With so many cruelty free and green beauty brands coming out non stop, it's hard to know what brands to support and buy from. Last year I had the honored of going to Indie Beauty Expo, where I went in knowing what brands I needed to check out, and coming out with so many more.
Clove + Hallow was a brand on my want list since the moment they came out, upon meeting Sarah at the event, I knew I had to 1. support her and her vision, 2. have her on this series. Alas, here we are and I have done both! I'm not shy when I talk about how much I love the concealer, and I know I'm not the only one.
But enough about all that, let's get to chatting with Sarah!
Like most companies, they start with a vision, what was your vision with Clove + Hallow and how did you execute it?
The vision behind CLOVE + HALLOW was a line of affordably-priced clean, cruelty-free and vegan cosmetics that perform like conventional classics. Coming from a professional makeup artistry background, finding clean products with the right shade range and that worked on brides, photo-shoots, and film sets was extremely challenging. The fact that these products were typically priced like luxury items, was the final straw for me. From the get-go, I teamed up with amazing agencies and partners to help bring my vision to life and stuck to my guns on the things that matter most: affordability, performance, and shade range.
Clove + Hallow has grown a lot since it's release, what has been the best lesson thus far?
We've grown crazy fast - it is surreal to witness! The greatest lesson I've learned hinges on the "sunk cost fallacy" - something I intellectually understood but had never dealt with firsthand. In short, the sunk cost fallacy is a natural tendency to continue investing in a decision or goal even if it isn't the right one because you already invested in it. I've lost money in the short-term by cutting off underway opportunities, but in the big picture all of times we've re-routed have paid off exponentially.
What is YOUR personal favorite product currently, and one that 'may' be in the works?
My favorite product is our Conceal + Correct in 02. Not only is the shade fair enough to actually match my skin-tone, but the formula is the perfect mix of coverage, creaminess, and blend-ability. In terms of products that haven't launched yet, I am most excited for our liquid eyeliner to hit the market. It has a really intuitive felt tip applicator and dries down fully, so it won't smudge or flake throughout the day.
How did the name Clove + Hallow come to be?
It was really an aggregation of two things that I felt were important. First, "Clove" to represent the vibe of our brand: natural, spicy, welcoming, and warm. Next, "Hallow" because I feel like my relationship with makeup - as is the same for many women - is ritualistic almost to the degree of a religion, i.e. "Hallow Be Thy Name." I paired them together and voila!
Where do you get the inspiration for your products?
I get inspiration from everywhere - editors, social media, my travels, etc. - but my primary inspiration comes from listening to our consumers. In many ways, they serve as our R&D compass.
We all know how toxic cosmetics are, and you have been very vocal about it with your brand. How did you come to this place now with toxic ingredients?
It really all started when I came down with a sudden debilitating illness that went undiagnosed for nearly six months. When a naturopathic doctor cured me after ordering me to cut out toxic ingredients in foods and set me up on a supplemental regimen, I became highly conscientious of not just what I was putting in my body, but on my body; I thought about what was lurking in my makeup and skincare and knew I needed to clean up my routine. When I started transitioning to clean products both in my personal and professional kits, I realized that the products and market I was looking for was wide open, and the rest is history!
What is one ingredient you wish people would steer away from when it comes to cosmetics?
I will never purchase cosmetics or skincare containing undisclosed "fragrance" or "parfum" now that I understand just how awful they are. Since fragrance is considered trade secret, the chemical compounds it is composed of do not have to be disclosed. Studies have shown that, on average, there are 10 chemicals nested underneath the blanket term of fragrance. At first I missed typical perfume-y scents in my products, but I adapted quickly to the simplistic beauty of essential oil blends and now get headaches from conventional fragrances.
What has been your favorite and least favorite part of starting a business of your own?
My favorite aspect of running my own business is the certainty I am really making a difference. I always assumed that at 25 I would still be a cog turning someone else's wheel so it is thrilling to build my own wheel. The joy and satisfaction I get from making an impact at such a grass-roots level is unparalleled. My least favorite part is the all-consuming nature of entrepreneurism. It is incredibly easy to get sucked into the void of working more on your business while doing less for yourself. I'm working on developing a better balance because I know I can't effectively lead when I'm running on empty.
What are 5 things on your bucket list?
Business bucket list or personal? I'm going to go with personal because that seems more fun. 1) See the Northern Lights from Norway; 2) Become a published author; 3) Start a non-profit; 4) Get solo skydiving certified; 5) Play a live music gig with just myself and a guitar.
As a cruelty-free and vegan company, how does that apply to your lifestyle?
I am not personally vegan but I do live a very conscientious lifestyle including purchasing cruelty-free/ethical commodities when available to me. CLOVE + HALLOW is PETA-certified and vegan because I love animals and simply can't think of one acceptable reason for testing on animals or using animal-based ingredients.
Has there been a moment or event that has completely changed your life? Elaborate.
The period in my life when I was sick was truly life-changing. I had always been a high-achieving energizer bunny that could balance my health, schoolwork, jobs, and social life with ease. But when I got sick, everything changed. I couldn't think straight or get out of bed (seriously - I slept about 17 hours each day) and spent all my waking hours gagging from nausea or suffering through a fresh panic attack. It forced me to quit working and that's when the depression really dug its teeth in. I felt completely out of control - like a shell of my former self and an utter failure. Thankfully, with the help of an amazing support system and all of the doctors I saw, things turned around, and I was able to channel my struggle into CLOVE + HALLOW. The whole experience made me so aware of how delicately balanced and vulnerable humans are and helped me re-prioritize my life. Without a doubt, it has influenced nearly every decision I've made since.
Tell us 3 of your favorite things of all time!
My yellow lab Bailey, old school Disney Channel original movies, and foot massages.
If you could go back and change one thing in life (yours or in general), what would it be?
I wish I hadn't spent so much time fighting myself. When I was younger and starting college, I had the idea of how I should look, dress, act, and talk to fit in; as I got older, this turned into what I thought were the prerequisites of a "serious businesswoman." I wasted a lot of time ignoring all the signs that were pointing me down a different path. As cliche as it sounds, if I had just accepted that it was okay for me to be the real me, I could have saved myself from a lot of heartache and frustration.
Being one of the fastest cruelty free and green beauty brands of 2017, it's no surprise Sarah would be featured.
I'm in awe of Sarah's honesty and her courage to not only use her struggles to achieve success, but her openness in sharing her story with us.
Clove + Hallow has generously provided you guys with a discount, code CFMG15 gets you 15% off!