More and more of us want to support smaller brands – companies with a deeper purpose than just ‘sell stuff’ and who are making a difference. 

So we’re curating a list of those who are doing just that. Shining a light on the brands that are founded on doing good; be it in the production, the packaging, recycling measures, or supporting environmental projects. No greenwashing, only good vibes. Here’s to those whose mission is for people and the planet. 


Inspiration and innovation

Founded in 2012 by volunteer beach warden and coastal enthusiast Dom Bridges, natural beauty brand Haeckels is a pioneer in sustainable skincare. Disillusioned by his role in the advertising world and the production methods of many larger skincare companies, Dom quit his job and relocated to Margate.

Starting out as a ‘kitchen project’, Dom collected seaweed along the Kent coast and would bring the harvest back home to experiment. Through trial and error, he realised that he had a knack for creating rich, fragrant products that really worked. With encouragement from his wife, he set up a lab to investigate further.

Dom’s advertising background meant he had experience in selling global brands, but now he wanted to celebrate something local. To create simple hand-crafted products that showcased the county’s natural coastal ingredients.

Born from the beach

Ten years on, the vegan, eco and environmentally friendly brand has grown, taking on staff and working with scientists to develop the most conscious and effective products whilst remaining active in the local community. Sold all over the world, with customers including Solange Knowles, the label’s indulgent treatments and scientifically-proven formulas have become a word-of-mouth hit. The seaweed base for all their UK products is picked by hand from the beach just steps away from their original lab/shop.

More impressive is that when Japanese shops wanted to stock their wares, instead of shipping it over, Haeckels partnered with Japanese teams to develop a truly localised vision for their market. Providing work and cutting carbon at the same time – the definition of thinking global and acting local.

So why seaweed? Mostly due to its hydrating properties. This powerful plant is rich with valuable vitamins, minerals and amino acids. It’s also anti-bacterial, skin rebuilding and anti-inflammatory. Haeckels all-natural products come in compostable packaging too. The mushroom mycelium boxes, complete with seeded paper, can be sprinkled over the garden.

Swap rubbish for skincare

Haeckels sees itself as an “amplifier of the natural world and as a community problem solver”. They have a fantastic drive to solve the waste problem by creating grown-to-order products and encouraging recycling with incentives. Take empty glass bottles back to the store, for example, and receive a discount. Quirkily, you can even bring a bag of beach rubbish to their Margate shop with visual proof that it came from the beach and you receive a free product.

The London store, located on Broadway Market, is also flying the sustainable flag. Its chairs are manufactured using moulds made from food wastage, the store’s walls are crafted from leftover mussel shells from local food manufacturers and an exfoliating soap is made using leftover coffee beans from local roasters. It’s the perfect example of how retail environments can learn to be more eco-friendly, while maintaining a great customer experience.

Dom says we should ask for more from those businesses we interact with. “Let’s get real and support each other for better products, better communication. By allowing customers to demand more, we cull unnecessary brands and save the planet from manufacturing drain.”

Haeckels are doing things stylishly, sustainably and differently. It feels like they are shaping the future.


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