plastic? Because we used to use aluminium tubes a long, long time ago. It’s infinitely recyclable. It obviously works as a tube because we’ve used it before…But finding the manufacturer to make these tubes took longer than finding the manufacturer to make the toothpaste.”

14:14 – “I pretty much did all of the development work, all of the research while I was sat on the train coming home from work or going into London to work…I was doing my research, emailing my suppliers, negotiating prices. I designed and built my website on the train, I…did some of the design work and the artwork for the brand and everything while I was sat on the train.”

16:22 – “I was working with a PR specialist that I’d met through my work, and within a week of her sending out the press release to various publications and magazines, it had been picked up by Vogue, by Stylist, by Grazia, The Telegraph, The Independent, to be featured in various coverage. I used to work in fashion… I’ve grown up with Vogue being like the Bible and for me to get a product that I worked on in Vogue was just the best.”

17:08 – “My husband said to me, ‘Fay, this is the worst idea you’ve ever had…all my friends were like, ‘Oh really? Are you sure? Toothpaste? It’s not very interesting, is it?’”

18:00 – “I couldn’t afford to get the tubes printed so in the Vogue photoshoot where they’ve got this beautiful photo, you can still see the edges of the sticker, the logo sticker, that I’d hand-stuck on while I was sat watching the TV after work one evening.”

19:20 – “That kind of halo effect of having magazines that people really read, and absorb, and trust, is really important… It’s just another level of social proof if the magazine or the publication that you read and you trust regularly is telling you that this product is great, that for me was really important…PR sometimes is something that start-ups don’t spend that much money on, but honestly it has been worth every penny.”

24:37 – “I love running my own business. It’s really, really hard and it’s quite hard being a single founder. But I love it. I have wanted to run my own business for so long.”

27:48 – [On why it’s such a risk to be an entrepreneur] “We live in a really uncertain world…As we know more and our social media is becoming more all-consuming, we’re completely oversaturated with data and information. I actually think it’s making us less certain about the future because we see so many different potential options and things that could happen.”

35:36 – “Capitalism is literally eating itself before our very eyes…the planet will carry on. The planet will survive. We will not.”

37:15 – “I do really believe though that you can have a balanced business…capitalism is like everything in nature. There is a yin and yang and capitalism without that pull, that tension holding it back, is running wild. And so I really believe that businesses can be better and can make decisions that are for the good of the wider society, not just the shareholders.”

40:52 – “I do this because I really want to make a difference. I have two kids. I want to be able to have a world where I can meet my grandkids and that my children feel comfortable and happy enough to actually consider having children. And so whatever business I was going to set up, it absolutely had to be sustainable and focused on improving the planet rather than making a negative impact on it.”

44:42 – “These are the options that we’ve got left to us – voting with our dollar or pound…if you have the luxury of being able to make a choice, then choose the thing that’s better for your grandkids who may not even exist yet.”

48:04 – “If I was going to be doing it again, I would be wanting to set up a business with a co-founder … just having that other person just to be able to bounce ideas off of, talk, and just give each other that structure…Just having that other person there to just pull you up when you’re feeling a bit down and then likewise you pull them up when they’re feeling a bit down and just talk, communicate, innovate, create, collaborate.”

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