From the clothes we wear to the food we eat, there is a growing trend to living more ethically and environmentally, and now one small business is going a step further with a new approach to beauty products.
Stvdio5, founded by Italian Antonio Pisanelli, 31, makes 100 per cent vegan cosmetics.
A vegan lifestyle is usually associated with diet and those who will only eat plant based food and not anything that has animal involvement such as meat, cheese or eggs.
But what about the soaps, shampoo or deodorants we use on a daily basis?
Cosmetics companies in the UK are banned from animal testing and using any animal products, but Antonio warns this doesn’t necessarily make them natural.
He explains: ‘There are a lot of cosmetics companies that say they are ethical and don’t test on animals, but if you read the ingredients a lot aren’t natural.
‘A lot of lip balms are alcohol based or some volumising shampoos use substances such as silicon that create a layer around your scalp and skin.
‘This can cause issues such as spots.’
Antonio moved to London in 2009 after doing a fashion degree in Milan. A vegan himself, Antonio decided to move from fashion to cosmetics after researching the beauty market.
He found there were a lack of products that were not 100 per cent vegan-free, arguing this goes against the lifestyle if daily items like your soap or shampoo are not naturally, ethically and environmentally sourced.
All his products are British sourced to keep them environmentally friendly and he avoids using plastics or chemicals. Every ingredient is listed on the website and even the gift boxes are made using recyclable material.
Stvdio5 will be two-years-old in May. The business is run purely online and customers can order items such as soap or shampoo. Everything is handmade at Antonio’s studio based inside his Islington flat.
He says; ‘Being online cuts down a lot of costs as you don’t need to be physical and you can just concentrate on making and selling the product.’
Explaining the name, he says the brand Studio5 was unavailable for copyright issues, but five is his lucky number, adding: ‘The word studio is the type of image we want as it shows the products are not mass produced in a factory but are handmade and specialist.’
Rather than advertising, Antonio has built up his brand using articles on specialist magazines and partnerships with bloggers such as offering discounts to readers.
He also uses Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to promote his products and attract customers, which he says ultimately boost sales.
Antonio has already learned to do his research before jumping into promoting yourself after wasting £2,000 on a trade fair.
He said: ‘I spent a lot of money to display at a trade show, but we didn’t get any business from it. I should have checked the business feedback to see how useful they are. This has taught me that it is always important to do your research.’
For now he is happy to stay small and be based in his flat, but may look to hire a marketing person so he can concentrate on making the products, explaining: ‘I want to be able to select where my product goes. I will visit gift fairs and am looking into placing my items into specialist stores.’