The Green Edit returns to Sydney for its second year

Last year was an unusual year to launch a new event series. Many wouldn’t have happened or wouldn’t have been so successful they’re coming back again 2021, like The Green Edit. The demand for the show is testament to how important sustainable, clean ethics in beauty and lifestyle brands are becoming. Professional Beauty talks to The Green Edit founder Cathy Tolpigin to find out what happens at The Green Edit, what she’s learned founding a new business (in a pandemic!) and why she chose clean beauty.

PB: Tell us about The Green Edit.

“The Green Edit is a platform dedicated to celebrating and promoting the best in clean, sustainable, ethical, cruelty-free beauty and lifestyle brands. We’re a digital platform consisting of two main channels: The Green Edit In-Person Event Series and our Green Beauty Directory + Digital Content Offering.

Our mission is to highlight brands doing the work, publish meaningful and educational content, plus facilitate connections between media, influencers, retailers, founders and conscious consumers. ​

We believe it is important to communicate our definition of clean beauty. We approach this from a holistic point of view to ensure brands are truly clean, green, ethical, sustainable and cruelty free. Only vetted brands that share the same values may participate at our event and display our “Loved By The Green Edit” stamp.

PB: What made you want to start this event? 

“I have been working in the fashion, advertising and beauty industries for over 20 years and as a makeup artist for the last seven. Initially I used conventional products in my professional kit. However, I was on a personal health journey transitioning to organic food. This led me to investigate and eventually switch my personal care and beauty products to all things natural, organic and cruelty free. It was this process that encouraged me to change up my professional beauty kit as well – I was passionate about inspiring my clients to make the switch to clean beauty, a space I knew from personal experience was really confusing. 

Professional makeup has to work under studio lights and last on long shoot days. I tried and tested hundreds of clean beauty products on various skin types and under different conditions. My experience was that when I found the right clean alternative, it worked just as well (if not better) than the mainstream counterparts. 

It took a lot of research, time, trial, error and personal investment, but in the process I discovered so many incredible brands and founders. I learned more about the processes involved and gained so much respect for those pioneering the space. 

It became apparent that there wasn’t really a platform to support, promote and educate on the topic of “clean” beauty in Australia. That’s where the idea for The Green Edit came from! We have a B2B and B2C offering, so we can inspire and educate consumers, whilst giving brand founders a loud voice.” 

PB: How do you think it’s different from other beauty events? Other trade events?

“The Green Edit event series is where we started, and it means so much to be able to continue in-person this year. Held at Terrace On The Domain in Sydney’s Botanical Gardens, it’s a unique and highly curated experience for brands, media, influencers and consumers alike. 

The event day itself is unique as it is broken up into three mini-events: 

The first event of the day is a trade event and is by invitation only, including key media, influencers and Australian retailers. Our Best Of The Green Edit Award is also back for its second year and 2021 winners will be announced on this occasion. 

We have secured an incredible and highly acclaimed judging panel of influential Australian and International beauty experts for the Best Of Green Edit Awards, including the buying team at The Detox Market; Jeannie Jarnot, founder of Beauty Heroes in California US; Erin Hawken from Nourished in the Netherlands; Yvette Wyeth from Active Skin Australia; Erin Norden Clean Beauty Market Australia; and Beauty Editor Emily Algar. 

Following the trade event, we have two ticketed consumer events where conscious consumers can meet brand founders, test and shop the best clean beauty products, listen to engaging panel discussions and engage in makeup masterclasses – all whilst enjoying organic wine, vegan canapes and organic beauty elixirs.

Exhibitors also have the opportunity to meet and connect amongst themselves, as we all enjoy lunch together prior to the start of the official event series. This has created the most wonderful sense of community, which continues long after the event.

Our other point of difference is that every single participating brand goes through an application process and is vetted to ensure it’s cruelty free, operates sustainably, utilises responsible packaging and is formulated without potentially harmful ingredients. This process is what we call our “Loved By The Green Edit”.

PB: What unanticipated challenges did you face when setting up the business?

“As there was no such event that existed, I was unsure exactly how many brands would be willing to participate, especially as I had not previously organised an event of such scale. I had no track record, no stats, no previous media or trade guest list, no record of consumer attendance. I hoped I would have at the very least 15 brands exhibiting, however we ended up with 42 brands and more on a waitlist! 

In the lead up to the event, Australia was also ravaged by bushfires, drought, floods and then COVID-19. It wasn’t exactly the best year to launch an event business but we pushed through. I was so grateful the event went ahead on the 12h of March 2020, and went into lockdown on a high.”

PB: What are some key things you wish you had known when you were starting out?

“Where do I start… launching any new brand takes time, and although I had some great connections in the green beauty space it was still a lot of trial and error.

When you run a startup, you have to learn and adapt quickly. You have to do everything yourself, from social media, managing a website, onboarding brands, creating a community of engaged consumers, packing gift bags, setting up displays, organising the venue and so much more.

Events are a risky business at the best of times with many variables, but this is even more so now with COVID-19. Sometimes you just have to hope for the best (and plan for the worst).” 

PB: Why are events like this important?

“The Green Edit is all about connection. To share and hear stories, and pass on knowledge is so inspiring. Face to face connection is so valuable in this industry. There were brands and retailers who had previously been in contact via email or social media, however meeting in real life gave them the confidence to move forward to officially solidify trade relationships. After the difficult year that 2020 was, we are all appreciating this even more.” 

PB: What can brands gain from participating?

“They can gain brand awareness and the opportunity to sit alongside other vetted and trusted industry players. Brands who participate at The Green Edit become part of a supportive community, and those who can’t participate in our event are still invited to join our online community via our Green Beauty Directory and digital media platform. We are passionate about giving brand founders a loud voice to share their story.” 

PB: How do you think trade events are changing/trending?

“Having spoken to many founders, I have heard that they have had difficulty connecting with the right people and standing out at large scale, expo-style events. These bigger events also often come at a large cost, which is a roadblock for many. As travel is limited, this also prevents international buyers from attending Australian events, so we need to be more creative in providing these connections and distribution opportunities.”

PB: How do you think the pandemic has changed the industry?

“The pandemic has shown us that there are things completely out of our control and that having a back up plan is essential in all aspects of the beauty and event industry.

The pandemic and lockdown restrictions saw online shopping for beauty consumption at large increase in skincare and self-care rituals as a means of escape. Sales of colour cosmetics decreased significantly given the realities of working from home and mask wearing.”

PB: What are you most looking forward to with The Green Edit this year?

“I am very much looking forward to seeing everyone in person again, from brand founders participating at the event, to media, retailers and consumers. The vibe at the last event was magnificent – I still have people telling me how amazing it was. I can’t wait to see it all unfold again!” 

PB: What is new and exciting that you didn’t have in your inaugural year?

“As part of the event series, we are offering brands the opportunity to book into a workshop space so that they may connect with consumers and guests in a more intimate way, be it via skincare ritual, makeup application or wellness workshop. 

For The Green Edit awards specifically, we have secured an incredible and highly acclaimed judging panel. There will be 12 winners and we can’t wait to see where this leads them. 

There will be new brands exhibiting and some exciting new product launches we can’t wait to reveal as well! 

We are hard at work behind the scenes on many other things too, so watch this space!”

Early bird tickets to The Green Edit (Thursday, 9 September 2021) for $39 are on sale now. Get yours here.

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