Subscription Box 010
Welcome to your first virtual newspaper. As with everything we do at Haeckels, this is a stale of evolution and iteration dictating all that we do. We are not perfect, far from it, but every day we push ourselves further, change things for the better and continue on our mission to do good and leave no trace (whilst making great products).
We loved doing our monthly newspapers – we love the tactile nature of them, the fact they could be kept and the pages poured over – but we knew that their time with us was probably going to be short, as, after all, they’re printing on papers for paper’s sake.
Telling stories is at the heart of what we do – it’s that unique thread in which everything has a story because we put so much thought into what we do. Don’t get us wrong, it’s not all romantic (it’s chaos behind the scenes). But those stories always felt they deserved to be written down and shared.
And that brings us to our new virtual paper, driven by the QR code you have presumably scanned to get here. It’ll be more of the same, just that bit better for the environment.
Of course, you’re not here for the story of how we took a newspaper virtual (groundbreaking); you’re here for the products that you find in that little green box in front of you. This month, we have an olfactory surprise: something for the lips and something from the lab to try. Come on then, dive in.
Fragrance is one of those things that continues to allude to us. We have nine natural fragrances that we’ve had almost since inception. Each fragrance is a delicate story of discovery and adventure, love and wander foraged from around the Kent coastline, from beaches to graveyards.
Each fragrance has a GPS code telling you where you can physically go and discover the very essence of the scent you’re holding.
So why is it so elusive? Many fragrance houses have only a handful of scents, and that’s it. It’s all they talk about. You go to that house specifically for fragrance, not skincare. If they were to start talking about skincare suddenly, you’d be put off. And so it is with us when we talk about fragrance; it’s hard for many of those who buy our skincare to make that jump.
And that’s why this box is so good for us – as we can present you with something, and you’re sort of forced to take it in. If that sounds a little macabre, it shouldn’t. It’s why we made this box – we have so many stories, so many great products, that it’s hard to find them all.
This month, you have a first – a roll on fragrance. This one is Pegwell, one of our bestselling fragrances.
The theme for the first couple of months of this year for us are balance – creating systems that can unify the brain/skin/gut axis. You can see that physically in our stores with the launch of our liquid nutrition supplements (launching online soon). But there’s also a link we make with our existing product systems, be they skin systems, fragrance or body.
Fragrance affects the brain in multiple ways – most of which are untested as they play on emotions, but a few studies are starting to come out about just how much they can impact us. Pegwell is rooted in nostalgia. Nostalgia is an itch you can’t place, a longing for the past, an ache in the heart. Smelling something can take you to a feeling, not a place, and that is exactly what Pegwell was designed to do.
Pegwell has the following notes:
Top: Sweet fennel, Birch
Heart: Juniper, Black pepper
Base: Vetiver, Musk
You can roll this new perfume on at your pulse points, on your neck, and anywhere else you want to smell great.
Now, a load of perfume brands are saying they’re plastic-free, but they’re talking about the lid, not the actual method of distribution – the atomiser. It’s made up of multiple parts of plastic, so it is incredibly difficult to recycle. It’s greenwashing to say that.
Roll-ons are slightly better because they have a ball method of distribution, and the cap and insert are made of mono-material recycled plastic, which is much easier to recycle. Still not perfect, but getting there.
The roll application lends itself better to the heart and base notes rather than a spritz, so Pegwell will smell different on your skin than our usual applicators. It’s a fun test, maybe something we’ll roll out, or maybe something we’ll iterate on. If you’ll pardon the pun.
We just don’t know what to do with our fragrances as a whole. Do we keep them, iterate them, or shelve them? We’d love your help in deciding what to do. Our nutrition team are already eying up the room they’re manufactured in, but it feels a shame when our fragrances are so good. Let us know!
Next, we’re including our vegan lip balm. Many moons ago, we had a lip balm made with beeswax, and it felt like an illegitimate child in our lineup for too long. It came in a lovely little gold tin, but talk to our manufacturing team, and they can confirm that its looks far outperformed its functionality, from both a manufacturing perspective and a useability perspective.
