Beauty consumers are becoming more eco-conscious, with more and more shoppers demanding their products be organic, carbon-neutral, and sustainable. And it's not just major beauty brands answering the call. Sixteen-year-old Charlotte Kabelac created ReCoff, a beauty brand that makes shampoo, soap, and body lotion out of recycled coffee grounds.
"When I began learning about climate change and global warming, I became very interested and believe that this is one of our greatest challenges," Kabelac shares with Bustle about the inspiration behind the line. "We must start to seriously make changes. If I want to create a product, it must be eco-friendly because it’s our responsibility to treat the planet we are living on well for ourselves and future generations."
Because of this, Kabelac's entire line will focus on sustainability. Everything from the ingredients to the packaging will have recycling in mind.
Kabelac relocated from her hometown of Wiesbaden, Germany to go to New York City's Dwight School, which is a leading international school located on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. The high school has an idea incubator program called Spark Tank, which is where she first introduced her product line. ReCoff has one specific overarching mission, which is to be entirely green.
Her product line uses 100 percent organic ingredients and recycled packaging, focusing on cutting down on waste and giving your skin healthy, chemical-free ingredients. She plans to be in charge of every aspect of the business, from manufacturing to distributing to the selling chain to make sure that the eco-friendly mission doesn't get compromised along the way.
Kabelac chose coffee grounds as her star ingredient for one simple reason: Caffeine helps stimulate blood circulation and cell turnover, making coffee grounds the perfect material to help rejuvenate skin in the form of lotions and soaps. Not only does it refreshen your complexion, but it also helps maintain collagen and elasticity.
Currently, Kabelac's source for used coffee grounds is her neighborhood café in New York City called Muffins Cafe, where she hopes to share her product line when it is ready. If business expands, she may ultimately turn to a source like Starbucks.
In terms of packaging, she has skipped plastic and is looking at bottles made with thicker recycled paper, with an extra layer inside for shampoo.
Kabelac's vision is now moving from its conceptual stage to reality, thanks to support from a Spark Tank innovation grant that she received.
"Ideally, I’d like to begin with the launch of an online store and eventually extend ReCoff products through business-to-business initiatives, primary hotels, salons and spas. I’m hoping not to see my line in a store or on a shelf next to a product that doesn’t represent or share my values," Kabelac says.
While Kabelac's product line is still in the works, her initiative shows that the beauty industry's move towards sustainability doesn't have to be led by commercial brands. Budding entrepreneurs can take charge and create the change they want to see — no matter the age.