Emma Lewisham on innovation & sustainable business advice

2 May 2022
By Fashion Quarterly

The homegrown beauty entrepreneur shares some sage advice and talks about her appointment to the New Zealand James Dyson Award panel of judges.

Emma Lewisham.

Innovation is integral to everything we do at Emma Lewisham…

I believe that there is always a better way of doing things, whether this is around sustainability, the efficacy of our products or the way we run our business. For me, across all areas of my business and my life, there is always more to learn, and always new science and innovation to inform the best way forward.

It’s important to always be willing to change and adapt, to know that what was the best way or the right way yesterday, may not be the best or right way tomorrow. So innovation to me is about always keeping an open mind, striving to be better and never settling into complacency.

The James Dyson Award is an incredible platform for talented young inventors to make a name for themselves and win financial support and recognition to take their ideas to the next level…

Something that really resonated with me was that the competition asks students to ‘design something that solves a problem’. As an entrepreneur who built my business to solve problems I saw in the beauty industry, I’m excited to see the solutions that everyone finds across their different areas. This is also the third year that the James Dyson Award crowns a Sustainability winner, so I’m really looking forward to seeing the Kiwi ingenuity in this area, particularly around circular-model designs.

It’s important to always be willing to change and adapt, to know that what was the best way or the right way yesterday, may not be the best or right way tomorrow. So innovation to me is about always keeping an open mind, striving to be better and never settling into complacency.

ADVERTISEMENT — ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW
ADVERTISEMENT — ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW
Emma Lewisham skincare.

The biggest obstacle we have overcome at Emma Lewisham has been developing viable solutions for our circular packaging…

At the time of our development, any existing refillable designs were patented by large multinational beauty corporations. We, therefore, delved into developing our own refillable solutions, which required significant investment in research, resources and time. Single-use packaging is the largest contributor to carbon emissions in beauty, so a sustainable future in beauty must be circular.

Despite our significant investments, we have actively shared our circular innovations and processes with other beauty businesses, as collaboration is crucial if we are to change the current model and play our part in mitigating climate change. I’m not interested in competition, I’m interested in creating meaningful and lasting change.  

If I could give one piece of advice around sustainability, it would be to follow what you know is right, not what you know is easy…

There will always be people trying to steer you in directions that might be more profitable, or require fewer resources or time, or whatever it may be – but always come back to your values and your vision and let this guide you. It won’t always be the simple path, but it will always be the most rewarding. Especially when you know that what you’re pouring your heart into is having a positive impact.

James Dyson built his company on invention and innovation, which is something I can strongly relate to…

I admire Dyson’s commitment to investing in the next generation of engineers and designers through The James Dyson Foundation and the resources and mentorship they provide for up-and-coming inventors with opportunities such as the James Dyson Award. Young people aren’t afraid to think differently and challenge the status quo so providing them with these opportunities to get their ideas off the ground is an invaluable way to support our sustainable future.

When it comes to clothing, I enjoy finding beautiful pre-loved pieces, and when buying new I always try to support local designers and artisans wherever I can…

I love buying clothing that is classic, high quality and will stand the test of time. Some of my favourite New Zealand clothing designers are Georgia Alice, Wynn Hamlyn and Harris Tapper. 

Now is the perfect time to give your beauty routine a green makeover. Discover our favourite sustainable Kiwi beauty brands right here.

Subscribe & Become an FQ VIP

As a Fashion Quarterly subscriber you enjoy exclusive content, giveaways, invitations to VIP events, and more.

Subscribe & Become an FQ VIP

As a Fashion Quarterly subscriber you enjoy exclusive content, giveaways, invitations to VIP events, and more.

Sign up to the FQ newsletter and WIN*

Get the latest fashion, beauty, and lifestyle news delivered straight to your inbox each week.

*Ts&Cs apply.

Find out more at fq.co.nz/fq-newsletter