From 1950s roadworks to starting UpCircle

  • 2 min read

Anna and William, the sibling co-founders of UpCircle Beauty

Q: So where did the idea for UpCircle (originally Optiat) come from?

William: It was a combination of three separate events, combining at the perfect moment, that created the initial lightbulb moment. Fate? Perhaps!

Firstly, my wife Francesca (on the left in the photo above) had bought us a cafetiere coffee machine for Christmas. We had just started getting into our coffee and thought we would try brewing our own.

Secondly, 15 pages into Sir Alan Sugar’s autobiography “What You See Is What You Get” he told the following story:

As a young boy I watched road-maintenance men digging up the roads and re-laying them, discarding the tar-soaked timber beams that had formed the roads before. I took the beams, chopped them up and sold them to my local corner shop as firelighters.

It was the concept of taking a product that would otherwise be discarded and transforming it into something valuable that stuck with me.

Thirdly, I was introduced to the concept of applying coffee to your skin after a holiday to Bali, where they had been using coffee scrubs for hundreds, if not thousands of years, as a natural beauty treatment. It was noted that it was highly effective in targeting skin complaints such as eczema, cellulite and stretch marks.

Q: Ok, so what did you do next?

Anna: We started contacting coffee shops to ask them if we could collect their used coffee grounds. They said yes, so it meant we were able to source this incredibly high-quality coffee that had such high potent effects on the skin. Exciting!

William: At the same time, there was a lot of public focus on microbeads, the toxic plastic beads found in a lot of toothpastes, shower gels and other cosmetic products. These artificial exfoliators are terrible for the environment as they don't biodegrade, so they end up killing marine animals like fish and birds.

Our natural scrubs were a perfect alternative as the coffee simply naturally biodegrades!

Q: Ok, so where are you now?

Anna: We now collect wonderful coffee grounds from a huge network of coffee shops across London, transforming their premium Arabica coffee into our natural sustainable body and face scrubs. 

William: We're so excited to promote a circular economy and leave the world in a better place than we found it. We need all the help and support we can get, so we'd be over the moon if you joined us!

You can check out our full range here!