Before Laney Crowell founded the cosmetics company Saie, she devoted her time to Big Beauty. After working for Elle and Lucky magazines, Crowell spent about five years working in communications at Estée Lauder Cosmetics. “I really got to see the inner workings of the best of the best, which was the most incredible learning experience,” said Crowell, who is based in New York.
Still, she was somewhat let down by some elements of the beauty industry, due to the use of harsh chemical ingredients, the negative environmental impacts of the industry, and the mental health damage associated with promoting beauty. narrow views of model beauty.
“I went with this really big idea to make beauty a little bit better,” she says.
While running a beauty blog, Crowell had bins full of samples of clean hair and skincare products, but noticed there was little makeup. She wondered why and took her questions online. “I spiced it up [people] with questions ranging from “What would you create if you could create anything?” What brands do you like? What are your weak points? »
The result of his questions was Saie. The name, Crowell says, comes from “our community saying what they want”.
Since its inception in 2019, Saie has risen to prominence online and welcomed the support of major investors. Crowell, who won the Marketing of the Year award in Women’s clothing 2021 Beauty Inc Awards, has made Saie the ideal of what she thinks beauty can be, focusing on clean ingredients, luxury, high-performance formulas and a down-to-earth philosophy.
Crowell says clean, mostly vegan products are important to her because she had acne when she was younger, which was made worse by the skin products she used. “It took me a long time to realize that the cleaner the product I used, the better my skin was.”
Everything is chosen with care, from formulas to models with different ages and skin types. (Crowell’s grandmother, now 100, starred in a campaign that went viral last year.)
“We create products that rival any other brand on the market,” says Crowell. Earlier this year, the brand launched at cosmetics retailer Sephora online and in-store. (The products are also available on Saie’s website or featured at retailers like Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop lifestyle portal.)
Saie started with just four essential products needed to “look great really quickly,” says Crowell, but now offers a dozen products. These include liquid blush, lip balm, lip gloss, and sunscreen.
One of the originals, Mascara 101 (US$24) is a clean, flake-free mascara with a special hydra-mineral complex. Crowell describes Saie’s products as “predominantly vegan” because the mascara contains ethically sourced beeswax.
Viral hit The Glowy Super Gel Highlighter ($25), which is about 75% water, provides what Crowell calls a “beautiful look lit from within.” It is offered in bronzed Sunglow or champagne-colored Starglow shades.
Slip Tint ($32 USD) which won a Seduce The Best of Beauty award, among other accolades, is a tinted, dewy moisturizer with SPF 35. Available in 14 shades, it features hydrating ingredients like sweet pea and other natural touches like licorice for brightening.
“The best way to think of all of our products is luxury skincare with pigment,” says Crowell. “You do great things for your skin when you wear them.”
WHAT IS THE GOOD?
It can be difficult to be green in the cosmetics industry due to packaging requirements, especially when a small brand is growing. But Saie participates in a number of environmentally conscious initiatives to reduce its footprint. “We look at everything through this lens, how can we have the smallest possible footprint on the planet,” she says.
Saie is partnering with plastic credit platform rePurpose Global which is removing plastic from the oceans of waterways. Because of this, Saie removes twice the amount of plastic it creates, allowing it to be certified plastic negative. The company also tries to avoid virgin plastic, in favor of recycling where possible, Crowell adds. (The company also partners with Pact, a nonprofit collective that recycles beauty and wellness packaging mailed to them or dropped off at retailer drop-off points.)
Crowell is also proud to work with 1% for the Planet, where the equivalent of 1% of gross sales is donated by member companies to environmental non-profit organizations. Currently, Saie supports coral restoration through this initiative, a cause close to Crowell’s heart. (She loves scuba diving and has done so while traveling the world, including Spain, the Caribbean and Southeast Asia.)
Saie is not only carbon neutral, but is also part of the Carbon Neutral Club, a collection of companies that fund high-impact carbon offsets to also cover the footprint of their employees.
The future of the company is currently taking shape in the cosmetic testing laboratories. “We really take pride in creating formulas that are totally new to the market,” says Crowell.
A few times a year, Saie asks consumers directly what they are looking for. Hydrabeam the concealer (US$26), which acts as an eye cream and concealer in one, is one such development. “It took us two years to perfect this formula,” says Crowell. Earlier this year, it launched after being requested by customers for just as long.