As sector specialists we can help bring leaders together, around common themes to celebrate one another’s wins, learn from one another’s mistakes, benefit from each other’s strengths and generally enjoy getting to know one another and share ideas in the safe confines of our consumer and retail focused ecosystem.
Shellworks was one of these changemakers that joined our community in early 2021 when we first invested. Shellworks is a ground-breaking materials science company, creating plastic-free home-compostable packaging solutions for the beauty industry. These innovators create packaging solutions from microbes (called Vivomer) which can degrade in any natural environment – their products are mass manufacturable, petroleum-free and can biodegrade within a year.
According to Statistica, the cosmetic packaging industry is expected to have grown from $28bn in 2021 to $33bn by 2025, with the vast majority of the market made up of plastic derivatives. Whilst there are other start-ups attempting to disrupt this industry by creating more sustainable solutions, we think Shellworks has the edge. We’ve not come across another that can stand toe-to-toe on Shellwork’s combination of cost-competitiveness, robustness and the flexibility to suit multiple brands, whilst being entirely home-compostable.
We first invested in Shellworks in early 2021 to support their efforts in developing their proprietary formulation and to scale up manufacturing of their packaging solutions. Shellworks chose to partner with us knowing that we’d use our growing network within beauty and beyond to help identify future clients who shared their vision of reducing plastic reliance in the beauty industry. Then along came Haeckels...
When we first met natural beauty brand Haeckels in Summer 2021, we were immediately impressed with the brand’s authentic commitment to sustainability. From harvesting their own seaweed (the base ingredient of most of their products) on the beaches of their hometown Margate, to setting up hyper-localised supply chains to create their much-loved products, Haeckels is a pioneer in sustainable beauty.
Finding a brand with such a genuine commitment to sustainability in the beauty industry is difficult despite consumers increasingly demanding consciously-made products. As the Beauty Fashion Council highlights, “beauty consumers are more conscious of their purchasing choices now than ever before, yet many beauty brands continue to “greenwash” shoppers.” Over 60% of beauty consumers struggle to tell if products are ethical and 42% want more information about how the brands they buy impact the environment.
Whilst Haeckels has always sought to test and use innovative sustainable packaging solutions – from mycelium (a type of fungi) to wildflower seed cartons– the team knew they wanted to push their sustainability agenda even further – something True was passionate about supporting as an investor and part of why we were chosen for the funding round.
With so many shared values between both Haeckels and Shellworks, connecting the two True portfolio brands was a no-brainer, and we saw a real opportunity for reciprocal value-add in a partnership. Whilst Shellworks had run small-scale pilots with partners previously, they were searching for an authentic brand to launch their first full line with. Haeckels’ cult-following and stellar reputation as a leader is sustainable beauty suited them perfectly. For Haeckels, switching their full skincare line out of amber glass into Shellworks’ Vivomer presented an opportunity to innovate further, and cement their positioning as a trailblazer of sustainability in the beauty industry.
The result was the relaunch of Haeckels into Shellworks’ fully compostable packaging, becoming the first brand to pioneer this game-changing material across its full skincare range. The relaunch of Haeckels’ in this new packaging has been received to critical industry acclaim. Not only does the new packaging enable Haeckels’ products to be 100% compostable, no matter where the material ends up, but the design has also helped elevate the overall brand identity and centre it within science – as Haeckels’ Head of Bio Design, Jessica Gregory has said: “You don’t have to compromise on design to be sustainable…”.
We’re super proud of the work both Haeckels and Shellworks are doing to create a more sustainable future in the beauty industry. Putting two of our portfolio brands together demonstrates the value True can bring as an investor and we’re excited to be part of the journey with both of these change-makers.