The Ideas Factory

We're restlessly determined to make products that leave the planet better than we found it. We do things differently – and love sharing our ideas for making things better. Each week we add to our blog, posting everything from DIY beauty recipes, waste-fighting tips, UpCircle guides and interviews with people and brands who inspire us.

Welcome to the UpCircle blog, we hope you enjoy reading…

Anti-racism resources, black-owned businesses and individuals to inspire us all


We want this blog to be a space full of anti-racism resources, black-owned business and individuals.

Let's keeping adding to it and learning together!

It’s back to school for us all… #blacklivesmatter

There has never been a more poignant time to reflect on how we educate our children, and ourselves. At UpCircle we want to celebrate the idea of ‘back to school’ week as for everyone. It’s not just children who can be learning and listening, it’s all of us. 

UPCIRCLE CANDLES: Q&A WITH SUBLUCEO

 

We've just added soy candles to the UpCircle range. We collaborated with Subluceo to create them, so we thought we'd catch up with Sophie, the woman behind the brand, to find out more about why she decided to become a candle maker.

HOMETHINGS (RE)ACTION PODCAST

Check out this podcast recording with Homethings. 

In this episode, "Repurposed Beauty for a Better World", we ask the question: how realistic is a zero-waste lifestyle?

SPEAKING AS THE WHITE FOLKS ON YOUR TIMELINE

Staying silent in the presence of injustice is a clear sign you side with the oppressor. Being anti-racist requires action.

We want to turn our words into tangible actions. To simply repost another’s resource or a few links feels passive, performative and insufficient...there are two parts to the action we plan to take.

OUTSIDE LANE PODCAST


Outside Lane tells the stories of the people and businesses inspiring coffee culture today. In this episode, Lane Eight owner George chats with Anna about the UpCircle journey to date, day to day life as a brand founder, and how the coffee collecting idea began!

THE BUSINESS OF KINDNESS PODCAST

Curious about how our repurposed ingredients are transformed from their first life into their next life as an UpCircle product? Check out our interview for the "Business of Kindness" podcast!

UPCIRCLE ON BBC RADIO LONDON!


Anna is interviewed live on BBC Radio London, following the huge response to our NHS pamper parcels send out - have a listen in full!

IWD: MEET THE WOMEN OF UPCIRCLE

One of the best things about working in a small team? Every one of us is our own boss. This International Women's Day is about how we each make a difference.

So, let's meet the team and celebrate the vital input of each of the UpCircle gals.

THE BLACK FRIDAY CONUNDRUM

The reputation: Pushy, desperate, wild-eyed, greedy, excessive... fundamentally unsustainable. 

Not ideal.

So, as a start up ethical brand, centred around sustainability, why have we chosen to participate in Black Friday this year?

*OUTOFOFFICE* AT CLIMATE STRIKE

We'll keep this brief, today a global climate strike is under way, with millions of people protesting for an end to the age of fossil fuels and climate justice for everyone.

Team UpCircle is joining the strike, so forgive us for the radio silence - there was no way we were going to miss this.

If you'd like a little more detail on what all this is about, click below.

The Optiat / UpCircle Rebrand - Our First 6 Months!

 
It's now just over 6 months since we switched up our brand, waving goodbye to Optiat and hello to UpCircle.

But how has it all gone? What have we achieved and what have we learned? And, perhaps most importantly, WHAT'S NEXT?

UpCircle Wins FSB Ethical Green Business of the Year!

We are thrilled to have been named the FSB Ethical Green Business of the Year! Due to our win we will go through to the UK final in London on 23 May - wish us luck!

UpCircle Wins Pitch To Sainsbury's Buyers!

Last week we took part in the inaugural Sainsbury’s Beauty & Wellbeing Live Innovation Pitch at Natural & Organic Products Europe. The team of buyers listened to fast-paced two-minute pitches from six beauty brands that had been shortlisted from over 60 companies.

Click READ MORE to watch a video of Anna's winning pitch!

The Roots of UpCircle - A Chat With Anna

I’m meeting Anna Brightman in a restaurant on the South Bank. She hugs me, asks me how I am, and if I found the place alright.

Anna’s office is located in a railway arch, and is stocked pile high with organic skincare products, with a couple of desks for her and her brother, William, crammed in too.

Listen to the Impact Hustlers podcast

The Impact Hustlers podcast features entrepreneurs and change-makers solving the world's biggest problems and creating massive social impact.

In this episode UpCircle co-founders Anna and William Brightman chat with host Maiko Schaffrath about their achievements to date. 

Greenhouse Pioneers - Interview With The Founders

Pioneering natural beauty company UpCircle take natural ingredients and give them a new lease of life in their organic skincare range. As they say, good for the world, good for you. Read this interview with the founders of sustainable skincare business UpCircle to learn their story.

6 Reasons For Rebranding

As loyal followers of our brand journey we owe you a more in depth explanation. What, exactly, has happened over the past month? There’ve been a few changes and it’s only fair we share why. So, in this post we’ll lay bare our thought processes in the name of transparency.

London's First Zero Waste Market

 

The newly re-branded UpCircle products debuted at London's First Zero Waste Market this December. The event was a huge success - check out the highlights video, featuring UpCircle co-founder Anna!

Behind the Scenes at Dragons’ Den – Our Experience

What was the biggest surprise for us going on the show? Spending over three hours being grilled by the Dragons! Standing the whole time, with bright lights beaming at you, answering question after question.

We had no idea what the BBC would decide to show on TV. It could be the worst moment of our lives: embarrassed in front of millions, laughed at and kicked out of the Den. It was terrifying!

UpCircle Features on Hoxton Radio!

Co-founder Anna spent the morning with the wonderful hosts of Hoxton Radio chatting about all things UpCircle.

Listen to her radio debut here!

UpCircle Podcast With The Clean Hub

The Clean Hub is a community of clean beauty enthusiasts that seek to educate the beauty world of alternatives to toxic ingredients.

We were thrilled when they contacted us to be a part of their 'Clean Chat' podcast series. Have a listen!

London Coffee Festival, A Look Back!

This weekend marked the official 2nd birthday of UpCircle. 

We love looking back to see how far we have come between our three experiences at the show, from day zero, to year one, to year two. We thought it would be fun to take a look back at snapshots from each year!

Introducing Henny & Joe's

As we get ready to release our new soap bars we caught up with Ash from Henny & Joe's, the chai tea company whose leftover spices have formed the base of our new range!

UpCircle are the Chosen Winners of £1,500 Investment

A couple of weeks ago we went to Vevolution festival to pitch UpCircle at the Pitch + Plant Dragons’ Den Competition.

We were delighted to walk away as the winners!

UpCircle is Endorsed by the Naturewatch Foundation

Naturewatch Foundation is a registered charity working to improve the lives of animals. We are proud to now be one of their endorsed cruelty free brands!

Read our guest blog!