By now, you may have noticed our love for brands that adhere to all-natural and sustainability philosophies at the core of their businesses – we believe in conscious consumption, and want to promote local brands that do too. This is why when we heard about the essence of UpCircle, we immediately fell in love with them and what they stand for.
It started with a cafetiere. Back in 2015, UpCircle’s founders Anna and William Brightman noticed the coffee grounds that they were throwing away every morning. They wondered – how much is going to waste from coffee shops all over London? In this, they saw a potential, and were determined to repurpose these inconspicuous, nutrient-packed ingredients into circular skincare.
UpCircle is not only 100% natural, they elevate leftover natural ingredients, giving them a new lease of life as beauty products that are friendly and effective to the skin. Of course, reusing these ingredients comes with the challenge of changing people’s perceptions of what is considered ‘waste’. Leading with example, UpCircle is starting a movement to proof that waste does not need to be wasted.
“Nature gives us lots of wonderful ingredients that make our skin healthier and more radiant – like used coffee grounds and brewed chai tea spices. But they often end up going to landfill. Why should all that good stuff go to waste?” explains Anna and William.
Since unveiling a fresh new look and name in November, and releasing new product ranges with more to come, UpCircle’s circular economy mission is now at the very center of their brand – it looks like UpCircle is ready to dominate the world in 2019!
We spoke to Anna to understand more about their motivations, their driving force, and the beliefs behind UpCircle.
Hi Anna, could you tell us more about UpCircle?
Nature gives us lots of wonderful ingredients that make our skin healthier and more radiant – like used coffee grounds and brewed chai tea spices. But they often end up going to landfill. Why should all that good stuff go to waste? It shouldn’t. That’s why we elevate leftover natural ingredients at UpCircle, bringing them back to life as beauty products your skin will love.
What inspired you to start this business?
Back in 2015, we had a thought: if we're throwing away a cafetière full of coffee grounds every morning, how much is going to waste from coffee shops all over London? We decided to do something about it. We needed a way to give those coffee grounds a new lease of life. And UpCircle was born.
What keeps you going as an entrepreneur?
We are restlessly determined to make products that leave the planet better than we found it. We do things differently - and love sharing our ideas for making things better.
Who is your role model that gets you motivated as an entrepreneur?
My mum. She never stops!
What are some of your highlights and challenges since starting your business?
Our highlight has got to be Dragons’ Den. William and I pitched the brand to the Dragons and received not one, not two, but three offers! It was quite an experience, and the response after it aired was phenomenal.
Our biggest challenge is that we ourselves are challenging other people’s perceptions of what they consider as waste, for us it is all about seeing potential where others don’t. We’re starting a movement to make circular skincare both aspirational and accessible. We have certainly noticed that sustainable ingredients are increasingly becoming an entry-level expectation, rather than a point of difference. Just being natural or organic is no longer enough. We hope not only that companies can look to minimizing what they are wasting but also that more people like us can step in to give a new purpose to those ingredients that companies can’t find a use for in their own industry. Hopefully, UpCircle is proof that waste doesn’t need to be wasted.
If you were to describe your brand in one sentence, what would it be?
Pioneering skincare that’s regenerative by design.
What are your hopes for your business in the future?
As our product ranges expand we have taken the opportunity to unify the brand, unveiling a fresh new look and name within the last month. We have just released several new product ranges but already we have several more in their development stage. Our circular economy mission is now front and centre and we are ready to grow!
I think 2019 will be a big year for us – new products, new employees and new offices and warehouse space. We’re ready for world domination!
What tips do you have for budding entrepreneurs?
My first bit of advice is to not feel like you must take on board everyone’s advice - Trust your instincts! There are a lot of people with a lot of opinions and many of those opinions will be conflicting. It can be difficult when people tell you what they think you should do differently, or changes you should make to your business, but none of those people will know your business like you do, so make sure you’re not swayed off course or pulled in different directions. There is no harm in listening, but you don’t have to take everyone’s advice and run with it.
How do you go about dealing with issues of waste in the beauty industry?
What is exciting is that we are now in the position where businesses are coming to us with their by-products and asking whether we can transform them into sustainable skincare. Luckily the “zero waste” movement is really picking up momentum and consumers and brands alike are beginning to really grapple with our current issues with waste – we are ecstatic that people are turning to us, and we are ready to take on the challenge!
We believe our products and their success demonstrate that just because something is repurposed, does not mean that it is of lesser quality, or is less effective. We are attempting to shake up the beauty industry, challenging perceptions of waste and proving that we can all do more with less.
Thank you Anna and William for sharing with us about your amazing business!
The Local Collective
Our story-telling platform to tell the philosophies of local businesses all around the United Kingdom.