Sustainable Start-up Award: Beth Fuller (Noa Vee)
The standards of the beauty industry are everchanging, influenced by shifting expectations in society and representations in the media. Embracing diversity and showing a greater representation throughout the industry has become a top priority for brands across the globe, and new movements are championing authentic beauty even further.
Noa Vee, one of the first businesses to have been awarded the Sustainable Start-up Award, is just one of the newly-founded brands leading the movement. With an impressive Instagram following, the business - which incorporates both an online magazine and e-commerce store - offers a fresh take on traditional fashion blogs and magazines by shining a light on ethical brands and authentic creative voices. At its core is Beth Fuller, a 21-year-old Northumbria University student who hopes Noa Vee will empower women to embrace honest beauty and to be true to themselves. Here, she discusses her experience launching a sustainable business, the support she received when starting up, and what's next for Noa Vee.
How would you sum up Noa Vee?
is a shoppable, beauty-standards-free platform that blends content and commerce to connect people with ethical brands, authentic creatives and voices of women across the globe.
What inspired you to start your business?
I knew I wanted to work in the creative industry and that doing so would take a bit of innovation. Growing up in a small town didn't open any doors to opportunities in the area of fashion, art and beauty, and despite being told I had an "entrepreneurial way of thinking", I knew I had to create my own opportunity which is how I founded Noa Vee!
What challenges did you experience in turning your idea for a business into a reality?
So many! You come across so many potholes while trying to build something that is even just slightly different to what is currently out there; I'd say the process is literally just constantly problem-solving. One of the things I find difficult - which I think hardly anyone sheds a light on - is the emotions involved in running a business, particularly if it's something you are really passionate about. I think people see business as just a 'poker face' work and it really affects you; one day it can feel fulfilling and the best and the next may feel crushingly overwhelming or failing. Managing this side of it I'd say has been where I've grown the most, I've had to learn how to receive bad news or hit a hurdle and switch off from being personally affected so that I can think clearly to find a solution.
What have been the highlights or successes of starting your own business?
I think because I'm always working on the next steps of Noa Vee and trying to grow the company into where I want it to be, I tend to forget to celebrate what's happening in present, but I'd say having influential companies in the industry reach out (such as Estee Lauder Companies) has been surreal. I really began to realise the potential of Noa Vee when I was approached by investors that support companies such as Highsnobiety; that was definitely an out of this world moment!
What impact do you hope the Sustainable Start-up Award will have on your business?
The Sustainable Start-up Award
has allowed me to ensure that I begin the e-commerce element of my business with the best first step, meaning that the legal side of things are taken care of and I'm moving forward with a legitimate and secure working relationship with the brands I platform.
In your opinion, why is it important for businesses to be more sustainable?
I honestly think consumers follow larger companies - in particular, brands they like. I see data analysis people all the time that communicate the industry as though you have to cater what the consumer is demanding, but really, you can set the standard. So, I think if more companies begin to be sustainable you set the tone for the way people will shop. Hence whilst so many people want something that is quick and cheap to purchase, there is a growing appreciation for something that adds value and hols some sort of meaning or positive message. I think that companies opting to become sustainable are really helping to take positive steps forward to better influence the way people think.
Where do you see yourself and your business in 5 years?
Noa Vee has multiple branches to it, with the magazine and online store, I'm able to blend content and commerce and have everything function so that it feeds back to Noa Vee's core purpose - I'd like to just keep pushing forward with putting great content out there!
What is the most important personality trait to have as an entrepreneur and why?
I'd say striking the balance between having your head in the clouds and imagining the potential future of the business to drive you forward whilst having your feet on the ground to maintain a concrete perspective of where you are currently is the most important trait to acquire. Typically, if people have a business partner this is where the balance happens - so doing it alone means you have to be able to see the vision whilst knowing how to make it happen.