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Facial Fitness for All: FaceGym's Sustainability and Retail Ambitions

November 10, 2021 Carla Seipp
November 10, 2021
FaceGym

With a tech- and science-driven approach to skincare, FaceGym is no stranger to cross-industry innovation. From retail concepts championing new standards of safety and hygiene in its 11 locations across four cities in the US and UK to its recent launch with Sephora in the US, the executive team behind FaceGym has its eye on continuous growth and expansion.

Its Supreme Restructure Firming Moisturizer—a vegan formulation containing tobacco plant-derived Epidermal Growth Factors, collagen, microalgae, bioferments, and ceramide complex that recently relaunched—is packaged in a refillable aluminum pot, the result of founder Inge Theron’s collaboration with a metalwork factory in Italy. The refill pods are made of 100% recycled ocean plastic. Other products such as tubes are 50% post-consumer recycled plastic or housed in glass bottles, with cartons made of 100% FSC board.

Beyond sustainability, the brand is broadening its reach through launching on Sephora.com, with an exclusive Full Face Sculpt 14 Day Challenge Kit. “Sephora is excited to partner with FaceGym and continue bringing our clients innovative, differentiated products that meet all their beauty needs. We are thrilled to introduce this unique brand to our Sephora community and know that it will be a wonderful addition to our skincare lineup,” comments Priya Venkatesh, SVP Merchandising Skincare & Hair at Sephora.

BeautyMatter spoke to FaceGym founder Inge Theron on growing the company’s digital business and turning today’s waste into tomorrow’s products.

What was the prompt for creating sustainable packaging for Supreme Restructure?

FaceGym is all about responsible beauty, and sustainability has been at the forefront since our inception. We were the first brand to produce a concession in Selfridges with recycled fixtures, 68% of our studio fixtures are made out of recycled yoghurt pots, our rubber floors are also sourced from pre-used materials. With every new product launch we’re constantly challenging ourselves and our partners to produce more sustainable packaging to reduce our environmental impact.

Eight million tons of plastic end up in the ocean every year and the beauty industry has struggled to find responsible solutions, so with the launch of Supreme Restructure we wanted to find a new way that still delivers luxury but with zero waste. The response from the industry has been overwhelming. Supreme Restructure was nominated for most of the design awards this year and came home with the prize at many, so to be recognized for all the effort we put into creating sustainable solutions really means the world to me.

What was the process of developing the packaging and design process like?

I worked with a really inspirational design team at Established, together we decided to take on a challenge few would. Nobody has ever designed an aluminum pot so there was no supplier or benchmark, we had to think out of the box to find the best partner to help us bring our vision to life.

We sought out a specialized metalwork factory in Italy with highly advanced manufacturing techniques not typically used by the beauty industry. We worked closely with them on all elements of the packaging design, from the aluminum pot which will last forever and can be recycled infinitely with zero loss to the refill system made from 100% recycled ocean plastic. We knew it had to be 100% right before we launched so we could send a message that you can look good as well as doing good, with zero waste.

"With the launch of Supreme Restructure we wanted to find a new way that still delivers luxury but with zero waste."
By Inge Theron, Founder, FaceGym

Is cross-industry collaboration a necessity for the beauty industry’s sustainable future?

Sustainability quite rightly is the issue of our generation—it's at the top of many brands' agendas, and not just those in the beauty industry. From ingredients to formulations to packaging, everyone has a much deeper understanding of the impact their business choices are having on the environment. At FaceGym, it’s always been part of our ethos to create consciously and responsibly—it’s in our brand DNA. We believe collaboration is key.

For our new high-innovation launch next month, we have partnered with Handle, who will be supporting us with recycling at source. We are looking at a variety of ways to make recycling easy for you from home, innovative ways to collect old packaging and turn it into future FaceGym packaging solutions. This type of idea sharing and testing is key: if today’s waste can become tomorrow’s face roller—that’s what I call progress.

What was working with Sephora on the partnership like? What significance does launching on Sephora.com have for the future of your brand?

Working with Sephora was really collaborative. Being “in the kitchen” was a wonderful privilege; getting insights and support real time and co-crafting ideas for the US market has helped us hone our offering. We’ve been on the most incredible journey so far, from our unique workout studios to our innovative tools and high-performance skincare line, and of course, our brilliant community. Every moment has been a dream come true. It’s an exciting time for us as we take the brand global.

Launching with Sephora in the US has been one of the brand’s most significant milestones to date. It opens the door to an amazing new chapter on our FaceGym “Facial Fitness for All” journey. Our skincare movement has already gained traction in our studios in New York and Los Angeles and now, by partnering with Sephora, we are able to bring the FaceGym studio to even more homes, in even more locations across the US so everyone can access the transformational, real results of FaceGym anytime, anywhere.

What revenue and growth numbers can you disclose?

I’m extremely proud of our business. We are a double-digit million-pound business. Our 2021 FY is forecasted to grow over 40% on pre-COVID numbers. During COVID-19, our studios were shut during a period of time, but during that period our digital business grew 5x the pre-COVID era. And our studio performance has come back stronger.

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