As the world of beauty moves ever more towards a more eco-friendly and ethical future, new brands are taking note. One such company is the odist. Launching in the Middle East this clean, minimalistic, and ultra-luxurious brand focuses on makeup brushes are not only high performing but vegan too. It’s founder Amy Hanbury shares more.
What drew you to the world of beauty?
Creativity and self-expression. I’ve always viewed makeup as a tool for self-expression, never as a mask to hide behind. The turning point for me was when I saw alternative makeup looks used in ground-breaking and obscure runway shows like Alexander McQueen. Despite the garments always being the focus of the event, I couldn’t help but notice the faces and the sheer power they radiated. It was then I realized that beauty is so much more than following trends and looking “put together” – it’s about empowerment, self-expression, and staying true to your authentic self. Once I understood that I was a beauty convert and determined to make it my profession.
Why did you decide to launch your own line of makeup brushes?
In order to express yourself through makeup, you’re going to need the correct tools (unless you’re opting for total abstraction – Jackson Pollock style). Offering makeup tools is a way of contributing to someone’s artistic vision and spirit – and I love that. I also felt that the Middle East lacked a home-grown brand offering luxury make up brushes backed by responsible values.
How did you come up with the name odist?
When naming the brand, I wanted to merge the idea of obscurities and the evolution of something ordinary. As a result, we played on the word ‘odd’ as a homage to celebrating differences as well as the word ‘alchemist’ to encompass the change of something familiar. We married both words and created ‘odist’.
Talk to us about the different brushes in the collection?
During the development process, we quickly realized that it’s impossible for one single fiber to effectively apply different kinds of products. We worked through multiple iterations of the brushes and finally produced three high-performing vegan hair types, each designed to work with specific textures and formulas.
Body Fibre is engineered to buff and blend liquid and cream products seamlessly while Silk Fibre is designed to outperform natural hair and expertly collect and layer powders with little fallout. Razor Fibre works with a range of formulas but is specially created for precision work and the placement of fine structured lines.
We have a total of ten luxury brushes in our Essential Ten kit (AED 795), five of which are dedicated to face and complexion and five for the eyes. The range has been carefully curated so that the kit holds all of the necessary brushes for your daily makeup needs.
What are the three essentials for a good makeup brush?
We believe in synthetic. Brush fiber technology has vastly evolved in recent years, so much so that high-quality synthetic brushes are now on parr, if not outperforming natural-hair brushes. There is no reason why we should put animals at risk for our vanity.
Another item to consider is the weight of the handle. odist brushes are slightly heavier than most around the ferrule (the metal part where the bristles meet the handle) to improve balance and offer the perfect amount of control when applying product.
Finally, the bristles should always feel gentle on the skin. If the bristles are thick and blunt it means they have been cut into shape. Instead, they should be laid into shape in a dedicated mold and bound together with string.
Why is being eco-friendly so important to you?
We are in a climate crisis. In 2018, the IPCC (an intergovernmental body of the United Nations – aka the climate gurus) highlighted that we have 12 years to radically reduce environmental pollution before our climate hits an irreversible tipping point. Off the back of this report, many multinationals have made climate commitments but are well beyond this deadline.
As a startup with more agility, it’s simply not acceptable for us to become part of this problem. We passionately believe that it’s our responsibility to take action now and do all we can to be a catalyst for change within odist, the beauty industry, and across the wider region by quickly becoming a carbon negative organization. We want to provide our community with the opportunity of not only limiting their own impact but actually having a positive impact on the planet with each and every purchase of our products.
What is the biggest obstacle you faced during the launch?
We really underestimated the time it would take us to develop the range of brushes. We knew how important it was to work through a number of pre-production samples to get the final product right but considering the manufacturing and transit lead times to/from our vendors, each batch would take over a month to produce and test. This quickly stacked up with 10 brushes and almost as many iterations. Deadlines loomed. Ultimately, our team flew out to work directly with our vendors and managed to get them to focus solely on our development over the course of that week. We probably squeezed four months’ worth of work into four days.
And, your biggest achievement?
I like to celebrate small wins in order to achieve big goals but something that I’m most proud of is building a sustainable, responsible brand that does not compromise on design and quality.
What advice would you give to upcoming beauty entrepreneurs?
The beauty industry is on the cusp of change and now, more than ever, new-age consumers are educated, well-informed, and seek genuine connections with brands. With this in mind, beauty entrepreneurs need to listen, do their research, and take a bottom-up approach when developing products. Above all, founders will need to be authentic, passionate, and enforce genuine purpose within their brand.
What’s next for odist?
Brushes are just the beginning and we’ll continue to evolve our product range through co-creation led by our community. We really want to center everything we do around people and in the coming months, we’ll launch an inclusive platform on odist.com that helps facilitate our bottom-up development for future products and curate conversations around topics close to our heart. We’re in the relationship business. We just happen to make great beauty products.