We all want our beauty and body products to be gorgeous to use and avoid containing any ingredients that are questionable for our health. But most of us would agree – they must be kind to our environment as well.
It’s just that identifying those products in order to shop responsibly, can sometimes seem like a full-time job. Trying to decipher the meaning and reality behind the (sometimes outrageously bold, or worse, vague) claims of clean ingredients, ethical sourcing and sustainability credentials can be hard work.
So imagine how much goes into creating a brand that commits to authentically and transparently meeting those claims, while also delivering on quality and a great price. It’s been more than a full-time job for the team that has done just that while redeveloping Only Good.
The brand’s hand and body washes have staked a claim to the counters and bathrooms of homes across New Zealand since 2015. But with changes behind the scenes and some more visible ones popping up too, the people behind the brand have been working to deliver an even better and easier choice. New formulas deliver a more luxurious and indulgent experience across the range and contain top natural extracts that care for skin. The natural fragrance has been developed to rival far more pricey players and the chic new bottles you’ll want to leave on display.
Previously owned by an Australian business, Only Good is now part of The Beauty Lab Collective, a family-run Kiwi business. Cara Lennan, New Product Development Manager and Tatum Dunster, Sales and Marketing Manager are the duo that have run with the challenge to transform Only Good for the better.
Why revamp the range?
Cara: As the new owners, we saw the opportunity to re-launch Only Good as the innovator and trailblazer that it is, with a heightened focus and dedication to clean, honest, transparent messaging and claims. We kept our “good inside and out” ethos top of mind while developing the new range, ensuring that every element was clean, safe, effective and sustainable. When formulating we chose natural and responsible alternatives. We also list what’s in (and not in) every one of our products. With that in mind our products are free from palm oil, parabens, and petrochemicals.
Tatum: We felt strongly about the level of greenwashing consumers are faced with. Unfortunately, consumers think they are making an informed choice when in fact words like ‘nature’, ‘pure’ and ‘natural’ are used to confuse the consumer. We wanted to ensure that everything about Only Good was as ‘good’ as it could possibly be, without taking any shortcuts.
What were some challenges you faced?
Cara: Hitting our non-negotiables in terms of natural and sustainable while meeting our pricing strategy. [In development] we considered trending ingredients, natural skincare extracts, formulation development, sustainable packaging materials, market and consumer research and data and insights. We realised that products that are clean and sustainable cost more to make, package and bring to market, but we know consumers will appreciate and value the attention to detail and being able to access a ‘department store’ luxury product experience via the grocery aisle.
Supporting local business was also hugely important, so our manufacturing, right through to our packaging, screen printing and even our cartons, is made right here in New Zealand.
Tatum: At every stage we were met with resistance. It’s not easy creating a truly clean product line that’s honest and affordable. As just one example, we went on an in-depth hunt to create a completely bespoke bottle unlike anything in grocery. It’s made in Auckland from fully sustainable 100% sugar cane. Unlike biodegradable or compostable plastics, it can go in your kerbside recycling! Our products and ingredients are also completely cruelty free and protect our waterways, they are safe for grey water use and safe for septic tanks.
Greenwashing is everywhere. How do you ensure your products stand up to scrutiny?
Cara: Because of the expense, many brands do cut corners or use clever marketing terms. With Only Good, we have Biorius Natural Certification on all of our products, which is an internationally recognised certification developed by scientists and regulatory experts, so consumers never need to second-guess what is in our products.
What are some of the ingredients you’re excited about?
Cara: All of the extracts we selected have skin health benefits and are derived from natural plant-based sources. I particularly love one of our handwash extracts, KeraShaft Q, that is derived from pea and soy protein and strengthens nails.
Tatum: Our fragrances, which are 100% natural and sourced from the fragrance capital of the world, Grasse, France. Synthetic fragrances are used in almost all grocery personal care brands and can act as endocrine disruptors, cause respiratory problems and allergic reactions.
Natural fragrance is very challenging. Not only is it very expensive but it’s challenging to create fragrances that are strong, memorable and unique. Cara and I tried hundreds of fragrances but we love what we have chosen! Among them are Peach & Honeysuckle and Vanilla & Geranium for hand wash and body wash, and Sage & Lime Zest for the antibacterial handwash.