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Brief Published: 1 May 2018

Instant Eco-Beauty: Store as Factory


Sustainable London beauty brand Ainsel emphasised its eco credentials with a pop-up shop that doubled as an on-demand lipstick factory (April 23-28). Titled Lip Lab, it produced made-to-order lipsticks on-site within 15 minutes.

Located in East London, no ready-made lipsticks were on sale in the space. Instead, visitors were given a glimpse into the complex world of beauty manufacturing, watching the whole step-by-step manufacturing process from start to finish.

To buy a lipstick, consumers had to pick their favourite colour from a menu of 17 shades. They then watched staff blend the ingredients and colours into a paste, before shaping the lipstick within the brand’s signature transparent acrylic packaging.

Known for its small-batch production, Ainsel wanted to address the beauty industry’s key issues of overproduction and wastage. According to the brand, the industry creates 120.8 billion units of packaging each year – and beauty products are estimated to account for one-third of all landfill waste (Ainsel, 2018).

To extend the customer relationship and encourage the recycling of packaging, consumers can receive a refill for 20% off the full retail price. Consumers drop Ainsel a message on Instagram to receive an address where they can send their empty lipstick cases. See also Reframing Sustainability.

For more on live and on-demand manufacturing, see Active Lives: Retail’s Spirit of Adventure and Adidas Redefines On-Demand.