Ahead of the pack: In Conversation with Emma Lewisham
In Conversation

Ahead of the pack: In Conversation with Emma Lewisham


Emma Lewisham has been breaking ground in the beauty industry with her beautiful formulas and future forward sustainability approach. As a fellow Kiwi Female founded and led business we knew we had to include Emma in our In Conversation series. 


How and why was Emma Lewisham born?

The seed for Emma Lewisham was planted when my doctor warned me against using certain skincare ingredients. Having recently lost my mother to cancer and hoping to become pregnant, my health was on my mind, however, it wasn’t until this conversation that I had considered this to include skincare. 

I began looking for formulations that were evidence-based and natural, so I didn’t have to compromise. I was used to using high performing, luxury products and quickly discovered that natural, evidence-based skincare didn’t exist. Having discovered the work of Nobel Prize Winner, Frances H. Arnold, who recognised that nature was “the best bioengineer in history”, I became determined to unlock the efficacy of nature in skincare.

Having simultaneously discovered the unprecedented level of waste the beauty industry is responsible for, I knew that from inception Emma Lewisham would take responsibility for everything we produce, both offering refills for every product as well as bringing back empty packaging to be refilled through our circularity initiative, the Emma Lewisham Beauty Circle.

What makes Emma Lewisham different from other skincare products in the market?

I believe what makes Emma Lewisham unique is 3-fold.

Firstly, we formulate skincare fundamentally differently, taking a skin physiology-first, rather than ingredient-led approach. Developed by physiologists for the complex physiology of the skin, our proprietary Physiology Synchrony Unlock (PSU) Method™ mirrors the way the skin works by blending up to 25 evidence-based ingredients that trigger synergistic action across multiple skin pathways in symphony.

Secondly, is the unparalleled independent scientific grade testing, that validates the performance behind every one of our products. This testing regularly finds our products to outperform industry leaders in their categories, proving nature’s ability to deliver superior results. Our natural formulations are at the very forefront of scientific innovation.

And thirdly, we are truly leading the way in transitioning the skincare industry to one that is more sustainable. As a registered B Corporation and the world’s first certified Climate Positive and 100% circular skincare brand, we are proving that operating sustainably and taking responsibility for everything we produce is not only possible but prosperous. Our sustainability achievements garnered us a personal endorsement from Dr Jane Goodall.

What does being B Corp Certified mean to you?

As a founder, I feel a huge responsibility to ensure that my business leaves a positive impact on every person it touches as well as leaving a positive impact on our environment. Not only am I, and my team, relentless in developing the very best products in the world for our customers, but we are also determined to do so without compromising on our values. We believe in a beauty model that is thoughtful and transparent. Where we have a positive impact on everyone in our supply chain and reduce waste and carbon emissions through a circular, carbon positive model. It our North Star to deliver products that work, are good for our customers, and the world around us. Being B Corp certified both validates our dedication to using our business as a force for good and welcomes us as part of a community of likeminded businesses. 

You were one of the first, if not first, beauty brands to launch refills.  Was having refillable skincare something that you wanted to be part of the EL brand from the outset?

Yes, absolutely. From inception, I knew that if I was to launch a skincare brand, it would be one that was refillable. After discovering the amount of waste that the beauty industry is responsible for, I knew we had to champion a better way and demonstrate that it was possible. Our industry-leading circularity programme, the Emma Lewisham Beauty Circle, is a global takeback programme that enables all our products to be returned, refilled and reused. This keeps our packaging in circulation, minimising waste and reducing carbon emissions by up to 74%. Any packaging that cannot be refilled is recycled through our specialty recycling partner.

Were there any lessons from the certification process and if so how did you go about implementing improvements and were there any new initiatives to come from this?

Due to the genesis of Emma Lewisham, our certification process was reasonably smooth however following certification we have implemented a cross-functional sustainability working group to work on continuous improvement, particularly across our circular and carbon positive initiatives.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

The best advice I’ve received is ‘never let anyone tell you that something isn’t possible.’ When we were starting Emma Lewisham, so many people said it wasn’t possible. That we could never compete with the huge luxury skincare brands already in market, let alone with natural products or ones that were circular. However, I was determined to prove that it could be done. Today, we have world-leading independent testing behind each of our products that consistently proves natures superiority in delivering results, and our refills are our best-selling products, proving that refillable, circular models are commercially viable and there is a natural appetite for it on the market.

Running a business is a constant juggling act, what does managing wellbeing look like to you?

I try to nourish my body and internal health by eating a variety of healthy food, drinking lots of water and taking probiotics every day. I also try to be consistent with my daily exercise and meditation practice. I also think spending time with my family and friends is invaluable for my wellbeing, there is nothing more powerful and nourishing than human connection.

Check out Emma Lewisham's website here