The Ethical, Sustainable and Transparent New Beauty Brand, Overt Skincare
By Robin Tolkan-Doyle, Beauty Editor
According to DoneGood.co, Americans give around $400 billion in charity each year, simultaneously spending $130 trillion on everyday items. That's almost three times as much money on stuff, much of it likely going to the profit-driven brands of big corporations that aren't directly involved in helping the world become a better place to live. Could you imagine if even a small percentage of that $130 trillion went to eco-friendly brands that focus on keeping our land, air and water clean, and companies with transparent supply chains that pay fair wages free of trafficking or child labor? It would be life-changing.
So when I first learned that 10% of all sales from Overt Skincare's incredible serums, is donated to fight slavery and human trafficking through Anti-Slavery International, I got excited because their products are pretty f-ing incredible. Not only that, Overt's entire business platform is about transparency, efficacy, and charity with an intention to transform the beauty industry as we know it.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, the world really doesn't need another beauty brand. However, when it somehow helps in the grander scheme of things (and is, of course, effective) that's a brand worth paying attention to.
By being open (or overt) with their production processes, ingredient sourcing, distribution, and more, Overt allows consumers to feel secure in making the right choice not only for their skin, but for their morals, too. Their products are cruelty-free, and their primary and secondary packaging is sustainable and recyclable, They believe that if every company took the same steps they do to ensure ethical sourcing and supply chain integrity, much of what consists of modern-day slavery would not exist.
So what IS Overt? Think of every skincare concern you've ever had and found out there was a high quality, active serum perfectly formulated for the specific issue that was also affordable (all serums run between $39-$49). Overt has you covered. The brand’s collection features five essential serums with hero ingredients such as 20% Vitamin C, Epidermal Growth Factor, Hyaluronic Acid, Copper Peptides, and Retinol, that were made using sustainably sourced ingredients to produce world-class, gender-neutral products packed with effective, proven ingredients without unnecessary fillers.
Parched? Use The Hydrator, an advanced Hyaluronic Acid serum quenching thirsty skin with organic Aloe Vera, Vitamin E, and Centella Asiatica to gently aid the retention of moisture.
Lackluster? Opt for The Renewer, their revolutionary plant-derived EGF (Epidermal Growth Factor) serum that accelerates the skin's renewal process with Soy Isoflavones and Peptides.
Spotty? Apply The Brightener to freshly cleansed skin each morning, which is packed with 20% Vitamin C to brighten and even your skin tone. It also contains powerful antioxidants to aid in the recovery of healthy, glowing skin.
Irritated and inflamed? Use The Restorer, a Copper Peptide serum to soothe and repair your skin's natural barrier by rapidly stimulating collagen production.
Crinkly? Pat on The Smoother, a 2.5% Retinol serum that reduces wrinkles and fine lines. It aids in the acceleration of skin cell turnover to target troublesome imperfections right at the source.
Recently, I had the opportunity to connect with Giselle Chirinos and Rory Semple, the adorable engaged couple behind Overt to learn more about how they got to where they are now:
Please tell me a bit about each of your backgrounds.
Giselle: I was born and raised in Lima, Perú and hold a Bachelor of Science in Economics. I believe this has given me a deep understanding of the consumer and also brand positioning and placement. However, my fascination with skincare comes from my grandmother. When I was little, I spent a lot of time at her house and I saw how much she believed in natural products and remedies. She was my first encounter with “natural and clean” beauty, and she was one of my inspirations when creating Overt.
Rory: I was born in Scotland and promptly relocated with my family to Hong Kong. During the handover, we moved from Hong Kong to the United States where I really “grew up”. Growing up, I always focused on different entrepreneurial ventures, some minor, some a little more major. I always found the idea of value propositions and selling points fascinating. I love consumer psychology and think some of the things we are just beginning to discover are incredible. I hold an MA (Hons) from the University of Edinburgh and a master’s in management from IE Business School.
How did you two meet?
