Spotlight: Stacey Kelly Egide and Brianne West
“When you know other people feel exactly the same way it’s a massive confidence boost in itself.”
Leading sustainable change in the cosmetic industry, mentor-mentee pair Brianne West and Stacey Egide offer inspiration around Earth Day – and every day. Below the two share how their work is tackling environmental challenges and creating positive social impact. Read on to find out how their participation in the Global Ambassadors Program in Australia in 2016 has impacted their careers.
Started in 2012, Brianne is the founder and cosmetic formulator for Ethique, a New Zealand-based manufacturer of solid beauty bars that provide a waste-free alternative to traditional liquid products, such as shampoo, body lotions and more. Brianne founded Ethique, “out of frustration for the abhorrent amount of waste created by the cosmetics industry, and in particular, the amount of plastic and waste created by our bathroom essentials. I figured out that up to 95% of your bottle of conditioner is made up of water – which is just ridiculous considering you have water in your bathroom! I have always been deeply passionate about the environment and science and so I set about learning cosmetic chemistry (I was completing my Bachelor of Science at university at the time), and looked to formulate a solid shampoo”.
“When I started Ethique in 2012, the goal was to save a million bottles from ending up in landfills by 2020. We just hit 10 million saved. As a result of that, and as a result of what we’ve recently taken in, there’s a new goal. We used to say ‘50 million by 2025.’ Now we say half a billion by 2030.”
In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Ethique also launched the Super Soap Project, which matches every bar purchased with a ‘Super Soap’ bar donation to vulnerable communities across New Zealand and the South Pacific. On Earth Day 2020, Ethique introduced a tree planting initiative, where for every order placed on their website they plant a tree with their partner Offset Earth, a gold standard accredited carbon credit provider. To date, Ethique has planted over 200,000 trees, offsetting 1,115 tons of carbon dioxide. Ethique is proudly plastic free and carbon neutral, whilst working towards becoming climate positive.
Stacey is the Founder and former CEO of Andalou Naturals, a global, natural cosmetic brand inspired by nature’s intelligence and the 1st complete beauty brand to be Non-GMO Project Verified.
“Starting Andalou, I looked at the Toms model of ‘one for one’ and thought, what would be a great way to create sustainable revenue to support organizations that empowered women and girls. I[My business partner and I] spent a month looking at the marketplace, seeing what people were doing, looking for an opportunity. We launched Andalou with the idea that the more successful the brand became, the more money we could give away. And so that was our intention from day one. I think that’s a big part of what Brianne does as well. From day one, her idea was how can we make a difference by eliminating excess packaging in beauty products.
I created a line of products called Path of Light, which is what Andalou means, and 100 percent of the profits from that product line went toward the organizations that we supported while the rest of the product line supported the business. Two years later I was employing 50 people after a tremendous downturn in the economy and was giving women opportunities to advance in my organization. As the sale of the product line took off and sales of Path of Light increased, we were able to donate a million dollars within four years of launching. There were so many silver linings and so many things that exceeded our expectations.”
As you think back about your participation in the Global Ambassadors Program, what was your experience like with mentorship?
Stacey: “It’s interesting because throughout my career, I never had a designated mentor. It was really kind of a vertical learning curve for me of knowing what that meant and also how to create parameters for that because all of a sudden, I had five requests from people wanting me to be a mentor! And so how do you structure the time and be valuable, while also navigating your own career. GAP was a really wonderful introduction to what mentorship could be, and I felt like it provided all the tools, and then some. I felt that through the program I was learning how to be a leader. Everything that I experienced in Australia, was not only a personal gain, but a gain for my mentee as well. We’ve stayed in touch through the years, and followed each other’s career paths and stayed connected. And I think a lot of that had to do with the tremendous framework of the program.”
Brianne: “GAP was impactful because you had a one-on-one mentor. I actually still talk to Stacey, and I have a relationship with her now, albeit a smaller one. I don’t think I realized how much my confidence grew until maybe a few months later. Through the permission to trust yourself a little bit more and then obviously the more decisions you make that don’t go wrong, you build confidence. It’s not something you develop in a week.”
What was the most impactful part of the Global Ambassadors program?
Brianne: “It was the first time I realized that I wasn’t alone in feeling insecure. All of those amazing, accomplished, phenomenally put-together women all felt inside exactly the same as I did, at least at some point in time in their career. They all had massive insecurities, maybe not then, but they used to. They were constantly worried about whether they were actually fit for the role they were in or whether what they were doing was a good idea. When you know other people feel exactly the same way it’s a massive confidence boost in itself”
Stacey: “I admire the program so much. It was one of the highlights of my career and being invited to participate was such an honor, understanding all of the work that goes into it by every single member of the team, and the enormous commitment from Bank of America to make it happen. For Bank of America to designate those resources to women and then to be a part of that was a real honor and I hope that maybe someday I can participate again.”