Eighteen months ago, Harvey Nichols’ Beauty Buyer, 35-year-old Zahra Broadfield, was in Thailand taking her five-year-old son on a trip to the beach.
Accompanying them was Broadfield’s husband, Rich, and a picnic, along with their intentions to spend the day exploring the area and showing their son where they’d married just five years previously.
But as they approached the stretch of coastline on this particular day, their plan for the day was ravaged, as the sand was covered for miles by layers upon layers of plastic.
“That was the exact moment where I realised something had to change,” Broadfield explains. “It was towards the end of my time at Harvey Nichols, and I was seeing a lot about sustainable fashion everywhere but there wasn’t enough coming up about beauty in the same way.”
A few months after the visit to the polystyrene-covered beach, Broadfield, who had been at Harvey Nichols for ten years at this point, resigned and set to work creating a platform where the ethical beauty brands who were driving innovation in the industry could comfortably sit.
This was September 2018 and a year later, SUST Beauty, the result of Broadfield’s accumulated expertise and pent-up frustration at the industry, is now live.
It’s a beauty destination that will exclusively stock ethical beauty products which are sustainable throughout their entire life cycle, not just during their creation, thus eradicating the endless searching and sifting through of products to verify their sustainable status.
It’s currently a one-man-operation, with Broadfield having single-handedly undertaken all of the research on the nine core brands it currently stocks, but rest assured there are plenty more in the pipeline.
She has undertaken what she calls a “deep dive” in to each and every one of the ingredients included in the products she stocks, and has endeavoured to ensure they’re sustainable beyond just their point of creation.
“I made sure I bought the products and tried them before contacting the brand, as I wanted to ensure I knew exactly what I thought of every element of the products and what they were offering,” Broadfield describes.
While her focus during her previous role was defining and contributing to the luxury beauty sector, with SUST, Broadfield’s mission is clear: it isn’t about glitzy packaging or blue-tick verified ambassadors, it’s about the efficacy of the products.
“I know, because I have tried and tested each and every one of them over the past year, that this first edit of products are genuine equivalents of cult products,” she clarifies. “There’s still this perception that ethical beauty means having to compromise on something.”
The stand out products from the (albeit currently limited) offering are the AMLY Botanical’s Radiance Boost Silver Rich Face Mist and the Ere Perez Oat Milk Foundation, which has surprisingly generous coverage for a vegan product.
With a roster of brands which have already fostered loyal followings, and with a wider swell of customers yearning to make better and more conscious choices in their everyday, it would appear that SUST has appeared just at the right time.
Broadfield aptly summarises: “You’re never going to make a change by blaming and shaming people for what they do or don’t do. Instead, I’d rather focus on progress and helping make a change, which is what I’m trying to do.”