Overt: We met in business school in Madrid. We were both in the same class, same work group. From the start we just clicked, and we became friends very quickly. After a few weeks, we started dating and we have recently got engaged. We have a new exciting chapter ahead of us!
What made you both choose to study in Spain?
Giselle: We both went to Spain to pursue our master’s degrees in marketing and Business. For me, Spain is the ideal bridge between Latin America and Europe. The people, lifestyle and culture are very similar here and in Perú, it feels like a second home! It is a lovely and easy place to live, and it helps that the food is great too!
Rory: I left Edinburgh with a desire to capitalize on my theoretical knowledge with something more practical. So I decided to go to business school in Madrid. It attracted me because I felt that I could spend the rest of my life in London should I choose, but Madrid was a completely different experience.
Do you reside there now?
Overt: Yes, for the most part. After our masters, we just fell in love with the city. Madrid is such an easy place to live, and the food, people and culture really resonated with us. Neither of us are Spanish, so we travel occasionally to visit family in the US, UK and Perú.
Tell me about your journey starting Overt.
Overt: We come from very different backgrounds, but we wanted to combine our expertise creating a company that had a special meaning for us. When we first met, we realized that something we shared was that we have both struggled with skin issues (and actually still do) and didn’t find products that solved our problems. From the start, we knew we wanted to create a direct to consumer brand that would empower the consumer by giving them all the information they need to make a good decision for their skin, and their morals too. Since we launched Overt, the response has been great. It has been very reassuring to see that people really like our core values and are supportive of our mission of bringing back accountability into the skincare industry.
What caused you to start a skincare line?
Overt: We have both struggled with skin issues in the past and failed to find a solution that was both accessible and effective at the same time. After a long time of trial and error, we decided we wanted to launch a skincare line because we all deserve to use products that will actually make a difference in our skin, and to feel confident and beautiful in it.
What is it about the products themselves that makes them different from the competition?
Overt: Our products are different in terms of formulation and because of what they represent. We focused on scientifically-proven formulations that don’t have any unnecessary fillers and we were also very careful with ingredient-sourcing. However, we try and go beyond the product and we put special attention on how we want the consumer to perceive them. We offer solutions to our community and want them to know that we are change-enablers. Every serum represents a change opportunity, not only to transform the skincare industry but to bring back accountability into the supply chain through Anti-Slavery International.
How do you keep the prices so reasonable?
Overt: We keep prices reasonable by being extremely efficient with the management of our supply chain while keeping the quality of the product very high. We work with strategic partners across the world to deliver exceptional customer experiences at a price that is reasonable.
I love your mission about transparency in the industry. Why do you think this isn't the norm?
Overt: We believe it’s not only about the end product, but also the journey. A lot of brands focus on delivering a product to their customers, but what they don’t know is how ethical is the process behind it: who made it, how were the ingredients sourced, what conditions were given to the workers, what their impact is on the environment, etc. Also, there is a common misconception that only cheap products are not manufactured in an ethical way and that is not always the case.
Can you give me examples of how you’re keep transparency with your customers now with production, ingredient sourcing, distribution, and supply chain?
Overt: We want to empower our community, and in order to do so we disclose all the information we can. When you visit our website, you will find information about our facility, our partnership with Anti-Slavery International, our commitment with sustainability and our team. We want to be transparent and create a bridge with our community.
When you make a donation to Anti-Slavery International, can you give me some examples of what they do with the money to help people get out of this exploitative world?
Overt: Anti-Slavery International is actually the world’s oldest human rights organization. A lot of work they do is to help companies examine their supply chains to identify potential areas of risk (i.e. cotton farming in Mongolia). They also do on the groundwork with community organizations and local governments to address the root causes of modern day slavery. An excerpt from their website explains this best: In Niger, it’s building schools and projects for communities that escaped their traditional masters, in Mauritania it’s providing education and microloans to women rebuilding their lives in freedom, or in Senegal, it’s working with whole communities to protect children from local schools from being forced to beg.