12 Oct 2021 --- As the indie innovator Nakie Coquette Beauty strives to combine sexiness and sustainability in its clean and CBD-infused brand, we caught up with Co-Founders Niki Schwan and Jessica Penzari to find out how the duo are in pursuit of ‘sexy sustainability’.
What was the inspiration behind launching Nakie Coquette Beauty?
Our name, Nakie Coquette is a double entendre for our brand, which utilizes clean (naked) ingredients and cheeky (coquettish) branding. We are unleashing a new and noticeably different clean and CBD-infused brand that is playful, provocative and purpose-driven from inception.
What was missing from the mainstream beauty market that you sought to fill with Nakie Coquette Beauty?
Click to EnlargeSource: Nakie Coquette Beauty.The beauty industry accounts for over 120 billion units of packaging annually! At Nakie Coquette, we are not perfect but we are constantly striving to do better. We are harkening to an era when beauty products and packaging were meant to be treasured, not discarded after a single use like most brands currently on the market.
We set out to create products that are effective, clean and make you feel and look your best while using them. As we grow, we are dedicated to continuing to find the most sustainable solutions that are also inherently beautiful or, as we like to say: “Luxuriously self-indulgent, without compromising our values.”
What are consumers demanding from their favorite beauty products and brands?
We feel consumers are seeking products that are not only effective but, as the climate crisis worsens, we are also seeing a noticeable shift in consumer behavior to demand intrinsically more earth-friendly packaging and sustainable products with clean formulations.
We are also noticing that consumers are increasingly looking for brands that prioritize giving back to the community and protecting our precious Mother Earth and all her resources. For our launch, we have pledged to plant one tree for each product sold.
We are also seeing that the majority of consumers believe that animal testing is morally wrong. We would never allow animal testing and we are proudly Leaping Bunny Certified, the gold standard in cruelty-free.
What was your inspiration behind your beauty product range?
We set out to create a cheeky luxe brand featuring highly efficacious products and formulations that really work, in packaging that is as sumptuous as the product inside. We see a lot of clean and CBD brands taking a very green and earthy approach. In contrast, we wanted to create something bright, fun and neon with a fashion-forward approach.
Our packaging is reminiscent of vintage Avon. Each product is housed in a luxe, unique, keepsake collectible container with a fully sustainable refill system. Additionally, each of our main containers is a numbered collectible.
How do your products answer these consumer demands?
Click to EnlargeNakie's packaging combines beauty and environmentalism. Source: Nakie Coquette Beauty.Not only are our products fresh and modern, but we have also created an apothecary approach and keepsake packaging, and 100% of Nakie Coquette’s products are proudly refillable, recyclable and reusable. Our shipping materials are compostable too; think compostable tape, labels and dissolvable peanuts.
Our debut star collection includes Rosehip Roleplay Face Oil ($186) and her Apothecary Refill ($126), plus the Retro Luxe Gift Set ($286) which features both products plus a vegan embroidered zipper train case.
Rosehip Roleplay Face Oil is the ultimate multi-tasker, a blend of clean, nourishing, skin-penetrating ingredients for all skin types, ages and textures. Housed in a luxe crystal bottle, it is a numbered collectible meant to be endlessly refilled and comes nestled in keepsake protective packaging with a lavish branded drawer box and fringe-adorned velvety pouch.
What did the process to launch involve from conceptualization through to commercialization?
We started ideating the brand an entire year before launching. It required countless hours of researching partners, ingredients and materials to create our perfect formulas.
We really focused on procuring the most Earth-friendly materials as possible, and are always striving to do better. We are constantly pivoting and evolving and look forward to introducing new and collectible products that resonate with our consumers.
What were the greatest challenges to achieving your vision for Nakie Coquette Beauty?
One of our biggest challenges has been sourcing sustainable materials for our products and, more specifically, for our packaging. Each Nakie Coquette product features a complete recyclable refill system. We are relentlessly #InPursuitOfSexySustainability. We hope to inspire a more thoughtful approach to sustainability and truly disrupt the industry.
Click to EnlargeUnapologetically sumptuous self-indulgence lies behind the Nakie Coquette brand. Source: Nakie Coquette Beauty.We are fortunate to have partnered with an amazing female-owned and female-run factory in the US to assist us in procuring clean, safe and effective ingredients that are sustainably and ethically harvested. But the packaging is challenging, especially since minimum order quantities (MOQs) for sustainable packaging continue to be extremely high and prohibitive for emerging indie brands.
We have taken painstaking care to eliminate single-use plastic as much as possible and use Earth-friendly materials for our protective packaging. For example, our apothecary refills for our Rosehip Roleplay Face Oil are sealed with sustainably sourced Portuguese corks and are hand-dipped in our custom signature neon wax to avoid a plastic seal.
For our upcoming Lip & Cheek balm release, we are utilizing beautiful compacts that can be endlessly refilled with pans that pop out and are curbside recyclable. The compact’s refill pans are housed in a totally compostable pouch, complete with a compostable product label.
Additionally, there are still many obstacles in place for CBD brands and CBD topical skin care brands, despite the strides made to end prohibition. For example, one is the requirement to utilize high-risk credit card processors, which creates additional fees and comes with stringent requirements. Also, the newly updated inclusion of topical CBD to SHAFT (Sex, Hate, Alcohol, Firearms, and Tobacco) means CBD is now included as illicit content. This prohibits communicating directly with consumers through text messages. Yes, CBD was nationally legalized in 2018, but we still have a long way to go, obviously.
What are your short and long-term hopes and goals for Nakie Coquette Beauty and the wider beauty industry?
Ultimately our goal is to create meaningful experiences through intentional, sumptuous products and packaging that are truly self-indulgent without compromising values. We want everyone who uses Nakie Coquette to feel empowered, knowing they are using incredibly clean and effective formulas that are housed in beautiful, collectible containers that illuminate your vanity, your skin and beyond, all while supporting causes that matter.
As we grow we hope to continue to create highly efficacious products that feature beautiful, collectible containers meant to be endlessly refilled and forever treasured, but at more attainable price points.
By Natasha Spencer Jolliffe, BPC Insights Senior Journalist