I never would have suspected that I would end up running a business alongside my big brother William. We have always had such different personalities that I couldn’t have imagined a business that we would both have a shared passion for.
The fact that I have begun a career in skincare is no surprise at all, but the fact that the initial idea came from William is… hilarious! Who would have thought! Back in 2015, we had a thought: if we’re throwing away a cafetière full of coffee
grounds every morning, how much is going to waste from coffee shops all over London? A lot, as it turns out. So we decided to do something about it.
We began calling up coffee shops asking if we could collect their used coffee grounds. Coffee is brilliant for your skin. It’s packed with antioxidants, it’s a great microbead-free exfoliator and the caffeine works wonders on issues like eczema
and cellulite – it seemed like a no-brainer that we would elevate these leftover coffee grounds into quality skincare products.
When we sold out on day 1 of the London Coffee Festival just a couple of months after our initial idea, we knew we were on to something! The great thing about heading up my own company is that rather than having one clearly defined role, myself and William must fulfil ALL roles, which means my days are very varied. Of course, when we have a fully-fledged team around us then this will change, but until then we are here, there and everywhere!
Some days are almost entirely operations based; managing outgoing orders, manufacturing and delivery is a huge task and on some days it is all I deal with. On other days I may be out of the office all day, we do lots of shows and festivals and I get invited to speak at many events on topics such as sustainability, zero waste and promoting a circular economy. This is something that I may have found daunting in the past, but speaking to a captive audience about a topic I am passionate about is something that I have found increasingly difficult to be scared of! In fact, it is now one of the aspects of being a co-founder of UpCircle that I find most fulfilling.
The other thing that I absolutely love to do is research and develop new products. This is a task which I never really switch off from and often find myself thinking about a lot in the evenings or as I’m going to sleep. Our ethos is to use ingredients that would otherwise be discarded. We aim to show people that these ingredients still have a huge amount to offer us. If we can produce high quality, effective skincare products by promoting sustainability as our core message, our hope is to demonstrate that we can all be more resourceful, that we can promote a circular economy and to inspire the beauty industry as a whole to be less wasteful.
I am always looking to source and rescue skin loving natural ingredients otherwise destined for the trash heap. The most recent range that we have developed is a range of soap bars made from residual chai tea spices used to make chai syrups. Not only this, but building on the success of our coffee scrubs, we have now extracted the coffee oil from the used coffee grounds collected for our scrubs and have created a face serum from that oil. Exciting times!
We are at the stage now where companies are coming to ask us if there is anything that we can do with their natural by-products! It’s truly exciting and makes us feel like UpCircle has the potential to make a real difference.
As we finish our day William and I make sure to check in with each other with what we’ve been up to. We sometimes struggle with actually drawing the line and calling it a day! I live next to Battersea Park, so when I get in I like to go for a
jog around the park just to unwind. William’s wife Fran is a passionate cook and writes all our food-based blogs and social media content, if I’m lucky by the time I get back they might have some leftovers for me to get on board with!
I publish our evening social media content before finally getting cosy with dinner and blankets on the sofa, ready to catch up with my flatmate.