Luxury skincare and fragrance brand, ARgENTUM Apothecary, has recently been recertified with the Butterfly Mark and has improved its ESG+ score by 55%. We caught up with the founder, Joy Isaacs, to hear a little more about the brand’s background, ethos and their sustainability journey. Their latest product innovation, les parfums infinis, is a collection of fragrances inspired by twelve archetypes, using Water Plant Emulsion (WPE) technology, a sustainable alternative to traditional alcohol-based fragrances.
Congratulations on becoming re-certified with the Butterfly Mark recently! For anyone that doesn’t know ARgENTUM Apothecary, can you give us a little background to the brand and what you do
ARgENTUM Apothecary is the realisation of a dream I literally awoke from one morning, which inspired me to share the benefits of silver for skin health. The brand launched on the strength of one product alone – la potion infinie, which became our hero product. It’s a day and night cream with our patented formulation of silver hydrosol and DNA HP at its heart, but with an ISO calculation from natural origins of 99.2%. From there, the brand has taken on a life of its own, to encompass a full skincare range, fragrance, and lifestyle.
What is at the heart of your brand ethos?
Everything is about balance for us – the beauty in balance, whether that’s in skincare or fragrance. Both have a great power to uplift us or change the way we feel about ourselves beyond the surface understanding of beauty. From the very beginning, I was inspired by various psychological archetypes that we all express at different times, whether that’s the Magician to evoke transformation, or the Caregiver when we’re focusing on loved ones or our own self-care. These archetypes have been key to the brand’s trajectory and growth. Every product comes with an archetype card that’s been chosen at random and placed in the box, it’s a unique way to communicate and connect with our customers.
Through your recertification, you improved your ESG+ score by a very impressive 55%. Could you tell us a bit about the work you have been doing behind the scenes to progress ARgENTUM’s sustainability journey?
We made the greatest leap in improvement in our approach to environmental concerns. Having opened our first store in London, we knew that we would begin to have more of a footprint and we wanted to manage that in the best possible way from the start. We had our first greenhouse gas (GHG) assessment and will continue to monitor that as we grow. We also maintain a record of waste from the premises. The introduction of policies for screening suppliers and asking them all to sign our code of conduct is testament to how we look at the whole life-cycle in the creation of new products. That level of attention and detail is really important and is the definition of a luxury product for us.
Are there any improvements you have made to your business through re-certification that you are particularly proud of?
As a luxury brand, so much care is taken with each product that ensuring our supply chain is as transparent as possible has always been important to us. We nurture the relationships we have with our supply partners, but having 100% of them sign our code of conduct really exemplifies how serious we are about this and reassures the increasingly discerning customer. We live in a rapidly changing world that requires businesses to understand the impact they have and to take accountability. Our ethical agreements cover material social risks and mutually acknowledge that periodic audits and compliance reviews make sure that we’re all on track and on side.
The latest addition to the ARgENTUM range is a debut series of natural, alcohol-free fine fragrances, can you tell us a bit more about les parfums infinis?
les parfums infinis is a collection of fragrances that reflect the twelve archetypes – Creator, Lover, Jester, Everyman, Explorer, Caregiver, Sage, Magician, Hero, Ruler, Innocent, and Rebel. The concept had been incubating since not long after we created the signature scent of la potion infinie with perfumer Delpine Thierry. Delphine went on to create the entire archetype collection in a seven-year project that allowed space and creativity to capture the essence of each archetype energy, and then worked that into an alcohol-free formula that is kind to skin and hair.
Can you tell us about the decision making behind the ingredients used both in the fragrance and how it is presented? Were there any challenges with trying to incorporate sustainable thinking when creating this collection?
The alcohol used in fragrances is drying for the skin and involves a highly polluting denaturing process before it even reaches the bottle. Fragrance generally contains solvents too, which can irritate skin. I think people are reading ingredient lists more closely now and are concerned about the effects of what they put on their skin daily. These factors influenced our choice to use Water Plant Emulsion (WPE) technology, which is kind to skin and hair, as well as to the environment. Taking this route did have its challenges because the fragrances needed to first be created in the traditional format before being modified to work with this new patented technology, a long process, but well worth it.
More generally, can you tell us how the world of beauty and sustainability collide?
There are many ways that beauty and sustainability collide that are well documented, but I think there’s a lot to be said for understanding the connection between the microbiome and how it reflects our wider environment. The microbiome of the stomach has been a big focus for many years but we’re now understanding more about how that extends to the microbiome of the skin, which is of course, our largest organ. It’s a bit like the maxim ‘As above – so below’, everything is connected. We’re not separate from nature, we’re part of it, so any imbalance is reflected.
What’s next for ARgENTUM?
We’re excited to be building upon our lifestyle offering and will soon have both beauty and wellness treatments at our store in Notting Hill. Our ethos of discovering the beauty in balance in how we approach projects too, and as a luxury brand, a new product can be years in development. Less is more, and although we have some incredible products in the works, ARgENTUM will remain a very curated collection of skincare and fine fragrance.
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