A Beauty Brand That Gives A Damn
A beauty brand that gives a damn is Indigo and Iris' business motto - and it's working out perfectly. Founded by creative Bonnie Howland who at 18- dropped out of university to fulfil her dreams, Indigo and Iris has so far found its perfect vegan mascara formula in Italy, launched at NYFW and currently donating 50% of profits to a blind foundation (Fred Hollows Foundation) to combat blindness in the Pacific Islands.
In collaboration with the brain-behind-the-business Hannah Duder, the two have a budding, ethical beauty brand that's expanding- but one that's sticking to its animal friendly and charity focused values.
Aasha-Samara at Sauce had the privilege of chatting to Indigo & Iris founder Bonnie on her inspirations, the mascara product formula and what it's like starting up a business as a young woman.
Scroll down below to check out our Q & A! xx
01. "What’s the first thing you want people to know about indigo & iris?"
That although we are a more underground and smaller brand - our mascara is amazing. We spent years meticulously developing it, and we’re perfectionists. We know it is amazing that when you apply levitate mascara, you are playing a part in someone being able to see, but it is also damn good mascara that you’ll love just by itself.
02. "Was it difficult at all, starting up a brand as two young women?"
Yes it definitely had it’s hard moments/periods. But it is possible! You just have to make the choice to make it happen, no matter what! I did find it isolating and lonely before Hannah joined me after the first three years. Because I was so young (18) and I didn’t have much experience in business I often doubted myself and felt confused about the right steps to take. Although there were moments that were challenging as a young woman, looking back I see clearly that the biggest challenge was believing in myself! Once I fully had my own back, everything fell into place.
03. "Can you tell us the most exciting business opportunity Indigo & Iris has had?"
Launching at New York Fashion Week this year and meeting some of the world's most recognised brands was an incredible moment - like a pinch-us feeling. However just being able to work on indigo & iris, to be so proud of our baby and be so happy in our work and lives is the best. We love what we do and having the freedom to work on whatever you like at this age is awesome.
04. "What products should we be looking forward to?"
Beautiful palettes, hydrating gloss/balm, eyeliner, glitter and eventually everything you could wish for in a beauty brand! We will link these new products to new impact projects. So 50% of the profits from each product will help solve a different environmental or social issue.
05. "Who or what are the inspirations behind your first mascara product levitate?"
Levitate is about change and evolution, about going beyond. Whether that be in the way we do business and making social enterprise (having a positive impact on the world, as well as making a profit) a normal way businesses operate, or going beyond what you believe is possible of yourself. This was quite a healing process for me because as I got further and further towards making levitate a reality, I felt like I was breaking my own limitations and going so far beyond what I imagined from myself.
06. "Can you tell us about the production of levitate in Italy?"
I still remember the day I landed in Italy- I was on the scorching hot bus heading towards the place that ended up making our dream formula. I truly felt like I was on a huge adventure to make my dreams a reality! It took us years to find them because our requirements were so extensive. We needed the formula to be vegan, definitely not tested on animals, the highest quality and we had a huge blacklist of ingredients that we wouldn’t put into the formula under any circumstances. So working with them is incredible - they go above and beyond.
07. "50% of indigo & iris profits go to The Fred Hollows Foundation- why them in particular?"
We chose The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ in particular because they are truly great at what they do - plus someone being able to see again makes my heart soar every time. They are incredibly good at impact reporting and that is because what they do is very straightforward compared to a lot of other charities. They are increasing access to healthcare and changing not just the life of the person who gains their back their vision, but their family and community.
Itching to get your hands on a Levitate vegan mascara? It's available here, for $39 xx
Header Image | Indigo & Iris