Kiwi woman's bottle-free beauty business a hit

Brianne West (Supplied)
Brianne West (Supplied)

A 29-year-old Christchurch woman is committed to saving the world one plastic shampoo and conditioner bottle at a time with her successful sustainable business.

Brianne West has combined her bio-chemistry background with her passion for sustainability to create Ethique - solid beauty bars for the face, body and hair.

In 2012, Brianne was part way through her Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Canterbury when she found herself wondering why commercial shampoo and conditioners were made up of 80 percent water.

"Why put water in shampoo when there's already water in your shower?" she says, "Why contribute to the devastating effects of plastic bottles when you don't have to?"

Ms West says Kiwis throw away more than 50 million shampoo and conditioner bottles each year, which take more than 500 years to degrade in landfills.

Eventually, she founded Ethique after attracting initial investors through a university business competition.

"I'm not passionate about makeup, cosmetics or fashion. I love science and the environment and if I wasn't doing this, I would ideally be wading through the Amazon and studying the creatures that live there."

"I am insanely proud we've prevented 53,000 bottles from being made and disposed of thus far, and our next goal is one million. I've been able to use the skills I have to create a business that has a positive tangible effect on the environment and that feels amazing."

The range now boasts 32 products including cleansers, scrubs, moisturisers, self-tanning bars, and a men's shaving bar.

The Damage Control solid shampoo bar (Ethique)

In 2015, Ms West secured more than $200,000 in crowd funding through PledgeMe, which attracted the highest number of female investors in the site's history.

She works in a customised lab in Christchurch to create and manufacture the products.

"I'm passionate about the values Ethique stands for and the change we are creating in the world with products that are waste free, natural and effective," Ms West says.

Ethique's revenue has doubled each year and Ms West has attracted attention from the likes of Vogue, Elle and most recently Forbes.  The company was also selected to provide products for the sample bags of a sustainability event in the US hosted by President Barack Obama.

Ms West is excited for the future and wants to continue to encourage people to "give up the bottle".