During his recent visit to Australia sharing organic skincare trends and educating media on the EmerginC brand, Professional Beauty caught up with founder Ian Lirenman to chat about how an organic business begins from the heart.
Ian founded EmerginC in 1996 with one product manufactured in his Manhattan studio apartment. A lover and preserver of nature who sees himself in a position of responsibility – Ian dedicates equal parts of his time creating effective skincare and giving back to the earth.
How do you integrate EmerginC’s eco-friendly philosophy into the everyday operations of your business?
We run our offices on wind power, we buy it from the grid. Our lab, where the majority of our products are manufactured, run on wind power. The paper and packaging we use is from sustainable forests – we use vegetable inks. Our product bags are made of stone paper and they are biodegradable. In our office we have a composter. We also have a yoga teacher come once a week. We plant vegetables on our rooftop. Our green vision is our culture and the way we run our business.
What environmental initiatives are you involved with?
In terms of environmental initiatives we were the first to come up with ‘buy one product plant one tree’ program. We plant a viable indigenous tree in a non-harvest location for every single retail product that we sell. We’re sponsoring projects in Nepal and Madagascar right now, and those are countries that need trees and rely on them for food sources. No matter where you are in the world, if you buy a product, we plant a tree on your behalf.
What are some upcoming projects for EmerginC?
Something we’re launching in the next few months is EmerginBees. Bee colonies worldwide are collapsing. In the US, it’s catastrophic. It’s because of all the pesticides and loss of habitat. We’re launching a program where people who purchase our products will get seed bombs. Seed bombs are small balls of clay and compost and you basically just have to chuck them where there is earth or push them into the ground and they’ll grow at the appropriate time. This will create habitat for birds, bees and butterflies. I think of these ideas as mind-bombs. They’re incredibly simple but impactful – they make a difference and they also get people participating.
Something we launched last year in the US and will be launching in Australia in the next few months is the EmerginSeeds campaign. Basically, we give a pack of organic lettuce and rocket seeds with every order. What it says to the consumer is: “you don’t have to buy stuff with pesticides on them, you can grow it yourself”.
Why do you go to such lengths to ensure your products and business are sustainable?
I wanted this brand to be a human being. I didn’t want it to be just taking, I want it to be giving back. I want the brand to have a social conscience and to be leveraging for some kind of social good. We’re not being preachy about it or self righteous. We’re trying to create some social good and meaning out of our brand.
Many Australian beauty professionals and consumers are skeptical about ‘green’ and organic skincare, what do you make of that?
The issue we have run in within the Australian market is people’s perception of organic. The fact that organics is driving our business in every country but Australia makes me believe that it exists here, but you have to find the right way to do it. If anybody’s going to do it – it’s us. It’s harder when you’re a leader because you have to change perception. That’s one of the challenges in the Australian market. There’s a resistance.
How do you plan to engage with salon owners?
The proof is in the pudding. You can tell anybody anything. You might convince them one time but they won’t come back. First of all there has to be openness to it. They need to know the Australian market is behind in this thinking. Go give them a facial (salon owners), give them some products, let them see it for themselves. The beauty industry is also wellness – it’s not a separate package.
For more information visit https://www.inskincosmedics.com.au/cosmedic-products/emergin-c