In a post Algae Plump world, we knew we had to upskill the rest of the old lineup to sit next to the new boss. So we turned our eyes to our lip balm – we wanted to create a vegan plus version, so a better version in every way.
We were still in the thick of lockdown, and during this time we set up a little testing community called the Blue Mind Collective. We used to send this community samples of future products for them to review, for us to collate feedback and see what we should put into production. It was the first step towards this new subscription community.
Doing every single thing in-house can create products and great stories. Not only do we make all the products and take all the photos, but we also use our team as models in most of the shoots. So a Slack message was sent out in our general chat (slack is like MSN messenger for those who don’t use it – think instant communication) looking for models to take part in a lip balm shoot. Some of the London team looked to take part, so we dutifully set up the house in London for a shoot.
The idea for the shoot was an homage to the famous – infamous? – “Got Milk” campaign, where celebrities spill milk all down themselves. There was a reason, though – for the first time, we were including a form of hyaluronic acid in the formula, so the product was designed to hydrate and plump the lips. The effect was that it was like a tidal wave of water hitting the lips with all-day-long hydration.
So there we were, dutifully pouring custard and condensed milk over and down some of our unsuspecting therapists’ faces on the balcony of our new London house.
And we got the photos back…and sadly, they were never to see the light of day – one need only imagine the accidental sexual nature of them.
In light of this, we launched with a single picture of the new lip balm, and it sold quite well.
The actual balm itself is harder than you might expect, so it needs a little bit of work to warm it up – rub your fingers over it in circular motions, and it will begin to form a nice gel for your fingers. Apply to your lips, and away you’ll go.
We add peppermint oil in there good for measure. It’s a really good lip balm – it’s also in fully home-compostable packaging. We really hope you enjoy it.
Now, the sample. The aforementioned problem we have with atomisers is that they are incredibly hard to recycle. Our commitment to not making packaging decisions that impact the Planet often interferes with our product development process in a cool way. Still, we imagine in a way that doesn’t affect other brands.
You have a Haeckels Lab Toner as this month’s sample, but it was a mist during development. Mists and toners are neither here nor there for differences, but we were sampling it in a little vial with an atomiser, and we’d be repeatedly spraying ourselves at almost any time of the day.
Having relaunched Haeckels Skin in compostable packaging, we knew that introducing an atomiser that would sit alongside this groundbreaking material would do a disservice to both our commitment to packaging sustainability and also a disservice to the rest of the lineup.
So we changed it to a toner. We absolutely love it internally (some of us, guilty as charged, do still carry it around as a mist) as it’s an excellent product.
It uses our spiraglow extract, a fermented algae that we grow in bioreactors in our lab in Margate. Spiraglow has been bioengineered by us to hydrate, calm and moisturise the skin, to promote a healthy microbiome through pH maintenance.
We grow Spiraglow in lab conditions in custom bioreactors to enhance the bioavailability of the algae; this means we can achieve a more consistent and pure extract, reaping the benefits for the skin.
Our toner contains niacinamide, which is a form of the protein B3. Niacinamide minimises the appearance of pores, reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and promotes skin hydration.
This toner has been designed to boost skin hydration by improving barrier functions.
To use, morning and evening, splash onto a cotton pad or directly into hands, pat onto freshly cleansed face and neck, and leave on as the base for serums. Think of this as a practical base for your skincare regime. (Or if you’re like us, decant into an atomiser and spritz throughout the day).
So there we have it, box 010 in all its glory. Doing these boxes brings an element of reflection every month. An enormous amount of pride goes into everything we do, and we love sharing these stories.
These stories only form the top of the iceberg for the work we’re doing behind the scenes. For every yes, there’s a thousand no’s. We’re constantly iterating, evolving. Thank you for being a part of our journey. Together we’re doing great things.
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