As reported by market research firm NIQ, “69% of consumers said sustainability has become more important to them over the last two years.” As savvy consumers become increasingly vocal in their demands for clean beauty products, the onus to produce and make ingredients for sustainable product formulations available falls on industry manufacturers like Genie Supply, Inc.
The woman-owned cosmetics manufacturer and beauty lab specializes in clean beauty products, and as detailed on its website, the company aims “for an EWG rating of 1-2 on our products with the Environmental Working Group.” To learn more about Genie Supply’s holistic approach to clean beauty manufacturing, we interviewed CEO Megan Cox for her insights.
CDU: Can you share some brief background about Genie Supply and the company’s relationship with the cosmetics and personal beauty care product industries?
Megan Cox (MC): Genie Supply is the beauty lab for entrepreneurs – a space born out of necessity. As a beauty founder myself, 10 years ago I was unable to find the most necessary resources for creating or scaling a beauty brand. Manufacturing for beauty was a black box.
But at the time, I was young, with nothing to lose and a thirst for knowledge. I pieced together a semblance of manufacturing for my first few production runs before moving to China in 2015 to go a level deeper on the manufacturing side.
I posted about my adventures and learnings on the company blog, and as word spread, beauty entrepreneurs began flocking to me for assistance. This is how Genie Supply was born, as a sourcing consultancy.
The first two years of consulting as a side gig to my full-time gig of running a beauty brand were a bit rocky, especially on the chemical side, but I was enjoying the challenges. So, in 2018, I decided to kick it up a notch and transform the company from a consultancy firm to a full-blown cosmetics lab.
Over the past six years, we’ve grown and scaled with our clients, servicing over 500 clients to date and manufacturing millions of units of color cosmetics and skincare products.
CDU: How does Genie Supply take a holistic approach to sustainability across the cosmetics and personal beauty care supply chain?
MC: We view all our practices through the lens of sustainability, from how we minimize waste in office spaces to the materials we use for sample packages to our ingredient library, formulations, packaging and excess disposal.
In our breakroom, we have communal food from reusable materials, and divvied recycling bins. The offices are the same. We begin by eliminating waste and end by recycling every component we use.
All packages are made with entirely biodegradable materials, from the cardboard box to the tape, labels, stickers, tissue, eco “green” wrap (instead of plastic bubble wrap), down to the “plastic” baggies that the samples come in. Everything we can, we biodegrade.
For packaging, we have swapped out plastic when and where possible, and if not possible (for example, a spray component on a glass bottle), we have options using our own 50% PCR packaging. Although we have a few options in stock, everything we offer can be custom produced with varying levels of PCR packaging.
All ingredients we use can either biodegrade readily or can be caught by water filtration systems. We prioritize using upcycled ingredients (those made from by-products of other manufacturing processes that would otherwise be disposed of) and plant-based alternatives to microplastics and other unsustainably produced or sourced materials.
Finally, if we have excess formulation at the end of production, we will often donate the formulation in unmarked containers to our local shelters, including both those for the unhoused and for domestic violence (for color cosmetics and personal care). This reduces waste while filling a real need in our community.
CDU: Regarding sustainability in the cosmetics and personal beauty care product industries, what pain points has Genie Supply worked to address for beauty brands in product manufacturing, formulation, packaging design, or labelling?
MC: We offer plant-based formulating services including upcycled ingredients to create more sustainable alternatives to classic beauty formulations, manufacture recycled and recyclable packaging materials for clients, and also offer biodegradable and eco-material labels and cartons.
We offer marketing details for all clients so they can speak freely to their clients about the highlights of the processes and ingredients involved.
CDU: How does Genie Supply differ from other industry manufacturers?
MC: We’re one of the newest labs in the US and are differentiated in many ways.
The top line is that we’re a lab for founders by founders. We offer low minimums and flexible manufacturing solutions that cater to founders at any stage.
Next, our ethical business and sustainability practices and diverse team help us stand out in the market and offer a partnership that brands can feel good about.
Our deep formulating talent within clean beauty also sets us apart. Not only do we have the cleanest, most planet-friendly private label selection on the market, but we also have deep formulating experience in plant-based, clean and eco-friendly formulations – which aren’t a fad. They’re here to stay.
CDU: What are Genie Supply’s plans for further innovation and development in the sustainable manufacturing space?
MC: We’re doubling down on our selection by offering plastic-free and microplastic-free formulations. We would like to move to full microplastic-free by 2026, which is much more difficult than it sounds.
We – and the brands we work with – want to reduce environmental impact, and microplastics in our water are causing issues across the board. Our impact may be small, but we’d like to start there.
You can also expect our range of sustainable and customizable packaging to expand soon.