Meet Valerie, the founder of KLEI Beauty, a 100% natural, sustainable, plant-based skincare company based in Brooklyn that makes masks and scrubs for all types of skin. Each component of her products, from the packaging to the ingredients, is considered from an ethical and sustainable point of view. We interviewed her about the motivation to start KLEI Beauty, the importance of using ethically-sourced ingredients, and the future of the all-natural beauty industry.
What inspired you to start KLEI Beauty?
I have always loved messing around in my kitchen, and using natural ingredients to create new beauty concoctions. I had a reputation in school as the girl who would suggest putting mashed avocado in your hair (v softening, but just might clog your shower drain). So after recently starting a new job that I felt like wasn’t enough of a creative outlet, I started to put more effort into researching and coming up with new, all-natural formulations. My friends and family loved the products that I would gift them over the holidays and on their birthdays, and I felt like I should take my products to the next level, and make them available to everyone!
Why did you feel it was important to have another natural brand in the beauty market and what makes KLEI stand out from other brands?
I think that there can never be enough brands that make natural, earth-friendly products. My dream for KLEI is to constantly challenge myself to find better, more sustainable practices, and I want that, along with my products, to be what sets KLEI apart. I feel that without using sustainable packaging along with natural and ethically-sourced ingredients, you aren’t making much of difference. And it’s so interesting to learn about new earth-friendly packaging options! The coolest things I’ve come across so far, and have started to use, is compostable plastic for sample packets, and shredded seed paper (that you can actually plant!) for packing boxes.
What are some benefits of the natural ingredients you use in your products?
My formulations are made with different clays and natural botanical ingredients. Clay has been used in beauty formulations for ages, because it’s just such an amazing natural cleansing and clarifying substance. I work hard to research the benefit behind each ingredient, and to make each formulation as concentrated as possible, so you can get the most out each product, every time you use it. No fillers, no bs. My favorite ingredient to work with right now is hibiscus powder. It’s a natural source of AHAs, which exfoliate the skin. It also turns bright purple once wet, which is so fun.
Who are your products targeted towards/who can benefit from them the most?
I aim to make products for everyone, for every skin type. We live in the age of inclusivity! Products should reflect that, and brands should understand that one-fits-all does not, in fact, fit all.
What's your favorite product on the market now?
So hard to say, there are so many amazing natural products out there right now! My friends over at Botanisch make amazing all-natural home and body fragrances. I spray my RESURRECTION Haus Spray on absolutely everything. Another fav of mine right now is Farmacy - not only because of their amazing products and how well they work, but how they source their ingredients and invest in the farming community in upstate NY. They’re a huge inspiration for me right now.
What do you think the future of beauty products looks like?
The natural beauty and skincare market is just going to keep growing, at a projected rate of 8%-10% per year - it’s actually set to double in size over the next eight years - which is amazing, considering the volatility that other markets are experiencing right now (I work in fashion, and let me tell you, it is no bueno). I think that brands are going to offer more and more earth-friendly products, and (hopefully) rethink and retool their production practices to be more sustainable. The US is the second-largest global polluter, right behind China. But unlike the US, China did not withdrawal from the Paris Climate accord. So it’s up to US companies and the individual state governments to step up and do something, if the Federal government will not. I really hope to grow KLEI, and be a part of the solution!
Thank you, Valerie!