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THE BIRTH OF OPTIAT
We had a thought: if we're throwing away a cafetière full of coffee grounds every morning, how much is going to waste from coffee shops all over London?
A lot, as it turns out. So we decided to do something about it.
We needed a way to give those coffee grounds a new lease of life. And Optiat was born.
LAUNCHING HEAD FIRST IN COFFEE
What better place to test our coffee-based skincare concept than the London Coffee Festival?
The scrubs flew out the door - whoosh! We came, we scrubbed, we conquered.
Maybe, just maybe, we were on to something.
ANNA JOINS THE TEAM
Team work makes the dream work!
Anna wanted her piece of the sustainable skincare dream. Even if it meant working alongside her brother. *eyeroll*
And so, one became two
URBAN OUTFITTERS - OUR FIRST PARTNER
We sent hand-sealed, sellotaped up prototypes to UO HQ, perhaps we were too optimistic? Perhaps not. They loved the scrubs and became our first retail partner.
Geographical boundaries. Who needs them? Not us. We hopped our scrubs over the channel and secured distribution in not 1, not 4, not 6 but 8 European countries over the next 6 months.
JAN - APRIL, 2017
WHY STOP AT COFFEE?
You can make lots of useful things with hemp seeds. But the husks are usually thrown away during the manufacturing process. Not anymore. We began collecting leftover hemp husks from a farm in Oxfordshire to launch our hemp face masks.
THE PORTFOLIO GROWS
To meet our ever-growing list of retailers (now including Waitrose, Whole Foods and Planet Organic) the coffee shop portfolio had to expand. By the end of 2017 we are regularly collecting coffee grounds from 80 artisan coffee shops.
HOT OFF THE PRESS
Storytellers cotton on to our circular skincare mission. During 2018 the brand is featured by the likes of The Daily Mail, The Independent, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Vogue, The Telegraph, Stylist, Grazia, The Evening Standard, Veggie Magazine, Vegan Food & Living and Women's Fitness. What a page turner.
We achieved our crowdfunding target of £200,000 in just three days and closed the round overfunded by £17,000. Mic drop.
The return of the soap bar. We're saving coffee, we're saving hemp, what's next on our hit list? Chai. We begin salvaging the aromatic spices brewed to make chai syrup, transforming them into our new soaps.
INTO THE DEN
The co-founding siblings take their chances against the Dragons… and walk away victorious. The duo received investment offers from 3 dragons and agreed a deal with Touker Suleyman and Tej Lalvani.
UPCIRCLE IS BORN
As our product ranges expand we take the opportunity to unify the brand, unveiling a fresh new look and name. Our circular economy mission is now front and centre: we're ready for world domination.
The new face serum and face scrub scents hit the shelves just in time for Christmas. Phew.
NEW YEAR, NEW HOME
The brand has far outgrown the siblings parents' home. It's time to move out. We leave a trail of coffee footsteps and set up in our shiny new premises.
THESE BOOTS ARE MADE FOR WALKING
UpCircle body scrubs stroll into 740 Boots stores across the country. Woosh.
A panel of Sainsbury’s buyers listen to fast-paced pitches from six beauty brands shortlisted from over 60 companies. UpCircle is chosen as a winner - result!
SCOOPING UP AWARDS
UpCircle win the FSB London Ethical Green Business of the year AND are re-awarded Natural Products 30 Under 30. Buzzinggggg!