When the lockdown came, Aleph Beauty was prepared with e-commerce – then masks came and it introduced a new eye makeup line. Now the company’s biggest challenge is getting product to its growing customer base.

Online-based “conscious” cosmetics company Aleph Beauty had one of its best years when the pandemic hit. 

“We really saw an increase in customer base because we got to communicate directly with our customers who were all sitting at home waiting for a lockdown to finish,” founder Emma Peters says.

But the next lockdown later in 2020 wasn’t as fortuitous. 

“Masks started to become mandated and so people were covering most of their faces.”

Aleph Beauty expanded its range to create products for the eyes so customers could still wear makeup while wearing their masks.

“The mascara we launched sold out in five days.”

Over the past year the business also grew from a team of two to 14. And the “clean and conscious” beauty category also gained traction world-wide. These are products with chemical-free ingredients.

According to the Natural Marketing Institute, this “clean” customer makes up about 24 percent of US adults. They tend to be mid- to high-income, multicultural, urban, college-educated, and under 35.

Peters, a makeup artist, started Aleph Beauty to create a range of beauty products that were made of ethically sourced ingredients and environmentally friendly packaging. Her cream-based makeup products are in glass pots that can be mixed to create multi-purpose makeup.

“People are starting to become more conscious about what they consume and we’re at a pivotal point in terms of climate change awareness and action. There is still a lot of greenwashing. And it is impossible to have 100 percent clean beauty because the cleanest beauty is not having any beauty products on your face. So the best we can do as a company is vet everything we use and make the best decision considering the planet animal friendly.”

“We’re having to project way further out than we would ever have anticipated, which is very hard for a new business that only has a couple of years’ history.”
– Emma Peters, Aleph Beauty

But Peters says global supply chain issues have become Aleph Beauty’s latest biggest challenge.

“We’re having to project way further out than we would ever have anticipated, which is very hard for a new business that only has a couple of years’ history.”

But everything from the glass packaging to the extensively researched animal-cruelty free ingredients are becoming difficult to get, she says.

A survey by MYOB of 500 small businesses found more than two-thirds of the respondents were concerned about wider disruptions from the pandemic affecting their supply chain over summer.

Supply chain delays have thrown a spanner in the works for Aleph Beauty’s plans to expand into North America.

“Being a small business means we’re fluid and adaptable. Though it’s going to be less and less easy as we go into North America, we still have the ability to find tweaks we can make. And being mostly e-commerce based we can operate a little leaner.”

Having lower overheads means the company can spend more on quality ingredients without having to hike prices up, Peters says.

The August lockdown was also a blow to Aleph Beauty’s growth, slowing it down as uncertainty grew.

“I expect that over summer and particularly when we move to the orange level, and hopefully one day green, when people are wearing less masks they will get more excited about wearing makeup again.”

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