This article is written by Wybe Magermans, director of Branded, a group of branding, packaging, communication, technology and implementation agencies comprised of nine agencies: Identica, GBC, Magnet Harlequin, MagLabs, Showcard, Studio4, Technik, Williams Murray Hamm, and WMHAdaptive.
Some higher-end brands may argue that being sustainable is at odds with luxury. Many luxury brands talk about their commitment to social and environmental issues but few take a proactive stance.That doesn’t mean it’s not possible. Stella McCartney’s personal passion is the driver for the brand’s policy on sustainability. The designer is a vocal animal rights activist and has made a commitment to never use animal-derived materials such as fur, leather and feathers. This policy is implemented throughout the organisation. Rumour has it the brand’s employees aren’t allowed to eat meat-based sandwiches for lunch in the company’s offices. Even the mannequins in the stores are made from largely biodegradable sugar cane.
This commitment makes sustainability part of the brand’s DNA and means the consumer that buys that brand can’t opt out in any way. Brands have the power to change consumer behaviour and have a positive impact on the environment. Waitrose & Partners removed all plastic bags for loose fruit and vegetables and 5p single-use plastic bags from spring this year. Soon after this came into play, I walked into a Waitrose one evening without any bags on me. I only realised my problem at the self-service check out and had to walk out of the store cradling the products in my arms. I learned my lesson and will never go into a Waitrose without a bag.
Creatures of habit
In order to create behaviour, telling people to be more sustainable won’t do the trick. We are creatures of habit that need simple tricks to help us in our daily lives. We respond well to small pushes, or nudges, in the right direction. Ariel succeeded in doing this with its ‘Turn to 30’ campaign which asked people to make a simple change when doing their clothes washing.
When Patagonia launched their Repair Your Gear service they went as far as telling people not to buy its products in order to encourage them to consider the effect of consumerism on the environment. Urban Outfitters is launching an online subscription service, called Nuuly, that allows customers to rent and return clothes – emulating the trailblazing companies such as Rent the Runway which has been offering this for over a decade. Both Patagonia and Urban Outfitters have made changes because they understand their audience and what motivates them.
To avoid accusations of greenwashing, brands must do the right thing behind the scenes until they have an approach to sustainability that is genuine, effective and worthy of being talked about. Only then can they look at how to take this further by developing policies or products and services that help us lazy consumers do something good.
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Any company entering The Beauty Accelerator™ competition must be based and registered in the UK.
The scheme by which investment into the winning brand will be made is the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS). You must be eligible for SEIS to enter The Beauty Accelerator but you do not need to be registered for SEIS. You can be in the process of applying for SEIS and receiving Advanced Assurance from HMRC, which is free of charge to obtain and certifies to investors that the criteria necessary to qualify for SEIS have been met by the company at the time of the application. You do however need to be SEIS registered at the point of investment.Click here For further information about SEIS
As is the case with all equity investments, the winning brand must be willing to provide equity stakes for both SFC Capital and The Red Tree. In addition, the winning brand might be required to pay a monthly fee for the duration of the 12 month period of assistance from The Red Tree. The size of the equity stakes for both SFC Capital and The Red Tree are unknown at this stage and will be based on the valuation of the business at the time of investment. The value of the monthly fee to The Red Tree will be determined by the scope of work required by The Red Tree and will be agreed in consultation with the winning brand. The equity stake, monthly fee and scope of work will be discussed in further detail with short listed brands during the interview stage.
Brands that applied for The Beauty Accelerator™ 2022 can apply for The Beauty Accelerator™ 2024.
Applicant brands should ideally have proof of concept – the business should ideally be in operation with at least one product currently retailing on the market, an existing website in operation and a number of months of trading.
Under exceptional circumstances, brands that are at concept stage will be considered.
There should be a team in place or a willingness to take on a co-founder at an early stage.
A business plan must be in place and submitted as part of your application to demonstrate the revenue that can be delivered.
The business should not be valued at more than £1,000,000.
All R&D should be completed as funds invested will only be used for marketing and commercial activity.
If you are short listed, you must be available to attend the virtual shortlist interview. It is likely that short listed brands will be required to attend more than one virtual interview.
If you are a Finalist, you must be able to attend The Beauty Accelerator™ Final, either virtually or in-person.
You cannot apply for or already be in the process of applying for another accelerator or incubator during the period December 2023 to December 2024.
If you are selected as a finalist, and if you go on to win The Beauty Accelerator™, you must agree to exposure of you and your brand through The Red Tree’s, SFC Capital’s and Freeths online and social channels and a possible marketing campaign.
Confirmation of the winning brand is subject to SEIS eligibility confirmation, agreement on equity stake and The Red Tree fee, and completion of due diligence.
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