Human Potential
Episode 56

Brianne West, Founder of the World’s most sustainable Beauty brand, Ethique, on how to develop a product in your home and create a $100 million brand.

Oliver Freer published on

Brianne West is the founder of the world’s most sustainable beauty brand, Ethique. She is on a mission to rid the world of plastic waste.

Brianne is a qualified biologist; she started her business by creating solid beauty bars in her kitchen in 2012. She has built Ethique from the ground up, with the global brand now valued at more than $100 million, and 20% of its net profit is donated to worthy causes each year.

In this episode of the Human Potential Podcast, Brianne West talks with our host, Oliver Freer, about how she created her business from the ground up. She talks of the frustration that led her to develop unique products, get noticed by the likes of Britney Spears and Ashton Kutcher and fund growth through successful crowdfunding.

More about Brianne West 

Brianne West is one of the most principled and single-minded businesspeople in the Southern Hemisphere. Her non-negotiable, personal value system, and intensity of purpose has led to her incredible success.

Brianne has always been clear about wanting Ethique to be sustainable in every possible meaning of the word. She is one of those rare people who ‘walks the talk’ in both her personal and business life. Her personal ethics and priorities are embedded within every aspect of the Ethique brand.

Last year Brianne and her brand Ethique won five major awards, including Ernst & Young’s ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year’

Ethique has prevented more than 8 million plastic bottles from being made and disposed of in landfill since it began operating in 2012 – this is a recent milestone achievement.

Brianne has a goal to see Ethique be “sustainable from every possible definition of the word and an inspiration to other businesses that you can be environmentally proactive while being financially sustainable.” 

Ethique’s future goal is to prevent the use of 50 million plastic bottles by 2025.

She believes sustainable business makes for better business, as she continues to be a shining example to other companies that you can be environmentally proactive, while being financially sustainable.

More about Ethique

Ethique manufactures beauty products with a twist. Unique in the world, all products are made in solid form, including shampoos, conditioners, moisturisers, and face, body and bath

Why solid? As the bars contain no water, they are free from preservatives, formaldehyde, sodium lauryl sulphate and other undesirable ingredients. Solid also means there are no wasteful jars or
bottles – bars are sold in water-soluble paper making them 100% waste-free. The result is biodegradable, concentrated products that are truly sustainable. The range is also made with organic ingredients, certified cruelty-free and climate neutral and made from ethically sourced ingredients.

Ethique bars last for several months each, but most importantly, produce excellent results. This is proven by their strong brand and social media following, loyal customers, and outstanding reviews.

“I started 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. I figured that switching to a solid product would be the answer not only to the water waste issue, but also plastic waste”. Brianne West

Ethique are now in over 2500 retailers in sixteen countries across the world, from Japan and Australia, to the USA and Hong Kong.

Brianne West’s Book recommendations

Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvellous Materials That shape our Man -Made World by Mark Miodownik

Liquid Rules: The Delightful and Dangerous Substances That Flow through Our Lives by Mark Miodownik

Log in with one of the networks to the right to comment. Cancel