BEAUTY Ere Pérez, the Mexican-Australian cosmetics visionary, remains at the forefront of ethical beauty. Jody Miller speaks with her
In the year 2000, clean beauty was a quaint idea. Reserved for tree-huggers and fruity granola types, it was far from the world of mainstream cosmetics. Those consumers who were determined and dedicated enough either found what they needed, or went without. Mainstream consumers either ignored the dangers of toxic ingredients, or preferred not to know at all. Times have changed drastically, and we can thank one of ethical beauty’s original trailblazers for paving the way to a world of eco-conscious cosmetics.
Born in México, Ere Pérez learned and practised indigenous beauty rituals from her mother and grandmother. After obtaining a degree in nutrition, Pérez was made all too aware of the toxicity in most over-the-counter make-up and skin products. After moving to Australia in 1999, Pérez formulated her own water-less mascara in her kitchen. It wasn’t long before she and her husband Juan embarked on a journey that continues to this day.
With offices in Sydney, New South Wales and Monterey, México, Ere Pérez is now one of the most recognized clean beauty brands, sold at retailers such as the Detox Market and Credo, in addition to the brand's own website. Formulated with pure plant extracts and super-foods, the Ere Pérez brand ethos is one of transformational beauty—skin rituals that allow every woman’s inner beauty to radiate via botanically powered products and a minimalist approach. You don’t need to put a lot of stuff on your face to radiate—the real beauty comes from within.
We had the rare opportunity to speak with Ere Pérez to discuss past and present passions, and the future of a carbon neutral lifestyle.
Lucire Rouge: You are a true pioneer in clean beauty. What was it like in the beginning when so few people were even aware of the concept?
Ere Perez: At the start, progress was slow. In the year 2000, a few clean body products had a presence in some pharmacies and health food stores. However, there wasn’t really anything available for skin care, and even less for make-up!
How did you educate yourself about clean beauty when there was so little information?
I educated myself by listening to my skin, my grandmother, and my mother. To avoid the need for parabens, I removed water from my mascara. I experimented with whole food ingredients, such as honey and olive oil in my kitchen, which do not contain water and therefore do not spoil. After trial and error, I created my first mascara using waxes and oils. Its formula remains the same today and is a favourite of beauty editors!
What challenges did you face? Were there many road blocks to getting the brand off the ground?
The first challenge I faced was understanding accounting. When my first customer asked me for an invoice, I didn’t even know what an invoice was! Additionally, my English was limited since I had arrived in Australia in 1999, and Ere Pérez Natural Cosmetics was founded in 2002. However, sales were not a problem for me since I love people and connect with others easily. An honest smile can get you very far!
Who supported you the most? Who gave you encouragement when it seemed like it could not be accomplished?
My husband was my biggest supporter! I also prioritize prayer and believe in the power of willingness, which gave me the faith and drive to continue. In the beginning, I did a lot by myself, but now I have an amazing team that helps in all the areas I was doing on my own.
How do you continue to create a quality consumer product without compromising your values?
Creating a quality consumer product without compromising your values can be challenging. It often involves higher costs and lower profits, but consumers can feel the difference and are willing to pay more for better quality. It’s important to prioritize quality over profits, even if it means taking hits along the way. At the end of the day, consumers appreciate good products and will return for more.
Define minimalist beauty.
Minimalist beauty is all about the less is more approach. It means using minimal product to achieve maximum results. We focus on creating multi-use products in classic, universal shades with weightless packaging that feature simple materials along with fewer or mono elements. We have removed 40 products from our line and replaced them with new products that are classic multi-tasters with minimal to zero waste!
Can you tell me about the wind farm in México? How is it funded and how does it help the local community?
Since 2016 we have been proudly certified Carbon Neutral. To offset our carbon emissions, we wanted something that incorporates our Mexican heritage, therefore, we chose to purchase our carbon credits towards a wind power farm in México. It helps generate clean electricity from renewable wind sources, to create carbon-neutral energy.
What more as a society can we do to lessen our carbon footprint?
Living a simpler life can help achieve this goal. By consuming less and making individual changes every day, we can collectively make a big difference for the environment.
Tell us about some of your newest products? Do you have a favourite?
I am proud of our refillable make-up wheel, which is a world-first in packaging! It is made from a single element—aluminium—and is the home of our insert-able pressed powders. This would be my current favourite!
Where do you acquire the ingredients for your products? Do any funds go to support charities or organizations?
We use simple kitchen ingredients, such as carrots, beetroots, corn, oats, and botanicals that are abundant in the earth. This is what we call ingredient dignity. We are all about making a social and environmental impact. Last month, we donated funds to conserving perrito de sonora, a beautiful animal that is facing extinction in the Mexican desert.
As a transparent company, how do you ensure all employees and workers are treated justly and the product is consistently top-quality?
At EP, we consider ourselves to be more than just a company—we are a family. We all care about the well-being of our working family, and each employee works hard to ensure that quality is at the forefront of all areas. This is why, after 20 years of our brand, we now have the tagline Made with Integrity. •
Jody Miller is a writer for Lucire and a co-founder of Lucire Rouge.
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