Meet Felicity Evans, founder of Byron Bay ingestible and skincare brand Imbibe
Here, Evans shares more about the philosophy driving her Byron Bay-based business, the importance of producing in Australia and her entrepreneurial journey.
Tell us about when you started Imbibe and how the idea came to be what it is today?
“My motivation for starting Imbibe was honestly to just get well again. I had developed an autoimmune condition, was sick all the time and lacking the energy I needed to keep up with my two little girls. My fanatical, obsessive research very clearly led me to the importance of gut health for health, wellness and beautiful skin. I started making fermented probiotic drinks in my kitchen with my two young daughters and very quickly felt and looked a lot better. When friends started asking what my new secret sauce was and slipping money under my front door for my drinks, I knew I had to bring these products to more people.”
Imbibe’s products are 100% clean, natural, non-toxic, organic, cruelty free and made without harm to the environment. Tell us more about how these credentials guide your brand and product development.
“For me all this is the absolute base requirement for any company bringing products to market. How could it be any other way? This is what I start with first, and from there I build on the high performance aspects of the range.”
How are sustainable and ethical practices incorporated into your business?
“We have a long way to go, however we really have this as a cornerstone of our company values.
- We use 100% biodegradable and compostable packaging, and also glass.
- We offer a refill service for our customers in Byron Bay.
- We package and manufacture most of our range in Byron Bay to reduce carbon miles.
- We take all the soft plastics from the pallets and packing to our local Woolworths to be recycled.
- We compost all of our food scraps in our office.
- We deliver to our local partners on a bike (super cute!)
- We choose certified organic to reduce the chemical load as much as possible.
- In our warehouse, we have recycling, landfill, soft plastics and compost bins and everything is sorted accordingly.
That’s just the start and you can find out more here.”
What is the importance to you of being made in Australia? And why is it so unique in the beauty industry?
“Having our products made and formulated in Australia is so important as it allows us to support and give back to our local community and helps them to grow with us as we do. It’s hard in any industry to deny the appeal of competitive overseas manufacturing markets, especially in such an unstable economy, but we find it really rewarding. With Australian manufacturing, there’s also the bonus of being able to see, try and feel your products at every stage of their development, which ends up leading to superior products for ourselves and for our customers.”
What changes have you seen in the Australian beauty industry and the A-beauty category in recent times?
“There have been some really exciting changes in the Australian beauty industry lately, particularly in terms of ingestible beauty. When we started with Miracle Collagen we were one of the only brands on the market and now there’s some really amazing innovation going on. We’ve also seen that more and more brands are taking advantage of the amazing natural ingredients we have in this country. For our Skin Science Range, we really tried to champion the Australian landscape with our ingredients. Being able to source and use natural, locally derived alternatives to harsh chemicals that are still incredibly effective has been a really rewarding process and is still one of the elements of the range that I’m most proud of.”
What excites you about the potential and future of Australian-made beauty and skincare products?
“As I said above, we have some really amazing opportunities to innovate with ingredients in this country and we’re lucky to have a consumer market that really responds well and supports that innovation. I’m also really excited to see how the industry is rallying to become more sustainable and to respect our environment. I think in Australia we’re all so connected to the earth and our surroundings that we have a real opportunity to create lasting and impactful change in that arena.”
What is the one product you always recommend from your range?
“Our Miracle Collagen. It’s the highest quality collagen peptide that has over 3,000 5-star raving reviews. It’s clinically shown to stimulate fresh collagen in the skin and improve hair structure and make it more resistant to breakage by significantly increasing hair thickness and proliferation of human hair follicles. Its specific molecular weight makes it super bioavailable and bioactive.
From our skincare range, our Collagen Restore gel-serum is packed with certified organic golden kelp and 18 other meticulously sourced active ingredients for perfect skin-bounce and lustre. It’s a product I have to use twice a day.”
What has been the most rewarding part of being a business owner?
“Seeing our range literally change peoples lives and having such a supportive community of women we serve.”
And what has been the most challenging?
“I don’t have enough time to land it all here! Haha! Challenging things happen daily—suppliers letting us down, getting trolled on Facebook (it happens!), the struggles that growth brings. On a personal level, being a wife, mother and business owner with no close family support has been super tough. It means the days are long and complex. But hey, I'm blessed and so grateful for everything I have.”
Felicity Evans, founder of Imbibe