In Australia, natural cosmetics grown and harvested by First Nation natives are becoming increasingly popular, primarily formulated with plant-based ingredients. In 2023, the Australian natural cosmetic market amounts to $152 million, with this figure expected to grow by 4.72% annually to $191.4 million by 2028. While this growth is positive, when consuming beauty products, it is often all too easy to forget the work of human hands that produced them. Hoping to raise awareness of the farmers' work that contributes to the success of this mass market, small skincare brand Bluem partnered with the leading Australian phyto-tech manufacturer, Native Extracts, Colgate-Palmolive, and Lombadina Aboriginal Corporation to present its latest campaign Seed to Skin. The collaboration "recognizes the importance of building pathways to connect growers with aligned purpose-driven brands to support platforms that amplify important stories."
The campaign intends to "rewild the beauty industry" at a time when many are losing their connection to nature, reflecting on the power Australian brands have when met by First Nation farmers to create powerful and beneficial beauty products. To highlight this as well as create transparency in supply chains, members of Bluem underwent a trip to Bard Country in Kimberley's Western Australia, where gubinge (Kakadu plum), a key ingredient in Bluem's products, is grown and harvested. The adventure was captured in a campaign film, which outlined the collective work of the companies and was launched with a giveback program that will see 100% of sales donated to the Lombadina, which oversees the first native farmers.
"Country isn't just the land you walk on; it is what makes you who you are—it is what you eat, see, smell, and feel; it's the animals that live there, it's the trees and rocks, it's the noises you hear in the wind, and the ocean whispering. It is your ancestors. Each generation is responsible for taking us further, maintaining and adapting our culture and knowledge—using the knowledge of generations to ensure our cultural survival in today's world," says Darrell Sibosado of Lombadina.
During the visit, Bluem met the first natives growing its gubinge ingredient, which holds the highest known level of vitamin C and antioxidants compared to any other fruit. While gubinge has positive impacts when used as a skincare ingredient, it also holds power within its community, which is directly involved in curating Bluem products, utilizing Native Extracts research and tools to do so. Working alongside the first natives, Native Extracts use their knowledge to ensure that all ingredients powerful extracts are removed safely while maintaining the highest level of bioavailability.
"We have built a strong relationship with Lisa Carroll, CEO and Innovator of Native Extracts, that will help us realize the potential in our ancient knowledge and to expand into new opportunities into new markets and growth of infrastructure to meet the demand of our gubinge and other botanicals. Creating more job opportunities in the country means more young people can stay and sustain a livelihood, which means we can keep culture and knowledge in the country," adds Sibosado.
The short film also highlighted the importance of gubinge's benefits on Northern Australian ecosystems, as little to no chemicals are required to grow the fruit, keeping ecosystems clean and free from some aspects that can have a negative effect on wildlife. Not only does the fruit benefit Bluem's skincare range and support communities, but it also feeds an array of bird species surrounding the areas, with enough to go around for humans and animals alike.
"Ten years ago, the water-soluble plant profiles of Australian native species were relatively unknown and under-researched. Our work at Native Extracts has generated new data, which we openly share with growers, research organizations, brands, contract manufacturers, and universities to maximize cross-industry innovation and attribute to new value, strengthening our primary industry to participate in new local and global markets," comments Carroll.
Seed to Skin comes at a time when several consumers are confused about the ingredients within their beauty products. Initiatives such as Seed to Skin are sure to clarify these confusions, opening the eyes of consumers to the supply chain story of Bluem and other companies products. Ultimately, Bluem's mission to showcase first native farmers is benefitting a range of groups, from the first natives themselves, who are provided with jobs and a stable income, to the Australian local community and market, and consumers purchasing the products. Bluem's mission amplifies the message that collaboration will always lead to greater success, sustainability, and SKUs in a growing beauty industry.
"This trip has reinforced our ideology that nature is the greatest scientist of all, with so many mysteries not yet understood by humankind. It has changed the conversation from nature, backed by science to science, backed by nature. And to think this is only the beginning," concludes Montana Lower, Bluem Founder and CEO.
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